A Digital Marketing Company From India – Should I Use One
Ian And Andrew discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing digital marketing work to countries such as India, and the implications this can have on your business.
Ian: Should I use a digital marketing company from India?
Andrew: Who’s that?
Ian: Should I?
Andrew: It depends.
Ian: Okay, on what? No look, outsourcing obviously can work in various different industries, and both you and I have had a lot of experience with that with various different companies we’ve been involved with. Either managing outsourced teams or having some interaction with them, so it can work really well. And look, we’re not just talking about India we’re talking about the other big countries that seem to have large outsourced work to them. Philippines, Russia, China, Canada, Mexico and Ireland, they’re interesting, I think that’s a lot of the tax implications.
Andrew: Yeah, well we’re talking digital here.
Ian: Well also New Zealand seems to be a big one for us at the moment, because they seem to be outsourcing things to New Zealand. So it can be cost effective to do that, plus of course they’ve got a great command of English and they know Australia very well, and there are people who call them and think they’re Australians anyway. No offence to our New Zealand friends, more or less people from overseas can’t tell the difference.
Andrew: The thing is though as I said before, Russia has become the new India when it comes to outsourcing SEO to.
Ian: Yes this is true. I think there can definitely be some advantages to doing this, and there’s a couple here, let’s get the advantages on the table. I have no idea why I printed it so small, I just must have been testing my eyes, or I want to be like Andrew and wear glasses, but anyway. Advantages: core activities of business takes centre stage. Yes, one of the biggest advantages of outsourcing to India is the lower costs of operations and labour, yes that makes it attractive, that’s the big one. The reduced overhead costs that usually come with running a business, so less bricks and mortar, establishments, electricity, phone, all that sort of cost. Yes so certain functions of the organisation can become, basically what it’s saying is you can move in different areas quicker, you don’t have to train whole teams, there’s teams of people trained and ready to go if you’re outsourcing. Cash flow can be streamlined, increased productivity and efficiency, and then outsourcing frees and organisation from investments in technology, so that’s part of that expansion and being light on your feet. Flexibility in staffing and manpower management, all that sort of thing we just mentioned, and then of course the service provider is responsible for their workforce so that saves you jobs in HR for instance and those kinds of things. So that all makes sense.
Andrew: So what are the disadvantages then?
Ian: Well at least on this list I’ve got here the disadvantages are actually a lot more than the advantages.
Andrew: Surprise surprise.
Ian: Yeah well you’ve got a whole combination of things. There’s the language barrier, the cultural barriers, there’s the risk of losing sensitive data, loss of confidentiality, loss of management control of business functions, so you might be promising a particular client a whole set of deliverables and you might not be able to move on those, or at least move on those in a time that is under your control, so there’s those kinds of things. There’s problems with quality that can arise, if the outsourcing provider doesn’t deliver… to fix those problems quickly and then of course if you’ve gone down the path of a particular outsourcer. The outsourcer provided might work with other customers so not give you 100% of time and attention. Hidden costs and legal problems may arise if outsourcing terms and conditions are not defined. That’s that’s a hard liability issue, you know for whatever industry you’re in the one’s that are outsourcing are the ones who are facing the clients, and if something goes wrong the liability issues are very grey. How do you explain that to your client?
Andrew: I mean if we have outsourced to another country for example and they screw up, we’ll be the ones who are going to be legally liable for it.
Ian: That’s it.
Andrew: If something gets out that shouldn’t the company would…
Ian: Well that’s it, and that’s a big one, that’s a really big one. There’s a whole list here, but keeping it about digital marketing, as I mentioned a couple of days ago a client who came to us who’s really unhappy about their digital marketing agency. The components were website, blog, email marketing, social media, SEO, video marketing, customer research…
Andrew: Very vague.
Ian: Very vague, but already I can see a number of pitfalls for an outsourcer whose first language is not English to be able to put a campaign together like this or be the backend of a campaign that’s been put together like this.
Andrew: Very often what happens too is that say we have a client, we outsource it to India for example, a lot of the time those agencies there are outsourcing it to a smaller agency because they’re so busy. So you’ve got one, two, three companies involved in one client, so all that confidentiality stuff goes out the window and then ultimately we would be liable. The problem is every interaction I’ve have over the years with outsourcing, whether it’s India or Russia or Romania or wherever it may be, it’s always ended the same way and that was that I had to go through and check everything that they did. I’ve had articles written, they say no we’ve got all English speaking and you read the articles and I think my goodness, even a grade 6 child could put better grammar together than this. Sure, it may have only cost a few dollars, but that’s what I got – a few dollars worth of work.
Ian: That’s it, and I mean this is the thing, there’s the small operators that you can deal with through the sites that we talk about all the time, you know there’s E-Lance and Odesk and quite a few of those ones. But then there’s the big outsourcing companies you can access, and quite a few of those are very highly skilled people but still English is not their first language. The culture is very very different, the education is very very different, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag as to what you’re actually going to get. When you’re doing a digital marketing campaign the nuances in language are so important, the message that you need to get across.
Ian: For digital marketing we don’t outsource any of our stuff it’s all, the new term is “insourced.” It’s all in here.
Andrew: Right there.
Ian: That alleviates all of the problems, but it doesn’t help that we get bombarded with emails from India and the Philippines everyday offering their services. That’s great but that sort of cold calling, cold emailing of the volume that it is, quite frankly is a little bit irritating, particularly at the volumes we get.
Andrew: And if you’re ever tempted to go with one of these emails just to check them out, the first thing you should look at is check out their return email address. You’ll probably find it’s a gmail address…
Ian: Or hotmail, or yahoo.
Andrew: Or hotmail or yahoo, or some other form of free emailing property, content, whatever. Generally they won’t even have a website, if they do it’s a very very slapped together generic website that looks like absolute rubbish. Two very simple warning signals for you there.
Andrew: What more can you say?
Ian: We’ve been doing it a long time as far as dealing with outsourcing and it’s only worked in a very limited capacity. I think a lot of people have tried it because of the likes of books like The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, most of you will have heard of that book. If you haven’t read it, a lot of corporate America does a huge amount of outsourcing; telemarketing, administration, entire companies are outsourced. We just the other day had a phone call from a directory here in Australia and we were so excited about this Australian directory…
Andrew: It was an Australian directory, but it was based in India.
Ian: Right, and they think by putting the Sydney or the Melbourne or the local number there is going to…
Andrew: I thought it was quite funny actually.
Ian: It’s sort of funny, and sort of not. It works in those cases, but when you’re dealing with a clients image and branding, and SEO and language these are things that are the most important aspects of a business, this is the profile of a business, their reputation. All those hard core sort of things are the nuts and bolts of the business. I cannot in good conscience be giving that to somebody in another country who I don’t know and who I can’t speak to face to face. It’s very very difficult, it’s a whole can of worms.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s why we don’t do it.
Ian: Anything else to add?
Andrew: Nope, I think we’re done.
Ian: Right, well if you’re watching this from an exotic land…
Andrew: We don’t mean to offend but…
Ian: We’re not offending.
Andrew: It’s just the way we see it.
Ian: Although don’t send anymore emails! We’re not going to outsource, we’re not going to do that. But there’s plenty of companies in Australia that it will be appropriate for them to do that, but with digital marketing it’s not happening.
Andrew: Should make a mention, these aren’t bad.
Ian: These are phenomenal these drinks.
Andrew: Have a look.
Ian: These look like they’re from an exotic land.
Andrew: Yes, they are. Well there you go, cheers! See you next time.
Ian: Cheers guys!
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