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With marketing budgets for 2022 having recovered from the disaster of 2021, but not to pre-pandemic levels, there was hope for continuing improvement in industry sentiment this year. However, with the cost of living crisis, a difficult macroeconomic outlook and unprecedented issues with staff retention, 2023 has in fact seen increased challenges for content producers.

There is pressure from all sides to produce work quicker, cheaper, and with fewer resources, but without compromising quality and in a saturated space. In healthcare marketing in particular, all of that has to be achieved under some of the strictest compliance and regulatory requirements of any industry. Lead generation and revenue growth have become critical drivers in 2023. All of this begs the question, which content production models are being leveraged to achieve these aims?

“There is now a greater relative investment in offshore production than in any other production model, with an emphasis on studios that can provide lower-cost resources at scale, while ensuring quality standards, communication excellence, and cultural alignment are preserved.”
2023 Global Benchmark Report for Offshore Production

Where’s the investment going in 2023?

In the 2023 Global Benchmark Report for Offshore Creative Production, brands and in-house and external agencies were surveyed on a range of issues, with their expectations of investment in content production models being the first question asked. Unsurprisingly, in terms of the types of campaigns being produced, an omnichannel, digital-first approach is where the biggest investment is going. The key channels emerged as digital marketing/advertising, short-form videos and social marketing. But tellingly, the figures show that the models of content production itself are also evolving.

Respondents saw the biggest models for investment in 2023 as offshore production at 61% and in-house agencies at 55%. Importantly, when looking at potential changes to the model they’re currently using, 83% were definitely or possibly considering offshoring in 2023, and 54% planned to offshore more of their production. Even among those who are already using the model, 74% are going to offshore more of their work.

Tier 3 post-production, including artwork and production, formatting, resizing, transcreation, reversioning and localization, has proven particularly cost-effective to offshore, with respondents reporting that it left their creative teams free to focus on asset creation.

Healthcare marketing has always had its own requirements, so with McKinsey reporting that business models in the healthcare industry itself are changing, it’s no surprise that content production models have to follow suit. We have some advice for offshoring healthcare marketing effectively, given its peculiar demands. Meanwhile, the demand for content continues to rise unabated, increasing the need for new production models to keep up.

“The content-at-scale challenge that many brands face is developing a clear direction of travel in relation to investment, with in-house and offshore as the fastest-growing models.” 2023 Global Benchmark Report for Offshore Production

One size isn’t going to fit all, whether in-housing or offshoring

Organizations of all sizes are changing their production models across every sector. GSK Consumer Healthcare created a global digital production hub in India in 2020, for example. Supporting regional hubs were established to adapt content to serve specific markets faster and more efficiently; their emerging markets content hub was based in Istanbul.

Not everybody, of course, has the resources of a multinational to set up their own, overseas production hubs. In any case, the classic definitions of in-housing; internalizing functions or skills with an emphasis on specialisms, resources and delivery, and offshoring; sending work overseas to save money, are increasingly obsolete. It’s no longer a “binary choice” according to trade body ISBA. They point out that “organizations currently use a mixed approach of both in-house and outsourced resources to service the same marketing need in a ‘blended’ strategy.”

Forbes have said that “to maintain steady growth, you need to find a sweet spot where your in-house and outsourced resources are balanced and well-aligned with goals.” A flexible model that takes advantage of your own and offshore capacity, keeping the right person in the right seat, is the way forward. Tier 3 and 4 production is certainly better placed outside, leaving your creative team free to focus on what they should be doing.

How do you achieve that?

You need a model that’s scalable, adaptable and works for your company even when circumstances change considerably and/or rapidly. Smartshoring® was born out of the proven need for a hybrid model of in-country teams and offshore expertise. In our Global Benchmark report, 73% of respondents agreed with the Smartshoring® approach. Talk to us to find out why, and how it will work for your organization.

Saskia Johnson

Author Saskia Johnson

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