It’s time to bring digital marketing expertise into your business, but you are grappling with how to do it.
Should I outsource marketing or hire a marketing coordinator?
Honestly, there is no straightforward answer to this question. You will only arrive at the right decision after careful analysis of your business operations, revenue generating needs, and in-house B2B lead generation capabilities.
Don’t be overwhelmed. This article guides you through key considerations and will help you decide which option is best, based on your business goals.
Your Options Defined: Outsourced Marketing vs. Marketing Coordinators
What is a marketing coordinator?
A marketing coordinator is a staff-level position. They assist in the planning, execution, and analysis of your marketing campaigns and initiatives. Other titles may include marketing associate or marketing assistant, depending on the full range of job responsibilities.
What is outsourced marketing?
Outsourced marketing agencies are external business partners who are also responsible for a range of lead generation activities. Depending on your partner, this might include website and technical SEO management too.
Your Decision Impacts Your Revenue Generating Goals
This marketing position involves more than sending a few emails or posting regularly on social media. Adding marketing expertise to your team strengthens a core part of your Revenue Generation System.
The 3 elements of revenue generation systems:
- Strategic B2B lead generation and marketing activities
- Effective prospecting and consultative selling that converts qualified leads
- Following the right sales and marketing process
Any weakness in one element diminishes results everywhere
When marketing uses the wrong activities or focuses on the wrong target market, you won’t gain visibility with the right prospects. If your sales consultants or reps don’t follow up on leads, you will struggle to close new clients. If you don’t have a process to market and sell consistently, you won’t get traction even with the right tactics, target market, and sales approach.
Your in-house or outsourced marketers are responsible for B2B lead generation
They strategically deploy marketing activities that engage your ideal target market. Their tactics and the results you can expect are based on your location, industry, and current name recognition.
To make the right choice, start by thinking about your overall business goals and current marketing efforts.
6 Questions To Answer Before Hiring or Outsourcing
- What are your 3- and 5-year goals for your business?
- Are you making measurable progress toward achieving your marketing goals?
- Do you, or members of your team, have experience with different marketing channels and strategies, such as email marketing, social media, content marketing, and digital advertising? Are the results successful for you?
- Think about the person or people who currently handle marketing activities at your company. What activities do they regularly engage in? (Sending emails, posting to social media, etc.) What activities don’t they engage in that you wish they did? Do they enjoy it?
- Does anyone measure the impact of your marketing activities on your business?
- How much time do you have available to devote to:
- Analyzing campaign metrics and ROI
- Formulating and adjusting strategy
- Staying up to date with changes in marketing trends and technologies
As you answer, banish the thought “We’re too small” from your mind
Like any position, you cannot make hiring decisions based on current company size. You must consider your team’s bandwidth. Your multitalented salesperson who can write engaging emails with marketing flair? They won’t have time to write emails or train your new marketing associate if they’re overwhelmed with sales activities. You want them focused on sales first, not distracted by marketing.
Next steps: Evaluate the pro and con lists below with your goals and current capabilities in mind.
This will clarify what you truly need and how your current team will interact with your marketer.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a Marketing Coordinator
Note which of the pros push you closer to goals and which cons limit your revenue generation system.
Anyone you hire is devoted solely to marketing your products or services. Their deep familiarity with your solutions, culture, and brand voice can result in on-brand campaigns that resonate with your target market.
Available whenever you ask
Full-time employees are right there whenever you need something done. Note that it may take your staff person longer to complete some tasks if they lack experience with the set of activities you ask them to do.
Company culture alignment
You directly manage and oversee the person responsible for your marketing efforts. If there is a personality clash, you are likely to uncover it during the hiring process. It is harder to identify when you work with an outsourced marketing agency. You may not like the marketeer assigned to your account and would need to address the issue in a manager or Chief Marketing Officer meeting.
In-house communication and decision-making processes can be more efficient. A marketing associate is there to remind you and keep things moving forward.
Offload a wider range of marketing activities
Both in-house and external partners take over all the marketing activities you do not have time for, but
outsourced marketers will stay within the bounds of their contract.
For instance, they might help with related activities – like sending over talking points for a video you’re shooting for an event. They won’t assist with logistics like confirming the event menu with the caterer.
Your in-house marketer will work on any marketing initiative for you.
Cross-team collaboration with Sales
As a staff member, your marketer can attend sales meetings, listen for special marketing needs the sales team has and share marketing campaigns.
Your outsourced marketing agency may do some of this, provided it is included in their contract.
Wondering how sales and marketing can work together? Watch this short video tip:
To attract experienced coordinators, associates, or assistants, you will have to offer a competitive salary and benefits package.
On top of that, you’ll have additional overhead expenses, like licenses for specialized marketing software and any company-provided devices and software an employee needs.
Entry-level salaries are lower, but there’s a time trade-off
Fresh graduates or marketers with 1 or 2 years of experience are energetic and have creative ideas. However, they lack the relevant experience of a seasoned marketer. You, or someone from your team, will need to spend time with them so they build business acumen and a deep understanding of your industry and services.
