We recently wrapped up our annual partnership review with one of our top B2B tech clients, and once again it ranks near the top of our most successful marketing relationships. As with any successful venture, we wanted to dig deeper to discover, document and hopefully duplicate what makes this marriage so awesome for both parties.
Background: In Q1 2022 this client hired our Founder & CEO, Tom Ainsley, to serve as their Outsourced Chief Marketing Officer, supported by an Ainsley & Co. Project Manager to help implement and manage all marketing initiatives. They have fully outsourced all of their marketing to our agency, including marketing strategy, project management, and creative services. We are accountable to the CEO and the Executive Team for all things marketing.
We sat down to have a follow-up conversation with our client to make sure we shared from both our perspective and theirs. Here’s what they shared:
Outsourcing your marketing allows your team to focus on what they do best – your core business activities. You’re not in the business of running marketing campaigns – otherwise, you’d be a marketing agency, instead of what you actually are. By outsourcing marketing responsibilities to experts, your in-house staff can dedicate their time and energy to strategic initiatives that directly impact your company’s growth and profitability.
“Focus and simplicity…once you get there, you can move mountains”
– Steve Jobs
Marketing is a multifaceted field that encompasses various disciplines, including SEO, content marketing, graphic design, video production, email marketing, and more. Outsourcing marketing enables B2B companies to access specialized skills and expertise that may not be readily available in-house, and that you may not need full-time. You can harness the knowledge of professionals who stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, ensuring your marketing efforts are cutting-edge. Your needs will change – outsourcing provides a flexible team who can step up when needed to work on your campaigns.
Outsourced marketing allows B2B companies to tap into a wealth of marketing expertise without the hefty price tag of hiring an in-house team (and paying their benefits). From strategic planning to content creation to social media management, outsourcing marketing activities can significantly reduce operational costs. This budget-friendly approach is especially advantageous for small to mid-sized enterprises looking to maximize their marketing ROI.
If you hired them full-time, here are some of the annual costs associated with an in-house marketing team, according to Salary.com:
Comparison: Our typical Fractional CMO engagement can vary between $5k – $15k/month, with wholly outsourced marketing typically costing between $8-$20k/month, depending on the scale and urgency of the client’s needs. When you outsource, say goodbye to the costs of benefits like healthcare, vacation time, retirement, taxes, etc.
Outsourcing their entire marketing department has empowered them to have very clear, direct conversations about marketing performance and accountability. When they hired us, they were very clear that they wanted us to study the company, create a strategic marketing plan with the input of their executive team, and then execute it. Because we’re embedded with their team with regular weekly calls, we’re able to provide real-time updates and receive immediate feedback from the sales team on how our efforts are impacting new leads, closing ratios, and revenue goals. They’ve shared that because we’re outsourced, and can move around pieces of our creative team based on what’s working, and what’s not – they are much more likely to give direct, immediate feedback while also being bolder and open to trying something new without fear of having to hire several specialists, only to have layoffs later if needs change.
The flexibility of outsourced marketing services is a game-changer for businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re in a period of rapid growth or facing economic challenges, outsourcing allows you to scale your marketing efforts up or down as needed. This adaptability ensures that your marketing strategy aligns with your business goals at all times.
Effective marketing management requires close collaboration between different teams and departments within an organization, especially the sales and marketing teams. With this client, we participate in a Sales-Tactical meeting each Monday, and a Sales-Leadership meeting each Thursday. While many of the conversations may be focused on active sales opportunities, it gives our team the direct access and insights we need to tailor the messaging and targeting of our lead gen campaigns to be as efficient as possible. It also gives the sales team confidence knowing exactly what we’re working on and provides the opportunity for them to ask for collateral they need, or provide feedback on the quality of the marketing-generated leads in the pipeline.
It doesn’t stop with the sales team. We also work with their head of Account Management, the Director of CyberSecurity, the Head of Operations, the CFO, and others to support the needs of the organization. We ARE a part of their team.
As an agency, sometimes we’re fenced in to only work on a specific project or campaign. And while we give everything we have, sometimes we don’t have the visibility or authority to make larger business decisions that ultimately could make the company more successful. In this Outsourced Marketing role, we love having the ability to dive into what an organization does really well, determine where there are growth opportunities, develop a strategy that will help them reach their growth goals, within their budget, and then execute in a way that delivers meaningful, measurable results.
When we are put in the driver’s seat for all things marketing, that means we’re ultimately responsible. And when we’re confident that we’re executing a plan founded on sound marketing principles, data-driven decision-making, and creativity – that’s exactly where we want to be.
The marketing budget should be built by both the marketing and executive management teams, and it HAS to be built with flexibility in mind. In many small and mid-sized organizations, the initial budget may go out the window in just the first few months, but that’s something marketing leadership should plan for. Your must-haves, and nice-to-haves in terms of marketing priorities should be clearly outlined, because market conditions, sales activity, cost-of-goods, backlog, and more can all warrant shifts in marketing spending. It’s our job to help the business thrive, and that means being proactive with a marketing budget that can also be flexible to adjust to changing winds.
Most small and mid-sized businesses would greatly benefit by staying laser-focused on what they produce, and how they serve their customers. An outsourced marketing team can deliver leadership, innovation, scalability, and the varied skills needed to deliver a great marketing ROI for what it would cost to carry just a few full-time employees, whether that be in marketing leadership, creative services, or project management. The business case to outsource some, or all of your marketing function for small and mid-sized businesses is clear. We’d love to have a conversation about how we can help your company scale and grow.