Outsourced Marketing That Works: Finding the Red Flags and the Right Fit

Outsourced Marketing

Outsourced marketing can be a powerful tool for establishing a lean, efficient, and competitive business; however, it should be regarded as an option rather than an absolute necessity. The impact of outsourcing varies among companies with diverse goals, and there are instances where it may not be the appropriate approach to adopt. Nonetheless, when executed effectively, outsourced marketing has the potential to fundamentally transform an organization.

Benefits of Outsourcing Marketing

Here are some benefits of outsourcing your organization’s marketing functions:

Enhanced Customer-centricity

While marketing campaigns are intended to be customer-oriented, in-house marketers often face the pressure to prioritize corporate objectives, diverting the focus towards the brand itself. By outsourcing marketing efforts, a beneficial buffer is created between management and the marketing staff, effectively preserving the primary focus of the campaign: the customer. This allows for an unwavering emphasis on understanding and meeting the needs of the target audience, ensuring that the customer remains at the forefront of the marketing strategy.

Enhanced Readiness for Emergencies

Marketing service providers possess the expertise and infrastructure to effectively manage unforeseen circumstances. They have established systems in place specifically designed to handle emergencies, allowing them to swiftly and efficiently mobilize people, resources, and the necessary technology. Consequently, outsourced marketing firms demonstrate a higher level of dynamism and flexibility compared to in-house teams when it comes to adapting to evolving needs. This agility ensures that they can readily respond to unexpected challenges, enabling the organization to navigate critical situations with confidence and minimal disruption.

Access to a Cohesive, Integrated Approach

When you engage a single provider to handle multiple marketing functions, you gain access to an integrated approach. By having a team of marketing specialists who collaborate consistently, a shared marketing philosophy and a unified objective are fostered. Instead of dealing with discrete functions such as direct mail, public relations, and advertising in isolation, the outsourced marketing team is able to holistically evaluate the entire process. This comprehensive perspective allows for a more strategic and coherent marketing strategy that aligns with the organization’s overarching goals.

Resource Optimization and Risk Sharing

Outsourcing a marketing function enables companies to reallocate resources to activities that truly enhance the value of the firm and maintain a customer-centric focus. By entrusting the marketing responsibilities to a capable provider, the organization can focus on core competencies and key customer interactions. Moreover, the shared responsibility for financial, market, and economic risks between the client and the marketing service provider adds an additional layer of flexibility to the organization. This collaborative risk-sharing approach provides the company with the adaptability needed to navigate changing market conditions and seize new opportunities.

Acceleration of Reengineering Efforts

When internal marketing processes are underperforming or yielding unsatisfactory results, reengineering becomes a necessary step. However, reengineering initiatives often demand significant time and effort. To expedite the process and swiftly realize its benefits, collaborating with a third-party provider is an effective approach. By leveraging their expertise and experience, these providers can streamline the reengineering process, enabling the organization to achieve desired outcomes promptly and efficiently.

Access to Valuable Resources

Outsourcing marketing functions allows companies to swiftly access the necessary funds, technologies, and facilities required for efficient operations. While this immediate resource availability is advantageous for short-term requirements, it is crucial for long-term or strategic decisions to outsource marketing to be based on a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis. By carefully evaluating the potential gains and drawbacks, organizations can make informed choices that align with their overarching goals.

Cost Control and Efficiency

Marketing service providers possess the specialized knowledge and streamlined processes to perform certain functions more efficiently and cost-effectively. Leveraging economies of scale, these vendors can share the benefits of their expertise with multiple clients while still maintaining profitability. By partnering with such providers, organizations can exercise better control over their marketing costs, optimize resource allocation, and ensure that marketing activities are performed in the most efficient manner possible.

Reduced HR-related Challenges

Collaborating with a third-party marketer to source marketing talent or engage marketing consultants/freelancers alleviates the burden of dealing with HR issues associated with full-time, permanent onshore employees. By outsourcing, organizations can bypass challenges such as staff disputes, worker’s compensation claims, sick leaves, and termination complications, as the responsibility for managing these aspects lies with the service provider.

