Outsourcing can be found in just about any industry. There is often a shortage of skills for an organisation, or the need to get short or long-term support in a specific area. If you work in the digital marketing space, you may be seeing a large portion of the budget going out the door to outsourced work and a link-building agency. This is absolutely normal, so let’s take a look at why outsourcing is so prevalent in digital marketing and what the most common services are.
One of the main reasons that outsourcing is so prevalent in digital marketing is that the different marketing disciplines are so hyper-specialised. This means that a digital agency may offer SEO services, UX, web development, social media, content marketing and public relations. It is often unrealistic that all of these departments are adequately represented in one agency, and so some of these services will be outsourced. While it is typical that an agency will specialise in one or a few sectors, they may take on a client that has a wider scope and then outsource accordingly to fill the skills gap.
A higher percentage of sole traders
There is a higher percentage of sole traders in digital marketing due to the nature of the work. Managing data analytics and optimising ads and websites can be done from anywhere in the world, and the work does not need to be briefed in person. In theory, a digital marketing sole trader can be working with a range of clients and brands at the same time, whereas other professions do not have the same flexibility and skill capacity to be switching accounts and clients throughout a day or week.
Some projects can extend many years, some are ongoing and there are many that are short projects, depending on the sole trader and their preference for loading work. This makes working with outsourced professionals incredibly convenient, as you can meet the needs of any kind of project timeline. Complications can arise when outsourced professionals commit to a project which ultimately extends and they do not have the capacity to continue due to new work, but when the timings align outsourcing can enhance any project.
Another reason why outsourcing is so prevalent in digital marketing is that digital environments are very often agile environments. Adopting an agile methodology is about being more productive and task-driven, with ‘jobs’ logged on cards and ‘producers’ taking on this work. Agile teams do not need to sit in the same office, and they do not even have to work in the same organisations. Often, there is a product owner who can work client-side, with a scrum master and team of producers working on bite-sized tasks that contribute to the greater project goal.
Despite what you may think about assigning a large portion of your budget to outsourcing, it is likely to be more economical than the alternatives. Outsourcing means that you do not need to factor in annual leave, sick leave and other employee benefits. Your outsourced team will also be invoiced with GST included, but that tax and the invoice in general is a service and can be claimed at tax time. For a business that is just starting out and wants to operate lean, then having a large outsourced team may be the way to get the work done that you need without employer commitments.
There is talent spread all over the world
The beauty of digital marketing is that you do not have to live in the same city as your team, or even the same country. Disbursed teams are becoming a reality for many industries, but digital marketing has been there long before the pandemic. Digital marketing agencies can now select a candidate from an infinite talent pool, making outsourced work so prevalent for its endless opportunity.
The introduction of outsourcing platforms
Chances are you have heard of Fiverr and the many jobs and services you can find therein. Fiverr is by no means the only iteration of its kind, but a large portion of the work found on these platforms is digital-related, whether that be someone offering paid ads expertise, web development or even an SEO audit. The suite of digital services is seemingly endless with broad and niche expertise. When it is so easy to find and book digital marketing work, it’s clear to see how outsourcing has become the norm.
If you are yet to dip your toe into the ocean of opportunity that is outsourcing, know that you are in good company. Many agencies and businesses have had significant success with the ease and expertise of outsourced professionals, so take a look at what you can find in your niche.
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