SaaS Marketing Blog

‘Insourcing’ your marketing – is it the answer?


5th September 2017

As an agency, we are unlikely to be the first to get the call or email from a client saying: “We’re excited to say we’ve employed someone to do our marketing.”

Yes, we’d been prepped at the beginning of our commercial relationship that the engagement would be an interim solution, or that our services were required to power the next phase of growth and generally, it has gone well. In such a case, some of the ‘excitement’ for the client surely resides in the fact that it is firing the agency and taking marketing inhouse.

But is hiring someone really the right solution? Well we would say that, wouldn’t we?! However, rather than just argue the case based on theory, we’ve been working with clients long enough now to win and lose them and to see the effects of insourcing and the results it produces.

Recently we’ve been re-engaged by three clients that had ended their partnership with us in favour of ‘insourcing’ their marketing by recruiting full time employees and it hadn’t worked out for them. So it got us thinking…

Why insourcing seems like an attractive proposition

Of course we understand the benefits of hiring someone – having a dedicated marketer sitting in your office. They get to know your company inside out, take ownership of the marketing agenda full time and they are constantly there for you on demand.

The company gets direct control of the marketing resource and can benefit from having the marketer in-house, swelling the multi-disciplinary make up of the internal team. This may reap benefits in the shape of cross fertilisation of ideas between those operating in different functional areas. All together, this is much of the theory and the case for insourcing.

However, it’s not all plain sailing. Here’s 7 reasons why:

Why insourcing doesn’t always work

1. Marketing is a team effort that demands role specialisation

When you work with an agency you have a team of people at your disposal. For example, we have dedicated copywriters, designers, PPC experts, SEO experts and so on. So to replace an agency and get the same expertise from one person usually won’t cut it and you ideally need to hire a whole team.

2. Junior marketers Vs. Senior marketers

How much does the insourced marketer cost? Experienced, senior marketers may command mid-high salaries. Many businesses try to replace an experienced agency with a junior person. There’s no offence intended to juniors here, but naturally they won’t have the experience that a more senior person has, so this route may be a step backwards. A senior person is your best bet but will come with a larger salary.

3. Jack of all trades and master of none

Even opting for a senior marketer doesn’t necessarily guarantee access to the right level of skills across the ‘marketing board’. Marketing is a multi-stringed bow where few people could honestly claim to have all the elements nailed down to expert level. Even so, some end up tackling tasks outside of their core skillset. A copywriter starts designing graphics, an SEO person starts writing content and so on. At this stage things can start to look a bit amateurish or not executed in the best way.

4. Employees can leave!

What if your new recruit doesn’t work out and either you or they throw in the towel. Poor hiring decisions are a common occurrence. Employees also throw sickies, may be genuinely sick and also expect paid annual leave (the nerve of some people!).

5. Employees may be unreliable

Person dependency is a critical risk-factor in any functional area of the business. Employing one single marketer exposes the business to some risks. If marketing is the major source of delivering qualified leads to the sales function, what happens if the marketing machine has to pause?

6. Do you really need 20 days marketing a month?

Do you really have enough marketing activity to fully employ a marketer day in, day out, week after week? Sure, the role might initially be front loaded to bring it in from the agency, get the new recruit up to speed and set up systems etc. But once that’s all out of the way, can you gainfully employ them full time?

7. We haven’t got 20 days marketing/month… so let’s ‘re-deploy’ them

“Simple… when they’re not doing marketing, we can get them doing sales.” This might seem like an obvious option, but sales people are usually born, and they tend to be naturals that pursue it as first choice career. Expecting a marketer to double up in sales, or any other area of the business when there’s no marketing to be done is a bit unrealistic.

Ready to outsource your marketing?

Whether you’re taking your first steps in marketing or ready to outsource what you are doing internally Xander Marketing can help.

Xander Marketing works in partnership with SaaS businesses around the world to support growth through new customer acquisition, increasing leads, generating more website traffic and raising industry awareness.  If you lack the time, resource or know how to undertake marketing then get in touch and book your free 30 minute consultation.

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