When companies reach a certain size, with increasing revenue and more customers, they begin to take marketing efforts in-house. As more resources are allocated for marketing employee salaries and building out a marketing department, companies depart from using consultants to assist in these efforts. The idea is that having a fully internal department will create consistency and efficiency, but there may be a few reasons why enterprises should continue to hold a budget for consultants.
1. Workload is increasing
As modern marketing practices become more complex and sophisticated, the workload for marketing departments increases. What used to be chalked up to copywriting and art direction, now requires research, strategy development, audience segmentation and targeting, lead generation, content production, email marketing, social media, marketing automation, and the list goes on and on.
Because of this, marketing professionals are under strain to do more in order to compete and stand out amongst a crowded marketplace. It can be tough for enterprise businesses to know just how many man-hours are needed to get everything done, and how many employees to have on the team.
When a campaign needs just a little more help, it doesn't always make sense to hire an additional person on full-time salary, while employees who are stretched thin will be less likely to produce quality work. A consultant can come in, and offer their services on a temporary basis that can relieve and uplift the in-house team.
2. Project-based activities are necessary
Additionally, marketing campaigns are often running temporarily, seasonally, quarterly, or surrounding a specific milestone. For enterprise businesses, there are typically several campaigns running simultaneously, either in tandem or as separate initiatives. Because of this, it can be problematic for in-house marketing employees who have to work across campaigns and are constantly developing and starting, running, and completing and analysing different activities.
Because no marketing activity exists in a vacuum, it is unlikely that, for example, a social media marketing team will only work on social without sitting down with strategy development staff to understand goals and KPIs of campaigns. Just as it would be unlikely for a content developer to write copy without getting crucial information about targeting and messaging goals.
Bringing in consultants who can help specifically fill in gaps or pick up slack, means that more campaigns can have designated team members, rather than spreading team members across multiple campaigns. In this way, when campaign needs change, marketing staff in specific areas don't suddenly find themselves without anything to do, while others are stretch thin across multiple projects.
3. Higher expectations for quality can require more specialists
Now for some enterprise businesses, marketers are required to have many different skill sets or knowledge areas. While it makes sense that a content marketer knows SEO strategy, it's actually detrimental to the quality of the marketing if staff are required to know every single aspect of the marketing funnel.
Firstly, there is simply just too much information these days. For marketing staff to truly be knowledgeable in every key aspect of marketing, they would need to spend a good portion of their time reading and studying. Secondly, requiring staff to be good at everything lessens their ability to be great at more specific specialisations.
What is actually more effective for enterprise companies, is hiring highly specialized team members who focus primarily on their particular area. This becomes a great opportunity for large companies to actually leverage consultants who tend to be highly trained, highly skilled experts with specific talents. Again, as project requirements change, specialized consultants can be brought in to fill in and support the needs of a general knowledge marketing staff.
As companies grow, there tends to be a move towards bringing all marketing efforts in-house. But for enterprise businesses who want to stay competitive by deploying quality campaigns that are highly specialized, they should consider using consultants as a way to elevate their marketing efforts.
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