Running a small business means you wear a lot of hats:  accounting, sales, operations…. your days are full with efforts to close deals, deliver products or services, and then handling all the other activities related to running a business, like bookkeeping, taxes, etc. It’s a lot to handle! With so much already on their plates, should small business owners do their own marketing?

Is there really a cost savings to doing marketing yourself?

The typical reason small business owners do their own marketing is that they feel they are saving money in lieu of hiring a small business marketing professional, but is that really a true assumption?  If you’re spending time doing marketing, What does it cost in lost revenue, time, growing your business, and wasting your money?  Despite what many people may think, marketing does take a certain set of skills and knowledge. Not to mention, the tactics of marketing these days can change frequently as new marketing opportunities arise. Done right, the results can be impressive, but done incorrectly, the results will be lackluster and a lot of time, energy and money will be wasted without a return on investment. Take a step back and consider your limited time and resources. Are they best spent on sales or delivering the products or services that were sold?  Where is the best use of your time or the highest level of return for your efforts?

Consider why you are doing marketing in the first placecustomers

Why do businesses do marketing in the first place?  To attract qualified leads that will hopefully turn into business, thus accelerating your company’s growth. That’s a pretty important factor in the success of your company. If marketing is not your area of expertise, does it really make sense to not give it the very best effort possible? Can you, as a small business owner, really give marketing your full attention, creating a marketing strategy that determines your target audience, unique value proposition, studies your competitors and determines the best marketing tactics to execute, and then implement and measure those tactics? Marketing is a critical component to the growth of your company. Giving it anything less than the most experienced efforts possible will short-change your business’s growth. Business owners don’t have time for this attention to detail and follow through.

Does it make sense to outsource your marketing management if you can’t afford a full-time employee?

There was a time when small business owners had two choices for marketing:  hire an employee or do it themselves. Sure, they could engage one company for social media, another for print marketing and yet another for email marketing, but someone still has to manage and measure those efforts. That responsibility used to fall squarely on the shoulders of the business owner, unless they were fortunate enough to be able to afford a full-time marketing manager. But times have changed! You can outsource your marketing management to a number of highly qualified, experienced marketing experts.  There are a number of reasons this approach to small business marketing makes sense:

  • Access to diverse marketing expertise – as mentioned in the text above, there are plenty of companies with niche expertise in different areas of marketing tactics but you need a resource that understands how to manage and measure several types of marketing tactics. Take content marketing as an example. According to a report by LinkedIn based on a survey of marketing professionals, 75 percent of marketers are outsourcing content in some way. Why? Because content marketing requires as special level of expertise.
  • Flexibility –  leveraging an outside marketing management resource allows you to incorporate new marketing tactics into your approach without having to hire new talent in-house.
  • Ongoing education – with so many new marketing innovations available, it’s critical to have a marketing expert who continually focuses on keeping informed and educated on new marketing methods. Why pay to educate an in-house employee when you can leverage the expertise of a resource whose job it is to be the best at what they do?
  • Marketing is what they do – when you engage a marketing expert, you’re getting someone who is a marketer. Marketing is what they do. That means you’re working with someone who knows how to create, execute and measure a marketing strategy; not someone who is simply trying out the latest marketing tactics and hoping something sticks.
  • Outsourced marketing is a scalable resource – unlike an in-house employee, outsourcing your marketing management allows you to leverage the resource as you need it. As you need more marketing efforts, you can scale up efforts. Need to scale back or become more focused on just a few tactics?  You can do that too. Outsourcing your marketing efforts gives you great flexibility in how you market your business, and yet gives you the freedom as a small business owner to focus on the business as a whole.

Small business owners are the heart and soul of their companies; if that heart and soul gets bogged down with brand basics, the bottom line will suffer. Should small business owners do their own marketing?  Clearly, the facts illustrate that their time is better spent elsewhere with much better results.

Patty Hughes
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