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Seven Tips for Successfully Outsourcing Marketing Operations

by Anurag Mehrotra  |  
April 20, 2010

Recently, I met a senior marketing executive from one of the world's largest brands. She was discussing the possibility of offshoring her company's marketing operations.

As we got into the discussion, it became clear that there were three key drivers for the company's decision to possibly outsource its marketing operations.

First, the brand had been asked to reduce spend by at least 20%. To put that in context, various industry reports state that 2009 marketing budgets were, on average, cut by more than 20% compared with pre-recessionary levels. And the number of companies that cut marketing budgets was 25% higher than predicted in January 2009.

Second, as brands go global, maintaining brand consistency across geographies is becoming a huge issue for marketers. Consistency is important not just from a customer-experience standpoint but also from the perspective of marketing efficiency. If you create standardized brand "templates," the local geographies can respond faster to marketing and sales needs.

Third, the marketing function is under pressure to deliver more return on investment and much faster than before. Management is asking tougher questions of its marketing teams, and the focus on metrics has never been sharper.

The company had made the usual cost reductions, such as the elimination of travel, training, new hires, and new campaigns, but it was looking to further reduce costs and increase efficiency. That triggered the possibility of outsourcing marketing operations.

If companies are interested in outsourcing their marketing operations, what can they do to ensure that their plan is well thought out and effective?

My counsel to this particular marketing executive was to keep seven mantras in mind.

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Anurag Mehrotra is vice-president of corporate marketing at WNS Global Services (, a global business-process outsourcing company. Reach him via

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  • by Wendy Hersh Tue Apr 20, 2010 via web

    I'd like to point out that while marketing functions can safely be outsourced, outsourcing does NOT have to mean offshoring.

    There is a growing movement of rural-based outsourcing companies. most of which are regional or niche-oriented. One company I know of, Rural America OnShore Sourcing (, is not only going national, but it also is the only USA company including interactive marketing among the rural-based onshoring services they offer.

  • by donclem76@ Wed Sep 8, 2010 via web

    What is difference between outsourcing and offshouring .

  • by Wendy Hersh Wed Sep 8, 2010 via web

    Outsource takes tasks and projects out of your company, not handled in-house by employees. When you outsource, you're hiring another company to do the work you don't want or can't do. Within outsourcing, there are different possibilities: offshoring is where the work is sent to be done in other countries; onshoring is where the work is completed in America. Rural onshoring is a cost-effective way to outsource work. In rural areas, the cost of living is lower, so the salaries are too.

  • by Riley Bandy Tue Oct 26, 2010 via web

    While these points are all relevant for large brands and marketing departments with large budgets, outsourcing for smaller companies or associations can often mean job-losses and a perceived loss of control.

    Rebecca Rolfes, EVP of Content at Imagination describes some of the perks of outsourcing social media marketing for a small business or membership association. She says, "do what you do best and link to the rest."

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