Outsourcing has been a growing area for business. It is primarily associated with 'support functions' such as IT, HR or accounting. Marketing outsourcing, whilst common in the US, has not yet been embraced by British industry, but the economic downturn means that many businesses may well look to this form of cost reduction. Increased interest in an Outsourced Marketing Department subscription is also being driven by the rapid and continuous expansion of tactics requiring specialized expertise. This includes specialties such as video production, online marketing, online search optimization, custom programming and integration of online marketing platforms with company functions such as sales, recruitment and finance.
Outsource marketing is the art of handing over the entire marketing demands of a company to a third party. This offers several distinct benefits:
Firstly companies can access higher quality talent that they might ordinarily be able to attract into an in-house department.
Secondly, outsourcing negates the need for an in-house team, thus reducing overhead – clients can literally operate with a bare bones marketing team, or even none at all. Some firms are marketing savings of 20% versus in-house hiring.
Thirdly, outsourcing reduces or eliminates the need for multiple, biased specialist agencies – all the marketing requirements are catered for by one centralised agency offering media-neutral and discipline-neutral marketing.
Lastly, this enables companies to move fast, with access to the exact resources they need to complete the ever-changing requirements to stay ahead in dynamic markets. Outsourcing gives immediate access, eliminating the delays of locating, vetting, negotiating and engaging with new resources/vendors.
Not all business owners choose to outsource due to a hectic overload of work at the office. Staff augmentation is utilised when a company decides to outsource tasks to a more skilled candidate while enjoying the flexibility of paying on an as-needed basis.
Project-based outsourcing is applicable to companies that only have irregular tasks needing completion or a project needed as a one-time event. Companies elect to outsource projects in this manner so they are able to continue their focus on their own business operations with little or no interruption.
Contracting is a similar process to that of staff augmentation. The labour involved is arranged on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly schedule allowance. The contracting approach involves the transfer process of a service to the selected outsourcing partner. The out-tasking arrangement is most suitable for business owners that wish to keep control over the entire process.
Managed outsourcing services
The managed services option enables the management of company operations by a third party participant on behalf of the company itself. The managed service provider takes control of all operations and projects and assumes ongoing responsibility within the company. Some providers offer this as a subscription service, setting a flat monthly fee and shifting priorities to keep the workload within the agreed upon range of resource hours.
In this outsourcing method, as the name suggests, companies seek contractors from offshore locations to complete projects for them. An example of this method is Australian companies offshoring their call centre operators to workers in the Philippines. This option allows for reduced expenditure while maintaining efficiency and control over the entire procedure.
Businesses and brands can achieve all of these benefits with the added bonus of flexibility (up-weighting or downscaling the requirements at any point), which suits the uncertainty of the economic environment.
Marketing outsourcing should not be confused with sales outsourcing or working with a contract sales organization.
The challenging economic backdrop has meant that major corporations have begun outsourcing significant parts of their marketing. For instance, the Guardian newspaper outsourced most of their marketing design in May 2010.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2011)
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