Recent world events have greatly accelerated the shift towards digital marketing and the importance of marketing communications. They have raised the stakes when it comes to creating a competitive engineering marketing strategy.
However, it’s difficult to find and recruit staff who understand marketing and the technical aspects of the company’s products, the markets and their customers challenges. Not surprisingly, there’s a growing trend towards outsourcing to provide marketers with some much-needed support.
In this post we’ll examine the advantages of outsourcing and help you decide if it’s for you, and if so how much of your marketing strategy is best delivered by an external resource to produce the best results.
1. An agency gives you a fresh set of eyes
Technical engineers get so wrapped up in product development they often find it difficult to relay key information to the marketing team. This makes it difficult for marketers to pinpoint the all-important USPs of their company’s products and services.
Outsourcing to an agency can help bring balance into the equation. An agency can give you clarity when it comes to identifying USPs and provide fresh opinions.
It’s essential though that the agency is technical. One without insider engineering knowledge will find it difficult to understand your products or your markets. A specialist engineering marketing agency can easily get to grips with your technology and recognise the benefits; and they’ll be able to see it through the eyes of your customers. That’s especially important for all your marketing messages, online and outbound.
2. An agency can provide expertise in various areas
From engineering start-ups to enterprise level organisations, a marketing team needs to have multiple responsibilities. From content to PR, it can be hard for a small department to cope with so many moving parts. This is where an outside agency can help take the strain.
3. Using an agency can reduce overheads
In light of the recent Covid crisis more and more UK companies have turned to outsourcing in a bid to lower costs.
A fully functional digital in-house marketing team is expensive to hire and run. It’s hard to find experienced marketers in the first place, and they will need a competitive salary and perks. You’ll also have to provide ongoing marketing self-development as well as invest in new technology. For many organisations, a large marketing team can mean the investment outweighs the potential ROI.
If you don’t have the marketing budget to hire a full-service team, try a half-way house solution.
Does it make sense to outsource some aspects and keep others in-house?
For example, if you’re planning a campaign that involves reaching out to the technical trade press you may not have all the expertise you need under your own roof. You may not have the media contacts, either. You may do better leaving things to an expert team who’ve done this before. They’ll know what to produce and their media contacts are bang up to date because they’re communicating with them regularly.
4. Outsourcing can increase your agility
Growing and scaling a business is tough. It requires that your marketing department have the right digital technology at their fingertips.
Hiring an agency can make you extra agile. For example, if you have a new product launch you need your prospects to know about it as soon as possible. This can be time intensive and draining for the marketing team. And it means they can’t focus on other essential marketing tactics.
Outsourcing to a marketing agency ensures you have an experienced team on hand to successfully execute your time-sensitive (read short-notice) plans, leaving your in-house team to get on with their work.
5. An agency will keep on top of marketing analytics
An engineering marketing agency will be up to date with all the latest digital marketing initiatives and best practices plus they will:
- Have insights into your business
- Be skilled in analytics (which is a job in itself)
- Enable you to start to build some useful data
- Allow you to track the success of your marketing campaigns
6. In-house content creation is time consuming
In a recent survey 36% of engineers will only request a proposal from a vendor if they’ve already accessed good quality content on their site. Given this, top quality marketing content is a prerequisite.
Unless your in-house team are skilled in technical content creation, they may struggle to cope with this aspect of the marketing process. So, unsurprisingly, content creation is one of the most outsourced services for engineering companies.
You’ll also need your appointed agency to have broad spectrum tech knowledge; from knowing how an electronic behaves in a semiconductor to understanding something as large and complex as a global air traffic control system.
There are many elements to consider when building your engineering marketing team. However…
Whether to outsource or keep marketing in-house doesn’t have to be a black or white issue
For many technical engineering companies, it makes sense to choose both and combine the best of your in-house skills with those of external agency. For example, it could be an option to retain control over branding while outsourcing content marketing, all the while keeping an open communication flow with your chosen agency.
Divi up the responsibilities well and you’ll end up with something greater than the sum of the parts, and you’ll go to market stronger, more confidently and – as a consequence – get far better results.