Monthly Archives: September 2011

Marketing outsourcing is a win-win for growing companies

If you don’t have a marketing team but think you need one then you should consider outsourcing marketing to a specialist firm. Running a growing company means that one has to wear many hats, from managing production, team leadership, sales, finance and operations to softer aspects like networking, marketing, brand building, advertising and market research. Usually, the critical functions get the most time as they are most visible. Marketing and brand building are known as important, but since they are not an immediate problem, they keep getting moved down the queue of priorities.

Entrepreneurs and Business Managers realise that brand building and marketing are important to lay lasting foundations for growth, and wish that they could spare more time for it. However, budgets, management bandwidth and resources are usually diverted to putting out immediate fires, and marketing moves along in stops and starts, while it is the activity that needs the most coherent, cohesive, consistent and clear inputs.

It makes sense for such growing companies, big or small, to consider appointing a marketing partner, who grows along with them. Such a partner can understand the founders vision and overall strategy and create basic building blocks of marketing. These include website, logo, stationery, collateral, brochures, visiting cards etc. Brand guidelines and positioning can be decided and based on them, a branding strategy worked out. Once the management and marketing partner are in sync, a long term marketing roadmap can be decided upon to ensure that marketing activities happen in a planned and sustained manner.

Lets see the benefits of outsourcing marketing to professionals. When you partner with a marketing firm, you get the perspective of outside specialists and the bandwidth of different experts, which make a broad range of skills available to the client, which might be impossible to build in-house. Such a collaboration also brings a mix of talents and ideas on the table of a boardroom and learnings from similar situations are leveraged by the marketing agency or partner.

Benefits of outsourcing marketing activities to a specialised marketing service providers -

- High quality counsel on brand and marketing programs
- Brings immediate impact to your organization and by identifying relevant and measurable business marketing goals and executing them
- Ensures consistency in brand messaging and positioning while also managing documents and organizing various marketing collateral developed.
- Pay as you go, so that one can ramp up or ramp up marketing expenditure as needed.
- Freeing up senior management bandwidth to concentrate on core functions and strategy.
- Gives extra momentum to the activities already in practice
- Develops and oversees the implementation of marketing plans
- Conceives and oversees short-term and long-term marketing tactics
- Provides regular reports on the progress and efficacy of marketing initiatives
- Manages large and complicated projects with ease like re-branding, product positioning, marketing campaigns
- Saves money while bringing focus to your marketing efforts

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Marketing outsourcing is here to stay

Some parts of marketing have always been outsourced. Agencies, vendors, media firms and market researchers have been invaluable assistants to any marketing department. Recently, as telecommunications and Internet connectivity have matured, it has been easier for teams to work together without being in the same building. This has led to small and large companies tending to focus on their core business and competency and outsource the rest to trusted partners. Sales, advertising, logistics, HR, finance, manufacturing and even customer service has seen outsourcing partners being used, and it seems that today any business function can be outsourced.

At first glance, it seems heretical to think that Marketing can be outsourced. After all, isn’t the understanding of your market, a connect with your customers and a nurturing of your brand image an intrinsic part of business, and something that needs close attention. On the other hand, as one definition puts it, Marketing is the art of looking at your company from the eyes of the customer. Does this not mean, that it may in fact be beneficial, if Marketing was outsourced, and the marketing agency could in fact be better suited to have a clearer picture of your brand image.

The outsourcing of marketing activities is catching on; in fact, in a recent poll of marketing executives, 53 percent reported plans to outsource most of their marketing activities. What could be the reason? It has to be linked to benefits attached to such an arrangement. Cost savings and improved quality is a major concern of most of the corporations, additionally, many firms lack specialised analytical skills in-house, and an external expertise is often needed.

With media fragmentation companies can no longer rely on mass marketing to reach prospective customers. Communication tasks have become much more complicated, and therefore more dependent on lots of research and analysis and choosing right medium of communication. To maintain a  consistent brand image and develop a clear positioning in the market is so much tougher now, with multiple customer touchpoints and media channels. Specialist marketing firms fill the gap and also act as a unifying factor for all corporate messaging.

In today’s business environment, small companies start up around a single idea and have to innovate and execute rapidly to maintain their prime mover advantage. The playing field has been levelled and a 3 man start-up could be competing against a Fortune 500 company for the same business. Strategic outsourcing and use of specialist partners helps them compete on quality and volume, allowing them to scale up rapidly, while maintaining their focus on innovating their core offering. A marketing partner can help develop their brand identity, corporate communication, advertising strategy, market positioning and sales collateral without the need to create a large marketing department in-house. Chief marketing officers are important to drive marketing strategy and make the most of the company’s customer relationships but the skills required of a marketing manager are rapidly changing. Managers need to be ringmasters in a circus rather than performers; they must understand how to access the skills they need, get good performance out of the various agencies and partners involved and develop a variety of in-house and outside suppliers to get the job done.

The best outsourcing arrangements are partnerships. Suppliers should not be regarded as mere contractors, since contractors do not always perceive a long-term relationship. This is especially critical when outsourcing marketing campaigns or brand building activities, since a large dose of trust and understanding will go a long way for best results.

Companies in general turn to outsourcing as a means of saving money while accessing the skills they need, whether it’s marketing or IT services. As companies have become more comfortable and familiar with outsourcing arrangements, they’re willing to trust suppliers with business functions that, until recently, had been conservative in approach. The outlook of Marketing outsourcing looks promising and their importance will only grow. It will soon be standard for any small company starting up to find a marketing partner, who will help them convey their message effectively. This is no longer just in the future, it is happening now.

And Industree evolved to address the serious need of an outsourced marketing firm in the SME segment.

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