B2B Marketing Options – When to DIY and When to Outsource

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As the CEO of a B2B marketing and revenue growth 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.” This is especially true in light of the fact that we are now in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, which could have impact on your budget and go-forward strategy.

But what exactly does it depend on? For one thing, you may not be able to find the right expertise to do an effective job at strategy and/or execution in a 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 for execution services, or engaging a fractional chief marketing officer (CMO) for strategic help. This can be especially important if you are considering a new revenue model or product launch.

Another scenario that favors outsourcing is when 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 – although this is usually also true in a ‘work for hire’ scenario. Also, there may be (but not always) cost advantages to the DIY model. And in a hybrid scenario, there are many circumstances where your best bet is to have an internal team but enhance this with specialized expertise from a marketing outsource provider.

I’m going to take the liberty of borrowing a past blog post 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.

Cons of B2B Marketing Outsourcing

And here are a few reasons outsourcing may not be the best B2B marketing option 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 paid employees.
  • 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 whichever B2B marketing option you choose, you need to have a model that helps you generate the most awareness, leads and revenue at a reasonable acquisition cost. In the end, it’s all about delivering the best results to meet your company’s objectives.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Chris: this is a regular concern in my IT project work. Among the issues that CIO’s and CTO’s debate are 1) whether the competency or process under consideration is core to the company’s business, and 2) what is its urgency for time-to-use?

    If the project to be developed is central to what the company does, that condition favors doing the work in-house. If it isn’t, then outsourcing can be a more attractive choice. But there are variables that upend my opinion, so none of what I mention should ever be thought of as sacrosanct. There are plenty of caveats.

    Because we are in a business landscape where speed of execution is a strategic necessity, many companies find in-house development prohibitive, especially for marketing technology, much of which is ephemeral. Why ‘reinvent the wheel’ when there’s a program, application, or process that already does it, and does it well? Accordingly, many businesses derive their ‘proprietary advantage’ from how they creatively cobble and configure different software applications. And how swap them out and rebuild with new components when things change – as they inevitably do.

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