Debunking the Myth that Business to Business Marketing is Cheaper In-House

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A full marketing publicity program covers associated expenses that arenÂ?t considered when doing a cost comparison with in-house personnel.

This requires a tremendous amount of expertise and hard work to be truly successful.

Faced with the dilemma between outsourcing a business to business marketing effort – such as a national marketing publicity campaign – or keeping it in-house, most top executives invariably consider the cost as one of the major factors. In other words: if I keep this in-house, will it cost me less than if I outsource?

Although cost is far from the only important consideration, conducting a cost comparison isn't as straightforward as it might appear. In fact, most number crunchers incorrectly compare the monthly costs of outsourcing to the salary costs for a full-time marketing person. But this approach ignores the many additional hidden costs that are also incurred when conducting a successful marketing publicity campaign for lead generation.

According to, a full time marketing manager or director is going to set you back $80,000 per year. Even a marketing assistant demands a median price of approximately $40,000, according to the site. In comparison, a moderately priced national marketing publicity program is also in that price range, depending on the exact program selected.

However, salary costs alone are just the beginning of the in-house costs that include: mandatory editorial directories such as Bacon’s Media Directories ($3,000+ per year); postage, overnight delivery, and phone bill; desk and network space; health coverage; writing costs (if outsourced); wire distribution fees; RSS and magazine subscriptions; and clipping services.

Add these to salary and it quickly becomes clear that running such a business to business marketing program in-house is not as cost-effective as outsourcing it to a professional marketing public relations firm.

"If you are going to look at it from only a cost viewpoint, you have to compare all the hidden extras associated with conducting a campaign," says John W. Elliott, CEO of Power PR, a business to business marketing public relations firm. "Our price encompasses all these costs. These add up very quickly for in-house staff so they should not be overlooked in any cost comparison."

Another in-house alternative designed to save a few dollars is to add the new marketing PR campaign to the already overworked and already employed marketing staff. This way, it doesn’t cost the company any money. At least it looks this way on paper.

This might be the "bright idea" of the top brass, but a properly conducted national, business to business marketing campaign is a full time job for a single employee, according to Elliott.

"This means writing feature articles, customer testimonials, and new product releases and doing a tremendous amount of one-on-one phone calling to get the articles published as editorial in consumer or trade publications," says Elliott. "This requires a tremendous amount of expertise and hard work to be truly successful."

With the proper effort, a professional program builds brand awareness and generates a large quantity of superior leads. With poor or partial effort, lead generation is typically dismal.

"Business to business marketing publicity is not just another duty that can be added to an already full marketing workload," says Elliott. "That might save you money on paper, but then the costs become intangibles such as wasted time, lost opportunities, and missed sales."


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Heather Metcalfe
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