Should I consider Outsourcing Marketing?
Here are the MAIN areas you should not overlook when considering outsourcing marketing (your client engine)
This is for Geospaital Businesses who sell data, processing, tools and technology and for Survey businesses providing a service
Outsourcing as defined by Jonathan Web at Forbes Magazine “is about moving internal operations to a third-party”.
Have you considered outsourcing your Marketing? Before embarking on outsourcing, here are 7 key things you must consider:
1. Have a Goal
Firstly it is important to understand WHAT you are looking to outsource as a Geospatial Business. If it’s lead generation activities or content marketing for example. You first need a goal. No goal and you may find you head off in the marketing agency’s direction, not yours. Sounds ironic doesn’t it, even though you are considering hiring a 3rd party marketing company to run your marketing affairs – it’s important you know what you want!
2. Do they walk the walk?
You want to find out how long they have been doing the subject, what results they have gotten their customers? Understanding if they have actually done it is super useful. For example, Paul Reilly one of EBL’s Sales Trainers in the Geospatial Marketing Academy, has worked with his father and sales trainer for many years as a consultant and teacher (Tom Reilly Training), however he wasn’t always a sales instructor. He used to work for Hilti organisation selling to customers in the petrochemical and power generation markets. Paul is a natural sales kinda guy and Hilti recognized this when he joined their Hilti Master’s Club in 2010 and was recognised in 2011 with Hilti’s Three Million Dollar Sales Club”. He can walk the walk! (psst… i was recommended Paul by Tom Seiler and I first hired him for TopoDOT to understand call planning, conversations and closing)
3. Do they have Industry Knowledge or the knowledge that is transferable?
This is a tough one because there are very few and far between Marketing and Sales dedicated consultants within the Geospatial Industry. Hec I coined the term “geospatial marketing’! Haha.. but this is a hard one because our industry is technical, unknown to many outsiders and Surveyors and tech firms are pretty poor at communication! (yes I’m generalising there but its very true) Stuck in the 90’s Marketing of very outbound kinda methods and waaay behind on the new ways of marketing that is actually working and proven.
This was one of the main reasons I started EBL because I was so sick and tired of hiring consultants, attending courses and then spending my time educating the consultant on what we did! It was exhausting. And I was paying them!
Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing companies out there but the trick is to find them! Here are several questions you can ask when interviewing for the right one
- Have you ever worked within geospatial, surveying or similar related industries where spatial data has been involved?
- If not, what can you share with me that will make me feel you are a good fit for us?
- What will reassure me that I’m not wasting my time and money with you?
- Can you share with me examples of technical type industries where the buying journey is complicated? How did you handle it? What problems did you encounter which helped you succeed as an outsourced company?
What you are trying to convey here is an understanding this outsourced marketing agency understands a more technical B2B business. If you can find an agency that has some experience, it will massively reduce your costs when it comes to ‘time’ to educate them. Bear this in mind.
4. Watch out for the staff members you receive.
This goes back to skills and experience. Be careful, if you go for a lower rate of fees, you may get the junior account manager who doesn’t have the experience.
I have experienced the dark side of this which cost me £21k, yes that is 21,000 pounds with NO and I repeat NO results! Just a lot of fluff!
At EBL, we have two very experienced Account Managers. Janeale with a background in Trimble, Esri, Laser Technology as well as Marketing, socials and Business strategy (was part of her family run business) and Hannah who used to market laser measurement equipment to the mining, offshore and forestry sectors globally and now works close with Hexagon. Both highly experienced and capable women!
5. Outsourcing can saves you time but be careful of the pitfalls!
One of the great things about outsourcing your marketing is the time factor. You have instantly picked up a marketing department who can roll out a ‘hopefully’ well versed marketing plan that gets you results. However be patient, if you have no current systems in place for lead generation for example, then the donkey work has to begin, which can take a while.
Ask them if they will do an onboarding review to understand your business and get the nitty gritty down first. Remember you are paying for time when you outsource (some will do it on tasks) but the majority on time. So if you are paying for several hrs per month; what is involved in that. Usually the higher the rate you are going on experience but ask if you are not sure.
Marketing Agencies do this day in day out, so it should take them less time then hiring a marketing manager who will need to be brought up to speed and who hasn’t got a back up team to fall on (like other more senior marketers unless he/ she is a member the Geospatial Marketing Academy where there is a dedicated Community forum)
Remember you will need to put some time aside especially the smaller your business is, an outsource company may not know the industry, terms and ways – so time will need to be spent educating them on this subject. And this is why you may be better off hiring in house.
6. Marketing knowledge.
Does this outsourced agency keep up with the Marketing Industry? Are they equipped with the newest trends, techniques etc?
Even though these are not necessary crucial for you, it helps that they are keeping up with the latest trends, knowledge and their own skill sets. Ask if they attend marketing industry conferences like Social Media Marketing World, Content Marketing World or do they keep their skills up to date by attending regular training? Do they have a mentor? Don’t be afraid to ask them these questions; it will give you a ton of insight into their personality, company culture and way they do things.
Personally I love to know, I have two mentors who I regularly bounce ideas off of; the first is best selling author Carla Johnson (met at Content Marketing World in 2015) and Professor of Marketing at Wharton Business School David Reibstein (Who I met when undertaking the Advanced Industry Marketing Program at INSEAD in 2013)
7. Costs when considering.
You pay for what you get! Usually the higher-end the costs, the more experienced and proven the agency’s track record. Here are the key things you pay for:
- Marketers with a wealth of knowledge in the marketing subject
- Marketers who get strategy and can do the donkey work (doing)
- Industry experience
- Have a proven track record of results
- Knowledge should equal speed of delivery
I hope you have enjoyed my opinion on considering outsourcing your marketing if you are a Geospatial Equipment Seller or Survey business.