I’m car-shopping. I love cars. It’s one of my favorite things to do. But this time it’s different – this time it has to be electric, or at least hybrid. Without going off on an environmental tangent – it’s just high time we all made the switch; the car population of the planet is off the charts. And as one environmental scientist said recently, “It took a billion individual decisions to get us into this mess, and it’s going to take a billion individual decisions to get us out of it.” Enough said.
So, I’m looking at the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, the Chevy Volt, and several of the PHEVs (Plug in Hybrid Electrics, which are great if you have a short commute like me).
But here’s the shock – the lease prices seem high. The Nissan Leaf is $500 a month. The Chevy Volt is $650 a month. The Toyota Prius Prime and Honda Clarity are similar.
But these are not luxury vehicles, so why the high lease prices?
Simple – the car companies don’t want them back in 3 years.
Because the new electric vehicle technology that will be available in three years will make today’s models almost obsolete.
But, by the same token, you don’t want to be stuck with a car that doesn’t meet your needs in 36 months either. Or worse, let’s say that just like your smart phone, the battery eventually does not hold the charge as well, and you are forced to make a change.
So, what on earth does this have to do with digital marketing?
Putting together a digital marketing team, or any marketing team for that matter, in 2019 requires a certain set of skills and tools: marketing automation, website management and security, social media, content production, and data hygiene and compliance, just to name a few.
By 2022, the need for some of these skills and tools will probably remain the same – website security needs are hardly likely to go away for example. But there is a good chance that the configuration of the other skills will look very different, and some might not be needed at all. Maybe social media will prove less effective, email will face too many data privacy hurdles, or you’ll have an ever-increasing demand for content. Who knows!
If you are reading this and saying to yourself that the rate of change in marketing is not that significant, take a second to ask yourself a few questions:
- What marketing techniques were you using three years ago that you use less now? Are you still posting daily to social media, for example? Are you getting the same open rates in your emails? Have you fully implemented that marketing automation platform yet, complete with buyer personas and nurture streams?
- Have you needed to add, drop, or re-train any of your marketing team in the last few years, and how much time and cost did that take?
- And here’s the big question – have you made very few or no changes at all to your marketing skill set? Is your company, in fact, not keeping up with competitors?
Marketing changes fast, pure and simple! So, what’s the answer? How does one keep up with marketing?
The answer is clearly to outsource some or all of your marketing needs. Just like the electric car, everything will be different in three years – so lease it, don’t buy it. Most outsourcing experts tell us that outsourcing makes sense when one or both of the following statements are true:
- The skill is not core to the business, unlike, for example, your product or service
- The cost of maintaining the skill (i.e. acquiring, managing, training and re-training) at a competitive level is less to outsource than insource
Of course, there are aspects of the overall marketing effort that probably do not make sense to outsource – your proprietary data, for example. Also, you will probably still need a core person or team inhouse to interface with your sales and management teams.
And it goes without saying that, if the reason for outsourcing your marketing is to keep pace with trends and technologies, you will want to be sure the agency you choose is doing exactly that.
Marketing creates the face of the business. It’s often that very first impression about who you are and what you sell. Even before your products are seen and your sales people talk to a single customer, marketing is there – so you want to get it right. Companies falter when they allow their public image to stagnate.
To avoid this, you need to make sure that you have a team in place that not only understands your customer, but is constantly monitoring and adapting to the ever-changing trends in communications – be it marketing platforms, data compliance, writing styles, or the myriad other marketing elements that seem to change weekly.
I know I have to start driving an electric car; it’s time. So when those electric car leases looked pricey, I did the math versus buying and owning. I know that the battery will not last forever, so I’ll have to replace the car at some point. But the demand for a 2019 electric car in 2022 will be low, because I’ll probably be competing with cars that can do 1,000 miles on a couple of AAA batteries.
Leasing is not only the less expensive way to go, it also means I’ll have the latest technology again in three years. The same goes for your marketing team. Do the math on hiring, training, and re-training a new team versus outsourcing to an agency that knows your customer and can demonstrate to you that they regularly keep up on skills and technologies.
And I know you’re all wondering… what car did I choose in the end? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out!