Marketing can be defined as the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. As American Marketing Association explains “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”.
Traditional vs Digital Marketing vs Modern Marketing
Traditional marketing generally refers to any type of promotion, advertising or campaigns done on print advertisements such as newsletters, billboards, flyers, newspaper advertisement, radio and television spots or commercials.
Digital marketing is the promotion of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the Internet, mobile phones, display advertisements etc. It differs from traditional marketing since it involves the use of channels and methods that enable an organisation to analyze marketing data and understand what is working and what is not, according to SAS (2016).
Meanwhile, Olive and Co, a marketing company defines “Modern Marketing is a holistic, adaptive methodology that connects brands with real customers and drives business results by blending strategy, creativity, technology and analysis”.
Marketing today has become complex and sophisticated as unlike old days this is now driven by digital channels such as web, email and social media. Today’s professional marketers need to have the knowledge of technology and integrating media channels. Xander Marketing Guide mentions that small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) often operate in competitive marketplace. They need a experienced, strategic, integrated and consistent approach to develop themselves therefore outsourcing is an option to think about. In fact, companies that have long outsourced marketing activities are now making a fundamental changes on marketing operations and analytics. Firms have a plenty of areas to concentrate on such as development and reporting, content creation, communications, Internet and social media management and more (Tribal Vision, 2014).
However, scale to top of marketing for any organisation, it takes time, resource and knowledge and requires continuous training. In view of this, organisations need to decide whether marketing is best undertaken in-house or outsourced. If the decision is to outsource, identifying weaknesses and strengths of both organisations will be beneficial in the first place. Nonetheless, following are the pro and cons of marketing outsource according to Global Journal of Management and Business Research (2015):
- The vendor organisation has a single entity to manage;
- Experienced personnel from the outsource companies that can be scaled to suit projects;
- The vendor company only pays for the services used;
- Allows the vendor to make improvement on their core competencies and boost productivity;
- Frees up in-house personnel for more critical or sensitive matters;
- Smooth integration of two companies brings in innovative ideas and added energy.
Risk of costs – It can be costly if the approach is unplanned, uncoordinated and failure to invest time;
- Risk of inconsistency – Partnering with a good marketing agency has more possibility to support transparent marketing strategy;
- Choosing the wrong partner – Selecting an agency that lacks the all-important capabilities to meet the organisational needs will bring difficulties (Alistair Norman, 2011).
Relationship and Win
Experts believe, the relationship between the organisation and outsource provider is more appropriate to build as business partners, because they both have the responsibility to work closely to improve the efficiency. The services or products that do not meet a desired level of quality will make a bad impact on the reputation of both companies. Understanding the above, the companies have to carefully choose suppliers that they can trust and share their vision by examining their past performance (Vitasek, Ledyard & Manrodt, 2013).
A Bain & Co. study of 2,000 companies over 10 years found that only one in 10 companies achieved sustainable growth over marketing outsourcing. Whatever the circumstance is, 85% of the winning companies have used capability sourcing more broadly and precisely than their competitors. It further indicates companies must find new ways to dominate their markets and smart outsourcing is a better strategy to help the company secure its position within that 10%.
Determining the quality of the outsource marketer’s services is a tough task even after the function is outsourced. This is because the outsourcer is unable to monitor and manage them closely unlike managing in-house employees. On the positive side, the costs involved in hiring, training and managing employees for marketing function is left to the outsourcing company, allowing the outsourcer to focus its time and resources in improving its productivity.