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Will B2B marketers become obsolete in the face of cheap online marketplaces?
Sometimes you simply don’t have the resources in house to get the job done, but that doesn’t mean the job can’t be done by somebody else. Outsourcing has become increasingly popular for B2B marketers, and for good reason. A recent blog by Chris Fell points out the significant advantages of outsourcing certain tasks, including:
- Access to a deeper pool of skilled resources than you can afford to employ yourself.
- Additional flexibility to your capacity, both in terms of skills and volume of activity. A full-time team means your costs remain fixed in quieter periods.
- Elimination of unexpected fluctuations in capacity due to staff resignations and absences.
- Significant cost savings. You get quality work at a reduced cost.
Sounds good? Well, it is. Particularly when companies like 99designs make finding and hiring outsourced resources incredibly easy and risk-free. Logos, brochures, flyers, web pages and ads; they can all be produced within seven days for a bargain price on 99designs where designers from all over the world compete for your work. You simply submit a brief, determine your budget, and select your favourite design. Seven days later you receive the final design, including the copyright to the artwork. Don’t like any of the designs created? There is a 100% money back guarantee.
Many cheap online marketplaces like this are emerging and the B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Budgets, Benchmarks and Trends report, produced by Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs, found that in 2011 55% of marketers used outsourcing in some capacity.
It’s clear that marketers are happy to outsource disciplines that are not their core expertise to anyone who can produce results at a good price, but where does that leave marketers and Marketing Services providers? If many elements of our jobs can be hired out to someone else, for less, what value do we bring? Funnel Masters (the alumni of Funnel Academy graduates and other funnel zealots) met to decide what Marketing needs to do to avoid being obviated by these online guns for hire.
Whilst the execution of certain disciplines, like design or SEO, has been commoditised to allow marketers and Marketing Services providers to achieve more without increasing their in-house staff, the overall planning, implementation and evaluation of the marketing strategy is something you simply can’t outsource.
Skilled B2B marketers are needed to:
- Understand the buyer’s journey;
- Work out how many need to take it;
- Choose tactics to get them there; and
- Measure success.
It may very well make sense to outsource some of the tactics chosen, but managing the execution of the overall plan remains the marketer’s responsibility; particularly the evaluation and evolution of tactics from an ROI perspective.
The table below breaks this down into stages:
Outsourcing may be the answer for the execution of certain tactics but it can’t obviate the role of traditional marketers and Marketing Services providers who are needed to thoroughly understand the business, its buyers and to use their skills to plan, execute and evaluate a long-term strategy that delivers revenue.
Ultimately, the increasing commoditisation of tactic execution presents you with three options:
- Bury your head in the sand and fall behind;
- Actively leverage it for the right things and get ahead; or
- Drive the commoditisation yourself and make a massive profit in the process.
Many marketers are already adopting option two with great results, but the real winners are those who can identify an opportunity to drive the commoditisation of tactic execution as 99designs has done.