In the days of yore, the only way for a small business to infuse life into their marketing strategy was to hire some well-compensated executive. However, today's outsourced marketing solutions offer several benefits over hiring a new full time employee. Outsourced marketing companies offer increased level of flexibility, reduced costs, and the ability to tap into a range of expertise on-demand.
In order to get the most from your outsourced marketing agency, it's vital you understand how to communicate and manage the relationship. The following information provides a few tips for managing B2B relationships with outsourced marketing agencies.
Understand Why You Are Doing It
There are several possible reasons a business would choose to outsourced marketing functions. In either case, you must know your reasons and understand what you are looking to achieve. If you fail to do so, your chances of success are significantly reduced. Some of the most common scenarios for outsourcing are:
- When you need someone with a unique set of skills and ability to manage or handle a project with the assistance of your team.
- If your marketing priorities are evolving and you need people with different skills, it can be excruciatingly difficult to find everything you need in one person.
- If you need someone who has experience, but either can't afford or your business can't support a full time executive
- You need someone who can coach teams and train staff to properly manage marketing functions.
Clarify the Experience and Skills
When you are working on a tight budget, it may be very appealing to quickly hire a cheap junior marketing executive. In some instances, this may be the best way to go, especially if you have the expertise and time to manage them for a low-level job. However, it's important to understand these types of hires do not add creative or strategic value. In reality, they may become a strain on the time of your most senior management professionals. As a result, it's vital for you to be clear on the level of experience you need. Then consider whether it makes more sense to hire an outsourced, part-time senior marketer instead of a full-time junior hire.
Set Measurable Goals
One of the top tips for managing B2B relationships is to set clear and measurable goals. It's vital they have a clear statement on what you are looking to accomplish from the start. Whether it's the migration of content on your website or the restructuring of an old website, it's vital you agree on measurables and set timely objectives. After the project is underway, make sure you and your outsourced marketing professional takes time to review the objectives on a regular basis. You should also agree on the ownership of any intellectual property or work upfront and get everything in writing.
Similar to an exceptional marriage, it's vital for you to communicate expectations and receive communication from your outsourced marketing professional. Although this may seem like goal-setting, it's different. This includes the regular day-to-day relationship management stuff. Since you are the outsourced marketing client, you can be as high-maintenance or as low maintenance as you choose. You can require quarterly reports, weekly reports, or even daily updates on the progress. You can even request your own logins and credentials so you can conduct your own performance analysis. Regardless of how you choose to manage your outsourced marketing professional, it's best you communicate this clearly from the beginning.
Have a Plan for Succession
If you are not considering outsourcing as a long-term solution for the business, it's vital to have a plan of success from the beginning. Indeed, many companies utilize outsourced marketing directors to assist in developing the right structure and hiring the right people. However, if you are looking for an outsourced marketing professional to help with a deliverable or individual project, make sure you understand the type of post project completion support you will need and how much of this support is already built into the fee.
Use Team Members to Collaborate
One of the main reasons people use outsourced marketing teams is to avoid overloading your internal team with more work. Since you are a member of that team, you are also susceptible to tunnel vision, overload, burnouts and many other dismal fates. As a result, it's vital for you to know when to pass the baton and ask for help. Everyone on your team has different and unique insights. You may even find certain team members are able to manage social media or even blog.
All of these are examples of excellent opportunities to merge in-house talent with outsourced strategies. When doing so, you may find you do not need as many hours from your outsourced marketing professional in the future.
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