Why Is B2B Marketing Process Outsourcing
Tougher To Fit For Than A Rented Tux?

Arturo F Munoz Open QuoteIncreasingly, companies understand the importance of the strong requirements of having good governance over outsourcing. -- Jag Dalal

b2b saas marketing process outsourcing tux tailor
In a survey I conducted to gain better insight into local B2B marketing process demands from a large group of professional marketing, sales and services experts that I know in the San Francisco Bay Area I discovered what provides empirical support for various observations impressed on me earlier when working with intricate marketing organizations.

There are 4 strategic objectives that these organizations consistently aim to achieve:

  1. Accelerate customer acquisition

  2. Increase customer retention

  3. Refine marketing strategies in real-time

  4. Reduce the cost of marketing

It appears that B2B Bay Area marketers, particularly those in the hi-tech sector, believe that to achieve their top 4 strategic objectives they should opt to procure new technology or technology-based services to streamline their marketing operations processes. They would do this while partnering with marketing agencies to broaden the talent pool.

But they also believe that their primary method for achieving this streamlining goal should be through hosted services, i.e. B2B SaaS marketing process outsourcing, instead of either choosing to a) wait for IT to build the systems for them, b) have to purchase a new suite of products or even c) opt to integrate point-solutions already in-house.

Caution: You Might Get What You Ask For

Many of these B2B marketers are in for a surprise, as "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) models are still very immature. I've had ample experience taking a hosted solution and trying to make it fit a complex business process. Though feasible, it wasn't simple work, and navigating through the project's political dynamics can be ugly, given traditional expectations about turnaround time for on-demand deliverables. Also I have a strong inkling that marketing operations are on their way to being outsourced more fully by large companies under such SaaS models. But I'm trying to gather further evidence on it.

CIO Magazine explained the truth about on-demand CRM. The discrepancy between SaaS provider perspectives vs. marketer expectations of SaaS providers is obvious when compared with a matching CMO Magazine take on on-demand tools that marketers can seriously use today. The root issue is a mismatch between everyone’s assumptions and expectations regarding process integration.

While marketers focus on rapid process deployment at the low cost of subscribing to a hosted solution and having flexibility to divorce themselves from any on-demand vendor nearly at will, the in-house technicians focus instead on the complexity of back-office integration to an outside system and the long-term cost of controlling an integration layer to an application that they neither own not can customize to match closely to existing and impending operation process demands. Between them sits primarily the finance organization with an expectation for ROI generation, no matter who ends up controlling the outsourced project.

Leasing Only What Fits Like A Glove

The mid-market is wide open to adopt marketing-in-a-box solutions, even if they come wrapped in CRM's clothing, e.g. Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, RightNow, etc. Yet, excepting a few vendors, like Aprimo, Eloqua, Market2Lead, Unica, CRM providers are not marketing-operations experts. Their marketing solutions need altering only too often.

That's one reason why I've found myself fine-tuning hosted applications or managing projects over the years to create custom applications for marketing organizations, while still working on trying to integrate them also to more traditional on-premises point solutions, e.g. Microsoft Dynamics, Siebel, Sales Logix, Oracle and SAP.

The truth about on-demand marketing automation is that it is like leasing a tux for a wedding. Whether it fits a bit too loosely or a bit too tightly, either way you’ll end-up wishing for a tailor to alter it for the real test -- the wedding ceremony; that is, for the day you start running your operation on it. But you don’t own it, so you can't change it. So what?

Well, living for a few hours with a one-size-fits-all solution sure beats having to buy those fine threads for the perfect fit. The question is do you think the bride will mind the way you look and should you care? Well, if you’re the bridegroom, what’s your guess?

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