Outsourcing Marketing Operations

By Bob Baldridge February 1, 2020 marketing, outsourcing

Time. Nobody has enough of it and everyone needs more of it. It’s the number one resource constraint for businesses across the board.

Lost time is never found again.

Benjamin Franklin

We are tasked with taking care of the many and varied marketing needs of our organizations but most of us have limited staff resources which leaves us working with a time deficit.

So where do the extra resources come from? Have you ever considered outsourcing some - or even all - of your marketing operations? According the Distributor Marketing Survey (December 2015 Real Results Marketing), lack of budget/resources/time was considered the biggest marketing challenge (18% listed this as the biggest challenge). It’s clear that marketing departments are under a lot of pressure to perform and, perhaps more importantly, to demonstrate a good return on investment in order to justify their marketing budget.

As the head of your marketing organization, your job is to figure out how to allocate your resources for maximum efficiency. This is where outsourcing comes in - because there are organizations out there who can do what you need done but who can do it better or do it more efficiently than you can in-house. It’s not just their labor that you’re buying either.

67%

Respondents indicated that they did not have all of the tools that they needed to do their job.

(Source: Marketing Technology Strategy Survey :August 2015, Ascend2 and Research Partners)

There are new technologies being developed every day that require you to keep up and/or to make new investments every year. Does your budget allow for these new investments? In the Marketing Technology Strategy Survey (August 2015, Ascend2 and Research Partners), 67% of respondents indicated that they did not have all of the tools that they needed to do their job. When you outsource some or all of your marketing operations, the burden is on your partner organization to keep up with trends and upgrade their technology. So, if you are lacking the tools to do your job with maximum efficiency or are just tired of chasing the newest tech… well, those are some strong reasons to consider outsourcing.

In working with marketing departments at a variety of organizations, we have seen over and over that there are valuable resources being sunk into tasks that add zero value. Those resources would be so much better spent on more strategic - and valuable - things. But, when they’re not, a vicious cycle is started where there is not enough time or money for strategic action which leads to ineffective and inefficient marketing efforts which waste time and money.

If this sounds familiar, maybe it’s time to consider outsourcing some of these things:

  • Printing.

    If there are materials of any type that are being printed in house, you need to perform a detailed cost analysis to really see if it makes sense to continue printing your own materials. Printing equipment usually requires a monthly lease expense, maintenance expense, supplies expense, and, of course, labor and supervision expenses. On top of that, print needs are often cyclical, so it can be difficult to manage those labor costs as the need for printing fluctuates. And, of course, if your equipment is not up to date, you are most likely sacrificing quality to manage this function in house.
  • Mailing.

    Mailing on this level is just not the same as sending a letter to family. When you take into account all of the USPS rules and regulations, mailing marketing materials gets complicated and is honestly much better suited for a marketing service provider. One of the common issues with handling mail in-house is that most companies end up overspending on postage. It usually comes down to both a lack of knowledge (you may be mailing first class when you could be mailing at standard mail rates and saving 40-50% on postage) and a lack of USPS-certified software. Even if you’ve got all of the postal rules figured out and know how to sort mail for the best postal rates, you are still paying for all of that labor and overhead to make it happen.
  • Data Services.

    Probably the biggest challenges, when it comes to managing data in-house, are making sure that you have up-to-date, efficient data management software and employing the database experts that you need to manage all of your customer data and ensure that it’s formatted optimally for variable printing or mailing. Neither of those things are easy to manage or inexpensive to maintain. When you outsource to a marketing partner, you can let them worry about keeping your data in order.
  • Multi-channel Marketing.

    These days, if you’re only taking advantage of one or two marketing channels, you’re missing out. The olden days of only worrying about print and mail are gone. Modern, multi-channel marketing means integrating print and mail with personalized URLs, QR codes, email, microsites, your company’s website, and even social media. Marketing is more complicated today now that technology is being increasingly leveraged to create powerful and effective multi-channel campaigns. 
  • Marketing Supply Chain Management.

    In a lot of organizations, there are some marketing personnel whose job is to do nothing more than send out bid requests, select the lowest bidder to do a project, and then act as the project manager. Supply chains are complicated, can include a lot of different disciplines and types of suppliers, and a single project can take months to execute. It is, in all honesty, a very inefficient - and expensive - way to get stuff done. Today, there are better tools and processes. You should consider partnering with a marketing services provider who can manage some or all your repetitive marketing needs in an online system similar to the VariSpark e-platform.
  • Digital Asset Management.

    Due to the complexity and variety of the types of media being managed today, your media assets could almost always be better organized and managed in an online, centralized system. This kind of system can include artwork for print or mailing, social media, email templates, and video. Imagine if all of this were organized in a single system accessible 24/7! How much time would your marketing personnel save when it came time to execute something as simple as ordering business cards, let alone executing a whole new campaign? 
  • Creative Development.

    While you may have an in-house graphic designer, it often makes sense to outsource at least some of the creative process to ensure that it can be used in a system like the VariSpark e-platform. We can help you think through your brand and the types of marketing that you want to do and, armed with this strategy and understanding, design powerful, flexible, create templates for you to use. This kind of design process allows for customization while keeping the cost of creative development under control as you repurpose the artwork across multiple channels and campaigns.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! Modern technology and innovative processes give you so many opportunities to make your marketing department more efficient and effective. We can help you by taking the day-to-day execution of your marketing off of your people so that they can focus on more strategic, big-picture things. You may be surprised to find out just how much money we can save you in the process. Call us today and let us help you by developing solutions to streamline your marketing operations!

 

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