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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on August 25, 2009

There are some amazing advances in marketing execution with the advent of vendor portals like elance and vendorseek. You can get your logo designed or website built in Argentina, Pakistan, Latvia or any other country at an unbelievable price – in many cases 20 – 50% of what you’d pay for a local vendor. We’ve used these sources in the past, with some good and some bad results. Our learning is this: these sources can be good, in 2 cases –

· You don’t really need sophisticated design. What we’ve seen in comparing local vendors (who do charge more than those in typical ‘offshore’ countries) to offshore vendors is that local designers have a sophistication that can’t easily be matched by those outside of Canada and the US. So if your brand / packaging / image is important – especially if it’s a consumer product you’re dealing with – it’s worth the money to spend on a local vendor. On the other hand, if you just need a graphic designer to execute what you tell them to do (move this circle here, change the color, increase the font size), then offshore is a good way to go.

· You have lots of time to project manage. We had a website designed a while ago by an offshore vendor. The price was about half what we might have paid locally. But wow did we pay the price in hours of time project managing our offshore vendor. Our marketing manager was on the phone or email with them every day for about 5 weeks. By the time we tallied up those hours, we really hadn’t saved much money. And thank goodness our marketing manager was willing to invest those hours, otherwise our offshoring experiment would have been a budget disaster.

We’ll continue to experiment with offshoring of marketing functions – as we’ve seen in offshoring of other activities, this is a trend that will grow when used judiciously.

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