This approach has its advantages, allowing companies to keep tight control over their delivery, and in some cases, it keeps costs minimal. However, internalising all of your company’s processes doesn’t always pay off. This is particularly the case with marketing, where marketing agencies have individuals with expertise and a much wider range of capabilities than you could build internally and in many cases they can perform work more efficiently at a lower overall cost.

Recognising this problem I often get asked how can you tell when it’s more efficient to recruit your own marketing staff, and when it’s more efficient to outsource the work?

Below are some guidelines that may indicate it’s time to start outsourcing your marketing:

1. Your turnover isn’t growing fast enough.

Your marketing isn’t the only factor responsible for delivering turnover growth, but if you do find your turnover to be growing slower than usual or slower than you’d like, it could be time to outsource at least some of your marketing efforts. Most marketing agencies measure their success in terms of ROI (return on investment) . Essentially, they’ll be able to link their efforts to a specific amount of new turnover, giving you an objective insight into how much extra turnover you’re generating per your outsourced marketing spend. If you are not already measuring this, or if you have no way of determining how much turnover impact your marketing efforts is having, it’s a good idea to engage the help of an outside agency.

Likewise, if you do measure this and you find that your turnover isn’t growing as fast as your marketing spend, it could be an indication that it’s time to seek outside assistance.

2. Your marketing team is overworked.

This is common, especially for small firms with only a small marketing team and where you can’t currently afford to recruit another full time employee. If this is the case, it’s beneficial to engage a marketing agency for a finite number of tasks, rather than a blanket strategy.

3. Your marketing is thrown together.

Great marketing requires time and thought, two things busy marketers don’t always have time for. Ideally, each campaign would start out with a brainstorming session, combined with research and evidence of results from similar campaigns. Then, it would be created, and refined in an iterative process that eventually produces the best finished product. Then, after a series of tests, it’s rolled out gradually and carefully measured.

This ideal scenario doesn’t exist for many. If you find yourself shortcutting any of these steps and just throwing all your materials together in an improvised solution, you can be sure that you aren’t getting the most out of your marketing budget. Too many of these last minute marketing meetings can compromise your reputation in addition to wasting your budget. Once again get the help of a marketing agency so you can have the time and resources to develop a campaign properly.

4. You’re limited to a handful of marketing channels.

Many marketers fall in the trap of using the same marketing channels over and over again. It’s a trap that many marketers fall into. More established industries, like manufacturing, often end up focusing only on printed advertisements, while newer tech startups tend to focus heavily on free or cheap online strategies, like social media marketing. These might be the best use of resources, but new options are always emerging, and if you don’t have the expertise to explore them, you could be missing out.

Marketing agencies usually have a broader range of experience, so you can rely on them to help direct you to the best channels, or at least possibilities for new channels in addition to your traditional strategies.

 5. You’re disappointed with your marketing efforts.

If just disappointed with the marketing results you’ve been getting, you might as well entrust your marketing in the hands of an experienced agency. If you’re already losing ground, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.