With digital marketing becoming increasingly complex, the question of whether to outsource or do it yourself is even more prominent now than it has ever been.At a basic level, the question of whether or not to outsource digital marketing hinges on budget and skills. Companies looking for a cost-effective and long term solution may bring skills in-house, or companies with the budget to hire highly skilled agencies for a short term solution may outsource. However, difficulties arise as across the board people with solid digital marketing skills are hard to come by. On top of this small businesses where budget is hard to find have a particular struggle. In this article we will first consider the digital skills gap in the UK, then some of the important considerations to make when thinking about outsourcing versus DIY digital.
Digital skills gapThere is a huge lack of experience in digital in the UK. 12 million individuals lack digital knowledge and 1 million small companies are struggling to find people to bridge the gap. For professionals who do have digital marketing knowledge, the area is incredibly broad. New platforms and technologies appear all the time and digital marketers are expected to know a bit of everything. Due to this generality the ‘t-shaped’ marketer often appears in companies, as there are a multitude of digital platforms and channels. This digital marketer will possess cross-disciplinary knowledge, but an in-depth grasp of one specific area. On top of these difficulties with digital knowledge, digital is ever changing and complex:
- Martech is growing astronomically, there were 150 companies in 2011 and almost 4000 now.
- Google changes its search algorithm around 500 to 600 times a year.
Outsourcing digitalWhen you are considering whether or not to outsource your digital marketing activities make sure than you consider the following key points:
- Will outsourcing provide greater technical expertise than you could hire for the same budget? More often than not this will be the case, particularly with technical areas such as SEO and PPC. Agency employees will also learn from the multiple accounts they manage every day.
- Will you receive a good ROI? Ensure the company you hire accurately addresses reporting. Measuring the effect of digital campaigns is often difficult in-house and a good agency will be the solution.
- How much input will be required from your business? Find out whether or not you need to provide content direction or resources.
- Make sure you integrate digital with your offline marketing strategy; this is important for the greatest level of holistic success.
- Additionally, also consider if the external agency will integrate well with internal teams and systems.
- Finally, what’s your long term plan? Are freelancers or external agencies being brought in for a one-off job, mid-term to train your team or long term?
DIY digitalWhen you are considering whether do keep digital marketing activities in-house, think about:
- How will you implement work? As discussed, digital is ever changing and can be very technical, so you may want to hire a full-time digital specialist or a fullr serviced Seo agency.
- Will you train your team? You will need people who already have comprehensive digital skills or have the time and budget to help staff develop their digital skills.
- What are the goals of your in-house team? You can be more agile in servicing clients if you have digital skills readily available or can be more responsive to your own leads. E.g. Direct Line.
- Will you invest in extras tools or technologies? E.g. email marketing platforms, landing page building tools or social listening tools