Is Outsourced Marketing During Uncertain Times A Financially Responsible Investment?
Nobody can predict what the future holds, yet most companies will still forecast future results based on how their business has been trending in the past. For instance, if their business has experienced ten percent growth each of the past three years, they will feel safe assuming that the same will occur the next year. They will then base all of their actions and decision making around that assumption. However, there will always be times of uncertainty that nobody can predict. Such uncertainty can affect your entire organization; the recent pandemic is a good example.
COVID-19 has caused massive economic uncertainty throughout the world. It’s no surprise that business is down for many companies, both big and small. During times like these, you’re less likely to take financial risks. You may be forced to re-evaluate your budget and determine whether changes need to be made. Some businesses may deem outsourced marketing out of the question when many have to make cuts, specifically, to their marketing budget. However, don’t dismiss the idea of outsourcing just yet.
At first glance, outsourced marketing may seem like another expense that you can’t afford when business is stagnating. However, if you dive a little deeper into the opportunities that outsourced marketing can present, you may find that outsourcing is a financially responsible option. Outsourcing your marketing could help your business not only overcome the challenges that economic uncertainty presents, but it could also help put your company in the position to thrive once the economy begins to recover.
The Specific Challenges Of Marketing During Economic Uncertainty
The COVID-19 outbreak is a unique situation that few businesses throughout the world were equipped to handle. However, economic uncertainty is something that all companies should be ready to manage. An economic downturn isn’t nearly as uncommon as a global pandemic, after all. Understanding how outsourcing can help during difficult times requires understanding what challenges businesses typically face in uncertain times. Here are some of the challenges that many companies are currently facing and that you may be (or potentially will be) facing as well:
The Needs And Behaviors Of Your Target Audience May Change
One of the most frustrating things about running a business during uncertain times is that you may no longer understand your target audience like you thought you had. You likely had a pretty good idea of who your audience was and what their needs and challenges were before COVID-19. You may have even developed a handful of buyer personas to help guide your marketing efforts. Unfortunately, your audience’s needs and behaviors can change significantly over a short time due to economic hardship and uncertainty.
As a B2B business, many of your potential clients may be struggling to cope with the pandemic, especially if they are B2C businesses. If you deal with smaller B2C companies, then this will affect you as well. Their revenue is likely down because many of their customers have lost their jobs and stable income. Now your clients may no longer be in the financial position to purchase your products or services.
Your Pool Of Existing Clients May Diminish
The majority of any business’s sales come from existing customers. Keeping that in mind, you would hope that when it’s incredibly difficult to attract new clients, you can at least depend on your existing customer base. Unfortunately, if times are incredibly challenging, this may not be the case. As a B2B business operating during an economic downturn, you may find that some of your clients have closed up shop. Others may be cutting back on their budgets, resulting in fewer purchases from your business. Be prepared to have a smaller pool of established customers.
You May Be Forced To Reckon With Budget Cuts
If sales have begun to dip for a prolonged period, you may be forced to make budget cuts. Some businesses can weather a slow period, but if you’re starting to lose existing clients, it may be time to start trimming some of the fat off of your budget. The real challenge lies in making strategic cuts to your budget in a way that won’t significantly impact your business. The last thing you want is for the changes you make to your budget to directly affect your ability to generate revenue, whether in the present or the future. If they do, you may end up in a vicious cycle where sales will continue to drop, requiring more and more cuts to your budget, which causes sales to drop even more.
Planning For The Future Can Be Challenging
The most successful organizations tend to be those that plan. However, when tough times strike, it can be challenging to take a long-term view of things when you’re merely trying to survive in the short-term. You need to keep an eye on the future at all times. Survival won’t be enough. You may come out on the other side of an economic depression intact, but you’ll need a plan to build your business back up. Otherwise, recovering will be an immense challenge.
Why Outsourced Marketing Is A Viable Solution
At this point, you may be wondering how spending limited marketing dollars on outsourced marketing will help. You might also be wondering whether such an investment is financially responsible when you’re unsure if you’ll hit revenue targets. You may not realize that a marketing agency can help struggling businesses get the most out of a limited budget. Outsourcing to a consulting firm during uncertain times can be hugely beneficial to your business in the following specific ways.
Allow You To Focus On Your Core Business Responsibilities
Marketing is often the first to suffer when budget cuts are required. It’s understandable since most companies do not want budget setbacks to affect their core business operations. Although marketing is essential to your growth, your marketing efforts won’t do much good if your core business begins to suffer. And if you’re forced to let some of your marketing personnel go, it means that other employees are going to be taking on a much bigger workload than usual. Your company owner may even be attempting to monitor and maintain your marketing campaign on their own while juggling their core responsibilities. By outsourcing your marketing, you allow everyone within your organization to focus on their core responsibilities, making growth, not to mention survival, easier to achieve.
