How to Outsource Your Digital Marketing so That Dog Will Hunt

Tony asked me how to resolve a problem for one of his clients. He told me that the client, located here in the upper left corner of the USA was considering “outsourcing his marketing to an outfit in Texas.” He was concerned that there was “more wishful thinking than common sense in play.”

That dog will hunt“That depends,” said Rob who we’ve taken to calling Bubba, the branding Buddha. “If the folks that will work with him know his industry and can provide the right kind of content it could be a marriage made in heaven but just because they claim to be experts don’t make it so. My dog sleeps in the garage. That don’t make him a truck.

Kate snickered and said, “Well put Bubba. I run into this when I get asked to train young sales people. They don’t know what they don’t know and so they claim to know everything. Trouble is, in today’s world they may know quite a bit about digital approaches to customers and have all the lingo at the ready but they don’t completely understand how to connect and go from there to make a sale.”

Rick nodded and then quietly added, “Most of them have not won their spurs in direct marketing and that is all digital marketing is. They have confused knowledge of the medium with understanding messages that work. Their idea of an offer is how long it’s free.”

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “but how do I help Mike with his friend?”

Gail, our veteran writer answered, “Tell him to quit messing around with tactics and start with strategy. You remember that start-up software outfit you told us about? (Cardsmith) That’s an easy way to lay out a strategy and then the tactics for a year-long campaign.”

Chris agreed and added, “As the digital marketing guy in my company I put the plan together with my staff using white boards and sticky notes. It is the same idea but the nice thing about Cardsmith is that you can share it easily even if you’re in different places. The major thing you have to do, regardless of how you do your planning, is to start with an objective, then build a strategy to get you there and then detail all the tasks to make it happen.”

Rick said, “When you are planning,the ability to move things around is really handy as well as the ability to show how things are connected. But I will guarantee you that it is a lot easier staying on plan today in the digital world because you have all the analytics to really determine what is going on, BUT you still have to assign dates to get implementations done and you need to agree up front on what metrics will be considered key.”

“All that is wonderful,” said Gail, “but I keep thinking about Bubba’s dog. If the people you outsource to are experts in digital marketing that is one thing. Do they know how to convince your customers to buy? Do they understand how that channel of distribution deals with their customers? Have they ever gone along on sales calls?

Kate cheered. “Right on sister! She continued, “the worst situation is when you have inexperienced people in both the marketing and sales positions. Knowing their level of capability can make all the difference.”

I said, “I told Tony that his buddy should look into spending a little money up front with a Marketing strategist so that objectives, strategy and tactics could be structured with relevant time lines and metrics so that the money spent would be worthwhile.”

The Takeaways:

Start with a real objective (that management agrees with)

Assess the ability of the people that will do the work on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of your business as well as their digital marketing skills.

Base agreements on specific metrics and timeframes that are sales related (your objective is to make money, not impressions.)

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

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