Want a more accurate salary estimate?
Check out the marketing coordinator salary data compiled by Indeed.
Your initiatives are limited to the experience of one person
Marketing activities are diverse. Even a marketer with the broadest skillset cannot effectively:
- Write SEO-optimized webpages and blog posts
- Develop and launch B2B email lead generation campaigns
- Create social media posts and maintain your profiles
- Set up, manage, and monitor GoogleAds, paid social media, or other PPC campaigns
Finding and keeping talent is difficult
The intelligent, creative marketer you want to bring onto your staff is ambitious. They want to know there is a career path. If you cannot provide opportunities for them to grow and take on greater responsibilities, they will advance their career elsewhere. You’ll lose all the knowledge they built about your company, your target markets, and your marketing strategy.
Continually hiring is inefficient
One managed service provider we work with went through the cycle of hiring, replacing, and retraining 3 marketing coordinators in 4 years. The experience convinced them that having in-house marketers strained resources and outsourcing was a better path for their company.
Did you know the cost of a bad hire is at least 30% of the employee’s first-year salary?
Pros and Cons of Working With an Outsourced B2B Marketing Firm
Access to expertise
A marketing firm brings you a wide range of specialized skills and experience. They can pull in experts from the team to provide their recommendations for strategy, SEO, and PPC as your business grows and evolves.
You aren’t locked into paying salary and benefits. Often specialized marketing tools for website analysis, SEO, digital ads, email list analysis, and more are included. Plus, you can scale marketing efforts up or down as needed easily.
How your outsourced marketer can rapidly pivot
When you want to hold a customer appreciation event or host a regional 1-day conference for your target market, your outsourced firm can pivot to update the website, create the registration page, design the event branding, write digital ads, post on social media, develop and send an email promo campaign, and write session abstracts quickly.
Outsourced marketing potentially lowers your marketing costs due to economies of scale and reduced overhead. You choose what you need to outsource, and that may allow you to avoid hiring a full-time person. Some marketing may live in-house. Some activities, where you lack expertise or time, may be outsourced.
If a person leaves, it’s not your headache. The agency will replace that person with someone from their staff who is the right fit for your business. Your marketing continues, stable and steady.
An agency has marketing processes they follow. From strategy through development and execution, they use these processes to keep your marketing on track and consistent.
Application of latest, effective trends
Marketing firms observe what works for a client and apply those trends to the other organizations they work with. When what’s working versus not in marketing channels shifts in the industry (think Google SEO algorithms and Twitter), you don’t have to be the expert.
Less time investment
An in-house marketer may demand your attention daily, stopping by your office with quick questions. Especially if they report to you.
External marketing firms report to you too, but from a distance. At KLA Group, we collaborate with our clients while respecting their time. We set the strategy together. Then we meet once or twice a month for strategic meetings. All other work is done via email and chat. Extra meetings are scheduled as needed, but this is rare.
Working with an agency is collaborative. You rely on them as your experts for strategic guidance.
If you have a strong pulse on your target market, know the exact messaging that resonates with prospects, and can direct someone to turn your ideas into successful campaigns, a marketing person is likely the better choice for your business.
Depending on what and how much you’re outsourcing, it can be expensive. You’re engaging skilled people with specialized competencies and an agency with well-defined processes. Just like hiring a seasoned marketer, there is a cost for that.
Lower meeting frequency
You may want to see your marketer every day. An outsourced marketing firm will be responsive to email, chat, and calls, but they won’t be right there the way an employee would.
This is a plus too, depending on your outlook. It allows you to be more efficient because you’re less involved in marketing and you can be confident it’s still happening.
Your agency’s capacity to evolve with you
Switching agencies every few years as you achieve growth goals or seek to add strategies to your marketing mix is frustrating. You want a partner that will grow with you. For instance, KLA Group started in 1995. SEO was not a service we offered then! But it is now.
Your marketing firm is only as good as the skillsets and experience they can bring to the table.
Find a partner who provides a wide range of services. Ask how they’ve evolved to incorporate effective trends and whether they invest in continuing education for employees.
Support for Sales
In any successful revenue generation system, sales and marketing play off each other. Not all outsourced firms realize this and may refuse to work with your sales team. As you interview potential partners, this is a major red flag. You want someone who sees marketing as one piece of a bigger business picturefor you.
4 Key Considerations as You Evaluate Your Options
1. Your budget
Quick back-of-the-envelope math won’t reveal the full cost of hiring a coordinator versus working with an outsourced marketing firm because salaries and monthly costs aren’t your only expenses.
Consider additional costs you’ll incur to meet your marketing objectives
Marketing is more than writing emails, articles, and social media. Take social media as an example. No one wants to post in real-time on a holiday. You’ll need a platform that lets you schedule posts ahead of time, and those frequently require monthly subscriptions.
