By Anna StricklerHighRock

Whether your business has a fully staffed marketing team or you’re a one-man show, it can be tricky to know when to tackle a project in house versus outsourcing.  In part 1 of this blog series, we offered a few DO’S of outsourcing, but what are the pitfalls of bringing in outside help?

A great irony of working in technology is that things seem to happen instantaneously, but the actual work behind it can be very time intensive. As artists and thinkers, our work is a source of pride; we put our everything into our projects at HighRock. Whether it is building a logo from scratch, laying out a brand new marketing campaign, or drawing out a storyboard for a video, we want our work to be a reflection of your mission – your dream for the project brought to life.

For an outsourced marketing project to be successful, it is essential that both parties are aware of the desired outcome from the very beginning. One of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau is “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” If you decide to collaborate with an external team, tell them all about your castles in the sky. If all goes well, they’ll come back with a blueprint for the foundation. Most issues arise when one or two parties are unaware of the overall goal, the achievable outcome, the time and strategy involved in the process. To best prepare yourself for a successful collaboration, here’s a handy list of DON’TS when it comes to outsourcing:

The DON’TS of Outsourcing:

    • Don’t believe that change occurs overnight: Sustainable change takes time. You may feel that the time your new marketing team devotes to strategy is tedious. However, every member of an external team is cognizant that each aspect of a new project is measurable, and setting expectations is paramount. If you were hoping that your new logo would bring in 25% more customers in six months, check with your team and see if this is a reasonable goal. Meaningful impact takes time, and there is rarely a simple solution for complex issues. If you choose to work with a marketing team to achieve specific goals, trust that they are almost as invested in your business as you are. Measuring ROI is an integral piece of any new project and at HighRock it is a huge part of how we define success.
    • Don’t get stuck in a rut: When you reach out for help with your marketing, it’s easy to feel that you know exactly what you want. However, if along the way you find that the path is looking different than you expected, don’t be discouraged. Maybe you were convinced that bright blue would work best for your logo, but discover that the rest of your team prefers green – don’t worry! Some of the most extraordinary ideas can come from open-minded collaboration. And remember, marketing creatives work in a highly competitive industry and want to be proud of every single creation – if they provide constructive feedback, trust the professionals! Worried about your brand’s consistency? A common fear that a business may experience when entering uncharted territory is that a proposed idea wavers from their overall mission statement, or is not compatible with their marketing strategy as a whole. Trew Marketing suggests that you shouldn’t be worried when pairing up with the right agency, because they’ll know the best way to stay consistent in your voice and tone. Developing a relationship of trust between teams can almost always assure you a successful outcome.
    • Don’t overthink it: That’s probably not what you want to hear – but hear me out. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of your marketing strategy – but remember that all of those crazy ideas and processes are simply a process of dispelling information and propelling your business forward! Marketing teams approach projects like those rhomboid-shaped Rubik’s cubes that require an extra bit of skill – we love the challenge of taking something complicated and making it simple. And, it’s fun. Let us take care of the complicated part, that’s our job. Simplify, simplify, simplify – and don’t get stuck in the muck.
    • Don’t only ask for advice inside your industry: Consider meeting with a strategy professional who isn’t involved in your business. Sometimes we can get lost in our own industries and continue incentivizing systems that are archaic. It can be helpful to obtain a third-party opinion, which lends hand to interpreting your data with zero bias. Tribal Vision recommends pairing up across industries, allowing you to develop a comprehensive strategy based on observation of a wide sample of businesses and industries.  While you may not always hear what you expected, new voices tend to add a new perspectives regardless.
    • Don’t forget about your own team’s strengths: We’ve all done it: worn our reading glass or sunglasses on the top of our heads and wondered where they are. Or worse, held our smartphones and exclaimed “I wonder where I put my phone!” Sometimes we need only look as far as our own team to find the help we need. If one of your current team members or an internal marketing individual has a background in graphic design – utilize their education! It is easy to get caught up in the process and forget what is right in front of us. If a member of your internal marketing team declares that they have mastered Google Analytics, maybe let them see what they can do to improve your website’s SEO. Once you have utilized the strengths of your internal team, it is easier to see which areas may need some assistance.

    Ready to take a step back and start making the right call on outsourcing? We’d love to help! Reach out online or call 301-791-1221 to get the conversation started.

    Anna Strickler, Marketing Associate, HighRock

    Anna’s work experience spans a variety of industries, ranging from non-profits to education. Prior to working at HighRock, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, she worked in front-end web development for a marketing company in Virginia. She brings that precision and attention to detail to her work at HighRock, as well as a deep breadth of knowledge from her studies of history and literature at the University of Virginia.

    Anna loves incorporating her creative background and passion for language to bring a client’s ideas to life. As part of our marketing team, Anna works closely with our customers and marketing executives to manage projects from initial conception to final completion.

    In her free time, Anna enjoys running, gardening with her husband on their family’s farm, exploring local restaurants and poetry. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ethan, and one very large cat named Neville.

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