Archive for the ‘Industry Insights’ Category

Feb 21, 13

Hogarth Worldwide and Deliver Offshoring…Have You Heard the News?

Happy New Year!

If you haven’t heard the good news yet, WPP’s Deliver Offshoring and Hogarth Worldwide have officially joined forces to become a diverse marketing implementation agency with the technology and production expertise to deliver efficiencies and vast savings for global brands.

While Deliver is known for its global digital production and decoupling solutions with an emphasis on offshore utilization; Hogarth has made its footprint in global decoupling involving TV & audio, print, production technology, DAM systems, and transcreation expertise.

This union creates a complete cross platform marketing production solution that offers efficiencies, cost savings and centralization of production and implementation services across all media. Be sure to stop by soon to hear of new developments and read upcoming articles around this exciting merger!

Oct 1, 12

The Future of Online Advertising

As technology becomes more commonplace, and consumers interact with brands across a number of platforms and formats, advertising will become more interactive, personalized, engaging, and useful.

This means that the number of ways in which people can interact with or experience brands is rapidly increasing – presenting new opportunities and challenges for advertisers.

With the rise of digital technologies and the Internet, consumers are now in the driver’s seat.  They have the power to choose whether or not to interact with brands, skip or turn off ads or simply opt out.

The future of advertising is not just about technology, but delivering an experience that adds value to a consumer’s shopping experience. And that experience will increasingly be delivered on mobile devices. Mobile advertising presents a significant opportunity for advertisers, as 90% of mobile users will own smart phones in the next two years, according to a recent Guardian article.

Here at Deliver, we work with clients and agencies to produce their online advertising to meet these new challenges and create opportunities. Below are some of the key trends we’re seeing and the challenges we are helping our clients solve:

  1. Online advertising will be increasingly interactive and personalized to deliver relevance and utility to value-driven consumers.
  2. As content marketing continues to gain popularity, advertisers will need to find new ways to customize their messages and make them contextually relevant to their target audience.
  3. Multi-screen consumers want consistent and interactive advertising across devices.  This requires advertisers and production partners to understand how to best tailor and optimize content and interactive characteristics to fit various devices or ad formats.
  4. Capitalizing on the success of sites like Pinterest, advertising should include visual tools that provide experiences that increase user engagement.
  5. With a challenging economy, advertisers need to deliver value added offers to consumers that create brand loyalty.

Advertisers that get it right will provide an engaging, diverse and interactive experience for consumers to meet their campaigns goals.

Yasir is a project coordinator at Deliver. He can be reached at

Sep 19, 12

I’m a Believer

I’ve always been a big believer in the offshore production model.  Before joining Deliver I had the opportunity to work with offshore teams at MTV and Hyperfactory (a mobile agency).  These experiences gave me a glimpse of the efficiencies that could be achieved by offshoring development work.

Since joining Deliver, I’ve experienced what’s truly possible.  As a digital engagement manager for two global consumer packaged goods companies, I see first hand the tremendous benefits companies can achieve by leveraging an offshore production model.

I recently visited our Bogotá, Colombia production hub, and wanted to share some of the best practices our team utilizes to maximize quality and productivity.

1.    Set realistic deadlines, project expectations, and clear technical specifications to keep everyone on the same page.

2.    Invest in team building.  Team building cements the relationship and lays the foundation for good communication and issue resolution.

3.    Provide a clear escalation plan that allows your offshore team to raise issues quickly.

4.    Establish daily status calls to strengthen team project knowledge, streamline workflow and ensure projects are on track.

5.    Give credit where credit is due.  When your team makes the impossible happen, or goes that extra mile, make sure you acknowledge it.  Everyone around the world likes to work with people who appreciate what they do.

Every day, Deliver’s 1,300 global production resources help clients execute mobile applications, websites, microsites, online ads and e-newsletters at a fraction of the cost they were previously paying, while providing quality work that meets or surpasses onshore production teams.  I am proud to be part of this team!

