Offshore Outsourcing Pros and Cons: Everything You Need to Know

Business

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19 min read

As a business owner or marketing manager, have you considered the pros and cons of offshore outsourcing when it comes to your creative production?

Regardless of what business you run, whether it’s something in the healthcare space or the cybersecurity industry, you need a brand that makes you stand out.

Simply having a good idea isn’t good enough for your business to be a success.

You need to have a fantastic brand identity that customers engage with, a lightning speed website that works seamlessly across mobile and desktop, and a content strategy that attracts and sustains a targeted audience.

Can you do all of this alone in-house?

That’s 3 dedicated departments, and each are critical in making your business a success.

Having the right people with the right skill set takes time and money – two things which not every business has in abundance. This is why so many businesses are starting to consider offshore outsourcing, as this gives them access to creative minds for a fraction of the cost.

But it’s not just time and money that are driving factors in businesses choosing to outsource their creative production. There’s a whole plethora of reasons, which we’ll explore in detail below.

Let’s start with the basics – what is offshore outsourcing?
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What Is Offshore Outsourcing?

Offshore outsourcing involves hiring an external company in a different country to perform certain functions within your business.

This is where the term ‘offshore’ comes into play, as outsourcing can take place in the same country, depending on which company you choose to partner with.

For example, if you’re based in London and you choose to partner with a company in Newcastle, this would still be classed as ‘outsourcing’ but not ‘offshore outsourcing’ as you’re staying within the UK.

As customers are demanding more from brands, and the competition for consumer attention increases, more businesses are starting to engage in offshore outsourcing.

This leads us nicely onto our next section…

Why Do Companies Outsource Work?

Regardless of what brand you have, competition is fierce.

You might think you’ve got the best product or service in the world, but you’ll still be competing with hundreds of other brands who want your customer’s attention. Therefore, to be successful, you need an in-house team of experts who’ve got what it takes to catapult your business to success.

Whether that’s perfecting your brand messaging, creating audience personas, conducting in-depth keyword research, or creating a website with seamless UX capabilities, your team will have a lot on their plate.

And yes, you guessed it, having all of these skills in-house comes with a hefty price tag.

The solution?

Offshore outsourcing.

The best thing is, outsourcing your creative production has never been easier. Over the years, there has been a monumental increase in the way we communicate, with a lot of communication happening online.

48% of people said they have now been offshoring for five years or more, of a total of 73% who said they offshore creative production/post-production services. – 2022 Benchmark Report

Even if you go for a job interview nowadays, there’s a good chance it’ll be online.

As such, you could say the world is becoming much smaller, as you can connect with people who are thousands of miles away with complete ease. Whether that’s jumping on a Zoom call or sending a message on Slack, the majority of us are very comfortable with digital communication.

Because of this, offshore outsourcing has become more relevant and more necessary.

Add to this a change in consumer behaviour, a growing demand for sustainable practices, and a global need for better talent, it has driven companies to find new ways to flourish.
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Offshore Outsourcing Pros

There are lots of benefits of offshore outsourcing, some of which we have touched on above.

Whilst the main pain points for business owners tends to be time and money, there are lots of other reasons to choose offshore outsourcing to grow your business.

Let’s start with different time zones, which for the sake of giving context to the blog, is both a pro and con of offshore outsourcing.

We’ll start with a positive, and kick things off with why this is a big benefit.

Different time zones

Normally businesses are working towards tight deadlines and need to get work produced and delivered quickly.

Whether that’s launching a new product, printing a new brochure, or finalising website copy, time is of the essence!

This is where offshore outsourcing can come in very handy, as the agency you’re partnering with is probably on a different timezone. As such, when your employees are logging off and going home at 5pm, the creative agency might just be waking up.

Take Australia (a location Canny has many clients in) as an example.

At 5pm in Australia, it is only 8am in the United Kingdom.

Therefore this is an advantage for Australian businesses, as it means the work will continue even after your staff have packed up to go home.

Let’s say you have a brochure that needs redesigning for the next day so that you can present it to senior management. If you have briefed this into your UK creative agency, and included what you need and by when, they can spend the day ahead working on it (after all, it’s only 8am their time).

However, if you were relying on members of your in-house team, you would have to wait until the next working day, or expect people to do some serious overtime!

