For many companies, investing money into your marketing efforts is an essential component of your overall budget. However, when the time comes to implement your next marketing campaign, you may find yourself weighing the options of the best way to tackle it within the constraints of your capabilities and budget.
Many B2B companies are large enough to have their internal marketing team. In fact, you are likely part of that team. Often, the marketing team is small and forced to stretch beyond its core competencies. Does that sound familiar? Nonetheless, the expectations of his team are critical since it’s the job of your marketing team to be one of the primary pillars of revenue generation for your company each year.
As the company grows, you may also need to grow your marketing team. To figure out the right people to add to that team, you need first to examine your marketing goals and identify the type of marketing professional that can execute them.
You also need to consider if it makes sense to hire internally or if it could be more beneficial to outsource your marketing to a B2B marketing agency.
Let’s examine the actual cost of B2B marketing so that you can assess if hiring internally is the right choice for you or if hiring a B2B marketing agency will actually save you money. If you’re in the role of making the hiring argument to your boss, and it looks like outsourcing is a better option, you’ll need to be able to explain why it’s the best choice. This article will show you how to convince your boss to hire a B2B marketing agency.
The Marketing Specialties Your Boss Needs To Understand
All too often, we see companies post marketing career opportunities that ask for combinations of skills that no single person is likely to possess. A lot of companies are looking for a marketing unicorn. You’ve probably come across job postings that ask for expertise in data analysis, updating website CMS systems, managing paid digital marketing campaigns, social media management, graphic design, copywriting, and they should also be a wiz at SEO. Perhaps you’re the one who’s been in charge of posting these job opportunities, knowing all along that you’ll never get that “perfect candidate” or anyone even close.
Newsflash. This unicorn-person doesn’t exist.
If you are a marketing professional, you probably already know this. You probably also have stressed to your boss that you need assistance in these categories for your team, so they think you should be able to hire one person to do all of the work.
How do you explain this to your boss, though? Let’s break down some of these marketing specialties and why finding them in one person, wrapped up in a nice bow, isn’t likely.
Proper data analytics configuration requires a degree of coding knowledge to create, add and adjust tracking on your website and marketing channels. Interpreting data and creating actionable strategies based on the findings is its own niche, and the expertise and time involved to work with data effectively requires a dedicated specialist. Not to mention, the people interested in data analysis typically use their brains very differently than someone who is a whiz at graphic design. Meaning, that someone who is excellent at data analysis will more than likely not be any good at graphic design and visa-versa.
Updating & managing your website
Depending on your content management system or web platform, the person you’re attempting to hire may not know how to use your system. Simple content management is easy enough for most marketers to tackle but what about getting beyond the bounds of the CMS to create landing pages, custom layouts, and more? It is very easy to exceed the capabilities of the general market manager. Most web teams are made up of designers, front-end developers, and backend developers and only unicorns are able to do all of these effectively.
Your website should be a living marketing ecosystem all on its own. Your programmer/developer should have the knowledge to know how to update things on your website when your company launches new services or products and the basics of SEO so they can successfully help the pages they build to rank. You need a team that can help guide your website to be what is going to work best for your customers and not have to settle for the best thing you can accomplish within the bounds of your CMS system.
Managing paid digital marketing campaigns
If words like conversion objective, tracking pixels, ad copy, and click-through rates make your head spin, you may need to hire a paid digital advertising expert. While some digital advertising can be learned through trial and error, experienced digital marketers often hold certifications and a deep understanding of SEM (search engine marketing) platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads. They will also need to know how to run advertising on social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, which compete with traditional SEM tools. This will also comp paired with experience managing and testing large volumes of ads, campaigns, and budgets which can save an enormous amount of money in trial and error.
Remember the whole “analytics” thing? Your digital marketing expert will likely need to know how to do data analysis themselves, or you will need another expert on your team to take this piece on, as we mentioned above. If your campaigns aren’t correctly attributed for your ad conversions, you’re likely to spend a lot of money without properly calculating the campaigns’ effectiveness.
Social media management
Gone are the days of “just hire a college kid, they know what to do.” The person you hire may know how to use social media platforms as a consumer and personal user, but that doesn’t mean very much for your company. Social media marketing is a specialty that requires knowledge of each platform and what it takes to drive engagement in specific channels.
Every social media platform caters to a specific audience. LinkedIn is more for B2B-minded professionals. Facebook is still the largest social media platform. Yet, when it comes to marketing to younger demographics, you’d better be prepared to throw Facebook out the window and get your content on TikTok and Instagram.
Not to mention, each social media platform also has its own set of image sizes, functionality, and capabilities. Plus, running a business account typically differs tremendously from how you’d run a personal one. You need someone with experience in social media’s nuances, not just some kid who has a smartphone.
Most graphic designers have a degree in graphic design. They have had years of training in the art form that is graphic design. They have experience building user interfaces and high-converting advertisements. Not only are they artistic in their creations, but they are also skilled at using the software programs that allow them to take ideas out of their head and apply them to marketing campaigns.
Graphic designers are hugely creative and are an essential part of a marketing team. Depending on your marketing goals and objectives, keeping up with the graphic design workload can be intense. For instance, they may need to make any web graphics, social media graphics, email graphics, and print graphics regularly for your ongoing marketing, as well as any targeted marketing campaigns.
They say that “content is king” when it comes to marketing, and it’s true. Content that is executed without much of a strategy or someone comfortable with writing will fall flat every time. Your copywriter or content writer needs to be on-point with their writing expertise.
Not only do they need to be able to be knowledgeable with general grammar, but they also need to understand how marketing works. They’ll know what a call-to-action is and why they are essential. They will understand the meaning of an H2 tag and why it’s necessary to include it in the blog posts they write. In marketing, your copywriter is a wordsmith and has an in-depth understanding of how marketing works and your ideal customer, so they can pinpoint messaging with laser focus.
