10 guidelines to determine when to outsource a complete marketing function or specific project, as provided by Michael Shanker.
Since Neil H. Gordon’s classic 1964 article “The Concept of the Marketing Mix” and E. Jerome McCarthy’s “4P’s of Marketing” much has been written about the basic elements of marketing. In addition to the standard Product, Price, Promote, Place attributes, the intervening years have seen many additions and variations: the 5 P’s and 7 P’s among others.
Companies generally know what marketing is, but don’t necessarily know what to do with it. Jokes abound. “I waste half of my marketing investment. I just don’t know which half” and “Marketing is where the rubber meets the sky” to mention a few.
All companies have a unique marketing mix depending on their business model (B2B, B2C, or B2B2C), structure, industry, market position, product life cycle, degree of government regulation and other factors. One of the major variables in any marketing budget can be found in the allocation between internal spending and outsourcing.
Marketers are big outsourcers. Public relations, design, data management, analytics, direct marketing, advertising, event planning, and many other activities are frequently sourced externally. Outsourcing budgets are often spread over a number of vendors, and it’s not uncommon for some companies to outsource marketing functions to more than 20 unique specialists.
In fact, many marketing organisations would like to outsource more functions. Currently, the most popular outsourcing areas are data hygiene, customer analytics, list brokerage, creative and campaign management.
The decision to outsource a marketing function can be both strategic and tactical. Many companies have a philosophy of outsourcing any activity that is not core to their business. Developing a positioning and communications strategy may be central to the company; writing a press release or calling a journalist may not be. At the tactical level, companies often find themselves strapped for marketing resources to respond to a rapid or unexpected change in the business, an increased volume of marketing campaigns, or expanded telemarketing efforts.