Sunshine, ice-creams and missed deadlines?

Published June 13, 2018

It’s not the first time we’ve written about the pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing needs, because we believe a ‘blended team’ of in-house and outsourced resource collaborating as one is often the best approach. With a partnership of outsourced support nurturing in-house teams, your teams can be responsive to urgent needs within your organisation, whilst also having the ability to lean on external skills and capacity when required.

We might all be enjoying the early summer weather but it can also mean only one thing – summer holiday season is upon us. For most teams, summer can mean months of reduced capacity, handovers, holiday covers and possibly even freelancers. This all happens at a critical time, when instead of reduced workloads the reality is that businesses are gearing up for September activity. Often seen as the second January, September is a great time to launch or go to market with new messages or promotions, making it one of the busiest times in the marketing calendar for many businesses. The benefit of working as ‘blended teams’ obviously comes into its own at that point, where you can have another team in your armoury, who are fully trained on your brand and are up-to-speed on how your business works.

To protect your sanity this summer we thought we’d share our top tips for a summer of fun not stress!

  • Planning – Easily said, less easily delivered. Our advice is to look well in advance at the whole summer season, spotting when there might be holiday overlaps making handovers difficult.  Consider all the risks and plan around them from the outset, for example there’s no point getting someone to lead a project who’s actually going to be on holiday at a critical time.
  • Resourcing – Be open minded about resourcing. Who else could help, are there different ways to split up tasks?
  • Timing – Think carefully about whether some tasks that might normally be completed closer to their deadlines could instead be done well in advance, in order to reduce the workload at a busy time.
  • Big projects – Big projects are often the straw that breaks the camel’s back of capacity issues, consider whether they could be outsourced to reduce the pressure internally.
  • Be realistic – Be kind to yourselves about how much pressure you’re prepared to put your team under; shout early if you can see it’s going to be too much rather that soldier on and suffer in silence.

There can be conflicting perceptions on whether it’s better to retain resource in-house or lean on external resource giving you the flexibility to turn it on or off when you like. As Jo Pinson, Director of Corporate Marketing & Digital Services, University of Surrey said:

From a cost perspective, having an in-house team has meant we can be more responsive, flexible to changing demands and make limited budgets go further, but that gives us some wiggle room to bring in creative support for big projects. This can be to bolster the team with additional skill-sets, help us manage peak workload periods, or when there is a particular project and we want some bigger picture support.”

It’s always going to be more convenient to have your colleagues sitting right next to you, keeping them regularly updated, quickly asking them to make changes or to re-prioritise, so the obvious challenge when you outsource is bridging that distance. Luckily, technology now gives us more opportunities to overcome the communications barrier if we use it appropriately.

As Tracey Berman, Head of Marketing, Harvey Water Softeners put it:

“We think that a blended approach of an in-house team and outsourced agency resource works really well. That way, we have access to specialist agency expertise and an impartial eye that we would not ordinarily have in-house together with a responsive internal team who live and breathe the brand. It is like having the proverbial cake and eating it!”

If you’re wondering how to fill your capacity gap during times of reduced capacity or increased need, get in touch. Whether it’s helping out on a big project or simply taking the weight off the in-house team, from creating hundreds of digital assets to filling goody bags, we can work seamlessly as part of your team.

Send us an email to hello@somethingbig.co.uk or give us a call on 01483 746650.

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