You’ve committed to partnership marketing for your brand. How do you decide if you are better off outsourcing to an agency or consultant versus pursuing an in-house effort? Here’s a list of points to think about.
Control – How important is it to monitor partnership activity? In-house partnership marketing certainly makes this easier. If you outsource you will likely want to have regular updates with your agency/consultant to ensure they are staying on track.
Network – An established network can go a long way in developing partnerships. Outsourcing is typically going to provide you with a larger network than an in-house solution but that’s not always the case. Regardless of the route you decide to take, make sure that you ask about the relationships and overall network that is being brought to the table.
Brand Familiarity – In most cases an in-house staffer is going to be more familiar with your brand than the alternative. If you do outsource, make sure the prospective agency/consultant has done their homework and that they are very familiar with your brand and industry.
Dedication – An in-house partnership marketer is going to be focused on your brand alone. When you outsource there is a greater chance that you will be sharing time with other brands. Obtain a commitment of time that your brand will receive when outsourcing.
Experience – How much experience will you get with an in-house solution vs. outsourcing? Is there a major difference in the overall learning curve going one direction vs. another? An outsourced solution is typically going to spend more time learning about your brand whereas an in-house solution is typically going to spend more time learning how to develop partnerships.
Expense – An in-house solution is almost always going to give you the most time for your marketing dollar and you will need to analyze if it’s going to give you the most value. An experienced consultant/agency could develop more partnerships with less effort.
Commitment – If you are testing the waters for the first time then you probably want to outsource. An in-house solution will be tougher to move away from if things don’t go in the direction you want
Time – If you are stretched for resources then you may find it difficult to manage a new partnership marketer. To effectively bring someone in-house you’ll need to spend time leading and directing them.
Integration – If your partnership marketing requirements require working with many different levels of management at your company and different divisions then an in-house solution is your best bet.
Risk vs. Reward – Ultimately you will want to analyze the overall risks with each approach and the potential upside. Which option is likely to provide the better ROI?