Manny (in the Khaki pants) with his new friends from our Colombia office.

Sep 4, 12

Creating Great Production Partnerships

As more marketers and agencies adopt the best practice of digital production offshoring, we believe there are four key ingredients to structuring successful partnerships.

Get everyone on the same page

Introducing a production partner into an existing client/agency mix can create apprehension.  To set the stage for effective collaboration it is imperative that the client, agency and production partner:

  1. Must be 100% on-board and want the relationship to work
  1. Fully understand the business objectives of the new relationship
  2. Clearly define roles and responsibilities that play to each partner’s strengths

Ensure a smooth transition

An experienced production partner will work with all parties to collect materials and assets, as well as define detailed work steps, deadlines and deliverables to make the transition to production offshoring seamless.  As a result, work won’t miss a beat and deliverables will be produced with the quality and timeliness everyone expects.

Have agility and flexibility built in

Agility is key to marketing success.  Production partnerships need to have flexibility built-in to:

  1. Deliver the skills, domain expertise and specialists to scale as project needs dictate
  1. Provide talent in locations and time zones that meet campaign requirements
  2. Create adaptable engagement models that can evolve as the relationship grows

Facilitate team communication and project workflow

With teams distributed over multiple locations and time zones, it is imperative to have a collaborative work platform in place to facilitate communication and provide visibility into all active projects.  Features such as automated review and approval processes, task assignment and follow-up are essential to efficient workflow.

Partnerships built on these principles will grow and deliver long value.

Marina Petrova is VP for Deliver, North America. She can be reached at



Aug 13, 12

Is Digital Production Offshoring Right for You?

As companies and agencies continue to search for digital marketing efficiencies and savings, key decision makers are evaluating the viability of engaging an offshore digital production partner.  We’ve put together a quick assessment to help you determine if digital production offshoring is right for your company.

Companies that struggle with more than 5 of the factors below are poised to realize significant savings and efficiencies.

  • Moderate to high volume digital production needs.
  • Difficulty accessing specialized digital production resources when needed.
  • Digital marketing initiatives that demand high quality and exacting brand standards.
  • Multiple agencies (or teams) doing digital production work.
  • Inconsistent, inefficient or undocumented production standards and processes.
  • Difficulty executing global campaigns in local markets.
  • No standardized approach or templates for digital campaign assets.
  • No centralized automated digital production project management platforms.
  • Insufficient resources when speed to market is critical.

On average our clients realize a 20-50% savings on their current digital production budget.  If you answered yes to more than three of these questions, contact us to learn more.

Ben Rolly is VP, Business Development for Deliver North America.  He can be reached at

May 7, 12

The Top 3 Digital Production Outsourcing Fears – and How to Overcome Them

Outsourcing is spreading across the digital production landscape, and it has proved to be a real boon for marketing organizations. You’ve thought about taking the plunge, but change brings uncertainty. Will it be complicated to make the switch? Will the production and creative teams play nice? Will the quality suffer?  Let’s take a look at three of the biggest outsourcing worries and see how working with the right production partner can help you overcome them.

1. Lack of control

Work that’s out of sight can feel out of your hands. But an offshore team custom-trained to your specifications can put you in even greater control of production. You can establish processes and clearly define roles from the beginning, which will go a long way toward managing expectations.

Your outsourced partner should be very experienced working with creative agencies and know how to cultivate those relationships. With a production manager continuously checking quality and a production team in the same time zone, work should proceed seamlessly.

Want an even higher level of comfort? Visit the production hub and meet the real people producing your work.

2. Language and culture differences

These days business truly is global, and there are fewer cultural differences now than ever. However, there’s still a chance things could get lost in translation. The right production outsourcing partner will speak your language – all team members as well as the production manager – so it’s easy for on-site and offshore teams to collaborate. A good production partner will also provide a collaborative work platform to facilitate communication and workflow to keep projects on track.

