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An Incredibly Short Guide to Moving Marketing Overseas: Part 2

The first part of this guide can be found here.

In the first part of this article, we explored context versus skills as it applies to marketing tasks. Tasks that require a higher cultural background and skill level are best done closer to home, while tasks with a lower background and skill level are suitable for automation or offshoring.

This matrix summarizes the model:

All images: Spence Darrington

Applying the Matrix

While this model applies to any aspect of marketing, it Can be applied to these fields:

  • Design
  • Marketing Automation
  • Activity

    These examples can be used as inspiration to consider how the principles of context and skills apply to your marketing delivery; they are not all-inclusive, but represent the tasks I have seen successfully performed using this framework.

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        persuade opponents

        By understanding the core and context principles and these examples, you can apply this framework to your marketing delivery function and develop options. Ironically, this is the easy part. The hardest part is getting other people to accept it.

        Below are common objections you may hear.

          “We are special.” During my time as an FTE at Microsoft, I heard this objection on every continent. Local marketers are using offshore assignments as part of a centralization strategy. Over time, a clear pattern emerged showing that only 20% of tasks are truly “special” and need to remain local, while 80% are common and can be done anywhere, regardless of the country /area. 80% is low background work that we bundle and do overseas, while the local marketing team retains 20% of high background work.
          “You are replacing local talent.”
          Almost without exception, the work of removing lower backgrounds frees up time for local marketers To pursue higher background, more value-added activities. A more savvy strategy is to advocate for staying ahead of the disruptive trends in automation and offshoring that may be inevitable in today’s modern workplace.

        “It will be slower.”

          A range of powerful project management tools (Asana, JIRA, Workfront,, Trello, Wrike, etc.) and collaboration tools (Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) digitize the marketing supply chain and effectively unite workers under a single virtual roof. While we may be relieved to know that team members are in the lobby, that’s it — comfort. A virtual version of “Go Downstairs” has been shown to work.

            “Only offshore simple tasks.”

              While low-skilled, low-background jobs are the easiest to offshor, high-skilled jobs are doable with the right approach. Onshore resources with in-depth backgrounds can gather and synthesize requirements with marketing stakeholders and translate them to offshore teams. With rigorously defined and documented methods, these teams can do amazingly low-context, high-skill work.

                “Offshore is only for big companies.”

                  I have seen a company of less than 10 people successfully leverage an offshore team to complement their work. Professional services firms with attractive prices, strong service and a successful track record are ready to assist you on your offshore journey.

            Digging Deeper: Push Marketing at scale: from decentralized to centralized

              Offshore is not a panacea and should be considered carefully. But the principles of context and skills are proven, real, more important than marketing, and can be applied to any discipline. Objections may arise, but the thoughtful sourcing of talent from different markets is worth considering.
              Did something overseas yourself? Have feedback on this model? I would love to exchange notes. Connect with me on LinkedIn and let me know what works for you.

              Digging Deeper: Working How management tools connect marketing teams and processes

              The views expressed in this article are those of the guest authors and not necessarily those of MarTech. The authors of the staff are listed here.

              about the author

              Spence Darrington is a Managing Director and Marketing Sizing Specialist at Bridge Partners. Before joining Bridge, Spence worked at Microsoft, Expedia Group and Ford Motor Company, helping them transform their marketing models to achieve scale. While at Microsoft, he pioneered B2B Marketing Shared Delivery Services, building an organization of more than 500 executive specialists in centers around the world. Spence holds a BA in International Relations from Brigham Young University and an MBA from Purdue University. Spencer lives in the Seattle, Washington area.



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