In today’s competitive business landscape, making the right decisions about your advertising strategy can be the difference between success and stagnation.
But with so many marketing channels, tools and techniques available, how do you know which path to take?
Outsourcing advertising might just be the secret sauce your business needs to stay ahead of the curve. In this post, we’ll explore the benefits, challenges, and key considerations for outsourcing advertising to ensure that your business thrives.
Their expertise has helped Nextiva grow its brand and overall business
Understanding Outsourced Advertising
First of all, let’s define what exactly we mean by outsourcing advertising.
Outsourced advertising is a strategic business decision that involves partnering with external professionals or agencies to manage a company’s advertising activities.
This approach saves time and money while still reaching advertising objectives by tapping into the expertise and resources of external specialists or an outsourced marketing team, instead of hiring a full-time in-house team.
But how does this growing trend differ from outsourcing marketing and how does it work in practice? Let’s dive deeper.
The Growing Trend of Outsourced Advertising
The world of business is no stranger to the concept of outsourcing, and advertising is no exception. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in outsourcing advertising as a strategic business decision. This approach allows companies to partner with marketing agencies that specialize in advertising services, providing access to the latest technology and trends.
Outsourcing advertising offers numerous benefits, including cost-efficiency and efficacy (more on that later). By leveraging external expertise, businesses can optimize their advertising budget without the need for an (often) expensive in-house team dedicated to advertising.
This scalability and flexibility make it an ideal solution for businesses, especially smaller ones, aiming to expand, as they can access a wider array of services and a team with a greater depth of knowledge than their internal counterparts.
Here are the top five areas that businesses typically outsource:
- Information Technology (IT): IT is one of the most commonly outsourced areas. This includes everything from software and app development to website management, IT support, cloud computing services, and data security. IT outsourcing can help businesses access specialized technical expertise and innovative technologies they may not have in-house.
- Customer Service: Many businesses outsource their customer service operations to companies that specialize in handling customer inquiries, complaints, and support needs. These may be through various channels such as phone (call centers), email, live chat, and social media.
- Accounting and Finance: Outsourcing functions such as bookkeeping, payroll, and other financial services can be more cost-effective for some businesses. This also allows them to access expertise in areas such as tax planning and financial analysis that can help improve their financial management.
- Human Resources (HR): HR functions such as recruitment, training, benefits administration, and compliance can be outsourced. HR outsourcing can help businesses manage these complex and time-consuming tasks more efficiently and effectively.
- Marketing and Advertising: With the rise of digital marketing, more businesses are outsourcing their marketing and advertising efforts. This can include SEO, PPC advertising, content creation, social media management, and more.
The Difference Between Outsourcing Marketing and Advertising
Marketing and advertising are two distinct but closely related aspects of a business’s overall strategy to promote products or services, and they are often used interchangeably. However, when we distinguish between the two in the context of outsourcing, the difference largely comes down to the scope of activities involved.
When a business outsources its marketing operations, it hands over a broad range of strategic and tactical activities to an external agency or consultant. These can include:
- Market research and analysis to understand customer needs and market trends
- Branding, including the development of brand identity and messaging
- Content marketing, such as blog posts, white papers, and case studies
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media management
- Customer relationship management
- Overall marketing strategy and planning
- Performance analysis and reporting
Advertising is a subset of marketing, and it specifically involves the creation and dissemination of promotional content intended to persuade an audience to take a specific action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a service.
When a business outsources its advertising, it might involve activities like:
- Creating and managing advertisements on platforms like Google Ads, social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn Ads, etc.), and traditional media (TV, radio, print, etc.)
- Graphic design and copywriting for ad creatives
- Media buying and planning, which involves deciding where and when to run advertisements to reach the target audience effectively
- Tracking ad performance, optimizing campaigns, and providing detailed analytics and reporting
In both cases, the goal of outsourcing is to tap into specialized expertise, access advanced tools and technologies, and potentially save costs compared to maintaining in-house teams.
However, the decision between outsourcing marketing, advertising, or both will depend on a business’s specific needs, budget, and strategic objectives.