3. Quality and process concerns

Here are some best practices to set these worries to rest:

  • Review samples of projects completed for other clients. Nothing speaks louder than excellent work.
  • Agree on roles and responsibilities up front between the production partner and creative agency.
  • Ensure there’s a clearly defined transition process in place. See 3 keys to outsourcing digital production for pointers.

Don’t let fear of the unfamiliar keep you from gaining all the advantages of outsourcing your digital production. A little time and experience is all that’s needed to turn your qualms into confidence.

Nov 17, 11

CMOs Speak

IBM’s first CMO study (free registration required) was released a few weeks ago and offers many intriguing insights into the current CMO mindset. And of course it offers more proof of the turbulence presented by the digital revolution. A few key points. 

  • “Market and technology factors are the two most powerful external forces affecting their organizations.”
  • “Four out of five CMOs anticipate a high or very high level of complexity over the next five years, but only half feel ready to handle it.”
  • “Most CMOs are struggling in one vital respect — return on investment (ROI).”
  • 59% of CMOs report being unprepared to deal with financial constraints.

The findings reflect what we hear regularly from our clients, especially in terms of tension between new digital opportunities and the need to generate ROI within tighter budgets. This is the classic “do more with less” conundrum, which is the essential CMO imperative today. We believe digital production outsourcing based on best practices is a highly effective solution in this area, and we’re surprised that it is not more widely recognized as such.

ROI can be improved both by lowering costs (an important strategy as firms try to navigate tight economic times) and by improving performance. We know companies that structure their digital marketing programs around high-efficiency processes, best practices and a commitment to quality will achieve such results.  

And certainly digital production outsourcing helps marketers avoid being overwhelmed by complexity and uncertainty, like that associated with the emergence of new channels and technologies and with the increasing globalization of the CMO role.

It may take a few years, but we expect digital production outsourcing success stories to become a bigger part of the conversation in future CMO studies.

Nov 2, 11

In Response: Striking the Technology Balance

A couple weeks back we posted an entry, Striking the Technology Balance, where we address Adobe’s new Scene7 software. At Deliver, we believe you have to strike a balance and not just pick up new technology because it’s the hot new thing, but because it delivers real value to your marketing organization. We spoke about the exciting capabilities of Scene7 and how these capabilities affect digital production.

Our friend’s at ZAAZ took note of this concept and took it a step further answering the question – how do you create content and messages that are personalized enough for efficient targeting, while still keeping the cost of targeting low enough to deliver good ROI? To see what the team had to say in response, check out their article “Better Together: Dynamic Content Creation & Behavioral Targeting,” here.

Oct 5, 11

Moving Past a Bad Outsourcing Experience: 3 Simple Strategies

Let’s be honest, outsourcing has earned something of a bad reputation. Painful memories linger from the early era of the outsourcing, when customer service and IT support were suddenly moved overseas. But it’s also true that some marketers have bad experiences with outsourcing the execution of digital marketing campaigns to overseas teams.

We believe in outsourcing and the “decoupling” digital production work from creative processes. As we point out here, leading digital production specialists, like Deliver, have applied the lessons from other industries and functions in building more mature and stable models for digital production outsourcing. But we understand why some marketers are reluctant to outsource.

When we talk to companies who feel they’ve been “burned” before, we usually find that mismatched expectations, miscommunication and lack of clarity in requirements doomed the efforts from the start. Less than robust business cases were another common issue. In some cases, marketers simply picked the wrong partners, firms who couldn’t deliver the cost efficiencies without compromising brand quality.

So what are digital marketers to do if they have had a bad outsourcing experience previously? Here are three strategies the Deliver team uses on a regular basis to ensure our clients’ outsourcing experiences are great ones:

1. Be objective about the business case: Digital production “decoupling” is taking hold primarily because it offers a compelling value proposition, with tangible and substantive benefits. For instance, savings of 20-50% on overall digital marketing budgets are common. The savings come from consolidating production teams and leveraging skilled resources in offshore locations, as well as through process automation and standardization. Beyond cost reductions, these steps can increase overall efficiency, shorten turnaround times and boost the quality and consistency of brand messages across formats (from email newsletters to display ads to microsites and online videos).

