I am a firm believer in the concept of outsourcing non core functionalities. Functions which are not mission critical to your business and are not part of your core expertise can very successfully be outsourced without impacting operational performance.
In practice that means that almost any business can outsource functions like Accounting, Bookkeeping, Human Resources, Data Entry, Scheduling and so on....
If done right outsourcing these functions will reduce opex spent while improving or at the very least maintaining Key Performance Indicators (KPI's).
One function which is always on the radar for being outsourced is the Strategic Marketing. Strategic Marketing is what is responsible where the marketing dollars are spent..and for the subsequent evaluation if the dollar spent has produced the desired result.
Perhaps most importantly...Strategic Marketing is what drafts the message for the company. In essence it is responsible for the overall perception of what any new customer might think of the business.
Clearly...the actual task of marketing in non core to pretty much every business. As such the theory goes that it is fair game for being outsourced. At the same time though....Strategic Marketing is what the company needs to do right in order to be successful in the marketplace. Therefor the decision to outsource the Strategic Marketing should not be made lightly.
Below are the key points one should consider before deciding if it can be outsourced.
Do You Have A Resource Gap?
First you need to evaluate why you are considering outsourcing Strategic Marketing. Is it simply for cost reasons or are you looking to gain additional expertise ? If you feel that you have a resource gap, either in intellectual capacity or just in terms of manpower...outsourcing could be a viable for your company.
Do You Have Short Term Needs Or Long Term Marketing Needs?
If you decide that you have a skill and/or resource gap you need to evaluate if the gap is short term or long term. As an example...you are rolling out new products and your marketing department is not sufficiently staffed to cover the roll-out properly. Is that short term resource gap driving your desire or do you have long term ongoing needs ? If you just have short term needs you might be better off to muddle through....if your needs are long term outsourcing might be an option.
What Is Your Core Competency ?
This one is important. If you feel your Marketing Messaging needs to be fully under your control and you have the need to be intimately involved...chances are marketing is one of your core competencies. If on the other hand marketing is more running alone with everything else you have going on... it might be worth while to consider outsourcing it.
Do You Need A Fresh Approach / Fresh Thinking ?
Consistent Messaging is what today's brands are all about. You build brand reputation by consistently staying on message to make sure that your customer understand why you are the best solution. Sometimes though it might be necessary to introduce fresh thinking into the process. Your marketing might have become stale...and thus not generating the impact you want it to have in the marketplace. If that is the case..outsourced marketing might help your company.
Do You Need Specialized Skills Which Are Difficult To Come By?
Sometimes your marketing team might need specialized skills which are difficult to come by. This might happen in a case where your company introduces a completely new product category or you want to use a marketing approach which has simply not been done before by your In House team. If that is the case outsourcing might be a good option.
Generally speaking I am not a big fan of outsourcing the Strategic Marketing. Even though it does not fall into the "Mission Critical" category it is very important longer term.
However...if after reviewing the questions above you walk away with the realization that you are a candidate, by all means...I encourage you to outsource Strategic Marketing.
As is always the case when it comes to outsourcing...your BPO partner will make the difference in determining if your outsourcing venture will be successful .