Flexible Staffing Options

 Recognizing that organizations may not always require full-time marketing specialists, service providers offer customized, flexible staffing plans that adapt to evolving business needs and market cycles. Whether it’s hiring a few individuals, assembling a specialized team, or establishing an entire marketing department, outsourcing provides the flexibility to tailor the workforce precisely to the required scale. This approach ensures that the job is efficiently accomplished without the necessity for full-time attention, making it a sensible solution.

Access to Specialized Marketing Expertise

When local talent falls short in meeting specific marketing requirements, collaborating with an offshore provider emerges as an ideal solution. Service providers possess the ability to source specialized marketing expertise from other locations, bridging the talent gap and delivering the required skill sets to the organization. This access to a broader pool of talent ensures that the organization can benefit from diverse perspectives and expertise, enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing initiatives.

Time and Cost Savings in Recruitment

Traditional recruitment processes are often time-consuming and resource-intensive, involving tasks such as writing and posting job advertisements, reviewing applications, conducting candidate screenings, and managing follow-up procedures. However, engaging a third-party marketer to either source talent or perform marketing functions can significantly reduce recruitment-related time and expenses. By leveraging the expertise and networks of the service provider, organizations can bypass the intricacies of the recruitment process, allowing them to quickly and efficiently secure the required marketing specialists without the overhead of lengthy hiring procedures.

Red Flags when Outsourcing Marketing

When it comes to marketing your brand, product, or service, there are various approaches you can take. You can opt to build an in-house marketing department from scratch and hire full-time specialists. Another option is to delegate certain marketing tasks to existing staff within your organization. The third method is to outsource your marketing activities by engaging a third-party provider to handle some or all of your marketing efforts.

While some companies prefer to keep all marketing functions in-house, including brand promotion and traditional advertising, there are valid reasons for this decision. Executives may believe that the best results can only be achieved internally, and they might view hiring an external expert as ineffective for their specific campaign objectives. Additionally, they may consider marketing as one of their company’s core strengths.

However, for companies that have previously outsourced marketing and faced disappointing results due to problematic providers, it is understandable to approach the idea of outsourcing promotional activities with caution. Even if your organization has never outsourced marketing functions before, but you recognize the potential benefits, being alert to red flags can help you avoid significant challenges associated with outsourcing.

    1. Unrealistic Expectations Regarding ROI

    Beware of service providers who make grand promises, and be cautious not to fall into the trap of believing them. When outsourcing marketing or any process to an external party, it’s essential to maintain realistic expectations. One of the most significant mistakes is assuming that outsourcing will magically solve all your problems and instantaneously improve your bottom line. Building a strong customer base, nurturing customer relationships, and increasing revenues require time and effort, regardless of whether you outsource or not.

    2. Poor Project Management of Outsourcing

    Outsourced marketing is a collaborative partnership with shared responsibilities. While the outsourced marketing staff manages their own work, it is crucial to understand that they cannot be expected to fully manage your entire business. Experienced firms often assign top-level Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) to oversee and continuously monitor external marketing projects and outsourcing campaigns. This ensures that the partnership is maximized and that the desired outcomes are achieved.

    3. Premature Outsourcing of all Marketing Functions, Including Core Activities

    Attempting to outsource every marketing function simultaneously, particularly without careful planning, can lead to problematic outsourcing relationships. Instead, it is advisable for CMOs to adopt a gradual approach, starting with non-core marketing functions such as telemarketing or digital marketing. Setting clear and measurable management goals for the initial project allows for evaluation and success measurement. Once proven successful, CMOs can progressively outsource parts of higher-value marketing activities, such as data analytics.

    4. Selecting the Wrong Location

    Companies considering offshoring marketing functions should not assume that all low-cost locations are equal. While high-speed internet and cost are important factors, language and cultural compatibility also play a crucial role. It is vital to work with a marketing team with whom effective communication is possible, as language barriers can hinder collaboration and success.

