The goal of this article is to share practical suggestions to help you figure out whether to keep your marketing efforts in-house or to outsource them.
All things being equal, it is very appealing for a company to maintain internal control over their SEO, SEM, Design, Social Media and Analytics efforts. There ought to be a multiplier effect from having someone with those skills be able to interact on a daily basis with the rest of your team and as a result, be able to execute in a highly efficient and “dialed-in” manner. A perception also exists that it’s cheaper to manage inside than pay a firm to help you. That may or may not actually be the case.
As I look back on our past 11 years in this industry and the great clients we have worked with, I can point to many examples where we have essentially trained that in-house person for an organization through months or years of working together. We have always tried to teach as we go and recognize that a transition from out-of-house to in-house works well for certain companies. The key is finding and retaining an individual(s) who understands the key disciplines and who can effectively execute on behalf of your company.
Besides the difficulty in recruiting in-house talent, another challenging aspect centers around the fact that there are so many different skill sets involved which ultimately need to be mastered. SEO, SEM, Design, Social Media and Analytics all overlap, but are each unique disciplines. When we work with a client, their main point of contact within MoreVisibility is their Client Strategist, but our Client Strategist then interfaces with subject matter experts internally on SEO, SEM, Analytics, etc. It’s a lot to ask of most individuals to become proficient in each of these areas.
If you hire an individual who already has some of these skills (and or is highly trainable), then this path can work. You may also need to consider hiring multiple individuals. What tends to be less effective is adding interactive marketing responsibilities to a person on your staff who already has a heavy load or who doesn’t demonstrate enthusiasm about the opportunity, as the results are typically underwhelming.
The bottom line, I believe, is that companies need to be incorporating SEO, SEM, Design, Social Media and Analytics, plus possibly Affiliate Marketing into their overall marketing mix. In-house or out, someone needs to be constantly thinking about and acting intelligently in these channels on behalf of your business.