The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Marketing and PR

  • Not every business needs an outsourced marketing firm, but these firms can help businesses that have minimal marketing experience.

  • If you hire a marketing expert or agency, it's important to give them enough access to understand your business and its culture.

  • There's no right or wrong decision when it comes to outsourcing marketing or PR. If your business can benefit from outsourced marketing, consider using an outside party to better engage with your audience.

When it comes to marketing and public relations efforts, small businesses can feel lost. There are dozens of different social platforms, traditional marketing efforts, digital marketing firms, SEO experts and other sources of information that can help a business with marketing and PR. Unfortunately, sometimes all of these channels and information sources are overwhelming. At times, it's easier to outsource PR and marketing efforts to take that trouble off your plate.

Although there are clear benefits to outsourcing PR efforts, there are also downsides to letting an outside entity handle your PR. If you're wondering whether you want to outsource marketing and PR, it's important to consider both sides of the equation.

Pros of Outsourcing Marketing and PR

Let's start with the positives. There are many different reasons to outsource PR and marketing, and small business owners shouldn't feel bad if they elect to outsource these tasks instead of hiring a social media manager, marketing coordinator or any other in-house person. There's nothing wrong with needing outside help.

Focus on your business responsibilities

Maybe the most obvious positive is having more time to focus on other business responsibilities. If you're a local food store owner, you likely enjoy cooking and working in your store with customers. You probably don't want to spend all day scheduling Facebook posts or reaching out to local news organizations for potential media coverage. By outsourcing PR, someone else handles those duties while you focus on what you do best.

This doesn't mean you won't be involved in the process of brainstorming social media campaigns or monitoring PR efforts, but outsourcing the task means you won't have to handle the low-level efforts needed to run successful campaigns. For some small business owners, that's a dream come true.

It's critical that small business owners maintain some connection to the PR firm or marketing agency, as it's important to oversee the process. This doesn't mean an entrepreneur should blindly hand off projects – it's essential the entrepreneur learn the basics first so they can have an intelligent and informed conversation about what their specialist is doing for their business – but it's OK to hand off projects that go beyond what an entrepreneur can effectively do for themselves.

Generate more media attention for your business

If you hire the right PR agency, your business should generate more media attention. PR agencies know what they're doing, and they're able to craft story pitches to media outlets that get your business in the news. Positive news clippings are great, as they are a free way to reach customers.

While this is a nice concept, it is important to hire credible PR agencies that create good media pitches. Some PR companies create pitches that aren't ideal for media entities, and those efforts can easily be ignored or may even be annoying to media outlets. You don't want that situation.

PR firms can also help handle customer service, which may include interacting with media sources. Answering questions from media entities can be a valuable service provided by some marketing firms.

Solidify your marketing strategy and target audience

Small businesses sometimes need help determining exactly who their target audience is. Determining its audience helps a business create a sound marketing strategy rather than just guessing at what will attract and engage customers. Outsourcing marketing and PR allows you to work with marketing experts who can help you narrow down your audience and strengthen your overall marketing strategy.

To achieve success as a small business, making the most of resources is critical. Small businesses need to use the resources at their disposal well, and sometimes it makes more sense to outsource marketing efforts to best utilize those resources. It's not easy to create an effective strategy alone, and using a marketing agency makes the process easier.

Cons of outsourcing marketing and PR

While there are clear benefits to outsourcing PR and marketing tasks, there are some downsides to consider when making your marketing decisions.

Outsourcing marketing can be costly

If you outsource marketing tasks rather than doing them yourself, you're going to pay for those tasks. For some businesses, the benefit of hiring an outside PR firm doesn't outweigh the reward of successful PR campaigns and efforts. Some businesses just don't need extensive PR and marketing help.

On the other hand, the cost of outsourcing isn't much different from hiring a marketing manager. It's worth noting that spending on outsourcing can be viewed as an investment into your business rather than another expense.

You can do the work yourself