Marketing is the “SKILLS” practiced by the group of individuals or by an organization. These skills are used to sell the products or services to the people out in the market along with the study and coordination of exchange relationships. Today, the most challenging situation for marketers is to deal with the diverse number, taste, and preference of customers.

A marketer along with growth requirements should have a rich understanding of their customer’s needs, wants and demands. And that is exactly what small businesses do not have time to do. Nor the sufficient resources to invest.

In this context, how does an SME manager react to a marketing outsourcing offer?

The outsourcing of certain tasks has now entered into the normal operation of the company, whatever its size. The most obvious? Accounting: the vast majority of very small companies work with an accountant. But also payroll management, logistics, computer maintenance or recruitment.

The marketing function has followed the same path for 10 to 15 years in constant progression, but however on a smaller scale, and that’s what it’s interesting!

Outsourcing today is seen as the art of delegating the entire marketing demands of an organization. An experienced management team in the subject matter has given an n number of decision-making factors for outsourcing. They have successfully explained on how to reduce overhead expenses which will lead an organization to even operate with the bare bone marketing team.

Let’s get into the three core concepts of outsourcing marketing.

  1. Marketing or Communication?

For a small business and even an SME, there is often no difference between business strategy and marketing strategy. And Triptych thinks it’s the best approach in reality. By cons, many leaders see only the tip of the iceberg marketing: Communication.

We do marketing because we do communication: display, flyers, commercial brochures, and folders for salespeople, promotions, e-mailings or SMS campaigns. Recently, very small companies have been investing in social networks, with more or less happiness.

The notions of marketing and communication are therefore mixed for the leader.

The entrepreneur faced with doubt

The providers of the communication market are often very specialized: web agencies, graphic designers, event communication agencies, social network specialists, content marketing agencies, internet SEO specialists, etc. The outsourcing offers for communication is therefore well present and ask for it too!

But it is up to the manager to think about his strategy upstream to bring in these service providers in an efficient way and according to his own commercial objectives. In most cases, he is alone at this level.

Communication providers will essentially preach for their parish, leaving the entrepreneur alone faced with choices that he does not necessarily control the various elements, alone in the face of his doubts that are legitimate.

Marketing and communication: different and complementary roles

Because communication communicates … truism or stating the obvious facts? Yes! But a good evidence is sometimes very telling. The communication has the function of transmitting a message using a channel or a media.

Communication must convey the message in order to reach the right target, at the right time, in a striking way (i.e. effective for a given purpose).

And marketing in all this? It’s simple: marketing is a set of tools and methods that make communication really effective!

Marketing makes it possible to justify choices in relation to objectives. We can also consider that the marketing approach is upstream of the communication. Without any notion of value! Whoever does marketing is no more “noble” than one who does communication. They are actually very complementary.

The marketing will thus allow defining the most profitable targets, the best way to convince them (to buy), to define by which channels the touch, the best ideas to stand out from the competition compared to its competitors and how to control the results.

The image of the fisherman

Let’s take a concrete and fun picture: fishing. I want to fish some nice sea bream for a family meal. I need a fishing rod adapted and a hook that will surely attract this dear little sparidae (family of sea bream). This is the role of communication! Attract and shoe.

On the other hand, it will also be necessary for me to know where to go to put my fishing rod. If I go fishing in the river, I will take fish, but certainly not sea bream! It should be known that this fish is seaside, and it is more likely to have a good fishing in the spring and summer. In addition, fishing near an oyster farm will have a much larger potential for fish. That’s the role of marketing!

In the end, the leaders of TPE – PME are like our fisherman, they want above all to achieve their objectives: to have more prospects, and to transform them more easily into customers.

And it is here that marketing allows communication to be more efficient, more profitable, and more profitable to the company and its leader. The marketing will allow the leader to organize his communication (internal or external), to define a much more effective strategy, much more profitable in the short term and in time.

The place of marketing in an SME

Now let’s look at where the marketing is in an SME. There are finally 3 big cases:

1) The manager manages the marketing alone

2) A person is in charge of marketing in addition to his other missions

3) Nobody does marketing…

Random and inefficient marketing

In the cases of figure 1 and 2, the available times are more or less variable, the marketing tasks take a lot of time, the actions are slowed down by other priorities, and in the end, what could bear fruit is constantly shifted or never materialize.

The loss of opportunities is real but the lack of internal resources, the lack of available time block the process.

Sometimes all the levers of growth are not implemented for lack of knowledge. Indeed, how to implement an effective campaign on social networks when we do not know this new mode of communication? How to be sure that the actions will carry? What can we imagine to differentiate? And at the end of the day how to choose and negotiate with the right providers?

