Gino’s career as a marketing professional started at a tertiary level where he studied Business Administration with a specialisation in marketing. He was drawn to marketing because of the need for content and that’s where his writing skills supplemented his interest in marketing. Today he has been working in marketing exclusively for over 15 years, during which time he was able to hone his skills in different aspects of the specialisation.
Gino is the Marketing Team Leader in the Philippines for Beepo, and in this blog he shares some insights on working with a team in Australia. Here’s a summary of my chat with Gino:
How did you get started at Beepo?
When I joined Beepo I came on board as a Marketing Project Manager for a client. Our team would formulate a campaign based on the objectives laid out in a brief and once that was approved we would assist in its execution.
After 2 years of working in this space, the client began making some changes one of which involved disengaging with the team at Beepo. Beepo found my skills to be very useful which resulted in a move into the Project Team. Within a short time management moved me into a new internal Marketing Team. We began working on campaigns to attract clients to Beepo – mostly online – and we also support the Sales Team. That’s how I become the Marketing Team Leader at Beepo.
Take me through a typical day in your role.
My role here, apart from making sure the team is working efficiently, is to provide initial input and Quality Assurance for our Australian team. For example, they may need a brochure created using specific content which I then delegate to one of my graphic designers. Once the task is assigned, if there is some clarification needed of further information, I am able to provide that missing link. Once that project is returned to the team in Australia, I like to ensure its been executed as accurately as we can.
How many people do you have in your team?
The marketing team is currently comprised of 8 people, which may increase to 10 depending on the number of interns we have working with us. The team members include:
2 Social Media Marketers
2 Graphic Designers
1 Web Developer, and
2 Video Producers.
Our daily tasks are planned out weekly through a project management tool called Monday. We we are able to see tasks for a specific person for that week which our team in Australia lay out. If we encounter any delays we are able to make adjustments within this tool. And that’s what really a typical day would entail, I will then ensure that everything is on schedule and any adjustments that are required are made.
Drawing on your experience what would you say are the easiest marketing functions to outsource?
Being in the marketing space for so long, I can confidently say the majority of the elements of marketing activities that we usually handle can be outsourced. If you need graphics, white papers or something as simple as business cards, that can be outsourced. Perhaps you need someone to manage your website with regards to the content, that can be outsourced. Maybe you need some videos edited, this is also something you can outsource.
Obviously each of those roles have their own complexities, for example in video production, you need to consider the size of the file being transferred back and forth. This is where issues like internet connection and speed are important. As for graphics, communication would be key! It is important to be able to communicate your ideas for your ads or brochures in a way that it can be accurately translated to your preferred medium. However these same challenges can be experienced working with someone locally. Communication and Data issues are also local issues after all.
Content creation and social media marketing are very commonly outsourced tasks. We have several social media marketers here that are client engaged. What they do involves updating Facebook, LinkedIn and their client’s Instagram as well. They also engage whenever there are comments, questions and enquiries via those channels. A lot of the roles we have here can, and I would encourage, be outsourced because marketing is something that doesn’t require a lot of input from management. You can plan in advance and then execute once its approved.
We work to a Quarterly have a Marketing Plan which provides overall guidance and that’s where all of our activities stem from. So there’s never really a “marketing emergency” and that’s the main draw of outsourcing your marketing – you can plan it out and have your outsourced staff handle execution and implementation!
What challenges do you or could potential clients ace and how they can be addressed?
At times clients face challenges adjusting to how an outsourcing business model works as well as how they should engage their offshore staff. They may feel at times that their staff aren’t providing any input. Some clients are looking for input from their staff while a lot of staff here commonly work off a brief. Because of that, they wouldn’t step out of those parameters– if it’s not specified in the brief they won’t do it! This is something that I feel isn’t very clear to clients. I would say in this case, clients need to be clear about specifying “if this, then that” scenarios.
Would you say it's more around empowering the staff to look at other avenues of meeting the brief if they find what’s specified isn’t working?
Yes! I also think when clients are matched with the right staff, that interaction naturally occurs. You’ll find staff actually making recommendations on what to do next. Of course most of the positions here are more executory meaning the clients are looking for staff to implement tasks for them. Which means a lot of the planning and strategy happens in Australia and once that strategy is approved and the activities are in place, they let their staff in the Philippines know what to do.
That’s basically how the marketing team works here. We rely on the team in Australia to guide our marketing efforts and let us know what we should be focusing on.
Another part of my role which I forgot to mention is providing that interaction. That input, that insight which isn’t initially evident to them. So while we do a lot of the implementation here, we provide the Australian team with that additional insight that they require to fine tune whatever strategies they have in place. And that is the ideal set up for a client and their offshore staff. As long as the client keeps engaging their staff, communicating and asking questions, I think that relationship will grow and become a lot better in the long run.
So, you’re talking about bringing your offshore team into the fold by having that engagement?
Yes. A common generalisation would be offshore staff are not invested in their clients success. What our team in Australia has done is provide the team here with quarterly reports that really show how much our efforts have impacted lead generation for example. This makes us feel more invested in what we are doing rather than going through the daily grind.
When the team sees that what they’re doing has made improvements and is actually helping to achieve results for the organisation, we feel proud of what we are doing and as a result become more invested. Staff then begin to put their best foot forward right?
So, most challenges,can really be overcome through good communication?
Yes and the staff begin to understand that what they are doing is actually important. It is not as though you are just passing on low-value work to them. That’s the impression that some people get, that outsourcing is just about you passing on the low priority tasks so you can focus on high priority tasks. While that is true, obviously the staff in Australia want to focus more on revenue generating processes without having to worry about data management for example. But without those tasks, the team in Australia wouldn’t be as productive as they’d like. These are key tasks that need to be done.
What type of support and technology do you use when working with your team in Australia?
I did mention Monday already, the project management tool. A lot of our communication is either by Zoom or email. Zoom is another online platform which can be used for video and audio conferencing. So If there are more urgent issues or questions – while we do update Monday – it may be a lot quicker to send an email or maybe a GChat. These avenues allow us to get their feedback immediately.
So Monday gives more of a bigger picture of the task for the week and month whereas the daily communication happens via email and Google chat.
Have you found any cultural differences or barriers working with a team in Australia?
I wouldn’t say the cultural differences are a detriment or a challenge. They are more of an adjustment. It comes back to communication which helps in managing expectations. Asking questions is something that offshore staff may not do immediately – there is a bit of Filipino shyness based on the impression it may give the client. So this is to be expected especially if it is your first experience working with an offshore staff, there may be an initial hesitation to engage around questioning the brief for example. It’s more of a culture in the Philippines where we are more sensitive to others feelings. And that can be easily addressed if the brief is clear about what the client wants to achieve and the parameters of what they want to see. It makes a difference letting your staff know that they can ask questions if they’re unsure of something and that it’s okay. I think a lot of clients expect their staff to just ask questions while that is one of the challenges of the Filipino culture – we typically don’t want to ask questions unless we 100% need to or it has been made very clear that we are able to.
Any other comments?
I think the most successful outsourcing engagements are where clients and staff have a big focus on communication. Ensuring the offshore staff don’t feel any differences between them and the local staff is the key to the client’s success and making the most of their outsourcing experience.
For more on how to successfully implement a blended marketing team, read our blog Why an Australian / Filipino blended marketing team works so well.