key questions to consider when outsourcing

Key Questions for Family Business Owners Considering Marketing Outsourcing

In the ever-evolving landscape of family-owned businesses, strategic marketing plays a pivotal role in shaping success. As family business owners explore the option of outsourcing their marketing efforts, it’s essential to approach this decision with careful consideration. This blog aims to guide family business owners through a series of crucial questions they should ask before taking the leap into outsourcing their marketing.

What are our marketing objectives and goals?

Before outsourcing, family business owners must have a clear understanding of their marketing objectives and goals. Defining these will serve as a roadmap for the outsourcing process, ensuring alignment with the family business’s overall vision and mission.

What should our marketing budget be for outsourcing marketing services?

Establishing a realistic budget is key. Family businesses should assess their financial capacity for outsourcing, considering the specific needs and scope of their marketing requirements. This ensures a transparent and sustainable partnership with the chosen marketing agency. Depending on your industry, 2-5% of your annual revenue should be reinvested into your branding and marketing efforts to stay competitive. 

Do we understand our target audience?

An intimate knowledge of the target audience is fundamental for any business. Family business owners should discuss their target demographics, preferences, and behaviors to ensure the marketing agency can tailor campaigns effectively, maintaining the familial touch that sets the business apart. Your marketing agency should also do their own research to gain current insights into your audience from a third party perspective to ensure quality and effective results from your marketing. 

What is the agency’s expertise and track record?

Scrutinize the marketing agency’s expertise and track record. Inquire about their experience in working with family businesses and their success stories. A strong track record indicates the agency’s ability to navigate the unique challenges and opportunities associated with family-oriented enterprises. Be sure to ask questions about their process. How do they approach their work? What level of engagement do they expect from your company? How do they plan to measure their success? 

How will communication of our marketing be managed?

Clear and effective communication is crucial for a successful outsourcing partnership. Family business owners should discuss communication channels, reporting structures, and frequency to ensure seamless collaboration and understanding between both parties. It is also important to understand how they will handle emergencies or last minute changes to your marketing needs. Is their company agile and responsive enough for your unique needs and industry? 

Can the agency accurately represent our brand identity?

Preserving the family business’s unique brand identity is paramount. Inquire about the agency’s approach to incorporating and enhancing the brand identity in their marketing strategies, ensuring a cohesive representation across all channels. Do they take the time to understand your full brand identity? This includes your brand personality, voice, positioning, and visuals. 

What metrics will be used to measure success?

Define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will measure the success of the marketing campaigns. Whether it’s increased brand awareness, lead generation, or sales growth, establishing measurable goals helps in assessing the impact of outsourcing. Be sure to learn how the agency reports its analytics and at what frequency. Also, inquire about their end-of-year reporting. Do they provide a full-year review and a year-over-year analysis? This type of reporting is best for making bigger positioning decisions. 

How scalable are the services of the marketing company?

Family businesses may experience growth or seasonal fluctuations. Inquire about the scalability of the marketing services. Can the agency adapt to increased demands during peak seasons or periods of expansion without compromising quality? Do they also have diverse skill sets within their company to add new services to support an integrated approach to your branding and marketing efforts? Can they create branded videos? Do they provide search engine optimization? Can they develop and manage your content marketing, such as email campaigns and social media? Being able to grow with your current marketing partner is best over needing to change companies due to their lack of services. 

Who is responsible for developing the marketing strategy?

If your family business is looking to outsource your marketing efforts to a partner, it is important to clearly define the expectations for roles within this work. Who is responsible for developing the marketing strategy? If you are expecting the marketing partner to provide this service, it is vital to ensure they have a strategist on their team. If they are an agency with experts in the tool, but no strategist, they will not be a right fit for your company. They will need you to develop a marketing strategy, which defeats the purpose of outsourcing. Ask them about how they approach strategy development, and their process for presenting and executing their strategies for your company.  

What is the exit plan if the partnership doesn’t work out?

While optimism is essential, having an exit plan is wise. Discuss the terms and conditions of ending the outsourcing partnership amicably, ensuring a smooth transition if circumstances lead to the termination of the agreement. Be sure to know if they require advanced cancellation notice and how they need to receive that notice. Be sure your company has access to all of your assets for a seamless transition during cancellation. 

How will outsourcing impact our company culture?

Consider the potential impact on the company culture. Will outsourcing marketing services align with the values and work culture of the family business? Understanding the culture of the marketing company you are considering should be an important part of your selection process. Do you share similar work values, integrity, and mission? Do you feel their team members align with your brand and company goals? It is important to ensure that the outsourcing decision doesn’t disrupt the cohesive spirit of the family-owned enterprise. 

Outsourcing marketing for a family business is a strategic decision that requires careful evaluation. By asking these key questions, family business owners can navigate the outsourcing landscape more effectively, ensuring a partnership that not only meets marketing objectives but also aligns seamlessly with the ethos and goals of the family business.