Why You Should Be Pushing for In-House Ecommerce Marketing
Are you struggling with keeping your freelance contractors on schedule? Do you shy away from large contracts with robust agencies that might not take your e-commerce store seriously? If so, then you should consider building an internal team to focus on our E-commerce marketing plan. An in-house ecommerce capability may prove difficult to build, but is a significant competitive advantage.
Did you know that in the last ten years, 20% more brands are choosing to keep their marketing team in-house rather than outsourcing? If that statistic shocked you, then you need to keep reading to learn why and how you can build the best team to scale your e-commerce business too.
What Is Ecommerce Marketing?
E-commerce marketing is an online version of traditional marketing. The end goal of e-commerce marketing is to bring awareness to your brand and to sell your products or services online. E-commerce marketing isn’t a replacement for traditional offline efforts like television and print media advertising; it is instead used in conjunction with them.
Ecommerce marketing is driven by websites that function as online stores or online marketplaces. Just like digital marketing, e-commerce marketing goes hand in hand with SEO, social media marketing, and email marketing. Each of these tactics will support your overall mission as outlined in your strategy.
Whether you hire an internal or external team, you need to have a focused and dedicated team of experts implementing your e-commerce digital marketing strategy. However, before you can hire anyone, whether in-house or outsourced, to implement your marketing, you must map out your e-commerce marketing strategy. This includes defining clearly your goals, your target audience, and which tactics will be used to reach your goals.
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Why In-House Ecommerce Marketing?
As you build your team, you need to focus on your goals so that you hire the right experts to help you reach those goals. Will you customize your ecommerce platforms right off the bat? Which ecommerce software will you use for marketing? Which inventory management tools will we use? By keeping your team internally, you can find the right people to develop, maintain, and implement your strategy. Your business strategy is the first stop for deciding whether or not an in-house ecommerce marketing team is a priority. There are many reasons why businesses choose to build their team internally; we’ll cover the top six here.
As you grow your business, it can be tempting to outsource some of your tasks. This can be a smart way to get certain tasks done so you can stay focused on growing your business. However, your marketing is too important. By keeping your marketing team in-house, you give your organization a competitive advantage because you can emphasize quality and creativity. The fact is, when we’re looking for ecommerce revenue that hits new heights and does not stagnate, we’ve seen this sustainable ecommerce business scale the most when in-house teams are humming.
Your team knows your brand and can keep the same quality across all your marketing avenues. Data shows that ecommerce businesses that keep their marketing department in-house tend to have a higher ROI. Your ecommerce brand should be unique; if you outsource your ecommerce marketing, you could end up with the same ads as other ecommerce stores. The creativity will suffer as well as the quality of work.
Increases Organizational Knowledge Capital
Ecommerce marketing requires in-depth knowledge across multiple disciplines. Keeping your ecommerce team in-house will ensure all of the different areas are being addressed properly, so there are no gaps or missed opportunities, including learning and knowledge in your space. Prioritizing in-house learning allows you to build stronger organizational muscle by interacting first hand with powerful inputs such as feedback from customers, including customer service requests, common issues, customer behavior, improvements to ecommerce operations, assessment of the value of digital products and e-commerce platforms, fulfillment metrics such as fulfillment costs, shipping options including costs of shipping, customer input on individual products that can be tied to persona characteristics for marketing, and much more.
Ecommerce companies or business units buy into continuous improvement because the market is constantly shifting. So keeping close proximity to crucial operations is essential to growing in the right direction. While we do recommend taking a hybrid approach to sourcing productivity, it cannot be denied that there is a huge role in performance in the exact solution of developing and growing in-house knowledge.
Your team needs to be able to work together in order to develop strategies and tactics that are most likely to succeed. Working closely with the ecommerce team is necessary for them to understand how their knowledge can be applied most effectively. This will ensure all your ecommerce efforts align with your strategic goals.
