Outsourcing Work To Get It All Done
This past June, a Wipro Digital survey of 400 top senior-level business executives found themselves in a near state of despair over digital transformation. Only four percent of the executives said that their companies were realizing even half of their digital investment in a year’s time. One in four of them admitted that their companies lacked a unified strategic vision for their digital work. One in five (secretly) believed that the whole effort was a waste of time.
As marketing consultants, we know these problems all too well. Multi-channel digital marketing has become a multi-headed serpent: We’re tasked with designing and maintaining websites, content marketing, link building, relationship development, influencer marketing, PPC, local, mobile, citations, retargeting/remarketing, intake, branding, social advertising, and so much more. Just when we have a great approach for Twitter or Snapchat, we know there will be something new in the blink of an eye. Rarely does a new channel cancel out anything else? It’s “Yes, and.” We need the Reddit AMA and the Facebook Live and the…. and let’s be honest. Do any of us really think things will get easier?
Each digital platform requires specific skill sets, and they are getting more and more complex and specialized. Google Analytics alone processes half a trillion digital moments every day.
“There has never been a more exciting time to be a marketer, especially online because [brands] can access their customers at any moment throughout the day as they bounce across devices including tablets, mobile, and desktop,” Google Vice President Jerry Dischler was quoted as saying to Marketing Week. “But this has created unprecedented complexity. There is more data, more platforms, more channels.”
Even within niches, we see the strains and stress of a complex digital world. “Too many hotel marketers get caught up in the latest trends or buzz words like ‘big data’ or ‘content marketing,’” marketing consultant T. Maxwell recently wrote for Forbes. “It’s time to get back to the basics and focus on what’s important….”
“Getting back to the basics” is a great answer, but it raises a more important question: How do we do it?
One Answer: Outsourcing
It seems to me that one of the best answers has been hiding in plain sight: Outsourcing.
It may seem strange to think that so many of us who make our livings as outsourced talent might ourselves turn to outside consultants. But we know the value of outside expertise, so why shouldn’t we take advantage of channel and distribution specialists? And–as we might advise our clients–isn’t it better to adopt outsourcing as a strategy, than to grab onto it as emergency relief?
Think, for a moment, just about smartphones. Most of us understand the basics advantages and drawbacks of existing mobile apps. But no one believes that we’ve reached the upper limits of smartphone potential.
In late May, AdWeek reported that the market for mobile augmented reality (think Pokemon Go) will reach 1 billion consumers and will be worth at least $60 billion by 2021.
Last February, Google announced that shopping-related searches on mobile devices have grown by 120 percent over the previous year. That’s a staggering number by itself, but it’s worth drilling down into the data. According to Google:
- Searches for products and services “Near Me” more than doubled;
- About half of consumers who conducted “Near Me” search on phones visited a local store within 24 hours;
- Nearly one in five searches led directly to a sale;
- More than four-fifths of consumers consulted smartphones while in a store before they made a purchase.
A few weeks ago, the company announced the launch of “Google Attribution,” an artificial intelligence/machine learning system that aims to provide more and better data about how and why consumers make the choices they do.
Whether Google Attribution works, time will tell. But if it doesn’t work, something similar is certain to rise in its place. In the meantime, we find ourselves once again with the opportunity for new and better analyses but heavier demands.
There is simply no limit to the complexities and opportunities ahead. Our limit is in our capacity.
The Best Reason
It’s not just that outsourcing saves time and money. The best reason to consider outsourcing is simple: It works. I speak from personal experience when I tell you that it can be utterly transformative.
I focus my work on niche content marketing needs of law firms. The legal profession has earned a reputation for being very conservative about business trends, and attorneys are professional skeptics. In the early 2000’s, when the internet started exploding, attorneys thought “they didn’t need a website.” Now, of course, they know they need “a website,” but are reluctant to embrace all the channels of digital marketing that are required to make their online presence a valuable asset and client development tool. Those law firms that do get it are ahead of the game. Most recognize the need – they just don’t do it or take the time to do it.
As one lawyer told the Huffington Post, “A smart content strategy is an absolute must for reaching new clients.”
Growth in the legal content marketing space has been explosive. In 2014, one survey had barely one-quarter of law firms with any kind of content marketing strategy. But nearly half of them were committed to creating a strategy within the next year. They weren’t just blowing smoke. They did it.
By 2016, Forbes went so far as to claim that law firms’ only option to a digital content marketing strategy was “extinction.”
Now, we, too, must be as aggressive in adopting new strategies as we encourage our clients to be. The same rules about economies of scale we pitch to clients, apply to our own work as well.
Marketing consultants must learn to work with each other, and, as we all know, there’s plenty of work to go around.
About the Author
Jodi O’Hara is the founder and principal of Web Visibility Advisors She has worked in the legal profession for more than 20 years. She has been featured on ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC.