Lost in translation: How to ensure successful outsourcing

Offshore production hubs were once thought to offer the perfect solution to brands and businesses hoping to upscale their marketing department and save both time and money. Offering an excess of manpower and high levels of technical skill, outsourcing partners seemed like the best way to achieve a competitive advantage…

But we’ll bet that, over the years, you’ve been told that offshoring your marketing production is a waste of time (and money): language barriers, poor quality, cultural differences and inconsistent lead times – does this sound familiar?

Trust us, it doesn’t have to be that way – far from it! You just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls related to outsourcing partnerships and choose wisely. Here are four important boxes to tick to make sure you don’t get ‘lost in translation’.


Poor communication can be very expensive. So, before getting too excited about a very low hourly rate, do a bit of background check on the production agency you’re considering. Do they have native English project managers? Or perhaps even a project manager who speaks (and writes) your mother tongue fluently, be it German, French or Danish? Being able to communicate without any language barriers eliminates a lot of confusion, misunderstandings and plain frustration and instead paves the way for smooth, efficient processes.


The level of quality has caused a lot of headache for companies who have outsourced their production jobs. Brand guidelines that have not been complied with and files that keep coming back with obvious errors. It’s not only frustrating but also extremely time consuming (and expensive). Ask in-depth about a production agency’s quality control processes and systems and insist that an experienced person is in charge of the quality of your jobs.


One of the advantages of outsourcing is that you don’t have to worry about availability of manpower. Or at least that how it should be. So, don’t forget to check a production agency’s ability to scale up and down effortlessly or you might find yourself in a tight spot if you have to meet a sudden deadline or out of the blue need to version a large campaign into, say, 10 different languages. Outsourcing is (also) about flexibility so, make sure your production agency can accommodate that.    


Let’s be straight: Despite a number of other benefits, the primary reason for outsourcing is money. Which brings us back to our initial point that it’s key that there is a balance between the cost and the efficiency. And you shouldn’t feel bad about expecting your production agency to look at ways to optimise their processes on an ongoing basis to make sure they are as cost-efficient as possible.

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Still not sure if outsourcing is right for you? Our collection of articles offer simple, honest recommendations on how you can enhance your business with a marketing production partner.

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