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When To Outsource Your Marketing Department

When To Outsource Your Marketing Department Julie Roehm
Are you an Outtie or an Innie - outsourcer or insourcer? That question has gone from being a legitimate business question to a politically sensitive one, especially in an election year where jobs here versus abroad is front and center. Still, as marketers, we are obliged to answer the question. So as a means to help us do that, I stumbled upon this infographic that has some useful tips, and some that are maybe less so. Take a look below:

So, basically, this is a decision tree. The opening questions seem to be the right ones. "How large is your budget?" and "How fast are you growing?". Still, these have their limitations in that budgets are not typically answered as simply as having more than you know what to do with and barely enough to fill the coffee pot. Unfortunately, this decision tree pushes you to the "How fast are you growing?" branch of the tree only if you are swimming in money. That seems a flaw in this process. The same is true by limiting the questioning to Customer Service dedication only if you are strapped for cash.

Still, there are some redeeming qualities to this tree. My favorites are, "Do you prefer day to day supervision of all of your departments?", "Do you agree that media communication has become too complicated?", and my favorite, "How would you describe your ideal marketing team?" Knowing your style, that of your team, what your goals and objectives require and your tolerance for complexity are really important to consider and have as much to do with the company and its strategies as it does the people who are in charge of managing it. But the most important question of all is the last one. How would you describe your ideal marketing team? Are they specialists or are they pros capable of wearing multiple hats? Again, there are probably a couple of other options worthwhile to consider here but in general, these sum up the points of view that likely matter most.

And while this is a very, very simple look at a really complex process, it does get one's head in the right space. If you want to dig deeper, there are several good articles on the topic but one that I liked a lot was entitled, "Considering Biting the Marketing Outsourcing Bullet?" In it, several areas for consideration, areas of marketing to outsource and sources of outsourcers is discussed. But the best part was at the end (isn't it always?) where Dilip Keshu, CEO for Whitefield shared his thoughts on success. According to Keshu, "The chances of success in a marketing outsourcing initiative are higher if customers are more inclusive in their engagements. In reality, the vendor should be as much a part of the team as a customer's own employee. There is no harm in a vendor who does the print or digital work sitting in a design or branding briefing, even if that part of the process is not outsourced. This allows the customer and the vendor to read a consumer's need the same way. If creation is an 'art' and outsourcing is a 'science', they will work best when one is embedded in the other."

Keshu ended by stating, "Marketing outsourcing is truly a success when it looks like one team has delivered the outcome."

Julie Roehm is SVP Marketing, "Chief Storyteller" at SAP. Formerly, as a Marketing Strategy Consultant she served companies in all industries, of all sizes. Her client list includes, Credit Suisse, Time Inc., BIAP, Acxiom, ad agencies, and...

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