Apparently a few companies have decided they can save on their marketing by cutting back on external spend and just do all their marketing themselves.

They’re going to send out more newsletters to clients, update the website, create more content.

Because after all it’s free…isn’t it? I mean we just need our highly paid Marketing Director, and the two assistants to spend about 75% of their time on it…but at least we don’t have to pay out a few cheques for a couple of $3,000 print ads.

Of course, it’s not so free at all.

Even if you do it in-house, you need to consider the staff time spent, and the opportunity cost of that– ie what other more productive things could these people be doing with their time.

Does this mean you shouldn’t invest in this type of content marketing?

No. Of course you should do it. It can be the most effective marketing you ever do. But it’s shouldn’t be viewed as a cheap alternative to external marketing.

In fact, advertising with a quality publication (with an independently audited circulation of course), whether in print or online, is in reality often the budget option. Because you are reaching a ready-made audience, one that the magazine has already built, and you are paying a fee to piggy-back on to communicate with those same people. If those people match your target market, it’s a great way to get your message out.

The alternative is to build your own audience, and an effective content marketing campaign can do just that. The rewards are great, but it’s hard work and unlikely to be economical if you divert more productive staff time to doing it or hire a new marketing person in the hope that they will have all the skills needed.

Outsourcing this work can often be far more economical. Compare the fees you may pay to an external provider to what you’d have to pay a staff member to do the same job. You’ll quickly see that advertising is frequently the cheapest option, outsourcing content marketing comes next and by far the most costly is to pay an in-house marketing person to sit in your office and do it.