Posted August 6, 2007 11:13 am by with 12 comments

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There’s a disturbing side-effect that’s coming from the increased use of internet marketing – it can be done cheaper in China and India.

While advertising continues to bring us greater efficiencies and cheaper costs, it’s also driving our need for faster turnaround and rapid deployment. When you can test 100 ads online within a week, you need a solution that can keep up with that pace, without breaking the bank.

I’ve seen two stories recently that suggests that marketing could follow technical support and end-up outsourced to a country with cheaper labor costs.

First, the NYT reports on Publicis’ efforts to build a global digital advertising network that uses offshore labor.

?There?s a chance to invest right now in China, India, Russia and Brazil, which will pay off big over the next five years,? Mr. Kenny said. ?These economies are going to boom, and ads there are going to go directly to mobile and directly to the Internet.?

Beyond the growth potential, Publicis executives see these economies as important sources of low-cost labor for a Digitas subsidiary called Prodigious, a digital production unit that works with all agencies in the Publicis Groupe. Prodigious already uses workers in Costa Rica and Ukraine to produce copious footage for companies like G.M.

The other story relates to Lenovo’s decision to move all of its worldwide marketing to Bangalore, India.

The new center offers these services to all of Lenovo’s operations outside China, said Rahul Agarwal, vice president for marketing at Lenovo India…Lenovo decided to establish this operation in India because of the availability of high quality marketing talent in India, Agarwal said. Expertise in consumer marketing is going to be particularly important as Lenovo gets into the consumer market, he added.

Of course, many companies have found that the costs associated with offshoring are often not worth the headaches that come from language barriers and lower quality work. That said, if you’re involved in marketing, you’d better not take for granted that cushy gig you have. Just like those in the technical support and web development world, you could soon learn that your work can be done for a fraction of the price by someone else.

  • There is good in this as well. It is a great opportunity for people in areas where income is hard to come by and I do not think it can be said that the “headaches” of dealing with marketing and SEO sites outside the USA are anymore than the headaches of dealing with any outside company.
    There are quality companies everywhere. There are crappy one too.

  • It’s all in how you look at it. So much of SEO / SMO / Competitive research is redundant and mundane. A monkey could do most of the information gathering tasks that take so long. As a marketer, I should be tapping into the cheap labor costs for such tasks.

    As a consultant, I am paid for my knowledge and ability to solve problems. If I’m charging $100 an hour for my time and farming off repetitive non thinking tasks for $7 an hour, that makes my business a lot more scalable since I can get more work done and bill for more hours in the same timespan.

    I can also start billing like an accounting firm. One rate for bookkeeping (monkey work, $20/hr) and another for actual accounting work (my time, $200/hr). So I get paid more for my actual time, can take on more clients, and my clients actually pay less for an overall project while still getting my expertise handling the output of work.

  • Outsourcing is always going to be a highly controversial topic. However, this is the first time we are really seeing the possibility of outsourcing being used in the area of online marketing. I understand the fact that cheap labor costs are a huge motivation to outsource. Yet in the end, there is only value in outsourcing if the work being done is high quality and therefore results in profit for the company in question. Cheaper labor without expertise is not a good alternative.

  • I agree with a lot of the things Jeremy said and have found to be a great site to hook up with these offshore workers.

    The timeless phrase, “you get what you pay for” still holds very true.

    However, I doubt many sites that are looking to to place all their marketing budget into a consulting firm are going to go entirely offshore.

    If you can create ROI in todays market, that is ROI, but you should be very careful when putting all your eggs into an offshore consulting firm.

  • If you’re prepared to go over to these places and teach them to think your way, usually the money making way – not the Russian way. Then it’ll work. I’ve used several and it always ends up with me doing the work anyway.

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  • We are constantly getting sales pitches from India to outsource our clients work through our contact form, I really can see some of the benefits of doing this but they by far don’t outweigh the positives of getting the work done yourself.

  • I also agree with Jeremy and this is basically the business model that my new employer built our business around. It is working out great for us so far.

  • This was a trend waiting to happen. Marketing folks are creative and well paid, and can telecommute. So why not extend the paradigm by letting the telecommute from, well across the pond (or the globe?)

  • That why my site get most of traffic from India and Chine despite the fact it is in english and targeted to Europe.

  • MikeNJ

    If they can do the work and they are cheaper — it’s a no brainer. I don’t see the difference between outsourcing down the street or across the globe. More power to them. I want cheaper services.

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