Companies who have been burned before may be skeptical about quality improvement through outsourcing, but for our clients it’s typically as important a driver as the cost reductions. Business cases for digital production outsourcing should reflect that reality.

As we highlight in this eBook, we encourage new clients to think carefully and complete due diligence in assembling their china business case, which should set appropriate expectations for all stakeholders (including procurement teams).

2. Plan for a smooth transition: Of course, the considerable benefits of decoupling don’t fall from the trees; to realize them fully, careful planning is necessary. As my colleague Mark Andersson points out here and here, successful relationships between digital production specialists and their clients (and clients’ agencies) start on day one.

Clarifying requirements is a critical element. A formal onboarding approach should confirm roles and responsibilities and spell out timelines. Everyone involved in the process – whether they work for the client or at the agency – should understand how the technology and processes will work. How will review and approval requests be sent and to whom? What are the reporting protocols? Sometimes marketers are impatient to skip these details and rush right into development and execution  (especially when timeliness are tight), but these formal start-up procedures always save time in the end.

Lastly, for clients who are gun-shy about embracing (or re-embracing) outsourcing for digital production, it often makes sense to start with a project of limited scope; that way, they can kick the tires and get to know their new partners in a relatively low-pressure way.

3. Communicate, communicate, communicate: On an ongoing basis, communication holds the key to a successful relationship. Given the distances involved and potential language barriers in using global production hubs, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of communication. Much of the communication can happen electronically (e.g., formal approvals of assets conveyed through workflow tools or quick status reports via email), but occasional face-to-face interactions go a long way toward strong relationships.

Deliver’s organizational model is designed to facilitate communications. “Onshore” senior resources work directly with clients to understand their latest brand thinking and unique competitive needs. At our global production hubs, senior project managers also interface with clients directly and are incented to ask questions whenever there is uncertainty. For instance, if there are gray areas in project plans, we pick up the phone. Such actions come from our “constant QA” and proactive problem-solving mentality. Communication practices should also allow for project de-briefs and brainstorming/troubleshooting sessions that will help enable continuous improvement.

The subtext of these recommendations is to simply choose the right partner. Again, due diligence is the key. Dig deep as you ask digital production firms about the experience of their resources, their technology capabilities, their QA processes. In the past, some dubious service providers claimed to offer a full range of services, experienced resources, knowledge of new platforms and advanced technology, but quickly folded up when it became clear they had none of these things.

Even some big-name consulting firms that sought to add digital production services to their overseas processing centers struggled to produce the value and quality they promised their clients. The fact is, digital marketing is a unique discipline, so production specialists must bring unique domain knowledge to the field if they are to succeed. Just because a company knows how to process banking transactions or airline reservations doesn’t mean they know how to execute digital marketing campaigns and translate brand messages worldwide.

Sep 27, 11

Q&A with Kevin Guerette, Senior Director, Global Platform Innovation, AstraZeneca

Kevin GueretteAbout AstraZeneca’s Atlas Program
In 2009, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals launched the Atlas Sourcing initiative to centralize and optimize the execution of its digital marketing initiatives. Following a series of pilots, the company selected four agencies, including Deliver, to provide digital and offline production services across all of their brands, first in the US and then internationally. In 2010, Atlas’ first full year of operation in the US, AstraZeneca had already saved millions of dollars.

Q: How important is digital marketing to the overall success of AstraZeneca?
A: It is critical. During the last decade, the ability to communicate with both consumers and physicians through digital channels has been a major change in our industry, especially as we seek to drive value through our brands. I have been with the company for 22 years in a variety of sales and brand roles, and the digital world has really opened up how we can engage the market and share information. With traditional marketing through sales reps, only a small percentage of physicians are reachable on regular basis. The shift to digital is a huge phenomenon and a huge opportunity in that we are now able to get in front of the rest of the healthcare community.

Read the rest of this entry »