One of the challenges that we often hear people struggle with is how to strike the right balance between the central management of marketing initiatives and campaigns versus the need for local adaptation and even, fully-blown, locally developed activity. In the latter case, where production is enabled by a central marketing operations team, the multiplication of materials in local languages and the central facilitation of locally driven activity can quickly butt up against local knowledge, language skills and resource constraints.
In many industries, expanding the business internationally is a good way to tap into growth away from saturated home markets. The model is often to open a rep office with a few sales people and an assistant, eventually growing by hiring more sales people and ultimately a local marketing manager. Larger markets will develop into fully fledged sales and marketing hubs that become relatively self-contained.
This multi-speed development leads to a very heterogeneous marketing set up often facilitated by a central production or operations function offering the benefits of synergies and standardization. However, as local offices multiply and grow, this central function can become ungainly and inefficient pointing to a possible localisation, although localisation will mean losing those carefully built synergies and a danger of loosening brand standards.
Near-sourcing = enabling local operations and ensuring brand consistency
Near-sourcing part of your production operations with a focus on specific tasks can allow you to expand your operations without adding additional headcount. You can delegate time- consuming local editing, layouting and language adaptation. By using a single production partner in a lower-cost location, you further benefit from a central point of control and coordination to easily oversee and manage quality and the implementation of brand guidelines. Having a single execution partner offers you transparency and a means to control costs rather than leaving local offices to select production partners with sub-scale volumes resulting in a blossoming of costs at a local budget level. Finally, a near-sourcing partner will offer you flexibility to scale up and scale down depending on your capacity needs.
A single partner for international production providing cost- and output-transparency, cost efficiency due to sourcing skills from lower cost locations, control of how your brand guidelines are applied, flexibility to ramp capacity up or down including easy expansion as you open new markets. Overall, near-sourcing offers great opportunities to simplify your international operations while you maintain full control and ensuring cost efficiency.