Outsourcing can be a way of focusing on your business’s core attributes while employing the best possible level of expertise that you can afford to implement your approach. There are many good reasons for outsourcing, ranging from the purely financial to the tactical and strategic. Many companies outsource any activity that is peripheral to what they actually do – that is, their essential function as a business. In the marketing sector, this might mean farming out technical tasks such as data management, website design or search engine optimisation, while focusing your company’s energies on the overall vision for the campaign, as well as the key attributes that will help sell the product. Companies such as Atlantic Umbrella (atlantic-umbrella.com) provide PAYE services for freelancers, contractors and temporary staff with a wide range of skill sets and valuable experience.
Most B2B companies, for instance, don’t have a full complement of specialist staff capable of effective marketing, while many marketing organisations lack high-end technical expertise, and even may not possess the tech or the software in the first place. It can be more viable to outsource these tasks than to have staff trained and experienced in these areas on the payroll full-time. Hiring in experts as and when needed also means that your staff can work with the specialists to develop their own skills and to familiarise themselves with the latest technology.
Bringing in specialists from outside means you can be sure they’ll be up to date with changing demands, priorities and technology. After all, that is their job, and it’s where their experience and reputation resides.
Outsourcing gives you more flexibility in your budgeting. It may seem more expensive to outsource than to do everything in-house, but there are advantages to one-off payments for services where all unforeseen costs, as well as unexpected problems, are absorbed by the contractor. Another model is to have a long-term retainer or subscription that allows you to call in a specialist contractor at short notice if necessary. There can still be flexibility in the level of service provided, depending on what you can afford and what you require.
Free to focus
Outsourcing processes that are not at the core of your business leaves your team to focus on those core functions, which means insight rather than operation. The bottom line is that in marketing the ideas people are the essence of the business, while those who implement those ideas are replaceable, and their roles can be outsourced if it makes strategic, tactical or financial sense. This may sound harsh, but acknowledging this truth is the way to facilitate company growth or to negotiate the steep learning curve of getting to grips with a new product or distribution channel. Outsourcing can also be the means to see your company through the inevitable lean periods as you streamline the firm back to its core applications.
Ultimately, outsourcing frees you up to do your job while bringing in skilled freelancers to do their job. Expanding your business is always going to be about learning how to delegate responsibilities and to manage effectively, and selective outsourcing is a crucial part of that process.