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insourcing vs Outsourcing in Digital Marketing

Should I outsource or insource my digital marketing activities?

To outsource or not to outsource? If that decision’s been bothering you for a while, we have the pointers!...

Marketers and startup owners are often left scratching their heads over the eternal question that seems to be the elephant in the room while chalking out their firm’s digital marketing agendas.

“Should we outsource our digital marketing activities to third parties or keep them in-house?!”

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every firm, certain yardsticks can help you decide on your unique needs and considerations.

While we are an offshore digital marketing agency, we are committed to helping marketers and agency owners like you make the right decision with the most genuine information!

In the following blog, you will find clear answers to

  • the definitions and differences 
  • the pros and cons of insourcing and outsourcing digital marketing activities
  • and the factors you should consider while making that final decision for your business

So, without further ado, let’s get cracking!

Understanding the difference between insourcing and outsourcing

Simply put, insourcing refers to deploying existing talent within the organization or hiring new resources to fulfill business needs, in this case, your ever-growing digital marketing needs. This could range from hiring or training an existing content manager, a team of content and copywriters, social media experts, SEO specialists, and video and graphic designers. 

While this may seem like a lot of effort and resources, it might work for ongoing marketing tasks and established organizations with little to no budget constraints. 

However, spinning plates don’t have to be table stakes! Smaller or upcoming organizations usually lack the human and material resources to look after such niche digital marketing tasks, and they end up looking at third parties with the necessary expertise.

This is where outsourcing comes into the picture. Interestingly, according to Deloitte’s survey on Global Marketing Trends, 59% of marketing leaders choose outsourcing their creative functions for project-specific marketing skills.

 So, it is referred to as outsourcing when you decide to partner with agencies or freelancers in the same geographical location or another to meet your niche-specific requirements. It can be of different kinds,

  • Offshoring: when you partner with agencies in a different country or time zone
  • Nearshoring: when your outsourcing partner is in a location not that far from yours, so fewer time zone differences
  • Onshoring refers to outsourcing to a third party within the same geographical location because of a lack of skilled resources internally.

While there may be many factors to consider when partnering with an offshore digital marketing agency (insert blog link here), weighing your options carefully before investing in either option makes sense. Or maybe a mix of both; no rulebook says otherwise! 😉

Differences at a glance!

difference between insourcing and outsourcing

Pros and cons of keeping your digital marketing activities inhouse

Pros

  • Stays true to the company culture and brand voice:

When you keep your content creation and other digital marketing requirements in-house, your employees produce deliverables that align with your clientele’s needs and brand ethos. 

They are well-versed in the target audience’s demands and produce content that stays true to the brand and local flavor. This is a major reason companies may want to keep content creation in-house. If you have a team of dedicated and talented writers, designers, SEO specialists, and content managers on board, this might be a major win to consider!

  • Retain control:

If you are someone who hates giving up control, investing in hiring, training, and retaining in-house talent could be the right thing to do. This way, you can keep an eye on the whole process of strategizing, executing, and analyzing, ensuring that deadlines are met and deliverable quality. 

You might have to give up this when you partner with a third party. They will give you regular feedback on the process, but the level of control over the process and communication will not be at the same level. 

  • Intellectual property protection:

A major concern that organizations harbor is giving up access to information to third parties. This fear can be obliterated when you keep things in-house. It protects your intellectual property from misuse and helps you sleep better when you know your data is safe! 

Though offshore agencies also have measures to protect your interests, it makes sense to carefully read the contracts and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) before making the final choice.

  • In-house expertise:

Your employees are fluent in the company culture and equipped with the requisite knowledge cache that gets better with every assignment and training program they receive. If you have talented and dedicated employees in-house who are good at juggling deadlines with confidence, then maybe you don’t need to look elsewhere!

  • Better flexibility and adaptability:

Consumer needs and market trends keep changing, and your marketing strategy needs to be agile enough to account for the freshest trends on the block. Companies’ common concern with outsourcing is rigid contracts with a fixed number of monthly deliverables. While this might be cost-effective, it can be difficult to work your way around if they don’t offer flexible hours. 

An in-house team of digital marketing experts can help accommodate the changing needs of the hour at the same cost. 

They can stretch from three to five blogs a week during the busy seasons and return to the rhythm during leaner seasons. 

While that’s about the benefits of investing in an in-house digital marketing team, let’s look at some of the cons of it. 

Cons

  • Greater costs:

The costs involved in hiring, training, and retaining in-house employees can strain new or small businesses. In addition to a monthly salary, you must account for employee benefits such as paid time off, maternity leave, legal bindings, and overheads such as equipment costs. 

  • Slower time to market and run the risk of stretching your resources thin:

This one can be a fine line to balance. You might have the best, the most talented resources on board, but the costs and time spent upgrading their knowledge base can lead to slower TATs. 

You also risk employee burnout when you stretch them too thin on multiple tasks. 

TLDR?! Check out the quick reference table here!

