B2B Marketing Options – When to DIY and When to Outsource

As the CEO of a B2B marketing outsource provider, you would think that I would always suggest outsourcing as the best way to handle your marketing.  However, as with much else in life, the answer to the question of Should I outsource my marketing or do it myself? is “it depends.”

But what exactly does it depend on?  For one thing, you may not be able to find the right expertise to do an effective do it yourself (DIY) model.  For example, the person who leads your marketing department may lack critical skills that could be supplemented by a marketing outsource supplier.  Or perhaps you need something done right now and don’t have the luxury of the time to find and hire a qualified internal person.  In the same vein, you may need some temporary help and don’t want to commit to a full-time employee with all the attendant costs and administrative burdens.

Of course there are some major advantages to the do it yourself (DIY) model.  For one thing, whatever you and the team learn becomes part of the intellectual property of the company.  Also, there may be (but not always) cost advantages to the DIY model.  And there are many circumstances where your best bet is to have an internal team but enhanced with specialized expertise from a marketing outsource provider.

I’m going to take the liberty of borrowing from one of my 2010 blog posts to give you a summary of the pros and cons of B2B marketing outsourcing.  First, let’s explore some of the positive aspects of outsourcing and why you should at least consider this as an option:

  • You can get a depth of talent that is unavailable at your budget level for hiring.
  • You can gain access to a larger team of specialized experts.
  • You may be able to find consultants with extensive expertise in your domain/industry.
  • You pay for only the services you need, meaning your efforts are highly targeted.
  • If you are not satisfied, it is much easier to terminate a contractor than employee.
  • When you hire the right outsource provider, it’s all about results.

And here are a few reasons why outsourced marketing may not be a good idea for you:

  • Domain expertise is a key component of successful B2B marketing and your outsource provider may not have a strong base of experience in your industry.
  • You give up some control when dealing with contractors instead of “wage slaves.”
  • Assuming you have the expertise to manage the program in-house, you can usually achieve better metrics for a given budget amount.
  • As mentioned above, the knowledge gained by your in-house resources, remains an asset of your organization.

The question of outsourced marketing vs. the DIY model has major operational, organizational and financial considerations. One option is to use marketing outsource veterans in the short-term, to help you build the strong B2B marketing foundation, then switch to internal personnel to manage the program going forward.  The bottom line is that you need to have a model that helps you generate the most awareness, leads and revenue at a reasonable acquisition cost.

  • Myron Berg

    Very good points. I agree that the insourcing versus outsourcing decision depends a great deal on circumstances.

    I’d add that a key consideration is expected business results. If one has aggressive 6 month or 1 year targets, or if one is trying to turn around poor historical results, proven outside expertise may be the lowest risk option to meet those targets.

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