Neither of which is going to go down very well.
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More cost effective

Cutting costs where possible, is a huge priority for any business.

However, if you need to hire staff internally, this can be a very expensive process. And it’s not just the cost of paying a wage that has to be considered.

You also need to factor in the cost of the entire recruitment process as you need to pay for job advertisements, and possibly a recruitment agency to help you source the right talent. All of this is expenditure before you’ve even got someone through the door.

On top of an employee’s salary, you also have their benefits, office space, taxes, and equipment to consider. For example, if you’ve hired a graphic designer who’s going to be responsible for creating all of the company’s visual assets, you can’t expect them to use any old computer.

Sure, if you want to wait forever for Photoshop to load or for them to even log on each morning, then fair enough. But all of this waiting around eats more into your budget, as you want them to be productive.

As such, they will probably need an iMac, which is in itself, very expensive. And that’s before you’ve thought about headphones, additional laptops, or any other pieces of equipment they need to be successful in their role.

Offshore outsourcing is a way to reduce costs as you will be saving onn recruitment, labour, training, equipment, and overhead costs.

You don’t need to worry about supplying them with the right iMac as this will already be in place.

All you have to worry about is briefing on the right work and the rest is taken care of.

Bigger pool of talent

As we’ve mentioned throughout the post, for your business to be successful, you need to have the right staff.

As a bare minimum, this includes having someone working on your branding, website, and content – the 3 pillars of the Canny offering.
And that’s without drilling into the specialities within each department.

For example, in branding alone, you could have a whole myriad of different roles such as:

  • Junior Brand Designer
  • Brand Manager
  • Photographer
  • Visual Producer
  • Brand Strategist
  • Head of Digital
  • Creative Head
  • Art Director
  • Creative Director

Can you imagine the cost of hiring for all of those roles if you were to keep it in-house!

It’s fair to say your budget would be pretty much spent up.

So, what’s the alternative?

When you outsource your creative production to an agency, they will have dedicated people in these roles. The sole focus of their job will be branding, which means they’re the experts in this field.

Rather than stretching themselves between branding, marketing, and content (which is another trap business falls into when keeping things in-house), they can fully concentrate on their specific role and responsibilities.

As such, the quality of their output is much better as they are using their skills day-in, day-out.

You can’t compare this with someone in-house who might be spending an hour every now and then designing a social media banner on Canva.

By engaging in offshore outsourcing when it comes to your creative production, you can rely on real experts rather than a Jack of all trades.

Different opinion/ outside perspective

No one knows your business better than you do, and that’s a good thing (mostly).

However, a downside of this is that you end up sticking to the same, old ideas. Because you’re so used to seeing the same logo, brand messaging, or website on a daily basis, you can get stuck in a rut, and might find yourself constantly returning to ‘tried and tested’ methods.

You’re almost ‘too close’ to the brand, and you need a fresh pair of eyes.

Even asking the opinion of other people working in your company is not going to be that helpful.

After all, they’re all looking at the same branding on a daily basis too.

Instead, you need an outside perspective from someone who has no connection to your business.

*Drumroll please*

Choose an offshore outsourcing partner.

Due to the fact these people don’t work at your company, they will be able to look at things from a different perspective. Whether that’s evaluating your brand messaging, or analysing your current blog strategy, they will be able to offer up new ideas that you probably haven’t considered.

An added bonus can be that these agencies might have worked in your sector before.

As such, they will already have a base knowledge of your industry which saves you time explaining everything from the ground up. In addition, they will have ideas and experience from their previous clients which they will be able to share with you.
silver clock on a wooden surface

More time for you to focus on other work

As a business owner or Marketing Manager, do you feel as though you wear about 10 different hats?

Sometimes you’re in sales, other times you’re in web development, and on Fridays you become a content strategist. Perfecting all of these roles is impossible, and it means you’re spreading yourself too thin.

As such, other parts of your job will be suffering as they’re not getting the attention they deserve.

However, by deploying an offshore outsourcing partner, it means you will have more free time to dedicate to your actual job.

Furthermore, by passing campaigns over to a creative agency who have a dedicated team of experts, you can fully concentrate on your job with confidence. You know that these guys are the best people for the job, and will deliver the results you need.

