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There’s little doubt about the headline figure from the latest Global Benchmark Report on Offshore Creative Production. The 2024 report, published by TKM and sponsored by We Are Amnet, reveals that 90% of respondents are now offshoring creative production services. As well as showing that overwhelming numbers of agencies and other organizations now use offshoring, this represents massive growth in the model, from an average of 66% over the preceding four years. Here we’ll take a look at why that may be the case.

A global picture

Every year the Benchmark Report presents the views of industry experts representing in-house agencies, marketing and brand teams, independent and network agencies, procurement teams and consultants. Thirty questions were put to leaders working in production, operations and tech in a range of sectors including healthcare, consumer, gaming and more, spread across the US and UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

If that figure of 90% across such a diverse set of respondents paints a picture of increasing maturity in the model, it’s in the respondents’ answers to some of the specific questions posed that some light may be shed on the reasons behind such growth.

The challenges facing content producers in 2024

Asked about their biggest challenge in producing content in 2024, 50% of participants selected

“access to additional resource & talent” and “access to new skills and capabilities” as their two main challenges going into 2024. “Resource that can scale” at 41%, and “delivery of shorter lead times” at 37%, also scored highly.

“A higher volume of content is needed to serve a personalized experience for our customers; some say 10 times over the prior year is the industry norm. To meet the increase in content, we must find more efficient and automated ways of producing that content across our omni-channel experiences.”

Joa Pope, Senior Director, Marketing Program & Project Management Office, Nordstrom

It’s clear that a significant issue has been the ability of in-house teams to produce the quantity of work at the times it’s needed and within the lead times given. And that’s likely to worsen going forward; as new tech normalizes automation in content production, expectations of turnaround times and budgets are tightening across the industry.

Given that these are all issues that the offshoring model can resolve with the right collaborative partner, its capacity to address pressing problems rapidly and effectively makes it increasingly attractive to under-pressure content producers.

Strategic imperatives

Responses to questions on more strategic issues also serve to illuminate the growth in the offshoring model. It’s clear that many companies in the sector are looking to move production upstream to focus their in-house efforts more on Tier 1 and 2 creative work, for example.

“The reality is that content/creative automation is not coming, it’s here. And if you are not actively exploring this, even as a beta test within your business, you are behind. The most critical part to this, though, is that this isn’t just about a technology solution or buying some shiny new tech that’s going to solve your problems and make your asset production cheaper, better, and faster, but rather a fundamental shift to your business model and operating processes.”

Gareth Chilton. Founder, Martech, Creative Production, ADOPS, Business Strategy, Solution & Operational Design at Manmachine

Another likely factor is the rapid emergence of AI and, as mentioned earlier, automated content creation; while it may seem counterintuitive that these technologies should lead to more creative production being offshored, their rise has led to increased demand for personalization and specialized skills that are not readily available within in-house teams.

Furthermore, many organizations are not yet in a position to adopt these emerging technologies, but find themselves in a position of needing an immediate solution to satisfy client demands. They find that solution in offshore providers who provide such services, such as We Are Amnet, ensuring the personal touch on content that’s now expected by highly connected customers.

Some results speak for themselves

Long-standing imperatives like saving money also serve to explain the ongoing growth and maturity of the offshoring model. Average cost savings of 40% were reported by respondents using the offshoring model, with up to 80% in some specific disciplines such as retouching, digital banners or adaptive design. Turnaround times also continue to rank highly among the assessment criteria respondents use to select offshoring partners.

The report concludes that “finding the right balance between which services to retain in-house, which to outsource and which to offshore is paramount to success.”

“Our savings with our offshore team are probably around 50%.”

Sian Finnis, Director of Marketing at Studio King

The right collaborator is no less critical, with “forming trusted relationships” cited by 62% of respondents when asked how they measure the success of onboarding an offshoring partner.

You can download the 2024 Offshore Creative Production Benchmark Report here. We Are Amnet work alongside agency and brand partners to leverage talent most effectively, wherever they may be, and 70% of respondents agree that Smartshoring® is the fastest-growing trend in offshoring creative production.

Talk to us to find out what Smartshoring® can do for your business.

Saskia Johnson

Author Saskia Johnson

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