By: Elizabeth Johnson
It’s usually a no-brainer to outsource event registration, mobile app design and more. But outsourcing marketing services isn’t so straightforward. Organizations often debate whether to spend money on external resources or handle it all in-house. There are many reasons show organizers should hire outside marketers and they differ as much as the possible outsourcing options—from full service agencies who run your entire effort to skilled consultants who focus on specific areas.
Outsourcing doesn’t have to replace an internal team. It can enhance the work they do a number of ways, including:
- Filling holes—maybe you have a great marketing strategist, but could use strong copywriting or you need a graphic designer who knows digital. Hiring a consultant to fill in specific areas can supplement your team and raise the results level of your entire effort. And the best part—you only pay for the extra help that you need and when you need it.
- Providing an outside perspective—an outside firm or consultant looks at your event from a different point of view and doesn’t bring all of the baggage that comes along with being involved with one event or organization for an extended period of time. They can point out areas to strengthen that aren’t obvious to the internal team because they might be too close to see them.
- Bringing in fresh ideas from other industries—outside agencies and consultants work with multiple clients and work in a variety of industries. They can bring in proven strategies that have worked for other industry events.
- Adding focused expertise—show organizers have their hands in all aspects of the show and don’t have the time to focus on each minute detail such as refining promotional copy or writing weekly blogs posts. Marketers market! They practice their craft every day and continue identifying the latest tactics and learning how to implement them. Having an expert contributor on your team can make producing a campaign much easier.
The key to a successful outsourcing relationship is to know what type of support you need and finding a strong, long-term partner.
- Identify your need and your goals for the partnership—ask yourself what is missing from your current resources? What kind of help would make your team stronger? What is your ideal outcome from the relationship? If you’re issuing an RFP, make sure that you’ve thought about what you really want to know about that agency or person. Outside vendors spend a lot of time crafting the right responses to RFPs so the more specific you can be about your expectations, the better they can respond and fit your needs.
- Ask around—to find potential partners who are doing great work, ask your fellow planners, your other industry vendors, or even your favorite trade publications or associations who they would recommend.
- Keep in mind why you hired outside—long-term, the most successful relationships are those with mutual respect. Allowing your outsourced team to contribute their thoughts on strategy, messaging or design builds a strong bond and a partnership that is beneficial to both parties. Your marketing partner is more than an order-taker—take advantage of the added-value they offer to increase your ROI!
Elizabeth Johnson is founder and principal of glee Content Marketing where she helps clients with strategy, copywriting and social media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.