Some projects won't fit the skill set of the people you have in-house.

In-house, or outsource? 3 ways to tell.

Credit unions, like many companies, go through times of tightening budgets and cutting back on outside expenses. Marketing is often the department that feels the biggest pinch.

Occasionally some interesting management logic occurs, and more personnel can be added because the HR budget is a different line item than Marketing. (I never have figured that one out.)

But for most Marketing departments, a tighter budget mostly means cutting back the use of outside vendors. In-house staff are simply expected to accomplish more things with less people, less budget, and less time to get it all done.

This three-way balancing act between budget, staffing, and use of outside resources has been going on forever, and isn’t likely to end any time soon.


So when is it better to keep it in-house, and when is it best to use outside resources?

It usually comes down to one or more of these three reasons:

1. Capacity.

If you’re booked solid and don’t have the time or the hair left to pull out, you need to find a cost-effective way to take some things off your plate. Decide who you want to use by what is most important to you: quality, price, creativity, the capability to deliver what you need when you need it, etc. Keep in mind that you will still have to find time to manage that resource and give timely feedback in order to keep everything on schedule. A provider who’s familiar with you and your brand will save a LOT of time and require a lot less “babysitting”.

2. Expertise.

Some projects simply won’t fit the skill set of the people you have in-house. Whether it is designing and coding a web site, shooting video, or coming up with a unique creative concept for your next campaign, pull in the experts when you don’t have the capability or you’re in a rut. For example, if you have staff who are better at production than out-of-the-box concepts and copy, consider hiring pros to develop the concept, copy and design of the initial pieces as a starting point.

3. Objectivity.

Some projects are simply too big. I don’t know of many successful rebrandings or web site redesigns that were done in-house. Some projects are simply too dangerous to handle in-house. When you (or your Board/Management Team) need to hear and make decisions on the truth, without any mixed agendas, you need an outsider’s perspective and experience.

Kent Dicken

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