Digital marketing: Insourcing vs. outsourcing

Let’s start with this: There is a reason why we go see a dentist when we need a root canal. Similarly, there is a reason why we have commercial airplane pilots in the cockpits of the planes we fly in.

On the subject of digital marketing, one question I frequently encounter is “Should/could I hire someone to do this internally?”

The truth is, there’s no one answer that will correctly address the needs for every situation or every company. Having spent my career split between insourcing (working within large dealer groups) and outsourcing (running a digital marketing agency for car dealers), I feel like I have a unique perspective to offer on these two approaches. Experience and working with hundreds of dealerships over the years has proven that there are many different ways to skin this cat, and what might work for some might not work for all. What you will find, however, is that appropriate analysis and weighing the pros and cons will earn you and your company the balance and results that you’re after.

Not unlike the realities that existed before it, the realm of websites and digital marketing are only becoming more complex and faster moving as they become more accessible and readily available. In many ways we are experiencing, at a global scale, a gold rush that will only become more competitive and offer greater rewards for those who are willing and capable of keeping their focus and evolving with each step. It is because of this that the argument to partner up with others for support in external capacities is a stronger claim than ever before.

However, there are some unique scenarios where bringing everything in-house is the best choice companies of any size can make. Below I’ve listed some of the things to consider before making the decision on what is right for your store.

What are the risks of insourcing?

■ Trusting your website, advertising and brand to someone who is not qualified

■ No one person can excel at website development, graphic design, SEO, SEM, content writing, strategy, automotive industry knowledge, etc.

■ The best tools and resources are expensive.

■ Holding your in-house person accountable can be challenging, when no one truly understands what they do, or how to measure their success.

■ If your person leaves, you’re in for a whole lot of time and frustration trying to pick up where they left off, and find someone else to fill their shoes.

When does insourcing make sense?

The way I see it, the only time it makes sense to insource a digital marketing strategy is for large auto groups. If you have the infrastructure to support a team of digital marketing experts, then a case could be made that this is a strategy that might just work for you. The reality, however, is that a group would generally need to have 15+ stores to justify being able to hire a 4+ person team with the skills needed to craft an optimal online presence.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

■ Generally speaking, you will be tapping into a team of individuals who already possess a diverse set of skills and experiences which you will benefit from.

■ Most agencies worth their weight will be up to date on the latest strategies, techniques, search engine algorithm updates, etc. to help get you to the top of your market.

■ You can fire them easily! If the company you are working with isn’t living up to your standards, you’re generally only a 30 or 60 day notice away from ending the relationship.

■ Despite what many think, outsourcing is often more cost effective than insourcing. The cost savings on the salary and time resources that are allocated on hiring internal staffallow you to invest more money externally, often enabling you to get more for your dollar.

Another question that often surfaces is, “can I insource some things and outsource others?” The answer to this question is a resounding: “Yes!” In many, if not most dealership/group environments the ideal scenario will consist of having a person working inside the dealership who works directly with a digital marketing agency on the outside. This person doesn’t have to be exclusively focused on digital marketing, but they will serve as the point of for the agency you team up with it.

Why are the benefits of an insourcing/ outsourcing split?

■ Streamlined communication with a designated point of

■ These two individuals will ‘speak the same language’.

■ Some things can’t be seen or effectively done from outside dealership walls

In conclusion

Some things in life are incredibly complex and difficult, and it just makes sense to rely on a professional for help, rather than trying to figure it out on your own. Website development, Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing very much fall into the same category. While virtually anyone with a pulse and good clicking finger could attempt these things, the final outcome is going to be very different from that and what a team of seasoned professionals will produce.

Whether you ultimately decide to insource or outsource, the most important aspect is choosing the right person or company to rely on. Your digital marketing strategy and website are two of the most important parts of your business. Make sure they get the due care and attention they deserve.

Kevin Gordon is a co-founder of Convertus, a fast growing automotive digital marketing agency based out of Vancouver. Contact Kevin at [email protected] or call 888-354-6441 to learn how Convertus can help you craft a winning digital marketing presence for your store.

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