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When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Outsource

By: Jean Lawrence

Jean Lawrence, president of SuccessStories in Chandler, does marketing and advertising copy writing and case studies for such clients as Apple Computer, IBM, Digital, USA Today, and American Bankers Association. A former lobbyist for the Aerospace Industries Association, she has been in business for 17 years. Jean can be reached at 899-8984.

I had just moved to Phoenix from Washington, D.C. "Have you been here long enough to realize you can't command the fees here you did in DC?" a potential client asked me. Sure! We consultants are nothing if not a pragmatic bunch. The whole idea of our business is to use our skills as quick studies and specialists in many needed business areas to mold ourselves into your organization as seamlessly as possible -- if only for a month or two.

One service we can offer you is on-call availability. We're always at your disposal, up and running, complete with computers, faxes, email, and access to the vendors and resources to make your business run smoothly. In addition, we often bring years of experience with what works and what doesn't work in such areas as direct mail, advertising, marketing, and computer services. The best
part is: you pay us only when we work.

If your business has peaks and valleys, or if you only need to plan one meeting or do a couple of brochures a year, we're perfect. Or how about that big study you were supposed to write, that corporate capability statement you've been putting off, or that direct mail rollout that has been crying to get done for over a year? Outsource!

When the boss asks, "Are you sure we can afford to hire someone?" tell her you will save money outsourcing. Instead of putting a relatively inexperienced writer on staff at, say, $22,000 plus insurance, office space, equipment, and training, you can get someone with 25 years' experience with Fortune 100 companies to do half a dozen major projects, with no benefits and minimal paperwork. Why add permanent fixed expenses, when an intense burst of skilled attention would solve your problem?

Consultants also bring you new ideas. Just seeing the organization through the eyes of an outsider often jump-starts your staff into becoming more productive. Your permanent people may get inspired to rebid your printing to get a better price, get your newsletters back on schedule, or otherwise shore up weak spots.

When you hire a consultant, you are also tapping into that person's extensive network of experts and vendors. Your publications and programs could get a visible facelift.

And, finally, with a consultant you know what you're getting and what it will cost. You can look at the consultant's past work, talk to past clients, even test the consultant on a small, paid project to check the chemistry. Unlike hiring an employee, you won't have to live with your decision forever.

Many new clients are uneasy about the financial arrangements, so maybe this will help: I prefer to quote a flat project price for a mail package, ad, brochure, newsletter, video script or other project. I request half in advance, the rest net 30, sooner if I can negotiate it. I'm human. If you pay me promptly, I will give you rapid turnaround, even work weekends in emergencies at no additional cost. After all, I want repeat work. And you want the flexibility and convenience of a start-and-stop worker who also happens to know every nuance of your business and be fiercely loyal.

© Copyright 1999, Jean Lawrence

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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