Outsourced Marketing Start-up To The Point

Plans For Your Marketing Budget

What is your digital marketing strategy? According to a 2015 survey, 80% of digital marketing executives at B2B and B2C companies plan to increase their digital marketing budgets over the next 12-18 months. Half of those making increases plan to do so by 5-10%, and 40% plan for 10-25% increases.

Part of these marketing budget increases could come from plans to bringing in new hires. However, just having the budget to hire isn’t everything; it is still a challenge to find those great employees. Locating and attracting skilled talent, affording quality staffing, retaining employees, and fitting those into the company culture are all top concerns expressed by businesses.  Increasingly, hires are coming in the form of contract and freelance workers. In the next year, it is expected that only 23% of companies will use 100% permanent employees.

The top marketing skills companies are looking for are digital/social management, content creation, big data/analytics, and mobile strategies. With new technologies emerging weekly, there is less demand for traditional marketing skills. Businesses will be looking for digital experts who can effectively incorporate mobile, video, and social platforms into their strategy – platforms that they predict will become key drivers of customer engagement.

So how are companies going to meet these marketing demands? In most cases, there are three main resources available.

New hiresThe New Guys

With the wide array of marketing media, it becomes difficult to find a new hire that is well-versed in all of them, let alone one. As the list of skills gets longer and the level of experience gets higher, the pool of candidates gets smaller – and more expensive. As a result, recruiters are faced with sacrificing certain criteria in order to at least meet others. Settling for new talent will weigh less on the budget and could even allow for multiple hires, but marketing departments will need time to train these individuals. If urgency is an issue, a seasoned marketer could be a better hire to hit the ground running, but it will take a sizable portion of that budget and likely still leave competency gaps.

Freelance marketerThe Freelancer

Let’s revisit that statistic from earlier: “Only 23% of companies will use 100% permanent employees.” Outsourcing is a strong choice for marketing budget use. Finding a copy writer to develop content, a data analyst to measure campaign results, or a strategic consultant to brainstorm campaigns is easier than ever with the aid of the Internet. There are still a few things to watch out for, like work ethic or fit. A screening process and portfolio review will be crucial to finding the right freelancer. Businesses will also need some assurance that they’re receiving the appropriate level of attention, which can be difficult to assess. For some more structure, companies turn to agencies.

Marketing Agency TeamThe Agency

Finding a marketing agency will almost always be a larger investment than freelancing, but is also often easier on budget and time limits than making a new hire. An agency’s business thrives on pleasing clients and producing stellar marketing materials, so portfolios are typically out in the open, making it easy to find the right fit even before initial hiring conversations. Speaking of fit, it’s important to take note of an agency’s competencies and approach to marketing. Depending on a business’s needs, one provider may be more suitable than another. A business should consider if they need a branding focus, a lead funnel solution, or advertising specialization before choosing their agency partner. The best agencies will have a diverse team that can deliver solutions for most projects, but sometimes a specialized firm will be a better choice if the business has a more specific need.

Ultimately, one of the biggest influences (other than available funds) on marketing budget use will be length of engagement. Consider your options, review your needs, and see what will fit best for your business in the long- and short-term to yield the greatest ROI.