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When should you outsource digital marketing to an agency?


You’ve probably asked yourself at one time or another, ‘should I outsource digital marketing for my business?’. Doing so is a great way to introduce new ideas, pick up slack for your in-house team, or simply take this resource burden off your plate.  

Below, we outline various scenarios that might prompt you to think about outsourced marketing. Hopefully this helps you answer the big question – when is a good time to outsource? 

Good times to outsource digital marketing

1. When you don’t have the budget to hire  

Hiring an in-house team can cost well over £380,000 – and this only accounts for one hire per specialty. This is a lot for a small to medium-sized business and can quickly escalate for large businesses that need more than one person per skill. 

In contrast, an outsourced agency provides all the skills you need at a much lower monthly cost. Your packages can also be scaled up or down as your budget changes. 

Compare in-house and outsourced marketing costs here. 

2. When you’re struggling to get things over the line 

Without a robust marketing strategy, teams can quickly stray away from what’s right for the business into what looks or sounds good. If your marketing team is struggling to get things approved or get stakeholders engaged, it may be because activity isn’t aligned with your business values. 

It may also be that teams aren’t working toward the same objectives. For example, sales and marketing should work as one machine, but often clash over responsibilities, goals, or approaches. This can manifest as marketing materials not getting signed off or not getting used by other teams, resulting in wasted effort. 

If you outsource digital marketing, you can fix this issue. A professional marketing agency will know how to define a strategy that genuinely represents you and your unique value proposition. They will provide the strategic direction you need to create consistent and authentic brand marketing. This ensures everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet, which will support better progress towards your desired results. 

3. When you aren’t getting the results you expect 

Whether it’s PPC ads, email marketing or brand strategy – every element of marketing should be working towards your commercial goals. If you’re putting out consistent marketing activity but not progressing towards your targets, you may need to evaluate your marketing strategy.  

An agency will have best practice techniques and be able to get your marketing back on track. They will have experience that enables you to set realistic and strategic objectives, and know which KPIs to track in order to measure the success of these goals. 

To help you set your own marketing objectives for 2024, here’s a free guide. 

4. When you need some new ideas 

An agency is also great for offering outside perspective. It’s easy to fall into a pattern with marketing, but the same activity repeated over and over will eventually flatline with engagement. Whether it’s being tuned in to new and well-performing trends, or simply thinking outside the box, outsourced experts can help you create more engaging marketing. 

When to consider a hybrid approach 

Maybe you don’t need or want to go fully outsourced. Combing in-house and outsourced digital marketing can be a cost-effective way to scale up your activity, without handing everything over. 

This can be especially useful if… 

1. Your team is stretched thin 

Is your team struggling to keep up with your marketing calendar? Time constraints are one of the biggest reasons to consider outsourcing. If your team isn’t able to be consistent about delivery, your marketing results will be directly impacted. 

An agency can likely deliver more quickly than an in-house team, meaning you also get more for your money. 

2. You don’t yet have the budget to sign a long-term contract 

For example, if you desperately need a rebrand but can’t afford a full-time designer, or a year-long marketing package. 

Instead, you can invest in a rebrand or strategy project and then re-evaluate your budget and needs later.  

3. You need some specialist expertise 

Maybe your in-house team is performing really well, but now you want to launch a new product, or a paid digital campaign. These kinds of activities require specialist skills to run effectively, but it’s not worth you hiring a new department for a one-off campaign. 

This is when outsourcing can be a valuable solution. Experts can design and manage campaigns while you take care of your everyday marketing. 

4. You have a one-person marketing team 

This kind of in-house structure can work perfectly with an outsourced marketing agency. You get the benefit of being able to coordinate everything with visibility, but without the resource burden of delivering it.  

Read more on deciding which marketing route to take here. 

Some other considerations about outsourcing: 

  • In-house marketing may feel like it gives you more control and visibility, but this is really down to the relationship you have with your agency. 
  • It’s important to choose an agency that aligns with your objectives, ways of working, and values. 
  • Marketing requires a lot of specific SaaS and tech to manage, so consider whether you have the budget for these also. 
  • If you outsource parts of your marketing, make sure you have good brand guidelines for the agency to follow. 
  • Consider the timeline you need for implementation, as an agency may need time to audit, research and plan. 
  • What is your ROI on marketing? You may make a bigger return on outsourced or in-house depending on your investments and intended outcomes. 

For more resources and advice on comparing outsourced and in-house marketing, visit our Outsourced Marketing page. Or if you’d like to see what an outsourced package could look like for you, get in touch for a no-obligation discovery call.