Ever since childhood, I’ve been enamored with the Swiss Army knife. I’d borrow my dad’s and marvel at how each tool fit so nicely with the next, and how incredibly functional the whole thing was. (And someday, I will open a bottle of wine with that tiny corkscrew.)
The Swiss Army knife is also the perfect metaphor to describe the ideal marketing team: individual skills all working together as one unit, the ideal multi-use tool that can accomplish just about anything.
Unlike the pocket knife, however, skilled marketing professionals don’t always come cheap. Many small to mid-sized businesses might have enough in the budget for one senior marketing person, and he or she might be really good—as sharp as, say, that little small blade in the Swiss Army knife. But what happens when you need a can opener, some scissors or a nail file?
Plus, as any one- or two-person marketing team can attest, just putting out those internal fires every day is more than enough to keep you hopping—which means no one’s telling the rest of the world about the good work you’re doing. As the CEO, that means your small, sharp blade gets a little duller each day, blunted by the lack of impact it’s making.
Is it time to look at other marketing options?
Hone your approach with outside help
Outsourcing is nothing new, but it’s not quite the dirty word it used to be. Smart business owners are realizing the benefits of bringing in outside experts, just as many companies do with accounting or IT.
Marketing outsourcing usually falls into one of two areas:
- Specialized marketing consultants are often brought in for a specific project with a set timeframe. This could be anything from the creation of a strategic marketing plan or implementing a digital marketing campaign, website, branding project, etc.
- A fractional CMO (also known as a CMO on-demand) takes a more holistic approach. Tasks may include those above, but this person acts as more of a strategic planner with the CEO or leadership team, helping to drive initiatives that can be tied back to larger company goals.
Debra Andrews with Marketri elaborates:
“We’re hands on, in the trenches and sometimes regularly on site, and we get to know a company from an insider’s perspective. To the outside world, the Fractional CMO is typically viewed as an employee. Inside the company, many of us prefer to be viewed as third-party consultants, as this reminds the leadership team about why we were hired – to be their marketing experts.”
Time for some new tools in the toolbox
The power really comes when you’re able to outsource your marketing efforts to a team of professionals, allowing you access to not only a fractional CMO but every other tool in the marketing Swiss Army knife—writers, graphic designers, social media experts, project managers, Web developers, etc.
Consider the following benefits of outsourcing and how they may help your company:
- Cost savings: Senior marketing professionals demand (and deserve) large paychecks. For much less than that single salary, you can hire an entire team of marketers. And because you’re not employing them, you’re also not paying taxes or benefits.
- Time savings: Hiring is hard—really hard, especially in this job market. Recruiting, interviewing, background checks and job offers all take a lot of your time, or the time of someone on your team. Plus, don’t underestimate how much of your time you’ll need to train and manage these new hires! And unless you’re a marketing expert yourself, you likely don’t feel confident you’re making the right choice.
- Experience: An outsourced team may not know every nuance of your business (yet), but they do bring with them years of business and marketing know-how (from many leading companies), and they understand how B2B marketing can be most effective. Plus, they bring an internal team dynamic that makes them effective right out of the gate. You’re getting knives, spoons, can openers and tweezers who already function as a team and know how to get the job done.
Outsourcing isn’t the right fit for every business, of course, and leaders need to constantly evaluate the company’s growth trajectory to understand the most appropriate time for some outside assistance. But don’t overlook the power of a strong hybrid model either: Many of our clients still employ an internal marketing professional who works directly with our team, serving as that valuable conduit and internal champion. That takes a large time burden off the CEO, and allows us and them to accomplish even more together.
So, if you find yourself in need of more than just a single knife in your office, we’re ready to unfold and get to work.
As founder and CEO of Crux, Melea McRae is proud to be working with many leading Kansas City companies, proving that an “in-house team, outsourced” offers a unique alternative to hiring a FTE or the pricey unknowns of the traditional agency. Have questions about bringing in some outside help? Share them on our Facebook page or on Twitter @findyourcrux.