Outsourced marketing: Expertise without overhead

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In today's unpredictable economy, it's important for businesses to keep marketing momentum going. Studies show that companies that invested in marketing during a recession saw growth while those that cut their budgets saw a decrease in sales. So where do smart companies turn when marketing is necessary but resources, expertise, focus and funds are scarce? The answer is outsourced marketing.

Outsourced marketing gives a company access to a full-service marketing department—often for less than the cost of a fulltime employee. As marketing services get more complex, hiring a person to work in-house doesn't make sense for many companies. It's the outsourced marketing firm's job to drive results for clients, which tap the expertise they need, when they need it. At Marketri, we believe this is the future of marketing.

Spend smart, get results

Do you want to cut costs? Expand your team? Get strategic marketing services for a fraction of what they normally cost? You're not alone. According to “The Black Book of Outsourcing” report compiled by Brown-Wilson Group, outsourcing is forecast to pass the $3.5 billion mark in 2012, representing a 41% compound annual growth rate from $700 million in 2008.

Outsourced marketing doesn't just eliminate employee overhead, it allows a company to gain focus and opens the conversation about putting money and effort behind branding, advertising, PR and creating pull—areas where an outsourced marketing partner can best offer value. When choosing an outside marketing resource, first figure out where you need help, then look for an outsourced marketing department with expertise in those areas. Typically, a full-service outsourced marketing company will provide:

Marketing strategy and planning

Branding and positioning

Direct mail and online marketing

Web sites, e-mail and blogs

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Market research and analytics

On the other hand, outsourced marketing is not for everyone. Very hands-on business owners and senior management teams may feel uncomfortable having the marketing function led by an outside firm. It also may not be economically and logistically feasible for companies that have geographically dispersed offices in need of marketing support. Outsourced marketing works best when there is a strong, trusting relationship between the provider and client, which tends to happen overtime through frequent face-to-face meetings and open communications.

Prepare to meet your match

The best way to find the right outsourced marketing partner is to ask the right questions at the outset. Once you've determined the answers address your company's needs, the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of outsourcing can provide a genuine alternative to developing and maintaining an in-house marketing staff.

Debra Andrews is owner and managing director of Marketri. She can be reached at [email protected]

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