May. 6 2018

To insource or to outsource digital marketing

The goods news & bad news on DIY Facebook & Google campaigns

We work with a lot of small businesses, and they typically have smaller marketing budgets. When it comes to running digital marketing campaigns on Facebook, Google, or anywhere else, spending a portion of limited digital marketing dollars on management fees can seem counterintuitive. Will the results of the agency be better than DIY? Probably, but by how much?

That brings us to the question: do you insource or outsource digital marketing? The answer is a series of good news and bad news.

Digital Marketing Strategy

Good news and bad news: Advertisers make it really easy to get started.

Not only are the calls to action (“Boost this post”) really clear, but a quick search will reveal the step by step on how to set up and launch campaigns on any channel. This is good news; there is a plethora of information on the internet about how to get your campaigns live.

However, the bad news is that this ease can also lead to waste in marketing dollars. Whenever we take over for clients who have been managing their own campaigns, we immediately find ways to make substantial improvements. That’s not to say it isn’t working! Small businesses often are achieving their desired result, but years of experience will definitely add value, likely in the form of cost savings.

Outsource Digital Marketing

Good news and bad news: The targeting can get really specific.

Ideally, you’ve spent some time determining who you want to target. Most digital advertisers make it very easy to search for and implement a campaign targeting that audience. The big ones even have built in propensity modeling for important purchases. All you have to do is browse the options and line it up with what you’re trying to accomplish.

The bad news is that this only allows you to get started. An experienced marketer will know the best way to balance narrow vs. broad targeting for your marketing goals, and he or she will also know how to react to the performance metrics.

Digital Marketing Analytics

Good news and bad news: It’s easy to show that it’s working.

This one is tricky. Probably once you start marketing, you’ll receive an email with some stats. “Look at all the attention your post received!” it will say. This is an important tactic that Google and Facebook maximize – it makes you feel like it’s working. The good part about these emails is that the results are usually very easy to understand.

However, the bad news is that these are pretty generic, and thus the results can be deceiving. Sure, a bunch of people saw the post. So, what? If your goal is awareness, this number matters, but if you’re trying to drive sales or accomplish any other goal, perhaps there are different metrics that will more accurately measure whether the marketing is working.

It’s up to you

Only you know the ins and outs of your marketing budget, how far you can stretch it, and what the potential gap between your ability and a digital marketer’s may be. Those things together determine whether you should insource or outsource your digital marketing.