The Stupid Reasons Marketing Departments Don't Outsource

Outsourcing helps businesses focus on what they are good at and get smarter, cheaper and faster support in areas they aren't.  Apple, Google, McDonalds and Microsoft are just some of the household names that outsource different key parts of their businesses regularly.  You know who isn't outsourcing? Your marketing department or your marketing agency.  Here's some of their stupid reasons they have for not doing so.

1 - They don't know how

Let's be honest. Freelancers, contractors and third-parties are the Bobba Fett's of the marketing world.  They are bounty hunters that don't normally come with an SLA or non-compete and they'll leave your contract work for better contract work in a heartbeat. Most marketing departments, or marketing agencies for that matter, rely heavily on freelancers and contractors, but they don't really know how to manage that relationship.  Some departments and agencies may also have unrealistic expectations about how an outsourcing arrangement will work.

Having said that marketing people do spend a lot of time in front of screens. Be it on their phone, desktop, tablet or any other device that has their favorite version of iOS on it (sure it's a stereotype that all marketing people love Apple products, but is it?).  One thing all those devices have in common is they contain the world's knowledge on it. These days you can learn anything online and become an expert. That includes, wait for it, how to outsource marketing resources! For them to want to outsource, but not know how is a total copout and poor excuse.

2 - They think it's bad taboo

Our company supports a lot of marketing departments and agencies. The main resistance we see from marketing departments taking us up on our support is that they feel marketing-related activities need to be handled by the marketing department or marketing agency in-house end to end.  They believe that having somebody else help them do their work is an ethical issue or against their core competencies.

There is some fairness to that.  Organizations that are experts at doing marketing and compensated for doing it should do it. But look at it this way. Most businesses that have a marketing department or hire a marketing agency do so to get results from them. Those results are usually measured in new leads, revenue, opportunities and things like that. Not in how fast they can build a campaign or slice a PSD to HTML.  Think of it this way... if your marketing team came to you and said 'hire us and we'll get you 20% more revenue in 2 yrs.  It doesn't involve you doing anything illegal or unethical, but you have to trust us 100%' would you go for it? Sure, tell yourself you wouldn't, but a lot of people would. Believe me, people are always willing to invest in things that generate money for them.  The point I'm making is people don't care how fast a marketing agency does marketing or even necessarily how marketing gets its results. The CEO doesn't care how fast the director of marketing gets their campaigns done, just like the business owner doesn't care how pretty the marketing agency designs things. What good is a beautiful website, banner or video if it's not achieving the goals you set out for it? That's really where 'marketing' comes in to play.  Not just creating the material, but actually getting results from it.  Marketing departments should hire marketers.  Marketing support organizations hire engineers, developers, designers and others.

3 - They believe they are good with what they have

Many marketing organizations choose not to outsource activities because they feel they are good with what they have. They have all the resources they need in-house and things are getting done at a steady pace. Who knows? They may even be getting results their boss is happy with.

Here's the problem with that. Marketing departments and marketing agencies can really only do so much on their own. If they are so busy doing marketing for their business or their customers and getting them results then there is no eye to the future or other ways to improve.  They are 'under water' in work and not coming up for air.  So how long until they suffocate?  In a sense they are losing on results tomorrow for results today.  Look, there is nothing wrong with that. After all the results are coming in. Just know that your competitors may be learning tomorrow's tactics and getting better at those while you are focused on handling all of the marketing operations and marketing tasks in-house.  Being good today and doing everything internally does cost you time and resources on learning new things and staying abreast on new tactics. There will come a time your boss asks you how you intend to address a new tactic.  Or, they'll look at a competitor's marketing with envy and say 'I want that for us too!' And then, for the first time ever, the 'disruptive marketing exec' with all of the answers will be speechless and playing catch up.

Do you see how these stupid anti-outsourcing reasons marketing organizations have can really impede performance? If marketing organizations learn to outsource some of their time-consuming and non-marketing related activities it would free up their time to focus on learning new tactics or trying them out. This will keep the marketing team agile as opposed to busy.

So how can you determine whether to do your next marketing project in-house or not?  There are definitely a lot of factors in play with making that decision, but this marketing project outsource calculator should help.

About the Author:

Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations at Computan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies get more agile by providing them affordable and reliable back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University.