Underestimated marketing benefits

Go through a provider type of communication agency is the solution, after many questions asked internally, after several months to ask if it’s worth it if we really need.

And yet to the question “Do we really need more customers?” The answer is often yes!

The leader, therefore, relies on a communication agency to launch a campaign, but often without having realized upstream the reflection that will allow

1) To design a really effective campaign

2) To put in place control measures to measure profitability and to trace the results at the commercial level.

Leaving to incur communication costs, as much put all the chances on his side, no?

It is precisely at this stage that outsourced marketing brings all its value: relying on an experienced profile to remove doubts, accelerate what will be profitable, ensure the required profitability, measure, and justify on behalf of the manager the choices in matters of communication.

This last point is often critical elsewhere. The manager hesitates because to incur costs without having an assurance of results is anxiety. This permanent hesitation is often due to the vision of the leader: What communication? With which providers? At what costs? For which results?

An outsourced marketing support answers these doubts thanks to:

– An upstream strategy (to maximize your chances)

– Control of objectives downstream (control to reassure the leader).

Sometimes no marketing at all

The company does not do marketing at all. It does good communication through: any company communicates in one way or another. Every company has a commercial action (otherwise, there is no turnover). This case is more difficult because the marketing culture is not present.

This is the case where the company accumulates a lack of resources internally, lacks the time and lacks the right skills.

Here, marketing outsourcing brings a triple value: resources, time, and skills.

Provided of course that there is a will on the part of the leader…

The entrepreneur does not believe it

Another case, often insoluble for outsourced marketing agencies: business is running, there is no need for marketing.

We go through a communication agency or a graphic designer to make our brochures and our catalogs, that’s enough. We have our customers, no need to make additional expenses let alone go through a hiring or marketing agency.

I am looking for solutions to stand out, to be more visible, to stand out, to attract more prospects, but the solutions that I am offered do not suit me.

Here, unfortunately, there is not much to do. The leader is not ready to invest even a very small fraction of his turnover. Or just do not believe it.

Faced with this configuration, marketing outsourcing is not the solution, since there is no strategic will to use it, and sometimes even … no growth objective.

III. Why does an entrepreneur outsource his marketing?

As we have seen, without the will to make profitable its actions and without the will of growth there cannot be an offer of marketing outsourcing adapted.

An SME that outsources its marketing is an SME that does not have the necessary resources but aims at a growth objective or that fights against a significant competition.

Still from the point of view of the entrepreneur, what are the factors that decide a leader of TPE-SME to outsource its marketing?

Seeking growth to sustain its business

A curious assertion will you say to me … Any SME aims at growth. Well, think again! Some of the very small and small businesses in France are very happy with what they have.

This is not criticized and it is also a strategy: to sustain the activity as it is, with the resources as they are, for a constant net result from one year to another.

It is a risky strategy in reality: one day or another one or more competitors will want to develop, and they will do it at the expense of these companies in status quo.

The leaders of TPE – PME can adapt to the customers, but the most uncertain element of the market is the competition. These companies will see their activity decline, their net result quickly melt because one or more competitors have decided one morning to grow. In terms of business, even local, even small, growth rhymes with sustainability.

Develop your sales with Marketing Outsourcing

This is the main promise of marketing outsourcing in the end. Companies are trying to solve a problem that is stated very simply: more turnover.

This is a simple problem because the equation holds for 2 variables:

– More prospects to deal with

– More prospects turned into customers

More leads imply an increase in visibility, an increase in notoriety, but not only. It is also better to talk to these prospects to make them want.

More prospects turned into customers involve sales support tools that work and that amplify the commercial discourse.

Purchasing behavior has changed dramatically in recent years. Prospecting is becoming longer and harder. More informed, buyers compare before even meeting companies. More connected, the information they seek is immediately accessible.

For the buyer, the transaction comes at the end of the process: in “short-list”, the company must have striking and adapted sales tools. And marketing helps to work these tools.

Marketing becomes the link between communication and sales to attract the prospect, to give him the information he is looking for and to produce the sales tools that will reinforce the commercial discourse.

Outsourcing Marketing: Invest, but little!

How was marketing done 15 years ago? By hiring a marketing manager. Company cost (net salary + salary charges + employer’s contributions): about € 50,000 for a junior profile and “from € 65,000 for a senior profile.

At these salary levels, it is essential to have an operating result that can absorb this additional payroll but also enough marketing activity to justify a dedicated position. And this is rarely the case in a small business or even an SME.

