Wipro Voice: A Conversation with Jessie Paul, Chief Marketing Officer and Member, Wipro Council for Industry Research
Best-selling author Daniel Pink told participants at the May Gartner Outsourcing Summit that companies will continue to offshore work that is routine. Jessie Paul, Wipro's Chief Marketing Officer, agrees with the best-selling author of A Whole New Mind and Johnny Bunko. "Anything that buyers can reduce to a template can be done anywhere," she says. Wipro has a staff of 200 who perform routine marketing functions for Wipro clients.
"Don't fire your ad agency," she says. "If you want to build a brilliant ad campaign, marketing BPO is not for you."
Companies that send their creative work to local ad agencies and outsource their routine marketing work to BPO specialists get the best of both worlds, in her opinion. The BPO does work the ad agency isn't keen on doing. But the outsourcer is glad to have it. "We can improve the quality and the results by adding technology," she explains. Of course, marketing outsourcing also saves money.
Marketing tasks perfect for outsourcing
Marketing jobs that are well suited for offshoring include:
- A simple one-to-four page flyer
- Product sheets
- Presentation services to support sales
- Secondary research for the sales team
- Data cleansing, updating, and managing
- Event coordination
- Marketing Mix Modeling: Modeling various marketing scenarios to determine the highest return on investment (ROI)
- Web analytics
- Web creative
- Document management
Paul points out that many ad agencies subcontract this work. If it has 100 contractors, it's difficult to keep the branding standard. In addition to protecting the brand, offshoring "provides visibility into the process," she explains.
The importance of technology
Wipro's IT background allows it to offer clients a battery of tools and templates. "Technology automates and standardizes," she says.
For example, Wipro's document management tool allows companies to upload and store important marketing materials. "They tell us how to tag it, scan it, and store it," she says.
Since it's a hosted solution, the client's sales team can instantly access the document whenever and wherever they want.
In today's tough economy, knowledge can help survival. Analytics help companies spend their marketing dollars wisely. For example, an Indian consumer products company believed a new advertising campaign increased its sales. But the launch of the new campaign coincided with a good monsoon, which increased agricultural income. Wipro's IT staff built a model to see if sales of the company's products went up whenever there was a monsoon; it tracked 30 years of data. "We run the math to determine the truth," says Paul.
"Do you want TV, print, or Internet?" she asks. The math calculates the relative returns of each. "This takes the standard media plan to the next level. You get the knowledge you need without paying for quants," she points out.
Wipro's analytics help advertisers determine how to allocate their precious advertising dollars. For example, Wipro Analytics provides consulting services to a consumer products manufacturer on what media works and what doesn't in its marketing mix. The Wipro team discovered a primary medium of advertising was not working; even worse, it observed its nearest competitor, which is the category leader, gained volumes when the Wipro client used this medium.
Now the Wipro team is testing a new hypothesis using years of data: Is the competitor's brand so strong that whenever there is any category noise the brand gains from it?
As for sales support, one client tells Wipro its target market. Paul's team created a data collection template and had them populate this information. This enables the salespeople to create content faster and more accurately. And of course, a central team ensures that all decks maintain corporate standards.
The team also does Web site maintenance. Designing sites from scratch isn't a big play for BPO, but Paul says Wipro can add a micro site to an already established one. Her team will handle updates; some corporate clients update their sites as many as 15 times during the course of a business day.
The team also does copy editing and proofreading all per the buyer's template.
For marketers used to chasing impossible deadlines, the fact that all the processes have service level agreements is a big advantage.
A case study
Paul tells the story of a U.S. software manufacturer that was located in a small town 40 miles from the nearest big city. Because of its geography, the company had a difficult time attracting and retaining talent that had both marketing expertise and knowledge of information infrastructure technologies.
In addition, the manufacturer wanted to only focus on its core marketing operations. It also had challenges coordinating the marketing activities of its 100 sales offices in 50 countries. She says centralizing marketing support services shortened turnaround time, which improved customer satisfaction rates.
The engagement began in July 2007 with a six-member team managing the customer support Web portal. As the buyer's comfort level grew, so did the scope of work. At the beginning of this year, Wipro was handling a total of 10 marketing processes covering 52 queues. The total team size stands at 50.
The genesis of marketing outsourcing at Wipro
Wipro didn't make a corporate decision to enter the marketing fray. It agreed to do these tasks after a client, pleased with the IT results, asked if the supplier could handle its presentations. Then the buyer wanted document management and high-end analytics. Wipro saw a new service line since Paul's staff was already doing this work for its own sales staff. Now "the IT or marketing guys invite us in," Paul reports.
Currently the team is specializing in telecom and retail. In addition to the 200 dedicated staff, Wipro has over 1,500 people working on Web design and another 30 assigned to high-end analytics.
Marketing outsourcing is relatively new, she points out. "We are combining IT, BPO, and sales and marketing," says Paul. "We've taken the ad agency model and modernized it."
Lessons from the Outsourcing Journal:
- Offshoring is built on the principle that routine tasks can be performed anywhere on the globe. That includes routine marketing tasks.
- Marketing outsourcing does not remove the need for an ad agency.
- Outsourcers use technology, providing the tools and templates to standardize and automate marketing functions. Technology also allows buyers to make more information decisions with better data.
Wipro set up the Council for Industry Research, comprised of domain and technology experts from the organization, to address the needs of customers. It specifically looks at innovative strategies that will help them gain competitive advantage in the market. The Council in collaboration with leading academic institutions and industry bodies studies market trends to equip organizations with insights that facilitate their IT and business strategies. For more information on the Research Council visit www.wipro.com/industryresearch or email [email protected].