Here’s my view, right upfront: You should not outsource your marketing; rather you should gradually insource it. Marketing is simply too important a business function, with too much room for nonsense to trust outsiders for extended periods of time. Your marketing should be an in-house function.

However, in saying that, having certain partners to help with specialized tasks is a good idea. Developing your brand identity is something that requires a professional and, in my opinion, classically trained graphic designer that will set you away a good sum of money. Clearly you don’t need someone like this on an ongoing basis. The same is true for building your website or printing a new brochure. These are once off functions that should be outsourced. But ongoing communication should not be outsourced, in any case not as a long term solution.

Ongoing marketing activities should gradually be performed inside the business. Your business should do its own social media, its own website maintenance, its own copywriting and track its own marketing analytics. In short, you need to take ownership of your marketing because this is the only way you will seriously engage with it and ensure it is properly integrated into your sales process.

Since the onset of digital marketing it has become customary for agencies to bamboozle clients with technicalities, letting them believe they can’t do it themselves. The simple truth is marketing is too important for business growth to outsource it. The question is not “what marketing functions should you outsource”, but rather “how can I gradually develop an in-house marketing department”. That’s the spirit! What functions should you bring in-house first, second, third? The way to determine this, is through a marketing plan. A marketing plan clarifies what marketing your business will do and how much you will invest in each function and who will be doing what. It is at this last stage where you should take the chance to insource as much as possible.

Doing marketing successfully requires a close finger on the pulse. The marketing function does not operate in a silo and keeping it outsourced will make it difficult to do the necessary adjustments and measure a return on investment. Marketing is like a child – it can give you great joy, but you need to keep a constant eye on it.

Have you developed a marketing plan for your business yet? Do you know who is going to do what? Importantly, have you decided what your business should do itself!

Bring your Marketing, Sales and Branding questions to this group for an interactive session: More details here