Digital marketing is one of the most strategic aspects of marketing. We have been moving towards a digital-first approach in marketing this last decade, and with the additional trigger in the form of a global pandemic, digital marketing is certainly in the driving seat.
There is also a growing appreciation for global talent, and not being restricted to one local area for talent. While outsourcing makes us think about large-scale back-end operations, it is a fact that organizations have been looking at global locations for strategically important work too, like digital marketing, content marketing, and technology.
Outsourcing digital marketing is one of the alternatives on the table as digital marketing agencies from lower-cost countries can substantially cut down on costs. It has been a successful strategy for businesses for a while now. Beyond just costs, outsourcing marketing has some other important advantages too. But there is a good level of risk involved too. Finding the right agency and ensuring the quality of output, all are important problems that need to be addressed.
While outsourcing digital marketing can save you costs, and may even deliver comparable outcomes, is it really worth it? What are the things that you should know before you make a decision? Here are some of the top considerations that we think are the most important to consider!
The Culture Barrier
The cultural differences between countries are a significant aspect of the success of your outsourcing effort. You cannot train people beyond a point on cultural differences. Corporate culture is substantially different across the various countries. These differences must be taken into account while outsourcing your digital marketing.
Different countries have different standards when it comes to some aspects we consider sacred like plagiarism or timeliness. There are several countries where plagiarism is not that big a deal, while we in the United States are very particular about it.
Beyond this, while creating content for your marketing efforts, these cultural differences are likely to come through. Often a good blog post or piece of content is about connecting with the audience using simple and relatable ideas. If the content is created by an outsourced agency, it is not easy to get the audience to connect. They might make brand or pop culture references that the local audience won’t relate to.
While discussing outsourcing, it is important to set clear expectations aligned with your business values. This will help you establish guidelines and SOPs, which make sure that the cultural barriers are accounted for. Having a mutually decided set of rules like turnaround times, content localization and plagiarism will help you drive maximum value from outsourcing.
It is also likely that you will have to be involved in overseeing the content and the process closely to make sure that the marketing process is aligned to the cultural aspects of your audience. This will add a layer of complexity to your role in this, and it is likely to occupy a good chunk of your time.
Ensuring Consistent Quality
Content quality is another important issue to consider while outsourcing your digital marketing efforts. You will indeed find agencies and individuals who will be willing to take on the content responsibility for throw-away costs,, but there are challenges with quality that often comes with these arrangements.
English fluency is not a given everywhere. Many countries have a good number of English-speaking talent,, but this is not easy to find. The content created is to be consumed by your audience, and you need to get the language and the usages just right to ensure that it does the job it is designed to do - convert leads.
If you are planning to get blog posts or drip email content created by the outsourced agency, getting the language right cannot be a secondary concern. It is the most important aspect. Finding agencies that can deliver a consistent level of quality is of vital importance.
Grammatical issues are a big concern but there are also other concerns related to usage and style that need addressing. Having references and examples that are relevant and clear, active voice usage, and using the right phrases are things that content creators from other geographies struggle with.
There are ways to tackle this. Finding the right agency is the most critical aspect. There are agencies out there with a track record of serving clients in the US for several years, and these agencies would have talent that is well trained in delivering consistent quality content. You can also create stylesheets that can help writers. But despite this, you should be prepared to spend some time with the agency in briefing them and also in making sure that there is another level of localization/standardization that happens in-house.
These steps can help in managing common issues but it still will take some effort and consistent intervention to get this process right. Also, be prepared to switch agencies quickly if it is not working for you.
Identifying the Right Price Point
It is easy to get attracted to the low-cost options as it leaves more
capital for you to use in other areas of the business. But often, the harsh reality is that you get what you pay for. The output from these low-cost agencies would not be as great as you would imagine. You and your team may have to spend a considerable amount of time making it work.
This additional effort completely wipes out any advantage in terms of costs that you are trying to find. It is also not uncommon to find organizations get disillusioned by this process and quickly turn towards using local talent. This is certainly a waste of time and money.
While selecting the agency, costs are certainly a parameter but spend time understanding the kind of work that they have done previously, and specifically work, they have done for other US organizations. This will help you accurately determine capability.
Checking for references, and doing a detailed review before making the final decision will certainly help you in making the right choice, and not one based on just cost as a parameter. It is also important to have an open mind while having these discussions. Just because an agency has a lower quote does not mean that their work is substandard. You may discover a diamond in the rough after all.
Generally, you will find the best value for the price from the top percent of high-performing vendors in lower-cost countries. These vendors have the best talent working for them and have set processes and a track record of serving international clients.
Outsourcing is not a straightforward choice. Looking for a vendor from a low-cost country just with cost as the parameter will most likely land you in some hot water. It is important to consider a lot of factors before coming to that decision.
Tapping into the global talent pool certainly has its benefits. You will have new ideas, new strategies, and new perspectives to work with. However, the pitfalls that we discussed above also need to be taken into consideration.
The best way to tap into the global talent pool without compromising quality is to work with a leading digital marketing agency like Flying V Group. We have a track record of serving clients from across the globe with our expertise in digital marketing. Talk to us today!
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Robb Fahrion is a Co-Founder and Partner of Flying V Group. He is passionate about helping businesses grow using the power of the internet. Robb graduated from Chapman University in Orange, CA and currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. Robb enjoys writing about digital marketing, helping his clients turn their dreams into reality, and he is a HUGE Mike Trout fan.