How Outsourcing Advertising Works
Outsourcing advertising entails a series of steps that begin with researching and selecting the right outsourced marketing partner. Factors such as the scale and nature of your business, as well as any indicators that suggest outsourcing advertising and other marketing tasks is necessary, should be considered during this stage.
Once you’ve chosen an appropriate marketing agency, they will devise a comprehensive strategy that includes content marketing as part of the overall advertising plan.
The business and the advertising partner typically establish goals, budgets, and strategies at the outset, and then the partner takes over the day-to-day tasks of running the campaigns. Regular communication and reporting ensure transparency and allow for ongoing optimization.
By outsourcing, companies can tap into specialized advertising expertise, advanced tools, and potentially save costs compared to managing advertising in-house.
Benefits of Outsourcing Advertising
Outsourcing your advertising needs offers a range of benefits that can help businesses optimize their marketing efforts. Let’s explore these advantages in more detail.
Cost Efficiency and Budget Management
One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing advertising is its cost efficiency. By outsourcing, businesses can optimize their costs, providing access to a larger pool of expertise and improving their return on investment.
For example, outsourcing advertising means that businesses only need to allocate budget when specific marketing materials are needed. This approach eliminates the expense of hiring full-time in-house marketing staff and enables businesses to maximize their return on investment by spending money only when necessary.
In addition, outsourcing marketing tasks facilitates the delineation of marketing expenses, allowing for a more straightforward assessment of the return on investment derived from marketing activities.
There are many tools that can help you determine your marketing budget:
Access to Expertise and Advanced Tools
Another advantage of outsourcing advertising lies in the access to industry experts and advanced tools.
By partnering with external professionals or agencies, businesses can tap into a diverse pool of expertise and cutting-edge marketing and advertising tools and analytics software:
This access enables businesses to stay ahead of the competition and capitalize on the latest trends and technologies.
Outsourcing advertising also allows businesses to outsource marketing, leveraging the expertise of industry professionals who are well-versed in the latest marketing techniques, including AI-driven marketing automation, predictive analytics, or any other advanced marketing tool.
Flexibility and Scalability
Outsourcing advertising provides businesses with the flexibility and scalability needed to thrive in an ever-changing market. By doing so, brands can quickly adapt to changes in demand and grow their revenue with minimal additional costs.
This adaptability allows businesses to adjust their advertising activities according to their needs, enabling them to remain competitive in the face of changing market conditions.
Whether it’s a sudden shift in consumer preferences or the emergence of new competitors, outsourcing your advertising ensures that your business can stay nimble and responsive to the evolving landscape.
When to Consider Outsourcing Your Advertising Efforts
So, when is the right time to consider outsourcing your advertising efforts?
Let’s explore some key indicators and factors that can help you determine if outsourcing advertising is right for your business.
Indicators That You Need Outsourced Advertising
Certain indicators may suggest that your business could benefit from outsourced advertising. These include:
- Lack of Expertise: Advertising, especially digital advertising, requires specialized knowledge and skills. If your current team lacks the expertise to effectively create and manage advertising campaigns, it might be time to consider outsourcing.
- Limited Resources: If your business is small or just starting out, you might not have the resources to create an in-house advertising team. Outsourcing can provide a cost-effective way to access professional advertising services without the need for hiring and training new staff.
- Inadequate Results: If your current advertising efforts are not delivering the desired results, an outside agency might be able to provide a fresh perspective and bring new strategies and ideas to improve performance. Having a lower-than-average return on investment compared to competitors may be a strong indicator that you need help.
- Time Constraints: Effective advertising requires ongoing management and optimization. If you or your team are struggling to find the time to manage your advertising campaigns properly, outsourcing can help free up your time to focus on core business activities.
- Scaling Needs: If your business is growing rapidly, or if you have fluctuating advertising needs throughout the year, an outsourced advertising partner can provide the flexibility to scale your advertising efforts up or down as needed. (More on this in the next section.)
By recognizing these indicators, businesses can make informed decisions about when to outsource their advertising initiatives. This strategic move can help businesses maximize their return on investment and remain competitive in the market.
Considering the Scale and Nature of Your Business
But the biggest indicator is the size of your business. If you are a small business, outsourcing is a good option.
