Episode 3

In this episode of the Outsourced Marketing Department Podcast, Ryan W. Gates discusses with Mike Snyder of RSM Marketing Services how OMD compares to in-house marketing. Having spent a decade as the director of marketing for a national retailer, Ryan is quite familiar with the challenges of running a marketing team and working with an outside agency. Listen in as Ryan and Mike discuss the logistics and strategic tactics of OMD vs. in-house and define the added value of an OMD over a full-time hire.


Today, we’re talking with Mike Snider to talk about the differences between in-house marketing and outsource marketing for your business.

Mike is a co-founder of RSM marketing services in Wichita, Kansas, an entrepreneurial company specializing in outsource marketing with clients across North America. Let’s listen in.

So Mike start off by just tell me briefly what is an MD? What is outsource marketing?

Well, fundamentally outsource marketing kind of means you don’t have to think about it, you don’t have to worry about it, it’s getting done and fundamentally, that’s what it is. It is the easy way both operationally and financially to get marketing done. The problem, as we’ve said routinely here at RSM, is there’s this propagation in skill sets that are required to do marketing. It used to be in the old days if you had a designer or maybe a copy writer you’d be fine and maybe a media buyer. But now today, there’s 11 skill sets, representing $750,000 in salary load required to do every day. This is not even specialized marketing, this is just everyday marketing for any kind of company regardless of the category. And so, outsourced marketing means you don’t have to worry about all those skill sets, fund all those skill sets. You outsourced like you would outsourced bookkeeping, accounting, HR.

Well, and you led directly into exactly what I wanna talk about today, what is then the difference between outsource marketing versus In-House Marketing?

Well, that’s a great question, because there’s still is room for in-sourced marketing, it’s matter of fact, many of our clients have marketing departments. As a matter of fact, there are some clients who actually have us as part of their marketing organization chart. What they tend to do is when they’re specialized requirements or whether there are heavy requirements. Let’s say that your manufacturing company and you do a lot of technical manuals, technical sales support, you have to have a CAD designer, you have to have a technical writer and it’s just too much to be outsourced on the outsource marketing model. The outsource marketing model tends to be for a very common kinds of marketing skill sets that are… don’t change depending on the Retail category, or the the category… Its retail manufacturing, technology, healthcare. SEO with fundamentals of SEO are the same, the fundamentals of PPC, search engine marketing are the same, lead generation. The same then when it comes to technical writing for titanium parts that is gonna take us a long time to learn from a technical aspect. Not an SEO aspect.

So, sorry. I guess, maybe I went… I wanna get out of them… What are the benefits for us to be looking at doing an OMD versus an in-house, for those that are doing the traditional marketing that aren’t having the massive technical side of things? What would make me want to choose doing outsourcing my marketing versus keeping in-house.

So, you know, there are our business folk out there listening to this, they’re gonna chuckle, because there’s still this unicorn… Maybe that person is known as Charlie, maybe they’re known as Lisa, but it’s the person who is a jack of all trades and the Master of None. And, you know, maybe they’ve got a little bit of an attitude because everybody in the company turns to them saying, I need this, I need this, I need this. And it used to be said, “I’ll get that to you next week, I’ll get that to you next month. We now, on next year. And so that kind of person needs to be freed because they are usually very capable of some very forward-leaning stuff. Perhaps even the priority of the company and its marketing in a strategic marketing perhaps they’re really just a good doer. But none the in-the-less, in what her the being underutilized or the being over-utilized an outsource marketing department can help them do more of what they’re really good at, and frankly get more done faster.

Sure, now what about, what about, you talk about some of your clients that you work with have a market department, and it’s not just the full-time employee unicorn as you call it. How does outsource marketing work when you have a market department, you already have a marketing structure in place?