The marketing outsourcing allows to benefit from a marketing manager at a level of activity defined by the leader, and for an annual cost which will not only low but especially (especially!) Quickly compensated by the gains in terms of growth.

Flexibility, what the hell!

In an SME when you want to do marketing, it’s right now. The opportunity has emerged, the leader wants to find other sources of growth, the moment is right, the business leader has decided or the activity requires an external vision, new ideas … C ‘ is now and in the coming months.

Recruitment takes already 3 to 4 months. And the employment contract binds the company in the long term.

And in 6 months? In 12 months? Things are changing fast for an SME. Even more for a TPE. An employment contract can be very blocking and very heavy, but a marketing outsourcing contract must not be.

If the standard is for outsourcing contracts to be based on a one-year commitment, the flexibility must be written in the contract.

It is necessary that the head of the enterprise has the possibility to reduce the wing, or on the contrary to enlarge it. But in any case, the entrepreneur must have a freedom on his contract, while respecting the provider company.

Senior skills alongside the company manager

The use of marketing outsourcing is hampered by the manager’s uncertainty: will this provider be able to help me when I need it? Will it be able to bring me new solutions while my employees, specialists in my profession, do not always succeed? Will his skills be at the level of what I expect?

In fact, what do we finally see? Companies that sometimes prefer to move towards specialized profiles but not really related to marketing: web developers to whom we will entrust some of the marketing management, social network specialists who will be involved to build the communication strategy and its control tools, highly efficient employees in their field but who will be asked to carry out marketing actions they do not control.

And of course the most irrational: “we have marketing needs, take a trainee that will cost less”.

To work in confidence, the business leader needs a specialist who acts as a consultant at his side, a senior profile that has had multiple experiences and the necessary perspective. If the boss of SMEs has recourse to outsourcing, it is precise because these skills are missing in his company.

Make a Difference in the Market with Marketing Outsourcing

Less than 19% of companies outsource all or part of their marketing including Internet marketing and social media marketing. Finally, it is very good news for those who decide to use an outsourcing agency!

They profit from an organized marketing, oriented sales and results, they implement a marketing which is justified with respect to their objectives and means of control to report to the leader, they use new ideas in a field which evolves enormously, their executives are advised by a senior profile while strongly limiting their investment in this type of recruitment.

In short, these VSEs – SMEs that call for outsourcing marketing enjoys a very real and very concrete advantage over their competitors who remain on their methods and on the same principles of communication.

Outsourcing marketing becomes a competitive advantage over companies that do not do so or that add to their expenses by hiring.

No risk for the company

This point is perhaps the most important: the risk for the company.

The risk of doing what the company’s current providers are already doing, when in fact marketing outsourcing will make these benefits much more effective.

The risk of having precise performance measures … We like our agency or our web agency. An outsourced marketing service will seek to measure actual results. But in any case, it will be for the benefit of the company and the manager.

The cost risk for the company: the cost is precisely the great strength of marketing outsourcing with contracts that start at a few hundred euros per month.

The risk of soaring expenses: marketing leads to communication actions, which also have a cost. Marketing outsourcing will probably be based more on the budget defined by the company rather than seeking to add expenses…

The risk of being linked to a rigid service: It is up to the manager to be vigilant on the point of flexibility. The contract MUST be changeable in duration at any time.

Risk on skills (or relationship): A marketing outsourcing contract must include a test phase. A bit like a trial period. This is a rare clause in the field of marketing outsourcing and it is a shame: it allows the business leader to comfort his choice, precisely without any risk!

In conclusion

For small businesses and SMEs, outsourcing their marketing has a lot of advantages. Or almost: an upcoming article will make the comparison between outsourcing and internalization marketing.

As in many cases, the use of marketing outsourcing depends on the will of the manager.

First, a desire for commercial growth (the driving force of the decision). Growth rhymes with sustainability. If the company does not want growth, forget about marketing.

Then the acceptance that the company does not have all the resources to implement this growth: Going for external skills is already the case for other functions, and marketing is no exception. The marketing function is 100% outsourced.

Finally, the notions of cost and risk, the “negative” values that block the decision: this is precisely where the marketing outsourcing offers must adapt to the VSE / SME Type Company.

Convincing the interest of doing marketing is not the critical point. The leaders are not idiots, they see the interest very well … Outsourcing marketing is a service offered like any other: on the one hand the product characteristics and on the other side the ability to reassure the buyer, the to help pass the milestone of this signature so difficult to affix at the bottom of a contract.

It is with these propositions of common sense that the bosses of TPE / SME will be able to outsource their marketing as they do with their accounting or their computer science.