Small businesses, particularly those just starting out, often lack the resources to create a full-fledged in-house advertising team, and hiring an external agency or consultants can bridge this gap.
Outsourcing also allows small business owners to focus on their core business functions while professionals handle their advertising needs. It can help in effective budget management as well. Instead of spending on salaries, training, and infrastructure for an in-house team, a business can leverage an agency’s services as needed, often for a fixed fee or a project-based cost.
Further, small businesses may find that their advertising needs are not constant but, rather, fluctuate throughout the year.
For example, they might need more advertising support during peak sales seasons or when launching a new product. Outsourcing allows for this flexibility, enabling businesses to scale their advertising efforts up or down depending on their current needs.
Selecting the Right Outsourced Advertising Partner
Selecting the right outsourced advertising partner is a crucial step to ensure successful outcomes. Here are some factors to consider:
- Experience and Expertise: Look at the agency’s track record in the industry and their specific expertise in the types of advertising channels you intend to use (e.g., digital, social media, TV, radio, etc.). The agency should have a proven record of delivering results for businesses similar to yours.
- Understanding of Your Industry: The agency should have a good understanding of your industry and your target audience. Experience in your industry can translate into more effective and tailored advertising campaigns.
- Transparency and Communication: You want a partner who will keep you updated on campaign progress and performance. They should be open to your ideas and feedback and provide clear, timely communication. Ask about their reporting practices and how often you can expect updates.
- Pricing and Value: Pricing structures can vary between agencies. Some might charge a flat fee, while others work on a retainer or a percentage of ad spend. Make sure you understand the pricing structure, what services are included, and whether this aligns with your budget.
- Flexibility and Scalability: If your advertising needs fluctuate throughout the year, ensure the agency can adjust their services to your needs. They should be able to scale up during busy periods and scale down during quieter times.
- Client References and Reviews: Reach out to current or previous clients of the agency to get their feedback. Online reviews and case studies can also provide valuable insights into the agency’s strengths and weaknesses.
Remember, selecting an outsourced advertising partner is about finding a good fit for your specific business needs and goals. It’s not just about their capabilities, but also how well they can align with your business culture, values, and vision.
Therefore, take your time in this process, ask questions, and make sure you feel confident in the agency’s ability to support your advertising goals.
Managing the Outsourced Advertising Process
Effectively managing the outsourced advertising process is essential for the success of your campaign.
Here are a few key components:
- Clear Communication: Establishing open and regular communication channels is crucial. This will help you stay updated on the progress of your advertising campaigns and allow for timely feedback and adjustments. Decide on the frequency and mode of updates and reports.
- Setting Expectations: From the onset, clearly define your business objectives, target audience, budget, and the goals of the advertising campaigns. The agency should have a thorough understanding of what you hope to achieve through the campaign.
- Performance Tracking: Ensure that there are mechanisms in place to track the performance of the advertising campaigns. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be identified and agreed upon at the outset. Regular reporting on these KPIs can help you assess the effectiveness of the campaigns and the return on your investment.
- Collaboration: Even though the agency is handling your advertising, it’s essential that there is a spirit of collaboration. Regular meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and ideas can lead to more effective campaigns.
- Legal and Ethical Compliance: Ensure that the agency adheres to all relevant legal and ethical standards in their advertising practices. This includes adherence to data privacy laws, intellectual property rights, and truthful advertising practices.
- Review and Feedback: Regular reviews of the agency’s work can help identify areas of improvement. Providing constructive feedback can help the agency better align their work with your expectations and improve the effectiveness of the campaigns.
Keeping a close eye on the results of your advertising campaign allows you to measure its success and make any necessary adjustments to optimize its performance.
Common Challenges and Solutions in Outsourced Advertising
Despite its many benefits, outsourcing advertising can also present certain challenges. Let’s take a look at the challenges and solutions that may arise.
Misalignment of Expectations
Misunderstandings can occur if the business and the agency do not have a clear and shared understanding of the goals, strategy, or desired outcomes of the advertising campaign.
Solution: From the start, set explicit objectives, KPIs, and a detailed plan of action. Regularly review these goals together to ensure everyone is on the same page. Documentation can be a key aid in clarifying objectives and keeping all parties aligned.
