Should companies offshore their marketing? Pros, cons, & tips

by Andy Nguyen
offshore marketing

Thanks to technological developments, businesses are no longer confined to their geographical location for finding customers and employees.

Offshore marketing allows you to hire a team of experts from a different country anywhere in the world. 

This creates an opportunity to hire high-quality marketers while leveraging lower labor costs in those countries.

In this article, we’ll explain what offshore marketing is, along with five benefits and three disadvantages. Lastly, we’ll provide tips to set up a solid offshore marketing agreement.

Table of Contents

Let’s get started.

What is offshore marketing?

Offshore marketing refers to hiring marketing professionals outside your business’s home country. The employees you hire from the outside country can be on your payroll or can be employees of a third-party marketing company in that country.

For example, you can hire an offshore team of marketers in Poland to work remotely for your US-based company.

Business leaders usually do this to access lower costs and a broader human resource pool. Because of this, the market size for various offshore marketing industries, including digital marketing services, has grown in recent years.

Here are some examples of roles that could be included in an offshore marketing team:

  • A project manager: Liaises between your business and the offshore team about expectations, progress, challenges, and changes.
  • Strategists: Analyze market research to develop a marketing plan. Their marketing strategy will include steps and budget and ROI calculations.
  • Content writers: Create written content for things like articles, blog posts, social media posts, and websites
  • Graphic designers: Create images, such as logos, advertisements, and social media posts, to convey your brand’s message visually.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) managers: Set up and maintain your business’s paid advertising on search engines. PPC is a form of Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
  • Front-end developers: program the appearance and functionality of their user interfaces for websites and applications.

If your focus is on digital marketing, you may also need to hire:

  • SEO specialists: Use specialized tools to analyze search engine trends and optimize your business’s discoverability online.
  • Social media specialists: Understand your target audience and how to reach them through online marketing. Social media marketing can help you show relevant adverts to interested consumers and increase your brand awareness.

Note: Offshoring is slightly different from outsourcing. Check out this post to learn about the difference between offshoring and outsourcing.

There are several ways to go about offshoring marketing. Let’s look at a few options.

3 key offshore marketing models

The offshore marketing model you choose depends on factors like:

  • Your marketing budget.
  • The scope of your marketing needs.
  • Future marketing aspirations for your business.

Here’s a look at the three main models of offshore marketing:

1. Hiring freelancers

You can offshore specific marketing tasks to freelancers. For example, if you need an advertisement designed for your business in the US, you can hire a graphic designer from South Africa via a freelance marketplace like Upwork.

This can be efficient for a one-time job. However, you’ll likely find it challenging to maintain consistent quality across projects. In addition, it’s harder to protect your data when hiring freelancers.

2. Hiring a dedicated team

Although this method may be expensive, hiring a dedicated team of marketing experts may bring the best results and Return On Investment (ROI). The people working in this offshore team are a part of your company and your own employees.

Hiring a dedicated offshore team has the benefits of an in-house marketing team, plus the perks of offshoring. You’ll have a project manager dedicated to the marketing needs of your business. 

However, there may also be some challenges like communication and cultural gaps.

3. Hiring for a project

With this model, you can outsource an offshore marketing team to execute a project from end to end for as long as needed. For example, you can hire a third-party web design team only to build and maintain your website.

The payment method may vary depending on the project – per hour, per day, etc. You need to define these terms clearly while making the contract. 

Let’s now look at some of the main advantages of offshore marketing.

5 major benefits of offshore marketing

Here are five principal reasons to consider offshoring your marketing.

1. Improve cost-effectiveness and ROI

Hiring marketers in your country may be expensive. This is especially true in places with higher labor and living costs, such as North America, the United Kingdom, or Europe.

If you hire an in-house marketing team, the costs can start to add up. With offshoring, you can benefit from lower labor costs in other countries.

For example, here is a table showing the average salary for marketing jobs in the United States (US) compared to India:

Job TitleAverage Monthly Salary in the USAverage Monthly Salary in India
Marketing Manager7,878 USD1,316 USD
Digital Marketing Assistant4,867 USD177 USD
Graphic Designer5,887 USD572 USD

Note: These figures are estimates and should only be used as a guide. Salaries may vary based on location, years of experience, etc.

Hiring offshore can be especially beneficial for startups that don’t yet have the capital to hire an in-house team.

2. Utilize tax incentives

Many countries offer government incentives for the offshore industry, such as lower taxes or financial grants. This is common in developing countries to create jobs and invite foreign investment.

Some examples include:

You may be able to benefit from such incentives if you offshore your marketing.

3. Be productive around the clock

Time zones are often seen as an obstacle for international business, but they may actually be beneficial for productivity.

Many places like Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America are prominent offshoring destinations despite time differences with North America and Europe.

You can establish compromises and utilize overlapping work hours to ensure work is done and communication is smooth. For example, if there is a two-hour overlap window, you can use that time for video conferencing and direct communication.

Your marketing team can work independently during their office hours. Your in-house staff then has enough time to focus on your core business activities like customer service, sourcing materials, manufacturing, etc., during your work hours.

This can be advantageous as your teams can be productive almost 24 hours a day.

