Should I insource, or should I outsource?… it’s a question that many marketers have – and will continue – to ask. But what if the answer is, just like with modern-day marketing, ‘a bit of both’?
That’s something that major companies in the UK, such as Vodafone, have been considered in recent times. Last year, the mobile network provider opted to bring some of its media buying aspects in-house and work with agencies for others. In fact, according to statistics cited in the Drum, 78% of marketers had an internal set-up in 2018 – compared to 58% in 2013 and 42% five years prior to that.
While challenges have arisen from adopting this approach, there have also been a variety of benefits. For example, some tasks now run quicker since back-and-forth isn’t required.
And as you scale your affiliate business, could this balance be exactly what you’re looking for? Read on and you’ll be able to make a better-educated decision.
Working with an agency has both pros and cons. Although they tend to be experts within marketing and media, nobody knows your company and its audience(s) better than the employees. And by outsourcing everything, you risk losing that personal aspect.
Bringing some of your marketing tasks back in-house could help with both parties striking the perfect creative spark. Agencies can spot gaps that you may have missed, while you’ll have the knowledge of what does and doesn’t resonate with your target group.
Having a combination of in-house operations and outsourcing also allows for a more seamless task flow. As Maria Koutsoudakis, UK Brand & Marketing Director for Vodafone, said: “PPC is working phenomenally well” within the company, but social media is outsourced to Ogilvy. She cited the need for better creative integration as the reason for this, which builds on the points mentioned above. Since both parties can focus on their strengths, less friction is created and greater productivity can be achieved.
However, you should also consider this…
If you in-source some of your operations, you must also hire the right people. This was a source of pain for 19% of Chief Marketing Officers, according to ID Comms, in 2019. And even Koutsoudakis herself has admitted that nurturing and retaining talent is giving her “sleepless nights”.
Try to combat these problems by identifying skilled individuals with room to grow. You might be able to achieve this through graduate schemes, or similar initiatives. Moreover, you should give each team member the freedom to express their creative thoughts. This’ll lead to them being a greater asset while they’re with you, along with ensuring that you’re in a much better position marketing-wise once they move on.
Bringing some aspects of your marketing and media in-house can be a great way to strike a balance and focus on your strengths. When you combine this with outsourcing, you’ll also become more efficient.
While there are benefits involved, you also need to think about the potential challenges. Hiring the right personnel, for a start, is challenging. They need to not just fit your values and long-term vision, but also have the ideal skills with room to continue growing.
But by considering the pros and cons, and preparing accordingly, adopting a combination of in-house and outsourcing could work well as you build your business.
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