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expert marketing
financial outlay
marketing process
good marketing
own marketing
marketing company
target
nervousness
Finding Expert Marketing Support - What Are The Options ?
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If they are honest many businesses in B2B markets need marketing advice to take the business to the next level. Holding them back are the costs involved and, after many years of over hyped, poorly delivered marketing services, nervousness over poor returns on investment. This article sets out to compare the various options available.

The first step in the process should be to decide on the required outcome. Without a measurable target in place it is impossible to analyse the return on investment or to brief any outside suppliers on requirements. Many marketing services providers are perceived to have failed simply because deliverables were not defined at the start of the activity.

A fully outsourced marketing process from defining strategy and objectives to implementation and delivery has many advantages. A fully joined up process is delivered without the need to manage multiple suppliers. A good marketing outsource company will have specialists in several areas such as strategy, website development and SEO. Should the business employ its own marketing person or even a small team it is unlikely they will have the level of skill in all disciplines an outsourced company can deliver.

The potential downside to an outsourced marketing company is cost. Depending on the requirements the cost is likely to be a significant each month (running into thousands). Although the cost is likely to be less than employing a single person full time, many businesses simply do not have the cash flow available to support the costs. There is also the perception that the risk is too high of significant financial outlay with no guarantee of results.

To reduce costs some businesses may perform the strategic element themselves, build a plan and buy in one off marketing services as required. With the strategic and project management element of outsourcing the full process removed this approach can be significantly cheaper. However, this must be balanced against the time involved in managing multiple suppliers. Also, strategic marketing planning is a specialist task; if a business gets this element wrong then the investment in the entire marketing process may be wasted as the business heads down a completely wrong track.

This strategic planning issue may be solved by employing a professional coach or B2B marketing mentor to help with the process and to provide guidance on which suppliers to choose to perform individual services. Although most coaches or marketing mentors will add significant value this approach is generally more expensive than outsourced as there costs of the mentor plus the cost of external serviers to consider.

The final approach is to take on the entire task in house. This is potentially the cheapest option but only if either the business owner takes on a significant proportion of the work themselves or they can employ a good person to handle the process for less than the full outsourcing cost. However this option does minimise the risk as the process can be stopped at any time without incurring ongoing costs assuming any employee can be switched to other tasks.

For many businesses with limited funds that need to raise their profile the Do it Yourself marketing approach is the only way forward. Many marketing tools and services (such as website design) are available at little to no cost saving substantial sums on the charges made by outsourced marketing companies or individual specialist suppliers. However, it is a time consuming process for any business owner both to learn the required marketing tools and techniques and to deliver on a consistent basis. The B2B marketing advice delivered by a marketing mentor can make this approach more effective.

Ultimately the answer to the question what is the best way to secure B2B marketing advice depends on the financial position of the business. It also depends on the legacy required when the marketing adviser has moved on. Generally, outsourced marketing suppliers complete the required job and move on leaving limited knowledge behind in the business. The mentor role is to educate the business so they may take on the task themselves in future.


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