    5. Overemphasizing Cheap Labor

    Outsourcing cannot thrive if the virtual team is unhappy or if it is viewed solely as a cost-saving measure during challenging times. Hiring both external and internal staff should be based on the same fundamental principles, ensuring compatibility and focusing on their personal growth and development. Building a harmonious and motivated team, whether outsourced or in-house, is key to achieving long-term success.

    6. Lack of Flexibility

    Adopting an inflexible approach in terms of budgets, expectations, and management can jeopardize the success of your outsourcing project. CMOs should embrace a dynamic outlook and plan for contingencies. For instance, it is important to assign a person sensitive to cultural differences to manage your virtual team, as mutual respect and understanding are vital for success. While the outsourced team will strive to adapt to your specific situation, fostering an environment of flexibility and open communication will enhance the overall partnership.

    Marketing Process Outsourcing: Finding the Right Fit for Your Business

    To ensure a successful outsourced marketing project, it is essential to view the service provider as a long-term partner for sustained success, rather than someone who happens to provide a necessary service during an economic downturn or cost-reduction effort. The objective of an ideal marketing outsourcing partnership should be to enhance long-term quality and efficiency, rather than solely reducing overhead costs. When looking for the right outsourced marketing partner, carefully consider the following factors:

    Build a Solid Case for Outsourcing

    Before embarking on the outsourcing of your marketing activities, it is crucial to understand the specific reasons driving this decision. Is it primarily aimed at cost reduction, acquiring specialized marketing expertise, revamping your marketing campaigns, or a combination of these factors?

    Assess your current marketing setup, including the roles and responsibilities of your existing employees. Determine whether outsourcing specific marketing functions will lead to long-term improvements in quality and efficiency. Once you have built a compelling case for outsourcing, it is essential to garner support from key stakeholders within your organization. To start your search for the right service provider, leverage your professional networks for recommendations and conduct thorough research before reaching out to potential candidates. This process should enable you to narrow down your initial list to a select few companies that align with your requirements and are deemed a suitable fit for your organization.

    Long-Term Value

    While it is crucial to adhere to your outsourcing budget, it is equally important to recognize that quality often comes at a cost. Certain marketing firms may charge higher fees for valid reasons. They may have a wealth of experience in the industry, boasting a proven track record of successful partnerships with diverse companies across various sectors. Additionally, these firms may specialize in specific marketing functions, such as research and analytics, which demand a higher level of expertise. When evaluating potential service providers, consider the long-term value they offer rather than solely focusing on short-term gains.

    Sound Marketing Strategy and Processes

    A reliable marketing service provider should possess a well-defined strategy and established processes to effectively engage prospects and promote your brand, product, or service through the desired channels. This becomes especially crucial if your internal marketing processes have yielded unsatisfactory results and require restructuring. Look for a partner that can demonstrate a solid understanding of your industry and target audience, and has the ability to tailor their strategies and processes to suit your specific needs. By choosing a service provider with sound marketing strategies and efficient processes, you can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.

    To learn more about outsourcing, you can read our Top 8 Qualities of an Outsourcing Company in the Philippines article. We invite you to follow us on social media and to visit our website to learn more about our services.

    banner-finalAbout Us: Sourcefit is a widely recognized US-managed business process outsourcing company based in Manila, Philippines. We proudly serve over 100 clients with a workforce of more than 1,300 employees. Our global centers can serve multiple markets, and our staff is highly proficient in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Whether you need a few or many employees, we can help you achieve your business goals and build high-quality offshore teams.

    Latest Awards

    Sourcefit’s commitment to excellence has been recognized through numerous industry awards and certifications.

    We recently received the Fortress Cyber Security Award from the Business Intelligence Group. Sourcefit was also honored with the prestigious recognition of Best Outsourcing Solutions Provider in the Philippines during the 2023 Business Excellence Awards.

    Other awards include: FT ranking of 500 high-growth Asia-Pacific, The Marketing Excellence Awards, Inquirer Growth Champion,  HR Asia Awards, among others.

    Related Articles

    Popular Posts

    Not sure where to start? Connect with us and see how Sourcefit can help you grow your business.