Pushes Brand and Customer Ownership
Your internal employees are already experts on your company brand. Nobody will be more vested in seeing the success of your organization than your current staff members. This is why they are the perfect solution to your marketing needs, as they will keep your marketing in alignment with your brand.
Additionally, your current team already knows and understands the needs and concerns of your customers intimately. They can create marketing that speaks to your clients because they have spoken with them. If you choose to outsource, you will need to spend time explaining and teaching your new contractor who your target audience is and what content is best to reach them.
Embeds Data-Based Insights for Multidisciplinary Uses
Data-driven ecommerce marketing is what separates ecommerce shops that merely eke out a living from ecommerce shops that look like ecommerce powerhouses to their ecommerce customers. Ecommerce is increasingly competitive, and it’s more important than ever for you to find new ways to stand out. Your ecommerce marketing strategy demands that you keep close track of the ecommerce data that is most relevant to your business.
Ecommerce marketing data gives you ecommerce business insight. It gives you ecommerce business intuition on what to do next. Some metrics you should track include your conversion rates, your cost per acquisition in advertising, the average order value, as well as the total lifetime value of your customers.
Knowing this data will give you the information you need to make educated decisions about your marketing. It will also give you a competitive advantage so you can grow and scale your business to the next level.
Offers Valuable Growth Opportunities for Employees
As you build your e-commerce marketing team, start with your internal pool first. Help your current team to find their strengths and build upon them with new growth opportunities.
Unfortunately, only one in five employees report feeling engaged at work. You can change that trend by investing in your staff and encouraging them to grow their careers internally.
Don’t be afraid to help your employees grow in fear that they will leave; some will and some won’t. But the same is true if you keep them stuck and don’t encourage growth. So choose to invest in your team, and you will find the ones that will grow to new levels that will exceedingly help your business grow to new levels as well.
Maximizes the Results for the Work You Do Outsource
Many businesses worry that choosing between outsourcing or not is an all-or-nothing choice. The fact is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. There will be certain tasks that you need to outsource for the sake of scaling, budgeting constraints, or simply that nobody has the time. Your current process needs to take into account that if you are a fast-growing brand, the incremental cost is not the only metric to consider when strategically deciding on outsourcing. For instance, many companies utilize a fulfillment partner for their entire fulfillment because they are worried about having slow fulfillment or higher shipping rates. Working with service providers in certain situations like this is not a bad decision. The key is to balance both the outsourcing and the commitment to build capabilities in-house. Doing this can help you guarantee faster shipping, avoid late deliveries, lower your shipping costs, eliminate disorganized inventory management, gain creative marketing campaigns, and make incremental improvements to your entire ecommerce supply chain. Even if developing more robust in-house teams feels like an intimidating process, remember, even huge companies don’t get it perfect. Give yourself some space to learn and trust in the strategy.
When you strategically choose which work you will outsource, you can maximize the return on that investment. And you can clear the tables for your in-house team so they can focus on their areas of expertise. This will get you the fullest benefit from both internal and external hiring.
Benefits for Your Business
To remain competitive, you will need to stay innovative, agile, and fiscally sound. Building up an internal team of marketers can help you do just that. From creative control to cost control, here are the top benefits for staying in-house rather than outsourcing.
Better Financial Performance
Many companies worry that the best choice when it comes to digital marketing is to go with a costly ecommerce marketing agency. However, the truth is that most find that internally building up a team gives you a better return on your investment, even with additional costs required to support an in-house team. Yes, it can be costly to hire and train staff internally; however, you will find that with proper onboarding, you can build a team that will be better financially in the long run.
Better Employee Retention
As mentioned earlier, by growing your team within, you give valuable growth opportunities for your staff. This will lead to better staff retention rates and lower churn. You don’t have time to train a new contractor each time your previous one moves on.
As you will see in a later section, we outline how offering growth opportunities can decrease your employee churn rates. Keep your marketing team in-house and watch your employee retention grow.