Prevent Budget Cuts From Hurting Your ROI
If you’re forced to make changes to your marketing department and efforts due to budget cuts, there’s a good chance it will affect your marketing ROI. However, the changes you make don’t all have to be for budgetary purposes. For instance, consider making additional room in your budget for outsourced marketing. Although it may seem counterintuitive, investing in outsourced marketing can help make up the loss you expected from cuts to your in-house marketing team.
For example, let’s say you let go of two of your marketing specialists. The cost of maintaining those specialists on a year-by-year basis can be prohibitive. For a flat fee, a marketing agency will provide you with access to an entire team of specialists that will work on your behalf. The cost of such a service could be less than the associated costs of hiring just a single FTE. Access to a marketing agency’s resources can make up for the work you’ve lost when you let your internal specialists go. A consulting firm can also help optimize your existing marketing strategy to make it more cost-effective and allow you to maintain your marketing ROI.
For more insights, you can learn more about the cost differences between in-house and outsourced marketing here.
Evaluate Marketing Strategy And Adapt To Present Situation
An outsourced marketing agency doesn’t just provide access to a large talent pool of marketing specialists to help run a campaign; they also offer consulting services. Such a service can be hugely beneficial in uncertain times when your marketing strategy may not be working as well as it was. A marketing consulting service will evaluate your existing marketing strategy. Using their knowledge of present marketing conditions in addition to performing up-to-date market research, they can help you make adjustments to your tactics. They can even help you overhaul your marketing strategy altogether. By working with a professional marketing agency, you can adapt your marketing strategy to the present situation and optimize it to ensure that it’s as cost-effective as possible.
Keep Marketing Resources Off-Site
A marketing agency can provide you with its services off-site. Not only will you not have to find extra office space to accommodate additional marketing personnel, but you won’t have to worry about the costs associated with an FTE. Such expenses can include equipment, such as desks and computers, and tools, such as marketing software. You can end up saving a lot of money by outsourcing your marketing. The more money you save, the fewer cuts you may be forced to make elsewhere in your budget.
Supplement Your Existing Marketing Team
If your marketing team is short-handed due to budget cuts, then there’s a good chance that they are overworked. Not only can this create a stressful environment in which their performance suffers, but they may be tasked with responsibilities that they don’t have the experience or expertise to handle. In turn, your marketing strategy may suffer. You may also have projects scheduled soon that require additional hires. These projects will be in limbo if you can’t hire the specialists you need. Fortunately, outsourcing may very well be the solution to both of these situations.
An outsourced marketing service can help you fill your talent gaps. They have a large pool of specialists and generalists that can help supplement your in-house marketing team. They can help reduce your internal team’s workload, fill the roles of the FTEs you were forced to let go, and provide the specialized skills you need to complete specific projects. Not only is outsourcing a more affordable solution than hiring FTEs, but you’ll reduce potential errors and improve productivity amongst your in-house marketing team.
Stay Up-To-Date On Changing Marketing Trends
Suppose you’re working hard to ensure that your company continues to thrive despite uncertain times (or even to ensure its survival throughout an economic downturn). In that case, you may not have the time to stay up-to-date on the latest marketing trends. It may seem like a waste of time and resources; however, marketing trends are essential to pay attention to, especially during tough times. They can help reveal how and why the needs and behaviors of audiences are changing. They can also present new cost-effective marketing tactics that could benefit your business in the short-term or the long-term.
By outsourcing to a marketing agency, you’ll be plugged into all the latest trends. A successful marketing agency has to keep its finger on the pulse of the industry to remain competitive. It’s their business always to monitor new trends and incorporate those trends into existing strategies whenever it’s appropriate.
Scale Your Marketing To Your Current Needs
Most businesses are concerned with their ability to scale up. While this is certainly something you should think about when it comes to your marketing capabilities, scaling down is something you may also be forced to do if your business is suffering. If budget cuts necessitate that you scale down your marketing operations, doing so can be very difficult without significantly hindering your current marketing efforts. When you outsource marketing, you’ll find that you can scale up and down with ease.
Give Your Organization More Financial Flexibility
Most marketing agencies provide several plans at different prices. These plans consist of numerous marketing services; however, they are typically tailored to meet your specific needs. They also tend to be very flexible, making it easy for you to scale up and down whenever needed. The ability to scale with ease provides your business with a significant amount of financial flexibility that isn’t possible if you limit yourself to an in-house marketing team. If you’re forced to scale down, you may have to let go of some of your FTEs. If this happens, it will take some time to scale back up. Financial flexibility is necessary for adaptability, and outsourcing provides just that.
A Strategic Approach is Essential To Successfully Navigating Tough Times
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc throughout the world in more ways than one. Unfortunately, the resulting economic damage has caused many businesses to close their doors. Those that have survived economic uncertainty are doing everything they can to ensure their survival. As a result, many companies are scaling back and making budget cuts. However, you must not just sit back and hope for things to blow over. Being proactive is critical to navigating challenging times. Find ways to reduce your risks, adapt to the current climate, and put yourself in the best position to succeed, both now and in the future. Consider looking into outsourced marketing as a viable solution to the challenges you’re facing.