As a result, you can focus on other parts of your role without worrying about the quality of work being produced.

You never know, you might even be happier in your job role as you’ve got less plates to spin.

You’ll also be able to do the parts of the job you enjoy most without being bogged down by other tasks.

Fast turnaround time

Creative agencies usually have a fast turn around time and high quality output.

Well, the good ones do anyways, but that’s why it’s important to do your research first.

We’ve actually written another blog post about the key considerations before choosing a creative agency so go and check it out.

For now, let’s get back to offshore outsourcing benefits.

The professionals working at a creative agency will be used to dealing with high-volume production and short turnaround times, as they will most likely have multiple clients.

All of these clients will have different requirements and different deadlines, so the creative agency will be used to delivering work on-time. Furthermore, you can be confident that the work they deliver is not only timely, but also high quality, as clients pay their wage.

As such, maintaining fantastic client recommendations is absolutely key, as without clients, they have no business. Simple as that.

Furthermore, because there is a dedicated person for each role, you don’t have to worry about the agency splitting their time between branding and content for example. In an agency environment, someone working in the branding department would also be responsible for writing the blog content and vice versa.

As such, each person will be able to dedicate their time to producing the very best work instead of switching between different tasks.
rubix cube balanced on finger

Offshore Outsourcing Cons

Like any business relationship, there are of course a few downsides to offshore outsourcing.

However, thanks to the emergence of technology and a more flexible way of working, most of these concerns can be addressed relatively easily.

Irrespective of this, we’ll keep the blog balanced and take a look at some offshore outsourcing cons.

Different time zones

As we said at the beginning of the post, different time zones are both positive and negative when it comes to offshore outsourcing.

That’s because being in a different country, and on a different timezone, can make it slightly harder to communicate if you want an instant response.

Whilst it’s fantastic in the sense that work can continue virtually around the clock (depending on where you’re located), it’s not ideal if you need an answer straight away.

For example, if you have a burning question and you ping it over to your creative agency but they’re closed. This means you will have to wait for a response until they’re back on their laptop the next day.

In most cases this isn’t an issue, as creative agencies overseas are very accommodating.

Take Canny as an example. Our client TLR Global is based in Australia which means they are 9 hours ahead.

Whilst this might seem problematic, the team can work around this if a meeting or catch-up call is needed, and can occasionally attend work half an hour earlier. Also, because of the time restrictions, maintaining good communication is absolutely critical.

Instead of short, snappy emails, we include as much information as possible to keep everyone in the know. We also update clients on a regular basis (this applies to both clients in the UK and clients overseas) as this mitigates the possibility of any misunderstandings or miscommunication.

So, whilst different time zones could initially be seen as a negative, if you partner with the right creative agency, there is always a solution.
Confused Man Frustrated with Laptop

Lack of control

When it comes to your business, it’s natural to want control. After all your business is your baby, and you have made it what it is today.

It’s easy to assume that deploying an offshore outsourcing partner means giving up some of that control, as you’re trusting an external partner to manage parts of your business.

You might worry that they’ll go rogue, and implement ideas that you don’t like or don’t want.

This might make you anxious, as you will probably have a strong idea of what makes your brand unique, and the thought of anyone interfering with that might not sit well with you.

And that’s fine, we get it.

We feel the same when it comes to Canny, as we know our brand identity inside out. From the type of content we create, to the colour scheme we use, to our brand tone of voice, we know Canny better than anyone else.

However, trusting an external partner doesn’t necessarily mean you’re losing control. When you engage the right creative agency, they become a partner rather than someone who tells you what to do.

The best way to see it is a collaborative process, where ideas are open to discussion. If you’ve got an idea or something you’d like to try then great, bring it to the table. Equally, if your chosen agency has a new idea or something they want to put forward then they should discuss this with you first.

It’s a two way-process, and by choosing the right creative agency, you can still be in the driving seat when it comes to your business.

You need to be trusting

This links to the point above, as engaging in offshore outsourcing requires a certain level of trust.

Due to the fact you’re relying on another company to manage parts of your business, you need to trust that they’re up to the job.

Depending on what you need from them, they could be working on your brand, website, content, or all 3. As a result, they need to be capable of producing a high quality of work, as this will reflect badly on you if they don’t.