Increase Speed in the Long Run
In marketing, you need to be agile and able to move quickly. When you can walk down the hall and explain your new concept to your team, you will see the turnaround times you need to stay competitive. You can’t wait for emails to get opened in another time zone; every little bit adds up.
Smooth collaboration within your team will allow you to do away with lengthy lead times and delayed delivery to your clients. As you can see, speed is a key benefit in growing your team internally.
Ability to Pivot Affordably
Again, agility is vital to success in marketing. And this isn’t just about delivery times and project management. When you make a pivot in your business or marketing goals, you need your team to be able to pivot as well.
If you have large contracts with outside experts in website design and optimization but decide to focus more efforts on social media, you can’t pivot affordably. However, when your team is working in-house, you can change their assignments and keep them abreast of your pivoting goals quickly and affordably.
Better Customer Experience
Your customers want a uniform and reliable experience each time they work with you. A confused customer doesn’t purchase and decides to go elsewhere. When your marketing team finds themselves siloed away from your customer service team, or worse, across the globe from them, then your customer is sure to notice.
Keep your customer experience uniform across all contact points with your customer to ensure a better experience and higher sales. Customer churn is just as deadly as staff turnover, don’t risk this by having inconsistent messages and branding.
Creativity is vital when developing your marketing team. When you build your team internally, you can keep your brand message on point. Too many creatives worry that staying within the same branding can decrease their innovation, but we’ve found the opposite to be true.
Because your team has continuity and creative control, they will actually be more visionary and imaginative as they create each new campaign. As you build your team, empower them to use their creative license and champion new ideas.
Lower Costs Long Term
Hiring marketing agencies can come with a high price tag. And working with freelancers means higher turnover and more of your time spent onboarding. Most business owners find that their long-term costs are actually lower when they take the time to invest upfront in their team.
It might seem daunting now as you face building, hiring, and training your in-house e-commerce marketing team. However, the return on your investment will be more than dollars and cents; it also has intangible, or soft, benefits that your team will feel and understand.
How to Improve Your In-House Ecommerce Marketing
Whether your digital marketing priorities are focused on ecommerce email marketing or social media, you need to build the right team for the job. It can be daunting to get started, but let’s focus on our top three tips for building up the right team within your organization.
Prioritize Which Tasks to Outsource
The first step in building your team in-house is to look at everyone’s current strengths and weaknesses along with their current commitments and workload. Certain tasks you almost certainly don’t want to offload to a third party without having run the numbers, such as your fulfillment capabilities via your own fulfillment operation, customer satisfaction management or setting customer expectations, product development, ecommerce returns, and handling inventory issues. That said, you cannot handle the entire process in-house, so the tasks that you don’t have time for or currently have the right in-house expertise will be the ones you decide to outsource.
Identify Key Areas to Bring In-house
Once you’ve outlined what will be off-site, you can prioritize what will be on location. Identify the key areas you want to focus on and build up, so your team knows where they need to keep their attention.
Your team of ecommerce marketers needs to know what tasks they will accomplish to reach your ecommerce marketing goals, such as increasing revenue or enhancing customer experience. You need to outline the key areas in which your team will focus so they can get the right work done.
Set Targets and Ensure Accurate Tracking
Data needs to be central to your decision-making and strategy. Before your team gets started writing content and creating amazing graphics, they need to know what their targets and goals are. Outline the key metrics that will be tracked and then ensure that everyone has access to them.
Regularly visit your goals and track the right metrics to ensure that you reach those goals. As you see your metrics change, make the best decision for your marketing plan so you can stay on track to meet your target numbers and grow your business.
Who Has Ownership for Implementation?
Just as with any long-term project, you should plan your ecommerce digital marketing strategy similarly. Have a lead point person or project manager and track your tasks consistently over time.
Since achieving excellence in project management requires every task to be assigned to the right person, it is important for people working on projects to understand who has ownership of their tasks.