Well, something that I’m very personally excited about is temp. You know if a lot of companies they lose a position and… Okay fine, so you lost your web person. Well, rather than just let the website sit there for three or six months or whatever, we’ll come in on a 10 basis. Many clients aren’t sure whether they need a position. Well fine, outsource that for a while. Play with it without having to commit to it kind of a thing. So, there’s really this surge capacity that an outsource marketing department can do, there’s a temp capacity there is an ancillary or auxiliary structure. For a lot of clients, even just… We can do video and photography on an OMD. It doesn’t even have to be all 11 skill sets. Like, Okay, we really don’t wanna get into all these kinds of video. For instance, one of the things we’re doing here for some clients, is high production video, meaning they need 50, they whatever, 300 skus, and we need to do be doing 50 short form of product videos, a month. outsource that.

Yeah, so … What about when somebody needs something right away? So this is something I hear a lot from the in-house versus outsourced side of things, is our… It sounds great but it’s… It’s gonna be too slow. I need things right away. What happens when I need to go down the hall and grab my marketing person right away. How does, so how does outsource in that scenario that…

Another great questions, so and it’s a fair question because every company is gonna have emergencies, but every like any company that is always an emergency, they’re not acting strategically, and friendly the… We’re not gonna be a very good fit because we do act strategically, we put client work on a schedule. We know in advance what we’re gonna be doing for months. Generally it takes a couple of months to get there, when starting off, Okay, the clients know and a lot of times they don’t know, they don’t even know, but we create the calendar with them. Now they have a fast flying over, we can get that done same day, many times, or tomorrow, but the work can’t be a crisis all the time. We can’t run our business that way. And frankly, who wants to run their business that way?

So the other thing I guess I’m curious about me, this goes back to our conversation about more skilled trades were just talking about… But another question I hear is… Can and outsource marketing department, can it honestly understand my company as well as, as I do. So you talk about temps coming on, so attempts you have an onboarding process, you have a learning time pan period for them to actually get the speed, and then execute a few tasks. But as far as OMDs versus an in-house market department, your market director who knows your brand lives and breathes your brand, how does an MD work in comparison to that?

You know, that’s really a fascinating question because that is the… A way perhaps as some might think but the reality is far different. Chief marketing officers, what’s the average 10-year one, two years max? When it comes to marketing directors and marketing a teammates, they also are in and out on an increasing schedule. Not going or the days when somebody is there for 10, 12-15 years. So this is this memory that we have of all. I need somebody who will be here to learn my business. Well, guess who is there for 10 or 15 years. Now, we’re only eight years old, but we have clients who have been with us since the very beginning and meanwhile we’re through four marketing directors of theirs. Guess who has the institutional memory there? We actually have a benefit through OMD, Okay, even though people come and go here a lot of times the leaders and the principals don’t… And we end up having that corporate marketing memory, and we also have the responsibility of training, not only our own team members were working on that client Any times that clients new higher for their marketing team will come over here and we will be doing the downloading and the training of the historic aspect.

Well, and you maintain a flat hierarchy as well within your company. So if there’s one person who’s out the next person steps in. Which is an another thing I think in-house is sick days, people and they’re gonna get sick people are gonna all got kids people. Hey, I’ll take vacations. Does an OMD have sick days? Does an OMD take vacations

Now is that… That’s really funny, isn’t it? No way, it doesn’t no. It’s as a program, it’s not a person. When we talk about 11 skill sets, we’re talking about at least 22 to 35 people, there’s depth so that if somebody does take off either they know that and they work ahead or we pass it off to a teammate there’s a junior. We continue to get the work done. To your point, there are no sick days, or vacation days.

So I, prior prior to this, I had a role as a Director of Marketing for a national retail company, and we were a franchise. So one of the things I’m really curious about is how does outsource marketing work in a franchise setting? Right, so there is obviously the… There’s two ways, I’m curious about that one, what does it look like from the corporate aspect? I am the corporate brand and I am providing support to my franchisees via national marketing. And then the other side is I’m a franchise and I’m getting marketing from corporate. How can outsource marketing help me on an individualized local level to supplement it?

Alright, so great question. The two parts, the first part is really academic, which is yes, absolutely, in an OMD, one flat fee schedule and I wanna take a step backward and not dismiss that too quickly.

