Regardless of your business size, it can be difficult to know which tasks to keep in-house and which to outsource. The answer is different for virtually everyone.
For example, if you are an accountant, outsourcing your bookkeeping does not make a lot of sense. However, if you are a travel blogger, it makes perfect sense to outsource your financial tracking.
When it comes to marketing, there are a couple of popular trends: either keep marketing wholly in-house with a marketing department or outsource it entirely to a marketing agency or firm. What happens when you feel like your marketing has stagnated overall? Or how do you deal with an outside agency who just “doesn’t get you”?
If you feel like your marketing department has stagnated, it may be appealing to just throw in the towel and outsource your marketing efforts.
It makes sense: A marketing agency is the expert and you will benefit from their years of knowledge, experience, and fresh new ideas!
Like anything else, there are pros and cons to going all in with either of these options.
Your Marketing Department has Stagnated. Now What?
Before a decision can be made, you need to address a couple of questions. These are specific to you, so there are no wrong answers.
- If your marketing department has stagnated, does it want to improve?
- If so, do they have a leader who can help them navigate to change?
- Has there been clear direction from the top of your organization to prompt this? Has the leadership given the power to make the necessary changes?
- Are there clear deliverables and goals for the existing team?
Options When Dealing With a Stale Marketing Team:
At a high level, I see three possible paths to navigate a stale or stagnated marketing team:
1. Hiring an Outside Marketing Agency
The first thing an outside agency will require is that the company leadership and marketing department come together to clearly define the desired expectations and outcomes. A marketing strategy will serve as the blueprint for moving forward. It is in everyone’s best interest to invest the time and resources to create the best strategy possible; otherwise, each side runs the risk of finger pointing and blaming if the plan is not executed correctly.
Further, this blueprinting exercise will be good for both parties: it can rejuvenate your existing marketing department as they work with an outside firm and develop the clarity needed to move forward.
A potential drawback to this approach is that the outside firm does not have the intimate knowledge of your company, understand your culture, and may not authentically deliver your “brand voice” or miss your ideal customer persona.
2. Staying With Your Existing Marketing Department
Another option is is to double down on your existing marketing department. By investing in them, and encouraging them to step up, you can take advantage of the knowledge they already have for your company, product, services, culture, etc.
If you feel that the department has potential, get them connected with resources or training courses that strengthens their knowledge and expands their creativity.
There is almost no limit to the resources available for marketing and sales teams right now:
- Use sites like Udemy to enroll your staff in advanced courses and training sessions to learn new skills
- Follow industry leaders like HubSpot, HootSuite, CoSchedule, LeadPages, and Buffer who are always publishing advice designed for better marketing
- Attend industry conferences like Inbound, Converted, or Call to Action Conference
3. Work With a Consultant
The third option, and the one most overlooked, is to work with a consultant who can create a hybrid of these two scenarios.
A successful consultant can infuse your team with new knowledge and the latest industry practices. By doing this, you get the best of both of your options since your existing marketing team can bring their in-depth understanding and pair it with the excitement and prospect of working with someone who brings a fresh perspective.
Additionally, a consultant can “go to bat” for either the company leadership or the marketing department. In my experience, I’ve found that a lack of communication is often to blame for departments stagnating. A consultant often asks questions that bring these issues to the surface so they can be properly dealt with.
The largest deterrent for most business leaders is paying a consultant. Rather than look at the value the consultant brings to their brand, they look at the numbers after the dollar sign.
Let’s be honest: If a failing marketing department is costing the company hundreds of thousands in lost opportunity costs, wages, and delayed launches — the rate of a consultant is the least of your worries.
I hope I’ve given you some actionable points to consider if you feel that your existing marketing department is stagnate, or if you are thinking of hiring an outside marketing firm.
Before you do either, understand what you want out of the campaign. Most often, people look at making changes for the sake of making changes rather than defining their desired outcome and working backwards.