Let me start this piece with a clear and direct statement: Outsourcing and hybrid work is the future of B2B marketing. It might sound like a bold claim, but recent trends and real-life experiences validate this prophecy. I had the pleasure of discussing these intriguing trends in an interview with Domenic Colasante, CEO of 2X, a prominent figure in the B2B marketing space, and I want to share his wisdom and insights with you.
Hybrid Work: A Proven Recipe for Success
Hybrid work isn’t a concept that Colasante stumbled upon during the pandemic; it’s been the 2X secret sauce since 2018. Think of it as a well-aged wine, proving its worth over time. Their team, with most clients based in the U.S and the delivery people in Kuala Lumpur, has been effectively operating in this model for over five years.
Historically, marketing departments have been perceived as creative hubs that thrive best in physical proximity. There’s an element of truth to that. Marketers are idea generators, innovators, communicators. They are the very epitome of creativity.
But over the years, we have seen a proliferation of roles within marketing that are operational, day-to-day, and individualistic in nature. These roles dovetail beautifully into the hybrid and remote work models. Imagine them as the gears in a well-oiled machine, silently ensuring smooth operations while the creative minds brew the next big idea. Indeed, of the 23 organizations that I helped transition to hybrid work, many have chosen to offer mostly-remote roles to staff who actually carry out the marketing implementation work.
Stirring the Pot: Individual and Collaborative Roles
Picture a symphony once more. A symphony comprises individual instruments, each playing their part in harmony to create a beautiful composition. Similarly, the individual roles in marketing need to collaborate with the creative roles to form a successful campaign.
How does one ensure this seamless collaboration? Colasante says that it all starts with a well-organized plan, akin to a music sheet for our symphony. This plan acts as a blueprint, guiding the individual contributors and creative minds alike. Next, a workflow engine is required. It acts as the orchestra conductor, guiding the work through various stages.
Traditionally, marketing departments have been lacking a unified workflow engine. Work occurs in silos – emails, team meetings, asset repositories, marketing tech stacks. However, platforms like Adobe’s Workfront are changing this narrative. They provide a unified view of work, enabling measurement of productivity, service levels, and task completion time. This engine acts as the hub of the marketing wheel, connecting all spokes and ensuring smooth operations.
The Asynchronous and Outsourced Advantage
In our global world, Colasante claims time zones can be an asset. How? Let’s say a client in the US sends a request for a marketing campaign before they sign off for the day. The Kuala Lumpur team, waking up to a new day, builds the campaign. The client wakes up to a ready campaign and has the entire day to provide feedback. This asynchronous work mode provides an organized work schedule, reducing disruptions and distractions, enabling team members to get into the zone and be more productive.
When it comes to outsourcing roles, Colasante finds that it all boils down to core competencies and strategy. If a role requires a unique capability, something that sets you apart and requires you to be the best in the world at it, then it should be in-sourced. For instance, roles like product marketing often fall in this category.
However, a significant portion of marketing roles involves executing strategies and activating the market. These roles are usually operational and repetitive, making them suitable for outsourcing. They are crucial to the organization but not unique to it. They are the harmony to your symphony, filling in and complementing the melody but not the main tune.
The Unleashing of the Remote Workforce
The pandemic brought about a seismic shift in our work habits. The adoption of remote work was no longer a choice but a necessity. Skeptics questioned productivity, but the past couple of years, Colasante says, have shown that a remote workforce can indeed be highly productive. My clients have found that to be the case as well. While physical presence can help build human connections, trust, and relationships, the necessity of being in-office five days a week is gradually diminishing.
With the hybrid work model, companies can build a team comprising the best talents globally, providing a diverse perspective and broadening the creativity horizon. Each person brings their unique skills and expertise to the table, just like a potluck dinner where every dish adds a new flavor to the feast.
B2B marketing is changing, and companies must adapt or get left behind. Hybrid work models and outsourcing provide the flexibility and efficiency required in this fast-paced digital age. By strategically leveraging these practices, businesses can create a dynamic, creative, and efficient marketing department ready to face any challenge. The hybrid work model is not a temporary trend but a paradigm shift, marking the future of work. A future where individual contributors and creative minds harmoniously collaborate across the globe, each bringing their unique tone to the symphony of success. It’s high time companies tune their instruments and prepare for this performance.
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Image credit: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels
Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on April 15, 2023