Ownership of work depends on two factors – expertise and location. You will then want to distribute the most accurate work that ensures efficient use of resources. To do this, assign each task to the person with the right knowledge and is closest to where that work should be done.
What Does Success Look Like?
Your version of success will look different from your competitors. Don’t try to emulate them and copy their goals or strategies. You need to find what makes your company unique and focus on that distinction in your marketing.
Show your potential customers why they should choose you over the competition. If everyone is the same, nobody wins, especially your customers. Instead, take the time to sit down and map out what success looks like for you and your company.
This is what will define the strategy you create, the tactics you choose, and how you implement them. As you work each day to create the best campaigns for your marketing plan, keep these goals front and center, so everyone on your team knows what they’re working towards.
Success isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to know what it looks like for you and share it transparently with your team members. When everyone is on board with where you’re going, you will reach your final destination and grow your e-commerce business.
What to Do If Something Goes Wrong
Having a contingency plan means that you know what to do when one part of your marketing fails. It doesn’t mean that all parts of your marketing will be successful or that you’re guaranteed to reach an impasse. However, even the best plans can go awry sometimes.
Unfortunately, when the inevitable does happen, we see too many businesses make one of the following mistakes:
- Do nothing and ignore the problem
- Focus on what your competition is doing and copy them
- Try to force their original plan to completion
Each of these mistakes will cause pain and unfortunate delays in campaign deliveries. Instead, understand that something will likely go wrong at some point in your plan. Have a contingency plan in place so everyone knows what to do and can correct the ship back to the desired course of action.
Some steps you can take to correct the course include tracking your conversions. Where in the customer journey do you lose the most sales?
Additionally, are you targeting your ideal audience with the best content? To find that out, you can set up an A/B test to see which copy converts your audience better.
As you work to correct anything within your plan, let’s dive into some further tips for success.
Tips for Success
As the business owner, it’s your job to build up your team for success. Here are some tips to help you do just that for your in-house e-commerce marketing team.
There Will Be Breakdowns, Have an Expert in Place to Navigate These
As mentioned, breakdowns are sure to happen. Don’t create the perfect plan that is too rigid for change. Instead, empower your team to stay agile and navigate the inevitable changes and bumps in the road by equipping them with an ecommerce expert that can help them stay resilient and resourceful.
Make Sure the Expert Can Periodically Visit Your Team on Location
As recent events have shown us, sometimes we can’t all come into the office every day, nor should everyone need to. However, it is best to have the ability to come together in person when you need to. If your team is working remotely, still take the time to schedule periodic visits so everyone can stay on the same page in your marketing plan and goals.
Ensure Your Budget, Timeline, and Scope Expectations Are in Place
Scope creep is the unfortunate result of too many vague marketing plans. As you build your e-commerce marketing team, ensure that your budget and timeline are sufficiently mapped out and clear for everyone. Likewise, keep your expectations clear and transparent, so everyone knows what is slated throughout each project and marketing campaign.
Show E-commerce They’re Important While They Grow
Everyone wants to feel that they are a valued member of the team. And your e-commerce marketing team is no exception. As you build, there will be growing pains, but take the time to remind your staff that they’re an integral part of growing your business.
Uplevel Your Ecommerce Store With a Winning Strategy
Outsourcing ecommerce marketing is a temporary solution that won’t retain the ecommerce knowledge required to effectively market your ecommerce business in the future. By staying in-house, you ensure this ecommerce expertise is built up within your organization.
Your ecommerce marketing strategy is too important to the success of your business for you to outsource it. You need to retain control over this vital facet of growing our business, and keeping it in-house does just that.
If you’re ready to create the winning strategy that your internal team will implement to grow and scale your business, then we’re ready to help you get started. We’ve helped business owners just like you to create data-driven, tech-focused strategies to grow their e-commerce business, and we can help you too.
Schedule a call now so we can help you build a customized plan that is sure to take our commerce store to the next level today.
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