“SEO is all the rage! Surely our company needs it.” Well, yes, you do! But unless you’re hiring someone who has experience developing and executing SEO strategies, you’re going to fall short of your goals, and your new hire will fall short of your expectations. Even the most seasoned SEO experts rely on a suite of tools to inform their strategies and identify the keywords and ranking opportunities available to your company.
Again, an SEO expert often holds certifications for different platforms. They also need to be a self-starter, since keeping up and adapting to the latest trends in SEO best practices is vital for success in this career.
And when you’re thinking about SEO, do you really know what that even means? Most people think of SEO, and they “want to rank #1 on Google.” While this can be possible, it isn’t as simple as just writing copy on your website. Nor is it about simply adding some metadata. SEO is a blend of content, metadata, research, tweaking, backlinks, alt tags, and so much more. More than half of SEO happens external to your website! There’s a lot that goes into being an SEO expert, and often, it’s a full-time job in and of itself.
Not Enough Time? Outsource it!
We commonly hear companies lament that they simply don’t have the time to do all they would like to do from a marketing perspective. They don’t have the manpower or expertise. It’s a tricky challenge, how can we do more with less?
It’s frustrating to have a great plan and not enough time or tools to bring it to life. To help illustrate just how much time it takes to execute a well-developed B2B strategy, we’ve broken out the steps to create and deliver a B2B whitepaper (intended for lead generation) for a typical client.
- Research: 1-2 hours
- Writing time for the whitepaper: 3-4 hours
- Writing time to create introduction content for all social channels and email: 1-2 hours
- Design and formatting of the whitepaper: 2-3 hours
- Design of the email promoting the newsletter: 1-2 hours
- Development time to add it to your website and hook it up to your email marketing system: 2-3 hours
- Configuration of tracking across all channels & sites where the content is referenced: 1-2 hours
Total: 18 hours
These are just average figures. A content task of this breadth may take less effort or take a lot longer depending on campaign goals and the strategy behind the piece. This figure also assumes that your in-house employee is an expert at executing every step of the process. If you have such an employee, we’d love to ask them a few questions regarding where they found the radioactive ooze that gave them their superpowers…
So, for a single piece of well-developed, actionable B2B marketing content, you will have invested nearly half of a 40-hour workweek. Can your company afford to tie up a marketing person with all of those tasks? Can your marketing team even execute such a piece in a way that delivers a return on investment?
We’d be willing to bet that the answer to all of those questions is an emphatic “no.” And that’s ok! Your in-house marketing team drives value for your company in numerous ways and should be your most steadfast brand champion and advocate. They play a crucial role in the day-to-day promotion and success of your company’s brand messaging.
We don’t want to diminish your marketing team’s value at all; we want you to examine the tasks that your marketing team is responsible for doing and take a hard look at whether or not they have the time or technical expertise to execute the goals needed for the company.
If the answer is no, it’s likely time to consider outsourcing your marketing to a B2B marketing agency.
Why Hire a B2B Marketing Agency?
We’re not trying to dissuade you from adding an in-house marketer to your team. If anything, we want to advocate for them to be given the time, tools, resources, and help they need to drive your goals to completion. It is possible to hire a talented marketing professional. However, we implore you to set realistic expectations for what they can do and recognize what their unique strengths are so that you can support them with additional resources to help them drive value for your company.
Above, when we took a look at the various roles of a B2B marketer we essentially described 7 different job functions that most companies try to accomplish with a single resource. That is not an effective approach to generating the right marketing result. That is where an agency like Zipline can be a huge asset. A B2B marketing agency brings all of the skills, expertise, and tools needed to succeed in a B2B marketing environment. We work in tandem with your marketing team to support their strengths and fill in the gaps where opportunities are left on the table. We have a team of skilled professionals who each have their own specialty, and we’re used to utilizing each team member to create the best solutions for our clients. You can get the benefit of having a huge marketing team while paying for a fraction of what it would cost to employ that team full-time.
A B2B marketing agency can act as your entire marketing department, but more often than not, an agency is an extension of your overall marketing mix. Agencies streamline the execution of marketing campaigns because they have the resources, manpower, and expertise to deliver results in a strategic and data-driven way.
If you’re wondering if your boss is thinking this: “It sounds like I could save money by only working with an agency. Why do I need a marketing team in my company?”
To us, a company’s internal marketing team is critical. Your in-house marketing team knows your brand better than most. You have the industry expertise and skills to keep your daily marketing initiatives in motion. Like many businesses these days, your marketing department likely wears multiple hats and performs critical functions your company relies on. Again, we by no means advocate for cutting out your in-house team! We want to work with you to execute your job roles more effectively. Plus, it’s really fun for us to get to nerd out over marketing jargon together while learning more about your business.
An agency is a valuable extension of your marketing department that can help execute strategies across a multitude of channels that an in-house team of one, two, or even ten might struggle to successfully tackle.
So as you’re trying to convince your boss that hiring a B2B marketing agency could be the right fit, consider if the money you’ve allocated will generate trackable, transparent ROI and free up valuable time for your internal marketing team. Look at the initiatives you have for the year and think about whether you have the tools, knowledge, and manpower to execute them in a time-efficient and cost-effective manner.
If you have even a shred of curiosity as to what a B2B marketing agency can bring to your team, we invite you to learn more about us and how we’re helping clients.
Do you need some help determining if outsourcing your marketing is right for you?
Our Marketing Blueprint will help you develop a more effective B2B marketing strategy, even if you aren’t quite sure where to start.