Six months ago, I made the conscious decision to shift the focus of the business. I was proud of the work I delivered but it didn’t go far enough. Most of what I’d been doing up until that point was tactical in nature. But what if their underlying marketing strategy was flawed, or worse, non-existent?

Without any fanfare or announcement, I started working on strategic marketing projects. Some of those projects were with existing clients, some were with new clients. Working on these projects was a game changer for me. But why was that?

It boils down to this, I do my best work when I get to work deeper with clients. So, for me, fewer clients is definitely more rewarding.

I shared a post a few weeks back that talked a bit about my plans for the future of the business. It’s had some really positive feedback from clients, colleagues and friends. It’s also sparked quite a few conversations. The phrase from that post that’s prompted most of those conversations has been ‘outsourced marketing director’. I’ve been asked exactly what that means.

What is an outsourced marketing director?

An outsourced marketing director is someone that fulfils the senior strategic marketing role of an organisation on an independent basis. In other words, they’re not on the payroll. The specifics of what they do will vary, based on the needs of the client. Typically though they will create and direct the marketing strategy and oversee marketing projects.

Why some businesses need an outsourced marketing director?

First of all, for many businesses, an outsourced marketing director is the wrong option. They might be better placed outsourcing their marketing tasks and activities to a pool of freelancers or a marketing agency. In those cases, a marketing manager or marketing executive might be the best next step if there was a desire to grow an internal marketing team.

Some businesses though can’t justify bringing in any dedicated marketers. Economically, it just doesn’t make sense. Or, in some cases, they just don’t have a defined need to keep someone gainfully employed on a full-time basis. Here’s the challenge though, they still need help developing and executing a marketing strategy.

Working with an outsourced marketing director gives the business owner access to the brain of an experienced senior marketer on their terms, and crucially within their budget. And the budget is important.

What would it cost to add a Marketing Director to your team?

Salaries for Marketing Directors vary enormously based, primarily on location, sector and the size of the hiring organisation. Realistically though a broad range would be from £50k up to well over £100k. Even at the low end, most ambitious, growing businesses can’t justify that expense. They can though, afford to bring in an experienced marketing consultant to help them deliver successful marketing projects.

Marketing Project Manager versus Outsourced Marketing Director

For some businesses, simply bringing a marketing consultant in on a project by project basis is enough. The work is scoped out. Expectations are managed and successful projects are delivered. It’s all they need. They can repeat the process as and when the need arises. All they will ever need is a marketing project manager.

Others though would prefer ongoing access to a marketing specialist. And that’s where an outsourced marketing director comes in.

Reactive and Proactive

The real difference is in access. A marketing project manager works to the scope of the project they’ve been assigned. In other words, they do what they’ve been paid to do. An outsourced marketing director is a part of the team. They’re reactive – they help you when you need them. But they’re also proactive because their knowledge of the business and industry means they’re continually doing your marketing thinking for you. They come up with new ideas and ways to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

My Model

I’ve spoken to my clients, partners and business friends to find out what they’d like to see from an outsourced marketing director. Based on their feedback, I’ve created my own model. But like everything I do, it can be adapted.

Each month my Outsourced Marketing Director Clients will get –

  • A 2-hour Marketing Strategy Session where we set the plans for the month ahead.
  • 1 to 5 days of Marketing Consultancy or Project work. (at clients premises or virtually.)
  • A 1-hour mid-month Marketing Review. This is basically an accountability call to make sure we’re doing what we said we would.
  • Unlimited Support via telephone, email or Slack (Instant messaging system.  If you’ve got a problem, crisis, question or idea you don’t have to wait.
  • Discounted day rate for any additional consultancy or project days.
  • Access to all my online courses for all of your team.
  • A monthly activity report including new ideas and opportunities.

Outsourced marketing director clients make a commitment to an initial 12-month contract. But, I’m also a realist. If it isn’t working out for either party, there’s a 3-month cancellation clause included. That clause will be activated by me or the client.

The monthly price for the outsourced marketing client service is fixed, based on the number of consultancy days and whether the work is being carried out remotely or at the client’s offices.

And yes, I will only work on this basis with a handful clients. This model wouldn’t work otherwise. In the short term, I’m looking to support 3 to 5 organisations as an outsourced marketing director.

So that’s where this idea has taken me so far. What do you think? Is there anything missing? Any detail I’ve left out? Anything you’d like or expect to see?

If you’d like to share your thoughts on my approach please add a comment to this post, or if you prefer, drop me an email – Or, if it’s easier to have a chat, book a slot to have a quick call.

Either way, your thoughts on this would really help me out.

Published by Kev Anderson

I'm a storyteller, case study specialist and the founder of The Story Edge. I want more people to tell more stories. I write stories, teach people to do the same and generally encourage people to use storytelling in their business.

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