Lack of Expertise
Sometimes an agency may not have the specialized knowledge or experience required for a specific industry, target audience, or advertising channel.
Solution: Conduct thorough research and due diligence before choosing an agency. Ask for case studies, client references, and details about their experience with similar businesses or industries.
Delays, misunderstandings, or missed details can result from ineffective communication. This is especially challenging when working with agencies in different time zones.
Solution: Establish regular check-ins and updates through a mutually agreed mode of communication (email, phone, video call, etc.). Using project management tools like Trello, Basecamp or Asana can also help in tracking progress and ensuring effective communication:
Lack of Control
Outsourcing implies handing over a degree of control to the agency. Some businesses may feel uncomfortable or worry about brand consistency and quality.
Solution: Ensure the agency understands your brand values and guidelines. Regular reporting and reviews can help maintain control over the quality and direction of the advertising campaigns. Remember, while it’s essential to stay involved, micromanaging can hinder the agency’s creativity and productivity.
Cultural and Language Barriers
If you’re working with an agency from a different country or region, cultural misunderstandings and language barriers can pose challenges, potentially impacting the effectiveness of the advertising.
Solution: When selecting an agency, consider their cultural competency and language skills. Clear, simple, and direct communication can help avoid misunderstandings. In some cases, it might be beneficial to use translation services or cultural consultants to bridge any gaps.
Outsourced advertising isn’t without its hurdles, but with the right planning, communication, and management, these challenges can be effectively navigated to ensure successful advertising campaigns.
Success Story of Outsourced Advertising
Real-life success stories of outsourced advertising campaigns can provide valuable insights into the benefits of this approach.
One notable case study involves a real estate developer working with Smart Panda Labs to outsource their marketing.
When the new senior vice president of marketing came on board, she realized that they had pretty much no digital presence outside of their website, which itself was not optimized for search.
This partnership led to a significant improvement.
Smart Panda Labs overhauled their ad campaign, which included:
- 17,214 bid changes
- 38,334 keyword changes
- 4,721 ad changes
- Weekly, monthly and quarterly PPC reports
- The design and development of 40+ campaign landing pages
The results were incredible: a 575% increase in CTRs.
They ad agency also:
- Drove more than 2.1 million impressions
- Reduced cost per click (CPC) 10.2% after one month and 16.5% after two months compared to start of engagement
- Email subscription opt-in forms reaching over 1,500
This case study showcases the power of outsourced advertising in helping businesses achieve their goals.
By partnering with external professionals or agencies, companies can access the expertise, tools, and strategies needed to stay ahead of the competition and maximize their return on investment.
Last Word on Outsourcing Your Advertising Needs
Outsourcing your ad campaigns offers a range of benefits, including cost efficiency, access to expertise and advanced tools, and flexibility and scalability. By recognizing the right time to outsource and selecting the appropriate partner, businesses can maximize their advertising efforts and achieve their goals.
As the business landscape continues to evolve, staying ahead of the competition is more important than ever. Outsourced advertising can provide the edge your business needs to thrive in the fast-paced world of 2023 and beyond.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing your advertising, Single Grain’s paid ads experts can help!👇
Outsourced Advertising FAQs
What is outsourcing advertising?
Outsourcing advertising is the practice of employing external professionals or agencies to manage a company’s marketing activities, such as creating content, managing social media, running campaigns, and conducting research.
What is an example of outsourcing advertising?
Creating advertising campaigns, carrying out market research, doing email marketing and making the entire marketing strategy are examples of outsourcing advertising.
What are 5 examples of outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a popular business practice, with common examples including IT services, accounting and payroll services, customer service, legal services, marketing and advertising, and manufacturing.
What is the main difference between outsourcing marketing and advertising?
Outsourcing marketing involves activities such as content creation, social media management and market research, whereas advertising is focused solely on reaching out to potential customers.
What are the benefits of outsourcing advertising?
Outsourcing advertising provides cost efficiency, access to specialized expertise and advanced tools, as well as scalability and flexibility.
It can be a great way to get the most out of your advertising budget and ensure that your campaigns are successful. Outsourcing also allows you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as product development.