In-house Vs. Outsourced Marketing Activities

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?

A boss of mine taught it to me a few years ago and it took me forever to adapt. Essentially, it was put in place for us perfectionists out there that if we could, we would continue to work on our magnum opus forever until it’s just right. But then, reality hits and your stuck working up to your deadline to get the project out the door.

That’s where the 80/20 rule comes in. Is it 80% great? Then you’ve got to live with the 20% of it that’s okay and move on.

It’s even harder to let go when you’re not the one doing the project. You feel like you’re micromanaging, but it’s also a reflection on your quality of work.

That’s how I determine whether or not to bring in the troops and ask for help, or just do it myself.

Whether or not to outsource or utilize an agency for campaigns or one-off projects comes down to workload, oversight and budget.

Ask yourself if the amount of time it would take to convey what needs to be done and would the amount of revisions add more to your plate, or, would some assistance alleviate your workload? That’s a trade-off that only you can decide. But, you have to be willing to have some wiggle room with the outcome. And who knows, they may knock your socks off with the results!

I find that it’s always easier to outsource when you set clear expectations for turnaround times and you know what you want. If you provide specific instructions instead of giving free reign, there’s less back and forth. Because, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. They’re interpreting what they think you want and they only know what you tell them.

Also, my biggest recommendation would be to put a little bit of wiggle room in your budget for bidding out these services. Think of it like a retainer and plan out in advance what you would ask for help on if you needed it, that way you’re not scrambling for dollars if new initiatives come up that you simply don’t have the capacity to take on.

Add buffer for concepting, copywriting, dev work, consulting, videography, photography, graphic design. Even if you already have these resources in house - it never hurts to have an outsider’s perspective and technical expertise. They don’t have to do the initiative in it’s entirety either - divide and conquer!

Think of it as a hybrid approach. And, if you want to be a leader, it’s great experience to manage a project because let’s face it, time is money. And with more free time, you can think more strategically than focusing on the ins and outs of how the project gets done.

While writing is one of my favorite things to do, it’s also super fun to outsource. Working with freelance writers has taught me how to project manage! It’s also given me perspective on how to clearly provide direction and articulate what it is that I need to cut back on the amount of back and forth. Granted, it’s always going to be there, but it lessen the load.

I provide clear guidelines of the end-date and then work backwards with deadlines. The key is scheduling weekly status calls. I also clearly communicate what is contingent upon something else to get done, or why there are roadblocks internally that is holding them up. Better to be transparent and let the vendor know that the project is on pause or give them construct criticism that it’s going to turn another direction.

When it’s all said and done, the grass is always greener on the other side. Be confident with your commitment and run with it.

Happy decision making!