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Amanda Koehler

Digital Marketing Practice Director

For more than a decade, Amanda has helped Northwoods clients achieve their digital marketing goals through impactful, data-driven digital marketing strategies. Her approach is centered on careful listening, meticulous research, and a deep understanding of data analytics, and she holds certificates in both Google Analytics and Google AdWords. An experienced lecturer and webinar presenter, Amanda is one of our top digital trailguides and has helped countless students, clients, and marketers better understand the complex world of SEO and analytics. Away from Northwoods, she enjoys spending time cooking, traveling, and painting.

Does Your Marketing Team Have the Right Skills and Expertise to Succeed?

November 28, 2022 | Amanda Koehler, Digital Marketing Practice Director

5 Minute Read

In a small or medium-sized business, you’re lucky to have maybe two or three dedicated marketers: a Marketing Director and a couple of Marketing Managers or Coordinators. Such vague titles encourage the rest of the company to delegate a wide range of tasks to the marketing team: Company outings, website management, advertising strategy and tactics, business metrics and reporting, print materials, creative development, creative design, analytics, website strategy and management, event planning, copywriting, advertising, social media, email marketing and SEO.

Many marketers are generalists. By necessity, they become adept at scrambling to instantly develop passable levels of expertise for radically unlike tasks for which they were never really trained. That has certain drawbacks. A highly skilled copywriter, for example, can perhaps become a decent event planner over time, but such diversions of talent and skill are not optimal for the company or for the marketer.

Most marketers graduate college with some knowledge of creative design, basic business writing skills, and an understanding of how to manage social media and other digital channels, such as websites. If your website is built on a user-friendly content management system, such as WordPress or Titan CMS, your team should be able to manage your website well.

Highly specialized digital marketing skills, such as SEO, advertising, and analytics, are another matter. Such tasks have become more technical over the years and ever more important for business success. Not all college curricula even address them. They require in-depth knowledge, and that knowledge changes rapidly; specialists in these areas study constantly to keep up.

Marketing Directors – and the VPs to whom they report – must understand which skills are doable in-house and which should be outsourced. We have found that SEO, digital advertising and analytics frequently overwhelm marketing generalists. We recommend that Marketing Directors consider outsourcing work to experts in those areas.

Why Outsource SEO Services?

Search Engine Optimization evolves constantly and quickly. SEO skills range from understanding code and technical SEO to local SEO tactics, content development and optimization – and more. Google never ceases to adjust its algorithms, and it doesn’t share a whole lot about how they work. SEO experts know how to read Google’s tea leaves and update company practices to improve SEO.

Many professionals focus solely on SEO. In large businesses, whole teams deal with nothing but SEO. Within those teams, each person usually works on a distinct sub-specialty. This level of dedication is beyond the means of small and medium-sized businesses, but the fact remains that SEO is a full-time job. Which means that outsourcing to an agency is usually the only way for small and mid-sized  companies to perch atop search engine results pages and stay there.

Why Outsource Advertising Services?

Can your team optimally run advertising in/on print media, radio, TV, billboards, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, banner display networks, and OTT?

If not, then your marketing team should outsource advertising, and probably to more than one agency. We often see traditional advertising agencies excel at TV ad placements, radio ads and publications, but some agencies back away from digital advertising entirely or manage digital poorly.

Digital advertising, like SEO, is a full-time job. It requires a deep understanding of advertising platforms, such as Google Ads and LinkedIn Campaign Manager. It requires knowledge of how the systems work, how to create compelling ads, how to target the right audience, and how to make sure your ads drive conversions on your website. Digital advertising requires constant attention, to respond to changing markets, changing technology and changing competitor strategies.

Throwing dollars at Google and social media and hoping for the best will yield the worst. Find an expert partner to help you create and manage a strategic, integrated advertising approach to help your business succeed.

Why Outsource Analytics Services?

Analytics, the most arcane of digital marketing services, is the most likely to baffle in-house staff. No one has the time to dedicate to developing a deep understanding of analytics, a field in which a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. None of your marketing efforts will matter if you can’t provide accurate and comprehensive reporting to senior leaders. Analytics is the key to all other marketing efforts;  make sure it’s set up correctly in the first place.

Google Analytics 4, Google Tag Manager and Google Search Console are highly complex systems and all too easy to configure incorrectly. Poorly configured systems deliver incomplete data, which fails to tell the whole story of your marketing team’s efforts and results. Correct configuration from the start gives you the data you need to make informed marketing decisions. An agency that specializes in analytics and reporting can do this for you.

Accurate, complete, useful reports allow you to analyze your data and leverage it productively. As a bonus, those reports will impress your boss, because they show the true ROI of your marketing efforts. And that can lead to bigger marketing budgets and even better results.

Agencies are really your best bet for analytics services. Their experts know these systems inside and out. They can make sure your data is clean and accurate. They can boil your data down to meaningful, comprehensible reports that make you look as smart as you actually are.

Cost: Outsourcing vs. In-House

Small businesses have small marketing budgets, which make outsourcing some digital marketing tasks seem like a daunting proposition. However, we’ve found that outsourcing highly specialized skills is far more cost-effective than hiring new employees.

A marketing employee’s salary can be more than the cost of outsourcing, and that doesn’t include benefits. In addition, outsourcing to an agency means you’ll always be up to date on the best digital marketing trends, which will optimize your overall marketing investment and allow your in-house team to focus on projects and initiatives that leverage their true expertise.

If your team could benefit from extra digital marketing support, including SEO, advertising and analytics, Northwoods’ Agile Digital Marketing Services can quickly extend your team and help you achieve your goals without hiring another team member. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for guidance or to learn how we can help supplement your team’s expertise!