You need to be proud of your creative output as this directly reflects your business. For example, if your chosen agency designs a social media graphic and it has the wrong logo or strapline on, this makes your brand look amateur and unprofessional.

Similarly, if they publish a blog post that is littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, the reputation of your business will suffer.

As a result, it’s important to partner with a creative agency that you trust. Now you might think this is difficult to know for definite if you’re outsourcing offshore. However, thanks to digital modes of communication, there are lots of ways you can vet your chosen agency before trusting them with your business.

The first step is to schedule a call and make sure you get the right ‘feel’ for what they’re all about. Whilst this might seem vague, you can often tell if an agency is genuinely passionate about your project.

Another good place to start is their website, as they should have case studies or testimonials from previous clients. Check to see if they have worked with clients in other countries before, as this shows you they are capable of communicating remotely.

Therefore, whilst being able to trust an external agency who is located overseas might seem like a challenge, there are lots of ways to vet them before investing your time and money.
man and woman on a Zoom call

Less face-to-face contact

This is probably one of the first things you worry about when considering offshore outsourcing.

Whilst your chosen agency is an external partner, you still want them to feel part of your team. Ideally, they should feel like an extension of your existing team, only they’re located remotely.

It’s easy to think that you can’t build a strong relationship with your chosen creative agency if they’re based thousands of miles away.

You might think that this will make communication a lot more challenging, as you’re relying on people responding to your emails and picking up your phone calls, rather than just being able to pop into the office to have a chat.

However, it’s important to note that the majority of creative agencies are used to travelling to visit clients on a regular basis. After all, they’re limiting their own reach if they only partner with clients based in the UK (or whichever country they’re located).

Also travelling is very easy, and as we alluded to before, the world has become much smaller.

You can quite easily hop on a plane and be in another country in a matter of hours. Therefore, whilst it might feel like your chosen agency is very distant in terms of where they are located on the map, there is no reason why face-to-face meetings can’t take place.

If you choose the right creative agency that is passionate and committed to making your project work, they will happily make the trip.

At Canny, one of our favourite things to do is travel.

We absolutely love meeting clients in-person to discuss their project and bounce around new ideas. And it doesn’t always have to be about work. Whilst nailing the requirements of the project is critical, we also want clients to feel as though they know us as real people.

And that’s why face-to-face trips are important. We have clients in the US, Australia, and Switzerland, and we love flying out to these places to meet the team in-person.
tlr case study on black background
Read the full case study here.

Offshore Outsourcing Case Study

Now that we’ve explored some offshore outsourcing pros and cons, you might still be doubtful that this is the best decision for your company.

That’s why we thought it would be helpful to share a case study from a client who partners with Canny, regardless of them being located overseas.

Company: TLR Global
Country: Australia

As a cybersecurity company, TLR wanted to eliminate the fear surrounding this space by creating a brand identity that positions them as a partner.

Instead of being another faceless, corporate, cybersecurity company, they wanted to clearly communicate their solutions to various security-based problems without relying on fear as a tactic.

As well as their refreshed brand identity, we have also reworked their website and content marketing strategy, which are now set firmly inline with their new brand positioning.

Canny has a great relationship with TLR, and we look forward to working with them in the future. By being open, transparent, and responsive, we have built a fantastic relationship with the team, and we are excited to see their business grow from strength to strength.

Offshore Outsourcing Pros and Cons: Everything You Need to Know

After exploring various offshore outsourcing pros and cons, I hope we have managed to ease some of your initial concerns.

Whilst partnering with a company who are located overseas might seem quite daunting, there are lots of benefits to be enjoyed.

From saving money, to meeting key deadlines, to having access to dedicated specialists, you can reap the rewards of outsourcing your creative production to an agency. As we’ve covered in the blog, just because a company is located overseas, it doesn’t mean the relationship or quality of work is going to be compromised.

By doing your research first, and choosing an agency that ticks all of your boxes, they will feel like an extension of your existing team, only with a different postcode!

At Canny, we have worked with various clients overseas. From TLR Global (Australia), to Shodai (Japan), we know what it takes to maintain fantastic relationships regardless of the distance. To find out more or to discuss your project in more detail, get in touch for a friendly chat!