A lot of franchises are young and growing. Okay and they have evolving needs, like all of a sudden. Oh, gotta do national TV. And now we need to have national high production qualities but I… That can be very expensive, especially in a month, a month basis, when you’re… No, you have to develop new materials franchise. So under an OMD that tends to be smoothed out and we’ve done that a couple of times, just a flat monthly fee. Now, whatever come what may… And you know, it levels out if you will, over time, which might be a year, even a couple of years. Now, those growing franchises, when I say growing fan, I’m not talking about 3, 5, 15. As a matter of fact when we work with began with 30 stores and they’re now at 300. So we’re talking about a very rapidly growing franchise of some size. When they get to a turning point, the franchisees began to have some power and they want more services at the local market marketing line, LMS. Our local store marketing, so we are able to provide that as well, on a franchise by franchise basis. Customized doing their local advertising in the community relations with the PR thing. Now so you go from a national advertising the TV programs or whatever, to ads in penny power although don’t think penny power is out there anymore.

They absolutely do. The penny savers is still out there and the rural market is definitely a big thing. Yeah, so size of company, maybe another thing we can talk about and we’re talking about corporate and franchise here. Is there a specific size company, where OMD makes the most sense?

You know… No, the answer to that question is absolutely no. We have Fortune 500 companies, who are clients we have got top 10 HC Hospitals that are clients for instance, they’ve got thousands of employees. We have new start-ups that are that are clients. I mean they are funded, and they need to brand they literally need to create a brand, not just a mark or logo but messaging and positioning and some competitive analysis. And so we are not an advertising company, we’re not doing advertising through this outsource marketing department. We’re doing high level marketing development, high level marketing strategy, in support of the business concept he changing the business concept especially with the start-up. So now we have clients who are startups, who get it, you know, and want to move faster rather than do it yourself. The only, the only time when an OMD does not work is when you have a principle that is highly Do-It-Yourself. They can’t let go. To a point you’re gonna have to let go. A always gonna be involved. Yeah, but you can’t control it to the point of choking out your partners.

Well, I also have… It’s the principles that don’t believe in marketing. They’re another that drives me crazy, which is, I have marketing because I have to have marketing not because I believe in marketing, ’cause I believe what I can do. Another question I’m curious about is, in that in-house versus OMD, in-house again much that we talked about. my marketing director is right down the hall and you’ll grab him and say, “Hey I got this thing coming”. OMD, many of your clients are not in the same city as you, so how does that work from a communication level, having people that you can’t see face-to-face on a regular basis.

Okay, so I wanna address that question but I wanna hit the previous question that you applied just a tiny bit, okay and it is, it is… I think an important point, we actually be gonna talk about it, like this. Marketing has been historically highly discretionary. Do we need a national print campaign? Maybe… Maybe not. Do we need to have a celebrity spokesperson? Maybe… Maybe not. But in this age of online and digital marketing marketing, that’s no longer… And we’re really talking about marketing communications at this point is no longer discretionary. You can not ignore SEO, so otherwise you don’t show up. You really can’t ignore, PPC otherwise you’re gonna lose opportunity. Or Lead Generation… Directories… There’s so many online directories. Reputation management, what’s that? Well, how about Google reviews? We we talk about these things all the time, especially with the older clients. It takes years potentially to build up these marketing assets like reviews, you can no longer ignore. So to help them understand we go.. “Now when you started, what was the first thing you did?” Well, I bought a Yellow Pages ad. Exactly. Did you want to? No. Why did you? I had to, if I didn’t do a yellow page ad I wouldn’t sell anything. That’s what online marketing is this the new yellow page ad. So it really is no longer discretionary, it’s a mandatory purchase. If you don’t do it, is gonna cost you.

To your second question.

What if I’m not in the same city?

