Ok, home self-builds and clothing up-cycles are one thing, but have you ever tried to DIY your branding and marketing efforts?
If so, then you probably know that much like a tie dye experiment that’s gone off the rails, in-house marketing can be a frustrating, time-consuming, and ‘colourfully’ messy disaster.
Yet, for some reason, many businesses still think that they can handle everything all by themselves.
Well, here at Swank, we don’t think you should even try - gasp!
*Queue timeout to give reader a moment to recover from that hot take*
Disclaimer: Here’s the deal - this blog is not for everyone. If you're one of those brave souls who thinks that they can do it all, then feel free to skip this one.
But, if you’re a business owner who wants to make the most of your budget and time, then read on.
The Dark Side of DIY: When In-House Marketing Goes Wrong
Dun dun dunnnnn.
Research suggests that prior to COVID-19 lockdowns, 72% of corporations had some kind of in-house marketing established. In the throes of the pandemic, that number continued to rise, with some studies reporting as much as 97% of companies moving at least part of their marketing in-house.
When it comes to saving costs, especially in times of economic uncertainty, businesses often look for ways to bring functions in-house - including branding and marketing.
While the idea of cutting expenses may seem tempting, it's crucial to understand the potential pitfalls that come with moving to an in-house marketing model.
Hold onto your hats… things are about to get turbulent.
Brand Integrity Drops Off
One of the biggest risks of in-house marketing is the potential for your brand's integrity to suffer.
When relying on an internal team, there may be instances where a lack of established brand guidelines or experience leads to major inconsistencies and causes unwarranted creative liberties that do not align with the brand's intended messaging.
Any deviation from - or lack of - brand standards can be really bad news and result in a haphazard collection of irregularities in fonts, colours, and graphics that make your brand feel unreliable - yikes.
Such inconsistencies can leave your audience perplexed and unsure of what your brand truly represents. Instead of evoking a sense of trust and credibility, the mixed messaging and visual chaos can have the opposite effect, eroding your hard-earned reputation and hindering the establishment of a strong brand identity.
Tone & Voice Changes Leave Your Audience Confused
Another potential problem with in-house marketing is the risk of changes in tone or voice that can leave your audience scratching their heads.
When moving from an external branding team to an internal one, it's crucial to recognize that the perspectives and approaches to your brand's messaging will likely differ between the two. Your in-house marketing team, having been immersed in the day-to-day operations and internal dynamics of your company, may have developed a unique ideation of your brand's voice.
However, this understanding may not perfectly align with the perspective of an external team. As a result, there is a real possibility of a noticeable shift in the overall tone and voice of your brand when transitioning your marketing efforts.
This kind of shift can be disconcerting for your audience, especially if your brand has already established a strong identity and tone that they have come to recognize and connect with. Because your audience has formed expectations based on previous interactions with your brand, any significant deviation from this established voice can lead to confusion, weakening the emotional connection and trust that you have worked so hard to cultivate.
Costs Go Up
Let's talk about the ever-present elephant in the room: cost.
It's a common misconception that bringing your branding and marketing in-house will save you money. In fact, opting for external specialists can often turn out to be the more cost-effective option.
There’s a mess of additional costs associated with the decision to handle branding and marketing internally. Hiring new employees or investing in the development of existing ones comes with a slew of expenses including:
- Salaries: Skilled professionals who specialize in branding and marketing command competitive wages, and this cost will be ongoing as you maintain an in-house marketing team.
- Benefits: Healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off further increase the financial burden, especially as your team grows.
- Training: Building an effective in-house marketing team requires continuous training to keep up with the ever-evolving landscape of branding and marketing. Courses, workshops, and seminars all come with a price tag, and the time and resources required for training can be significant.
- Equipment: From software licenses to hardware upgrades, maintaining the necessary tools and technologies for your in-house marketing team can be costly.
The cost-saving aspect of outsourcing can free up resources that can then be redirected toward other critical areas of your business. Think of the opportunities that arise from having extra shekels at your disposal. Heck, you could even fund attempts to ACTUALLY get good at tie-dyeing.
Creativity is Limited
One of the significant downsides of opting for in-house marketing and branding is the potential for creative limitations.
Your in-house team may find themselves constrained by the internal corporate culture, which can act as a barrier to their artistic freedom. As a result, your internal team may find their creativity stifled, which can hinder their ability to generate fresh and groundbreaking ideas that truly set your brand apart from the competition.
Business Biases Drive Output
When your branding and marketing efforts are solely handled in-house, there is a genuine risk of your team becoming too close to the business.
