Thursday, May 13, 2010

Why a Marketing Manager Uses an Outside Marketing Firm

 Most of the marketing managers I call on say they don't know if they need a marketing firm's help, after all, their job description says they should do it themselves.

They are surprised to learn that most of my clients are marketing managers.

So, why does a good, professional, experienced marketing manager use an outside marketing firm? Here is what they say.

1. Strategizing

 A solid marketing strategy is at the core of every good company, and yet many companies, do not have an up-to-date, comprehensive, written strategy.

And for good reason; finding the time to work on the big picture, overcoming internal resistance, and getting agreement throughout the organization are common roadblocks. But it has to be created and maintained.

The first thing a good marketing firm will do is help you develop a strategy. Not only will a good strategy guarantee your marketing success, it will also get your company working with you.

2. Time management

By definition the company's marketing director is a manager, meaning they manage people and resources to get things done. Yet, many marketing directors try to do everything themselves. It doesn't work any better in marketing than other fields.

For example, when a company hires a maintenance manager who began her career as an electrician, they expect her to know how to manage the technology, trades, vendor relations, budgeting, and personnel issues; but they don't want her spending time pulling wires or changing light bulbs. Marketing managers turn to marketing firms to get things done.

3. The perspective of an outsider

Sometimes, a company's marketing manager knows their company, market, and industry too well. It is easy to assume that the public understands your company as well as you do. A lot of companies don't base their marketing efforts on the latest information and techniques, but on the company's history; or what its owner, executives, or sales department believe.

I see companies that have huge potential and don't realize it; or they don't know how to act on it. They need someone from the outside to help them see and tell their story.

4. Launching
Making a lot of things happen in a short time is the secret to launching a new product. A big, intense, time-consuming push is needed for product launches, service introductions, new outreaches, and events. By nature, an in-house marketing department is staffed to be consistently productive all year-round, not for big pushes.

The expandable resources of a marketing firm can support the marketing manager through these critical times.

5. Expertise

No one can have the latest training, sharpened skills, recent experience, constant practice, leading software, and best equipment needed to cover every area. Companies place advertising, marketing, public relations, trade shows, literature, coordinating with sales and production, websites, SEO, brochures, social, media relations, and communications on the shoulders of a marketing director.

The best marketing managers don't do it all themselves. Instead, a good marketing manager does what every good manager does -- they get things done through the best people available.

6. Outsource management

 There is a limit to how many people and projects a good manager can effectively manage. Yet many marketing managers try to direct-manage more than their limit. Each web developer, writer, researcher, photographer, printer, and graphic artist needs to be managed.

A marketing firm can take the responsibility for managing a project, including supervising people, solving problems, meeting deadlines, and fulfilling expectations. This allows the marketing manager to actually do their job of managing marketing.

7. Market exposure

It is easy to assume that a manager of a company has the best understanding of the business and industry they are in. But it is not a complete understanding. Being on the outside gives a marketing company access to information and experience with competitors, vendors, related and unrelated industries, that completes the picture.

For example, my banker has given me insights into my business that surprised me. Not confidential information, just a perspective and experience that I didn't have access to in my position. A marketing firm, with its broad experience and contacts, can help guide you into the top position in your market.

8. The expert advantage

Getting a company to act on the marketing manager's plans sometimes takes an outside expert making the case to owners or executives. The greater the change required and the investment costs, the greater the need for outside involvement.

In several situations, my contact asked me to present to their company because they needed that outside push to get approval and buy-in.

9. Teamwork

Combining the expertise of an in-house marketing manager with an outside marketing firm can accomplish more than either could do on their own. Marketing works best as a collaboration -- a team effort produces amazing results.

Clients often say that our strategizing sessions with them were the most productive, helpful, and motivating time they have spent on their marketing plans.

10. Researching

Finding and analyzing information can produce new insights, reveal market opportunities, and keep you ahead of the competition -- but it takes time -- which most marketing managers don't have.

Marketing managers use the resources of a marketing firm to find, analyze, and apply information for them.

11. Results

A marketing manager responsible for their budget does not usually have the luxury of experimenting with their company's time and money. They need the latest techniques that work.

A marketing firm applies its experience gathered from working with other companies and projects to create success.

12. Budget

Although costs are often thought of first in making a decision on whether to use in-house or outside marketing resources, true costs are actually dependent on the other factors I have mentioned.

What the marketing manager decides to do makes the difference in whether a company just continues as is, or takes the opportunity to differentiate itself, create demand, drive leads, pull away from the competition, and fulfill its potential.

Do Amazing Things

As a marketing manager, you can do unique and amazing things for your company. You could generate more leads than the company thought possible. Or, turn a product into a household word. Or, make a service so valuable that your customers will pay whatever you charge to have it.

Whether your title is marketing manager, marketing director, vice president of marketing, marketing coordinator, business development manager, regional manager, sales and marketing manager, or owner; if you are the point person in your organization for marketing, it is worth considering these factors before making a decision on your marketing plans.  

A marketing manager and marketing firm working as a team to develop a solid marketing strategy can make you and your company successful.

Photo:by Turoczy
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