Archive for the ‘Best Practices’ 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!

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



Jul 30, 12

5 Ways Digital Production Outsourcing Can Accelerate Your Marketing Performance

A recent article on Marketing Profs highlighted that CMOs and their marketing teams are seeking new opportunities to improve performance in two key areas: effectiveness (the ability to produce the desired result) and efficiency (reducing waste).

Digital production outsourcing is one way that marketers can realize greater efficiency and effectiveness in their marketing campaigns and programs. Outsourcing the production component of digital programs can accelerate the performance of your marketing initiatives in the following ways:

  1. Stretch your marketing dollars: By leveraging an outsourced digital production model, companies achieve significant savings. For example, our clients typically realize savings of 20-50% off their current digital production costs. Savings are achieved by an optimized delivery model that includes: staffing in low-cost markets, team and activity consolidation, and process standardization. Companies are taking that savings right to the bottom line or reinvesting it to fund new marketing channels waiting for investment.
  2. Access expertise as needed: Your marketing strategy should not be limited by the talent and skill sets that exist within your current practice. A digital production network should provide clients with deep expertise across a range of advanced digital platforms and technologies, so you can execute your strategies exactly. Once more, access is flexible, letting you efficiently manage the peaks and valleys of demand and budget.
  3. Achieve faster time-to-market: Proven, repeatable production techniques and process optimization; including automation, templatization and standardization are essential to achieving both speed-to-market and quality. Well-defined production processes and quality control measures allow marketers to execute swiftly with confidence.
  4. Gain complete visibility: When you consolidate digital production with one partner using a centralized workflow and project-reporting platform, you gain complete visibility across all your digital marketing programs. This level of transparency makes it easy to reduce waste and redundancy. For example, after consolidating production with Deliver, one of our clients realized that each of their operating units was purchasing similar visual assets. They were able to eliminate duplicate spend and implement an asset management program for more effective reuse.
  5. Ensure brand consistency: Companies that operate globally are constantly challenged with maintaining brand consistency in local regions. Brands can achieve campaign consistency when they engage local marketing teams early in the production process to establish a mix of fixed global campaign assets along with flexible units that allow for local market adaptation.

By executing on the above principles with an experienced production partner you can achieve both efficiency and effectiveness, freeing up time and resources to think more strategically.

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.

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.

Mar 8, 11

4 Things Digital Marketers Can Learn from IT Outsourcing

There’s no doubt that globalization has been one of the most profound forces in business and economics in the last century, and that IT and customer service outsourcing was one of the first large manifestations of this megatrend. Businesses realized they could dramatically and very quickly reduce costs , while consumers got to know a variety of global accents when calling IT help desks or tech support.

For early adopters, things didn’t always work out as planned.

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Feb 1, 11

About This Blog (And Why You Should Read It)

We started this blog because we believe digital production capabilities have never been more important to successful marketing. That’s true because of the fundamental and – even radical changes – occurring in our industry. Markets are globalized. Consumers are empowered. Communications channels are cluttered. Margins are tight, and budgets are shrinking.

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