As technology continues shaping the way marketers engage with customers, traditional marketing efforts are being eclipsed by digital marketing platforms and strategies.
Digital marketing allows us to understand target audiences, craft content and delivery methods, measure analytics, and strategize for the future in ways never before possible. Companies that have not yet adopted digital marketing methodologies and technologies are finding themselves behind the curve.
Bridging the Digital Marketing Divide
Many marketing organizations are trying to keep up with the changing landscape by making incremental forays into digital marketing strategy using existing marketing staff. Other companies have seen early successes with digital campaign experiments and are excited to explore further. And some companies are increasingly finding themselves on the outside looking in—wondering how to get started with digital marketing campaigns in the first place.
If your organization is anywhere on this continuum, you might have wondered how to get from where you are today to the integrated digital marketing organization you envision. Moreover, assembling the right team and resources must be cost-effective and strategically aligned with the goals of the business.
Reasons to Outsource
In response to those challenges, outsourcing digital marketing talent is an increasingly popular way for companies to bridge the digital marketing divide.
Though outsourcing can sometimes have negative connotations, in this case it just means bringing onboard experts who come with specific skill sets and experience with the latest digital marketing technologies and platforms.
Outsourcing digital marketing also allows organizations to efficiently and cost-effectively test ideas and analyze results, providing proof to stakeholders that investment in digital marketing technologies and talent is not only worthwhile but essential.
Time to Outsource
So, how do you know when to take the leap and bring in outside digital marketing resources?
Here are five signs you're ready. (If your organization fits any of these descriptions, you need to take advantage of an outsourcing approach to get your digital marketing strategy up and running.
Sign 1: Your organization has some digital marketing experience and capability but not enough time or bandwidth to execute and refine campaigns.
If you've already achieved some success with digital marketing strategies, adding external experts, tools, and technology can allow you and your organization to see what's truly possible when the digital marketing function is fully resourced.
Sign 2: Your organization has tried and tested a new digital marketing tactic or campaign on a small level and received promising feedback—yet you know you can't scale it up with your existing resources.
There's little more frustrating than having tasted the early success digital marketing campaigns can deliver yet knowing that you can't expand on your efforts using your existing staff and tools.
Outsourcing can provide an exponential boost to your bandwidth and ability to execute on and hone digital campaigns in a short period of time. Meanwhile, you can still focus on core day-to-day operations.
Sign 3: Your organization hasn't ventured into digital marketing territory yet wants to test the waters before sailing its own ship.
Bringing in talent already experienced in digital marketing tactics allows your organization to take a relatively risk-free test drive of digital marketing techniques. Moreover, since the outsourced resources have access to their own preferred tools and platforms, it allows you to see which technologies might be the best fit for your company to eventually purchase.
Sign 4: You know that proof of results and return on investment will be necessary before your organization invests any capital in digital marketing tools or platforms.
Wary of making large capital investments in digital marketing platforms and tools? Outsourcing to an expert is an excellent way to gain access to the expertise you need to keep honing your own efforts and also gain access to the technologies you need to execute your ideas—without the up-front capital purchase expense.
Once stakeholders see the black-and-white results that digital marketing campaigns deliver, it’s easier to make a substantiated business case for further investment in digital marketing talent and technologies.
Sign 5: You know your organization is behind the curve and needs a total marketing overhaul in a relatively short period of time.
It's never too late to begin—and outside digital marketing talent can be the spark your organization needs to jump-start awareness of the power of digital marketing and get your first digital campaigns rolling. Sometimes, an outside point of view can be invaluable in showing doubtful stakeholders that digital marketing is the way of the future and that it can deliver significantly better results than traditional marketing approaches.
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To decide how external resources will best fit into your team and goals, you must take an honest inventory of where you stand with your current traditional and digital marketing initiatives and clearly delineate what can be handled internally and what would be best handed off to outside experts.
When tapped at the right time for the right reasons, outside digital marketing expertise can infuse your marketing team with the right knowledge, tools, experience, and guidance necessary to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level.