This proximity can inadvertently lead to a kind of tunnel vision effect, making it easier to overlook weaknesses or miss out on potential opportunities that an external team would be more likely to identify.
Time Commitment Can Be Extreme
In a word, managing an in-house marketing team can be… intense, especially if you're already juggling multiple responsibilities.
Bringing marketing efforts in-house necessitates not only hiring and assembling a capable team but also dedicating considerable effort to coordinating their activities, providing direction, and ensuring their alignment with your brand strategy. The time and energy required to effectively oversee and guide an internal team can quickly become overwhelming and divert your attention from other critical areas of your business that require your expertise.
The Advantages of Outsourcing Your Marketing & Branding Efforts
Now for the real tea…
It’s a Better Use of Your Time & Budget
Your time is valuable - and so is your money. When you try to handle your branding and marketing in-house, you're not only misallocating your own time, but you're also taking valuable resources away from other areas of your business.
Outsourcing your branding and marketing efforts means that you only pay for the specific services you require. External specialists operate on a project basis, allowing you to allocate your budget more efficiently. You can engage their expertise as needed, without the ongoing financial commitments associated with maintaining an in-house marketing team.
By partnering with a reputable agency or team, you gain access to a dedicated group of professionals who can efficiently manage the project from start to finish - without requiring constant input or oversight from you. Thus, outsourcing completely alleviates the need for day-to-day management and supervision.
Consistent Brand Messaging
A cohesive and well-defined brand identity is crucial for capturing the attention and loyalty of your target audience, and outsourcing your marketing efforts gives you the ability to establish and maintain consistent brand messaging.
Working with external marketing professionals ensures that your messaging remains steadfast and aligned with your brand's values, vision, and objectives. These experts take the time to understand your brand thoroughly, its unique selling proposition, and the audience you want to reach. They then craft comprehensive strategies and standards to communicate your brand's essence consistently across all platforms.
An external team is inherently unburdened by company biases and preconceptions that can naturally develop within an internal team. Their objective perspective allows them to see your brand from an outsider's viewpoint, which can be immensely valuable in pinpointing blindspots or identifying untapped opportunities for growth.
Without emotional investment in the business, external marketers are also typically unafraid to ask tough questions or offer constructive criticism that can drive meaningful improvements. Embracing this perspective can be the catalyst for transformative changes, propelling your brand toward greater success and growth.
Additionally, engaging an external team for your branding and marketing needs can be an excellent solution to overcome creative obstructions. With a wider breadth of creative influences, external marketers can think beyond the constraints of your internal corporate culture. They can challenge the status quo, break away from conventional thinking, and offer unique and innovative approaches to elevate your brand's presence.
External Specialists vs. Internal Generalists
Yes, you have talented people on your team, but we both know they're not all experts in branding and marketing. These fields are complex and ever-changing - to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices, you need to have a team of experts who live and breathe the stuff.
Outsourcing your branding and marketing efforts to a team of specialists allows you to tap into a wider range of skills and experience. These professionals have honed their expertise in the intricacies of marketing strategy, branding, digital advertising, social media, and more. Their specialized knowledge enables them to navigate the complexities of the marketing world with finesse, ensuring your brand stands out in a crowded marketplace.
Expecting your existing team members to become marketing jacks and jills of all trades on TOP of their existing responsibilities isn’t fair, nor is it realistic. That’s like asking your accountant to suddenly become a master chef or your graphic designer to fix your plumbing issues.
Outsourcing your branding and marketing efforts means you can maximize your team’s potential and productivity by allowing them to channel their energy into the areas where they have the most impact.
Stick to DIYing at Home
Your marketing efforts deserve better than a half-hearted ‘do-it-yourself’ attitude in a feeble attempt to trim costs. Marketing is a complex and specialized field that requires expertise, strategy, and a deep understanding of consumer behaviour.
Aka, not something you can simply wing with a DIY mentality.
Partnering with an external team means you gain the advantage of their specialized skills, innovative ideas, and access to industry tools and resources that may not be readily available within your organization. They have a finger on the pulse of the marketing world and can apply their expertise to craft tailored strategies that align with your brand's objectives and resonate with your target audience.
We get it - the allure of possible cost-cutting might seem tempting at first. But, the potential drawbacks ranging from compromised quality, limited expertise, and the drain on your valuable time, far outweigh the short-term savings.
So, if you're thinking about bringing your marketing efforts in-house, maybe just… don’t?
Then get prepared to thank us later.