Here are a few additional costs a marketing agency may cover in their agreement that you would pay extra for with an internal marketing staff person:
- Graphic design
- Website support
- Social media management platform
- Email list management and tools
- SEO keyword research
- SEO analytics tools
2. Marketing needs and goals
Identify specific marketing objectives to determine the best approach for your business. The more aggressive your revenue generation goals, the more marketing you need. If you haven’t built your B2B lead generation system and the plan to support it, that may stretch your marketing associate to do it all on their own.
3. Market positioning
If you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader, market disruptor, or new entrant, you need specialized marketing. Your marketing associate may not have the skills required to properly position you in the target market you have chosen.
We’ve hit on this a few times now, but it’s critical to look at the associate role from all angles. Your time, your team’s time, and your potential coordinator’s time are valuable.
Consider how much time is available across your staff
- How much time do you have for training, coaching, planning, and regular meetings?
- What can everyone else offer to support your marketing effort?
- What resources are available and easily understandable to offload meeting time?
- Are you expecting the marketing assistant to do marketing full-time, or will they have office management responsibilities too?
You Can Choose Both In-House and Outsourced Marketing
This is not a zero-sum game. If you have the skills on staff, divide the marketing efforts.
Consider what you can keep in-house
Perhaps you have a staff person who is good at setting up email campaigns, but not skilled at creating complex marketing funnel campaigns or compelling assets for the website.
You could ask your outsourced firm to write supplemental email campaigns and resources that resonate with your target market. Your marketing assistant then sets up and manages the campaigns for you.
Or, you could outsource the more technical aspects of marketing, such as SEO, while keeping other tasks, like managing social media and writing your newsletter, in-house.
The combinations are limitless
As you explore options for a hybrid model, be sure the firms you’re vetting are willing to collaborate with you on every level. They should truly supplement your staff, not seek to replace them.
Here’s a question you can ask to gauge how they’ll work with you: How will you help us stay current on best practices?
You’re asking because it’s hard for small, in-house teams to stay on top of what works now. An outsourced firm has more resources and expertise, which they should openly share. Listen for an answer that mentions sharing tactics in strategic meetings, email, or chat.
How Outsourced Marketing Can Benefit Your Business
A marketing coordinator’s salary, benefits, overhead, and associated marketing costs can stretch your hiring budget – and that’s just one employee! You may need an entire department to reach your goals. This is what makes an outsourced firm attractive to small and midsize businesses that cannot afford a full in-house marketing team.
How to make your agency your marketing department
Find a partner who is willing to collaborate with you – whatever that means for your business
Maybe you want to be totally hands-off. You might prefer a close collaboration between a few key and employees and the agency. Whatever your style, your marketing agency should respect your preferences. Your objective is to find a firm that can work with you the way you are most comfortable.
Know which marketing services you want to outsource
Part of what makes marketing so exciting is that it’s constantly changing. You do not want to immediately jump on the hottest new platform. Remember, in 2020, how the Clubhouse app was going to revolutionize how we connected with people and businesses? It burned bright and flamed out.
As you choose what to outsource, pick tried and tested strategies that support sales and lead prospects through their Buyer’s Journey. Select a firm that will advise you which changes to adopt, watch, or pass, based on your company’s needs and culture.
Measuring Marketing Success
Clarify the expectations before hiring internally or signing a contract with an external partner. It takes time to see results. Even an exceptional marketer will not take you from low market recognition to a thought leader in a month. Ranking in search can take years, depending on the difficulty of your keywords. Turning a stone-cold list into marketing qualified leads won’t happen overnight.
Talk through what is reasonable, and a timeline for success
It’s common to start with the goal of using best practice SEO lead generation strategies to increase web traffic. Then you drive visitors to downloadable assets and Contact Us pages. At the same time, your sales team works on improving conversion rates by locking down their follow-up process.
Red flag alert
Be skeptical of anyone who promises instant success. You want someone who is honest about the commitment and investment required to see results.
Your outsourced marketing partner should regularly meet with you to discuss metrics like:
- Website traffic
- Website conversions
- Email engagement
- Email conversions
MQLs and SQLs
There may be other metrics you’re monitoring together, but these are indicators of marketing success. With traffic and engagement, comes the opportunity for contacts Sales can follow up on to convert to sales qualified leads. Over time, you may also choose to measure MQLs and SQLs, but before you do, let’s see some action happening. As with the sales process, measure the activities that will lead to success first.
Will Your Business Hire a Marketing Coordinator or Outsource Marketing?
We’ve given you a lot to think about. Your head may be swimming with pros, cons, salaries, strategies, and metrics.
Easily sort out what matters most to your business
Sometimes you just need to talk through your options with a third party. We can help. Set up a no-obligation strategy call. We’ll discuss your marketing vision, current staff, options, budget, and which path makes the most sense for your business. We’ll share openly and honestly which direction we think is the best option for you.