4. Complete marketing tasks efficiently

To cut costs, sometimes companies assign marketing roles to their existing employees to handle on top of their workload. Doing this may result in less efficiency and lower quality deliverables.

When you hire an offshore marketing team, their skilled marketing experts can work at a fast pace and at a fraction of the cost. They can execute tasks efficiently and to a high standard, so you can start seeing results.

5. Leverage established processes

When you hire an offshore marketing team, they usually have pre-established processes, tools, and infrastructure. This means you don’t have to build a process from scratch for your business.

In addition, they have knowledge of standard tools and processes in the industry. This means they can adapt to the workflow in your company.

An offshore agency may also employ advanced methods like marketing automation to give your digital marketing strategy an enhanced functionality.

Although this all sounds amazing, there are a few issues to consider about offshore marketing.

event marketing email outreach

3 key disadvantages of offshore marketing

Here are three main challenges for offshore marketing:

1. Security concerns

Any business exchange could carry risks like intellectual property (IP) theft and data security breaches. However, the geographical distance involved in offshoring can increase this risk.

According to the US Identity Theft Resource Center, data breaches increased by 68% from 2020 to 2021. The increase was felt in all business sectors and included more ransomware and cyberattacks.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) found that 65% of Notifiable Data Breaches were caused by criminal activity and 30% by human error.

When you’re offshoring some operations, it becomes even more challenging to ensure that your offshore team enforces adequate cybersecurity measures at their location. In addition, different countries may have different laws surrounding IP or data security.

However, you can take some steps to avoid security breaches when offshoring. These include:

  • Obtaining legal advice to understand the offshore IP and data security laws.
  • Drawing up a legal data security agreement.
  • Researching any government paperwork you may need to submit.
  • Implementing employee management measures, such as Time Doctor for web and activity tracking.

2. Operational challenges due to distance

Geographical distance can cause some difficulties for day-to-day marketing operations.

Examples include:

  • Lack of consistent communication.
  • Language barriers.
  • Time zone differences.
  • Cultural differences.

But you can overcome these problems through careful communication and relationship maintenance.

3. Problems with quality control

You may find that the deliverables of your offshore digital marketing team don’t match up to your expectations. This could be because the work culture in their country differs from that in your home country.

To manage quality control issues, you may need to take some time to understand the local business practices and introduce extra checks and balances.

Using the right communication tools can also help with quality control. 

This is also why it’s crucial to choose the right agency and set up a firm agreement. Let’s explore a few ways to do this.

5 helpful tips for successful offshore marketing

Here are five tips and tricks to keep in mind when hiring and managing an offshore marketing team.

1. Choose the right team

Hiring an offshore team could mean hiring an existing team from an offshore marketing agency or assembling a team of offshore employees of your own. Either way, you should do thorough research into their capabilities before hiring.

Here are some factors to look for when hiring an offshore team:

  • Qualified marketing professionals.
  • Knowledge of project execution from start to finish.
  • Access to resources like hardware and software for communication, productivity management, analytics, etc.
  • Defined procedures for workflow and feedback.
  • A willingness to adapt to your business’s tools and workflows.
  • The ability to generate creative ideas.
  • A portfolio of past work and achievements.
  • An understanding of the industry you work in and your client base.

This information can help you choose the right offshore company for your business. 

2. Establish key performance indicators

At the beginning of your offshore business arrangement, you’ll need to set out your expectations.

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is an excellent way to do this. KPIs are a set of targets and milestones that measure the success of your business activities.

Clear KPIs can help you assess whether a marketing campaign is effective so that you can restrategize if necessary.

KPIs can also form part of the payment structure, meaning you’ll pay for marketing services in direct proportion to the value it brings.

3. Use communication and collaboration tools

Thanks to a rise in remote work in the last few years, there are many remote work tools in the market that facilitate communication and collaboration.

Some examples include:

  • Time and productivity tracking: Time Doctor. This software can help you understand how your employees are using their time and if they’re being productive.
  • Instant messaging: Slack.
  • Project management: ClickUp, Asana, or Trello.
  • Video conferencing: Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
  • File management and sharing: G Suite.

Based on your business needs, you can select a set of tools to keep your marketing efforts organized and efficient.

4. Provide feedback

You can work with your offshore marketing team to fine-tune deliverables through comprehensive feedback.

This can include:

  • Whether they are meeting expectations.
  • Asking the team to reprioritize certain tasks.
  • Assessing weekly or monthly performance in terms of KPIs.

5. Perform regular reviews

Once you establish an offshore marketing partnership, there are a few factors that will require consistent review and maintenance, such as:

  • Checking whether projects are within budget.
  • Communicating about potential risks and how to mitigate them.
  • Consolidating knowledge and communication in a centralized place.
  • Engaging in relationship management, such as through team-building.

This will help to ensure the partnership is stable and can develop without major growing pains.

Wrapping up

Offshore marketing can create many advantages for your business. You can access fantastic marketing talent from around the world at a relatively lower cost.

If you’re considering hiring an offshore marketing team for your business, you can use our guide to understand the models, roles, pros, and cons. In addition, our tips can help you set up a strong partnership.

Want to read more related posts about offshoring and marketing? Visit the Time Doctor blog.

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