Pros and cons of insourcing your digital marketing needs

Pros and Cons of insourcing digital marketing activities

Interesting! Tell me more about the pros and cons of outsourcing my firm’s digital marketing needs!

Pros

  • Cost-effective:

If one were to compare the salaries of different marketing talents and the average cost of hiring a 100-hour retainer with a small digital agency, it would work out to $10,000 – 15,000, equivalent to hiring two to three marketing personnel at different levels! 

Outsourcing may offer exceptional talent and expertise at half the costs for small businesses with limited budgets. 

  • Access to specialized niche-based talent:

When you partner with a third party, such as a reputed freelancer through Upwork or a reliable offshore agency in India, Vietnam, or the Philippines, you attract the best talent at affordable costs. 

So, if you cannot hire or train the right talent in-house, this may be the sweet deal you have been awaiting!

They can also work wonders for infrequent or one-time project requirements such as website designing, app development, campaign-based needs, etc. 

  • Faster to market times:

When you outsource your digital marketing needs to the right fit third party, they will have the expertise and the bandwidth to turn in the deliverables exactly when needed. 

Training in-house members can be time-consuming, which is surely not the case here. These agencies or freelancers bring a free perspective to help you sharpen your proverbial marketing claws!

  • Allows you to focus on your core business activities:

When you outsource your digital marketing requirements, you free up your in-house team to focus on core business activities. It can be a win-win deal for you with the best talent handling your marketing needs and your in-house employees delivering exceptionally on the core activities front. 

You end up saving time and money and prevent employee burnout. How cool is that?!

  • Scalability:

Holiday seasons can be crazy on the marketing front, and even if you do have an in-house team, the workload can surely pile up! This is where outsourcing can be your knight in shining armor and take away all your troubles. You may end the contract when the workload returns to a manageable level during the lean period. 

Cons

  • Lack of familiarity with your brand tone and target audience:

This can be a major concern for business owners who are very particular about the tonality of the content and other marketing deliverables. A third party can know only as much about your target audience and brand flavor from research and may not be able to match the in-depth knowledge of an in-house team. 

  • Language barrier and time-zone issues:

Clear, concise, and crisp communication is essential to the success of any outsourcing venture. Disconnect in communication or language barriers can take away the essence and lead to a mismatch in expectations and the quality of the end deliverables. 

Another consideration is accounting for time zone differences. If you want to contact the designer or writer in your time zone, ensure their availability so productivity doesn’t get hampered. The solution is nearshoring or looking for offshore agencies that follow the Sun and are available around the clock. 

  • Lesser control and data privacy concerns:

Partnering with a third party may mean relinquishing a certain degree of control over the outsourced service. There is always a risk of data pilferage and misuse. Look out for relevant clauses and legal compliances such as NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) and NSAs (Non-Solicitation Agreements) before sealing the deal with any third party. 

Or! You can quickly peruse the ready reference table here!

Pros and cons of outsourcing your digital marketing needs at a glance!

Pros and Cons of outsourcing digital marketing activities

So, how do I decide what’s best for my business?

Well, there is no straight answer to this, but we have a ready list of factors to consider to help you arrive at a decision best suited for your business. 

Choosing between insourcing and outsourcing
  • Carry out a detailed risk assessment
  1. Begin with identifying a list of potential, perceived risks for both outsourcing and insourcing, such as costs involved, quality of deliverables, maintaining local and brand flavor, ensuring data security, etc.
  2. Analyze the weight of each risk factor, its effect on the end deliverables, and the probability of its occurrence.
  3. Prioritize the risks that will have the greatest impact on your marketing endeavors and their likelihood. 
  4. Plan meticulously for an option to mitigate the risks with the highest probability of occurrence and impact. 
  • Align the option with your long-term strategy

The path that you choose should align with your marketing goals. Getting familiar with your buyers’ journey and consumer touch points will help you get on the right track. For instance, if LinkedIn and Instagram are where you harness maximum leads, hiring an in-house social media manager makes sense. However, if you are looking to create a one-time video explainer, it is a good idea to outsource the task to a skilled videographer. 

  • Factor in your deadlines

The urgency also affects your insourcing vs. outsourcing decision. For instance, if your in-house team cannot handle the extra inflow of creatives during peak season, you might want to seek external help. Or even if you cannot find the time to hire and train in-house employees, outsourcing might be the need of the hour. 

The Road Ahead

Now that you know the pros and cons of outsourcing and insourcing your digital marketing needs, you might want to explore which digital services to outsource

We at Mavlers are committed to delivering the latest knowledge on digital marketing trends and best practices and outsourcing trivia to our valued reader base. Check out our blog on the best practices to follow when outsourcing to an Indian agency here

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Naina Sandhir

A content writer at Mavlers, Naina pens quirky, inimitable, and damn relatable content after an in-depth and critical dissection of the topic in question. When not hiking across the Himalayas, she can be found buried in a book with spectacles dangling off her nose!

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