Why Small Businesses Are Progressively Outsourcing Their Marketing Function

Many firms cannibalize their entire marketing budget on a few high-priced personnel which increasingly occurs as a guilty pleasure in owner circles. Furthermore, your typical marketing director, making anywhere from $40,000 - $100,000 per year on salary is under no special incentive to realize performance improvements today.

The incentives are not aligned for the employer or the employee in this scenario. I think that's a major reason why the marketing profession experiences so much turnover.

More and more I see myself not as a marketer, pushing product, but as a modern agent of value. While pushing product is a part of doing business, modern agents of value must get comfortable exposing, negotiating and living in the rarified space between reality and opportunity.

It's no big secret that traditional organizations still trying to grok the advent of digital lack confidence in their internal marketing teams. By the same token, CMO's complain that they do not have the people, tools or resources necessary to meet their institutional marketing mandates.

The corporate world still doesn't care to admit that their marketing departments aren't properly set up to provide staff with the on-the-job training, sales-enablement tools and programmatic technologies that today's sophisticated marketing initiatives demand.

When it comes to shoring up the talent gap, our educational system has been no more helpful or resourceful in keeping pace with demand. It's now de rigueur to say that their curriculae lags several years behind the pace of technological advancement. And, in today's fast-paced technology-saturated world, several years is a lifetime.

Is there a way to provision your marketing resource that isn't out of reach for small enterprises, that incentivizes performance and can even lead towards superior business outcomes?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that modern, technology-enabled marketing agencies are, perhaps, better equipped than their institutional counterparts to deliver results in high-growth service areas – while staying abreast of changes in today's frenetic business environment.

Marketing agencies must bring hybrid technical/creative proficiencies to the table that traditional small business can't afford or don't know how to deploy in-house. Agencies swell with institutional knowledge that grows with every client while corporate marketers are too bogged down by corporate mandates and quarterly objectives to notice emerging trends.

Whereas the old model is one of increasing specialization, interdisciplinary is now the word of the hour. The hybridization of disciplines, that is now responsible for catalyzing the growth of modern marketing outfits, paves the way for interdisciplinary teams of all kinds to come together around exciting projects. And with that, the continued atomization of marketing disciplines has reached it's limit. The singularity of the cross-disciplined "hybrid marketer" is imminent.

While specialists are still relied upon to drive incremental improvements, new order results become the byproduct of multiple disciplines coming into instantaneous and synchronistic alignment. The big opportunity for modern agents of value is pick up and carry the torch for tired, old institutional marketers who will be all to happy to relinquish the responsibility for knowing all these things.

Meanwhile, in-house marketing departments are hard pressed to ensure their talent pools reflect the depth and breadth of experience necessary to stay competitive. Frankly, in-house marketing teams are at multiple disadvantages when it comes to keeping up with the pace of change in today's rapidly evolving marketing disciplines:

  • Lack of institutional knowledge
  • Attrition rates of marketing specialists who tire of sameness
  • Accelerating pace of technological change
  • Redefinition of market boundaries in various sectors
  • Increased regulatory load, which stifles the little guys more than the big ones
  • The fractionalization of work

I suspect that outsourcing your business's marketing function to an agency who will partner with you on both strategy and execution will play an increasing role in marketing automation paradigm. Clients who retain agencies long-term will want to see consistent returns on their investment and are willing to pay a premium for the certainty that accompanies that. Modern Agents of Value will need to know how to align vision, resources and results so that the outcome is a true win-win with the client. It's a scenario where the agency doesn't get paid until economic activity has been generated.

Agencies who offer performance guarantees and contingency-based support are perhaps best positioned to retain corporate clients long-term. And, untold benefits can accrue to the client who clearly sees the value offered by these new agencies.