Well, that’s gotten a lot easier. So through video conferencing and we have a methodology to the outsource marketing department, which is there are set weekly phone calls at the at the most remote and every other week in the last 30 minutes to an hour. Client has homework we get on a video conference or on the phone and we’ve never had… Frankly, I have to tell you, we’ve never had really become plants about that. Gone are, “Hey you wanna have lunch. Hey, how about going golfing?” We don’t have that. And I think that with a lot of clients, there’s a real big relief there. We’re not asking for more relationship. We just wanna kick some butt and get some great marketing done and they like that. I think there’s a soldier relationship there.

Sure. Well you don’t have to… Prior to this, I said as a Director of Marketing, and I had my unicorn I had my FTE unicorn and he was absolutely a Jack of all trades and a master of some, I’ll say is a master or some. He was a pretty fantastic kid, and we had a group of four people, so small market, department five total. And 2020 high in sight. Yeah, I wish now that I had made the move to OMD back then, I definitely I think would have worked out very well for our company. One of the things that helped me out, we’ve talked about a little bit, is this the idea of Can you really know and you know my company, the way I can, I know my company and the way I can train these four people to know this company. And the thing that hung me up. And I’m curious to pick your brain on is my last question today. Is really thinking about this idea that how do I phrase… So my in-house team is only working on my company. So, outsource marketing.

Yes, you’ve got longevity with me. You’re working on so many different things. You have multiple different clients, how… How does that translate? To put… To ease somebody it’s their thinking. No, you can’t know my company as well as I do. I live, eat, breathe it every day. You know my company strategically in the silo. How do you take yourself from all your other clients? And be able to dedicate to me what I would get from in-house.

Well, I’m just gonna fall back on a Marine Corps metaphor then, right? And as you know, we’re fighting marketing or fighting, it’s all the same, it’s winning and is planning and its execution, strategic execution, so… So theatre warfare in the Marines and the way the US military goes to war. There were three teams, one works on the close battle, one works on the near Battle one works on the far battle, right that close, near, and the far. All different teams, three different environments and even three different kinds of outcomes. We’re not even sure we’re ever gonna get it for battle, but if we do, we’re gonna be ready. And so even the military is dividing its resources of and focusing on three different parts of the theater. So bringing that back into marketing. If no in-house team can an… Unless we’re really big, can possibly handle the the close the near and the far battles. And so with a lot of clients, they say… Why don’t you do like manufacturing, working with one right now he… So, we’re gonna be focusing on the near battle we need you to be thinking about the far battle. What are the products that are gonna be in development in what are we gonna be doing with those? The positioning, let’s create a whole new consumer metaphor is as to how they’re gonna be thinking about this company. Things that the marketers that are focusing on getting stuff out today, they’re not gonna be able to work on, perhaps well or even have the talent to do that.

I have to also believe that in the in-house world I know I’m guilty of it you get blinders on, you definitely start thinking about your product, your company, your only thing and you don’t get the outside influence from other companies that influence and the way that you think and the way you strategically make maneuvers.

Well, so there’s an excellent point there. And sometimes we take it for granted, but we see scores of case studies, and not even like reading them, but living them for many years scores hundreds. And just had a conversation with a client this morning. I know it’s a funny thing because we brought some ideas to the table that he had been kicking around. Kicking around it for many years but, he was thinking about them operationally and we said, Well no, we’re not even talking about it at an operational level, we’re talking about a strategic marketing consumer perception. The win from doing this is going to help build a trusted brand. Don’t even think about from an operational level. When you started looking at some operational implications, just from the true marketing aspect It pushed him over the line, and so even something he been thinking about for years. We came in fresh as a third party opinion, and articulated it differently.

So one-sentence short and brief.

Why should someone pick outsource marketing over in-house?

Move faster, win more.

I love it. Move faster, move wait… Move faster, win more

Move faster, win more.

Win faster, move more….

Yeah, it works either way. Another way.

Mike, Thank you very much,

Thank you!

Appreciate it.

You bet.

Thanks for listening to another episode of the outsource marketing department podcast. Your source for all things OMD if you have questions over the topics cover today or suggestions for a future topic follow the link in the description of this episode.

I’m Ryan Gates and I’ll see you next time.




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