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Why outsourcing is an opportunity, not a threat

I spoke to a marketing manager at an industrial electronics company the other day who’d asked us to pitch our Google AdWords management service, but who was having difficulty in justifying it …to himself. The problem wasn’t that he thought we wouldn’t be good value, or that we wouldn’t save him any time. We wouldn’t cost a penny, because he’d just transfer the existing AdWords budget to us and say: “see if you can do better.” The problem was that Google AdWords (which he was managing himself) had become so important to his company over the past couple of years, that he was spending an increasing amount of his working week on it, and if he subcontracted the job, one of his most significant job functions would be lost.

Of course, I could understand that. Nobody wants to outsource their own role. But the fact remained that Google AdWords advertising is a perfect activity to outsource, because it’s a combination of very highly-skilled tasks (setting up campaigns, keeping up to date with developments) and very low-skilled ones (constantly monitoring what’s going on). So what should our marketing manager be doing?

My suggestion was simple. If getting visitors to his company website was the company’s marketing priority, then he should be freeing up as much time as possible to create content. This is one thing which nobody outside the organisation can ever do more efficiently. By that, I meant website pages, email activity, brochures, data sheets, articles for external publication, even social media initiatives. Instead of spending a day a week (and rising) on Google AdWords, outsource that job, and use the time to start developing content. People have become obsessed with “search engine optimisation”, which just makes the most of what they’ve got, and are forgetting that having more content in the first place is a much better option. Why rearrange the furniture in the living room when you could be building a new extension at the back?

As I’ve written here before, no industrial or scientific company can ever have too much content on its website. Have you written a perfect page about every single product you sell? Really? Well, then it’s time to start again, creating a second page about every product, looking at it this time from the customer’s angle. If your Blue Widget provides a better way to connect sprocket A to flange B, then write a page called “How do I connect sprocket A to flange B?” and show how the Blue Widget is the answer. Done all that? Then start work on case studies for each product. And so on.

Nobody outside the organisation is in a better position to expand the website than you are. And trust me, it’s going to be a better use of your time than squinting at a spreadsheet full of Google AdWords data.

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