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Marketing Marketing

Making the Call: Deciding When to Use Outsourced Marketing

By Brad Colacino
Partner & Co-Founder

I’m going to start this article by telling you a little bit about yourself: You’re a relatively new business owner, in the early phases of hanging your own shingle and setting out to do a better job than any of the bosses you’ve had before. You’re not just good at what you do – you’re excellent at it. But very quickly, you’re discovering just how different it is to run a business that does or produces the thing that you’re good at. In other words, you’re realizing how much work it’s going to take to really make your business succeed.

At this point, you may be thinking, “What did I get myself into?” But what you should be thinking is, “Let’s do this!!”

This is a very, very common path for new business owners to take. It takes a different skill set to be an expert in a field than it does to run a business. And as your business grows, you, as a business owner, are going to have to start making tough decisions about where your time is spent. Luckily, plenty of resources are available to help this transition.

As I started my own journey into entrepreneurship, this was exactly what I went through. Forming a graphic design company in the halcyon pre-pandemic era, I thought, ‘This is great. I’ll just draw and color all day and I’ll make plenty of money to support myself.’ I didn’t plan on all the little things – going to the bank, attending networking events, some bizarre thing called “bookkeeping”… the list was extensive.

It’s easy to see all those steps now, 7 years later, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. But back then? It was like trying to piece together an endless Rubix cube. Fortunately, I learned what many other successful business owners have learned – this is not a road that you take alone.

The key for me was simple: I started outsourcing. First, it was my books. That was an easy call. I hate bookkeeping, I’m not good at it, and I’m not willing to invest the time it would take for me to improve my skill. But I also know how critical that function is to any business. Next was payroll, then accounting. Before long I was back in the driver’s seat and able to focus on the core business, able to focus on sales, and able to continue a positive growth trend.

It’s common for people to hear the term “outsourcing” and immediately think of some huge Walmart-sized call center. But that’s not the case. When I use that word, I’m talking about using local companies to augment what I can’t afford to hire full-time. By leveraging the strength of our business community, and the expertise right next door, that’s when we can truly unlock our full potential.

At Five Towers Media, we are set up to be the outsourced marketing partner for growing businesses. It’s where we excel, and it’s where we find our best partnerships. So let’s take a few minutes to explore the benefits of outsourcing, and why that could be a great fit for your business.

The “Why”: Expanding on the Benefits of Outsourced Marketing

We’ll start with what we know: marketing is crucial to any business, new or established, as it helps spread the word about your services or products and expands your customer base. However, not every small business owner has the time or expertise to effectively manage marketing tasks. Do you know the basics of website creation and management? Are you familiar with the principles of graphic design for advertisements? What’s a good monthly budget for paid Google ads? What the heck is a throughline?

This is where outsourcing to a small marketing agency comes into play.

When you partner with a small marketing agency, you gain access to a team of experts who live and breathe marketing. These professionals are up-to-date with the latest trends, tools, and technologies necessary to craft successful strategies tailored to your business needs. Whether it’s SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, or content creation, these specialists can elevate your brand’s presence in your target market.

Imagine for just a minute what it would cost to hire that team full-time. From employee salaries, benefits, not to mention the hiring & retention cycle, it can be a significant drain on your company pocketbook. Is it too much work for one person? Too little? What if they need support? Heck, what if they’re on vacation?

An outsourced marketing department solves those problems. The team is entirely “on-demand,” working when you authorize it and not a minute more. The hiring and retention? That’s on them. Slow month in accounts receivable? You can just hit a temporary pause button—try doing that with a full-time salaried employee.

Your marketing partner is supposed to fit within your budget, providing net-positive value to your business. Services can be precisely tailored to your needs and goals, and the team (as a whole) will have many times the knowledge and experience of a single in-house employee. After all, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

Your Time is Your Money

For any small business owner, time is a form of currency in and of itself. Outsourcing your marketing frees up your schedule to focus on core business activities while the agency handles the complexities of marketing campaigns. The agency takes your direction and can manage mostly self-sufficiently, freeing you from micromanagement or having to learn yet another set of tasks that take you even further away from your core specialty.

This time-saving aspect becomes even more critical during peak business periods or major product launches when your attention is needed most elsewhere in the business. Marketing agencies can handle the increased workload without the need for you to hire additional staff or redirect existing staff from critical tasks. You can scale your marketing efforts up or down based on business performance, seasonal demands, or budget changes. That flexibility is crucial for small businesses that need to pivot quickly in response to market conditions. This sort of elasticity is nearly impossible with full-time hires.

Moreover, because agencies work with a variety of clients, they have access to pricing tiers and tools that individual businesses might find cost-prohibitive. They can offer more for your marketing dollar, from bulk buying ad space to accessing premium-level services at a lower cost due to their broader client base. Their experience over varied industries gives them an edge in seeing first-hand what works and what doesn’t, providing you with valuable insights into your own strategy.

Choosing the Right Marketing Agency 

The foundation of any successful partnership lies in shared values and vision. When selecting a marketing agency, it’s crucial that they grasp and align with your business ethos. This alignment ensures that every marketing strategy they develop acts as an authentic extension of your brand identity. Agencies that resonate with your business values can more effectively craft messages that appeal to your ideal customer base, enhancing customer loyalty and brand integrity. For instance, if your business prioritizes sustainability, working with an agency that has experience in eco-friendly campaigns and communicates these values can make a significant difference in how your brand is perceived.

Speaking of communication, an effective strategy in this area is also key to any successful outsourcing relationship. Opt for an agency that not only has structured processes for regular updates but also values openness and responsiveness. Agencies that prioritize transparent communication will keep you informed about the progress of your marketing campaigns and any challenges that arise. This should include access to performance metrics and a clear breakdown of how your budget is being utilized. Regular meetings, comprehensive reports, and the availability of your account manager for queries should be part of the service agreement. This transparency builds trust and allows you to feel more connected to the process, ensuring that the marketing strategies remain true to your objectives.

It’s important to keep in mind that marketing is very much a “show me” industry and less a “tell me” industry. What does that mean for you? Seek out a proven track record. An agency’s portfolio and case studies are windows into their practical capabilities and expertise. By examining their previous work, you can gauge the breadth and depth of their experience. Look for variety and creativity in their projects, but also consider relevance to your own industry. Agencies that showcase successful case studies in your sector or have a history of overcoming similar business challenges can be particularly beneficial. These examples also demonstrate the agency’s ability to measure and deliver results, giving you a concrete basis for expecting them to replicate similar success with your campaigns.

Lastly, the ideal marketing agency understands that each small business is unique, with its own set of challenges and goals. Therefore, a flexible approach tailored to your specific needs is essential. The agency should be willing to adjust their standard services to better suit your objectives, whether that involves focusing more intensely on digital marketing, crafting a localized outreach plan, or integrating new marketing technologies. Additionally, they should be agile enough to respond to changes in your business environment or shifts in the market by adjusting strategies and tactics without losing momentum. Customization in this way not only ensures that the marketing efforts feel personal and targeted but also maximizes your return on investment by addressing the most effective areas for growth.


Closing Thoughts

Outsourcing your marketing can be a game-changer for your small business. It allows you to focus on what you do best—running your business—while experts take care of spreading the word to attract and retain customers. The decision to partner with a small marketing agency like ours not only provides access to specialized skills and knowledge but also offers a cost-effective solution to grow your brand and reach your goals.

By considering the benefits and choosing the right agency, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are in good hands, allowing you to reap the rewards of professional expertise and innovative strategies tailored just for you.

I’d encourage you to schedule an introductory meeting with Five Towers Media to see if we’re the right fit for you and your business.