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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