I was recently approached by AdNews Australia to be interviewed for a special report on Search Marketing. I was asked to help solve a common dilemma “to in-house or outsource”. I am pleased to share with you my views as well as include an extract of the article which I think makes good reading.
I should highlight that during my employ at Microsoft Australia I gained a healthy appreciation of outsourcing. We use to joke that Bill Gates vision was to run the company from a boardroom table with a handful of outsourced providers. There were no “Indians” at Microsoft we had “agencies” to partner us to make the right decisions plus do the leg work. We were all “managers” it forced us to stay on top of our responsibility and learn how to build deep partner relationships.
My rationale for outsourcing Search Engine Marketing:
1. Specialized task. Personally I am in favor of outsourcing anything that is a specialized task. Search Marketing is a pretty good example. It is fast changing and it is a full time task keeping up with the unique requirements from all the different search engines.
2. Diverse skill-set. Search marketing requires top level smarts as well as “grunt work”. If you outsource you can draw on more knowledge.
3. Cost effective. Sure you pay for outsourcing but if you employ you’ll pay plus pay the overheads of having an employee, and good ones are hard to find and expensive.
4. Birds eye view. You don’t want to get caught up in the mechanics of Search Marketing, understand the metrics and key drivers but it is a means to an end; you should be looking for the next new winning marketing solution.
I think the key challenge is to ensure you chose the right partner and then manage them well. My experiences:
1. Don’t employ a dog and bark. You need to find the right balance. I recommend you DO learn to understand and challenge the results but DON’T try and tell your partner what to do.
2. Build trust. Don’t assume your partner is going to rip you off. Search Marketing isn’t an exact science it requires commitment and trust. Share your concerns or goals and challenge your partner to help you achieve them.
3. Be realistic. Don’t expect overnight miracles, search might have delivered dizzy results a few years ago, but it is a competitive space now and requires discipline and commitment. You will get results, better than most of your marketing activities, but not easy money.