Offshoring Threatens Marketing Jobs

You'd better watch your job, because I discovered at the ALA conference that law firms are now sending marketing work offshore. It's not merely word processing and research work that is going to India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Erica_1I'm here in Montreal and attended the session "Offshoring: Cost Effective Approaches to Increased Services," where Erica Tamblyn of 550-lawyer Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy spoke. She recounted how the firm managing partner, Kenneth J. Baronsky of Los Angeles, had an idea for an advertisement, and the firm turned to their offshoring company Office Tiger to have the ad created. The following day they had 6 prototypes, created with computers and stock photography. "Some varied in style and font," she said. "Some were very different. We selected one that was terrific."

Offshoring is a threat to people who do the following work:

  • Advertising
  • Desktop Publishing
  • Web site design and coding
  • Graphics creation and photo retouching
  • Brochure creation
  • Writing
  • Invitations to events
  • Market research
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • PowerPoint templates and charts

Robert Altschuler, co-founder of OfficeTiger in New York said that the top 200 US law firms are currently spending $850 million in marketing services from offshore providers. They are saving 35% to 50% by not using US employees. "The work is more accurate, we get faster turn around and spend less money," Tamblyn said. "It's a no brainer for us."

The lesson is clear: if the marketing work you do can be done by someone else with a computer -- your job is at risk.  It's not good enough to say that what you do requires creativity.  That's no safety net.  There are English-speaking creative people with MBAs who will be thrilled to do your job for a fraction of your salary.  If there is no reason for you to be at your office in person, there's no reason your job can't be sent overseas to be done by cheap foreign labor.

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Meikah Delid - May 2, 2006 4:59 AM

Right! Your job may just be outsourced. But you can think of it the other way. If you're one of those who do the jobs listed here (advertising, marketing, website design and coding, etc.) you yourself can do freelance work. You can build your own clientele. Technically, you can even earn more than what you're earning at the moment.

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