When to Insource Versus Outsource Your Financial Marketing
How to maximize your combined resources for the BEST results
What to do or what not to do. That is always the question! It’s a common narrative by industry coaches to “pick the three things that only you can do, and delegate the rest!” But what happens when you delegate important “big stuff” to an internal team that doesn’t know where to start? Or conversely, you delegate the “little stuff” to an outside team of experts. Neither is efficient or cost-effective. In the first scenario, your team is spinning their wheels and left to their own knowledge and capabilities to just “figure out” how to get you what you need. In the latter, you’re paying consulting rates for administrative tasks. Neither is a good idea for a business owner.
Let’s reset the narrative. Yes, you should only do what you do best. And then your team, whether internal or external, should only focus on what they do best. Nothing too far above or below their pay grade.
I recently had a conversation with an advisor who needed more clarification on the appropriate times to use an in-house team versus outsourcing to a third-party. For them, as I’m sure for many others, there was confusion on what’s considered “strategic work” and qualifies hiring a pro, versus what’s considered “tactical work” that can easily be executed by an internal employee.
In a nutshell, tactical work is the execution. It’s doing the work to execute the strategic vision and plan. For an advisor, an employee in the marketing role may work to:
- Set appointments with prospects
- Confirm RSVPs for a workshop or client event
- Post content (strategically planned) and nurture relationships on social media
- Update a website with a new blog or media placement
- Coordinate the details of your next event
- Manage your prospect database, and similar
However, giving them the direction to execute each of their job functions correctly is the strategic work, and is the portion you should consider outsourcing to a marketing pro. The BEST-case scenario is when your vision, strategy and execution align. Here are four scenarios you should almost always consider bringing in a marketing expert!
#1 Brand Development.
You don’t want to build a brand by accident. The last thing you want to do is throw a lot of information out into the marketplace and let people interpret what it means and how (or if) it can help them. You do that, and eventually, they start tuning you out. Brand building is strategic and thoughtful. Often advisors make the mistake in assuming any information is the right information and clutter up their focus and message in the marketplace, making it difficult for a potential prospect to clearly understand who you are, what you do and the benefit you could bring to them.
In order to build and maintain the brand, you and your team need to clearly understand and articulate what that brand of represents. An expert can help you strategize the who, what, when, where and why of a brand, and provide you language and guidelines to use when communicating on behalf of the company. With a brand strategy in place uniting all your efforts, an internal team can keep the intent and focus top-of-mind when performing any tactical work for the company.
#2 Educated Opinion.
Your internal team is there to support you and follow your lead—whether or not it’s in the right direction. You may have a new, revolutionary, out-of-the-box idea to grow your business exponentially and are ready to invest all your time and resources into making it happen. You tell your team, and one of two things happen:
1) They sense your enthusiasm, and if you think it could work, they’re ready to support you. You’re their paycheck after all, and the boss so your team may not go on a limb to reign you in from what could be a bad business move (even if they feel that way). Or,
2) They tell you it’s a bad idea, to which you think they’re closed-minded and question what they know anyway about strategic business moves.
Stop right there! Getting an outside, educated opinion at the germ of the idea can help you to shape the vision and direction in a way that’s most executable and profitable. Or, a knowledgeable third-party can tell you why it’s an uphill battle not worth pursuing and provided substantiated reasoning as to why not. Tap into their experience and observations from others in the industry on what’s working and what’s not; get a second, objective opinion and brainstorm with a marketing-mind on the action steps to take to set you and your team up for success.
Plan your work, work your plan. It’s a simple as that. If you want your team to manage day-to-day activities that contribute to building your brand and awareness in the marketplace and attracting, converting and retaining clients—plan their work. Depending on the initiative, a strategy can be set each week, month, quarter or year that your team can work to execute without question.
Common marketing-related initiatives that an internal team can manage and frequencies include:
- Weekly social media calendars, including what types of posts on what platforms and on which days
- Monthly content updates, including topics, format (such as blog, web, offers, white papers and similar,) and the platforms to post
- Quarterly communications, including client correspondence and events and what pieces are needed by when to be distributed
- Annual marketing plans, including coordinated lead generation and marketing initiatives and what needs to happen by when to execute each
A third-party can help to set the strategy and process that an internal team can manage over the course of the time period. Knowing what you need and by when can help you be more strategic in your content development and message, (whether developed internally or outsourced) and empower your team to manage the process from start to finish.
#4 Technical Expertise.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, your financial services professional or work for one, and are not a web developer, a publicist, a copywriter, SEO expert or ad executive. You contribute in some capacity to serving the financial needs of a client. Each of these other aforementioned areas is a separate career and require a level of technical expertise to be able to perform the desired function.
Taking time away from what you do best to attempt to pursue functions of other career paths is inefficient, and largely ineffective. In the long run, you or your team will spend more time and energy on trying to learn how to build your website, for example, than the investment it would take to get it done professionally by outsourcing it to a third-party. In the end, you’ll get better results much quicker, by working with a technical expert than you or your team could get on your own.
Don’t stress out your internal team by giving them things that are more advanced or specialized than their capable or interested in doing. And don’t waste your resources by asking an outsourced team to perform simple tactical work. Remember the BEST-case scenario is outsourcing for:
- Brand Development
- Educated Opinions
- Strategic Planning
- Technical Expertise
Knowing how to effectively use internal talent with external resources and scale as needed is a critical component to fast-tracking your success as a financial services professional.
Need help developing any of these BEST-case scenarios for your practice?
Contact us today to learn more about how our team can be of help!
Alana Kohl, founder and president of AdvisorPR, is an accomplished publicist, published author, brand strategist and trusted marketing consultant. Alana’s decade plus of experience in the financial services industry has led to the creation of AdvisorPR’s innovative and all-inclusive marketing communications programs, helping financial professionals and organizations define, support and promote unique brands. Established in 2005, AdvisorPR is a branding, marketing and public relations firm dedicated to providing custom and turnkey marketing communications solutions exclusively to financial professionals and the corporate companies that serve them.