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In or out – what’s your B2B marketing destiny?

October 2019Helen

As the enormity of the Brexit debate continues, one thing’s for sure – we’re all thinking a lot more about what the future holds and how we can best go about sustaining security and ongoing success.

Let’s be honest, thinking about the long term is difficult for many with so many questions left unanswered, leaving businesses trying to cope with the demands of today whilst trying to plan for the future.

One debate that often rears its head in uncertain times is whether to do your own marketing in-house or to outsource to an external marketing agency. Here at FIG, we’ve experienced both arguments in recent months and it does seem to depend on the size and ambition of a B2B company. One of our longest marketing partnerships is coming to an end towards the end of this year as the company has grown to such a size they are employing a dedicated marketing head in-house. However, bigger companies who employ their own marketing teams still tend to outsource to agencies. For example, we work with a number of very large companies who do have in-house marketing teams but who outsource to us for strategic and expert knowledge. We’ve also just started working with a company who has lost their marketing head in-house and are now looking to outsource their entire marketing function instead of employing somebody.

So, let’s look at the benefits for both which might help you make a decision if you are reviewing your marketing currently.

Benefits of in-house marketing

  • In-depth understanding of your business and its priorities as well as the products and services
  • Employees will be more immersed in your values and culture
  • On-site point of focus for anyone in the business to go to
  • Minute-to-minute, day-to-day control over marketing activities
  • Continuity of personnel: people come and go in-house and at agencies but you have more influence over your own employees than you do someone else’s

Benefits of outsourcing to a marketing agency

  • Agency staff are experts in their field and can make a positive and significant impact on results
  • You gain an independent, external perspective, an honest viewpoint and fresh ideas
  • Can be cost-effective in the long term because you only pay for what you need, when you need it
  • Versatility and access to a range of expertise from design to digital, copywriting to social media management and PR
  • An agency has a vested interest in doing a good job for you to retain their services – you can give notice if they don’t perform!

If you choose to invest in working with an agency you’ll develop a close working relationship with tangible financial rewards so spend a bit of time making sure you’re working with the right one for your business.

How to choose a B2B marketing agency?

  • An agency experienced in your sector will have an established network of trade and press contacts they can leverage on your behalf from day one.
  • Speak to your suppliers and customers about their experiences working with agencies.
  • Find out who their clients are, review their case studies and testimonials or even better, speak to their existing clients.
  • Visit their premises and meet the team you will be working with, not just the directors
  • Make sure their ethics and values are the same as yours, it will make for a smooth relationship going forward.
  • Set clear KPIs from the outset so both you and the agency understand what is required.

Whatever you do, do something. Chances are you won’t be able to achieve everything alone. The fundamentals of marketing can seem pretty obvious (communicate to your customers on their level, make sure your brand is consistent across all media platforms etc) but the effective implementation and execution of a strategic marketing plan needs a professional’s commitment to getting things done, following things up, and continually improving your marketing activities in line with your business’s ambitions. And marketing professionals need the support of talented graphic designers, website developers, digital marketers and PRs at some point or other to deliver a successful marketing plan.

To find out more about working with the FIG team call us on 01457 857111.

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