Capturing Rogue Digital Marketing Spend

ThinkstockPhotos-500188860Managed service providers (MSPs) were established to bring greater visibility and cost controls to the hiring process, yet, ironically, there’s a significant amount of rogue spend still going on outside of MSP channels – particularly in the digital marketing space.

According to a recent study, 25% of hiring managers search for digital marketing talent outside of MSP programs, relying instead on ad agencies and/or independent contractors to perform the work. Some hiring managers cloak staff augmentation dollars in their statements of work. Others simply don’t believe that MSPs have the expertise to find suppliers with the right talent.

Whatever the reasons, rogue spending prevents MSPs from being able to “access” these dollars, which, in turn, can cost organizations double or triple what it would cost if they had gone through an MSP. It also results in lost value creation opportunities for MSPs.

Knowledge really is power

To help clients get their digital marketing spend under control, MSPs need to change the way they approach this niche staffing opportunity. One way to do that is through a concept called “digital inclusion.”

Digital inclusion is the process of learning the nuts and bolts of the digital marketing space. It’s about MSPs collaborating with clients and suppliers to learn the industry’s unique recruiting challenges – from job roles to requisition fulfillment to how digital marketing professionals define their dream jobs.

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There are three steps to digital inclusion:

  • Understanding digital marketing roles
  • Identifying a client’s digital marketing needs
  • Learning how to pick the right supplier(s)

Let’s take a closer look at each step.

Understanding the roles. Digital marketing consists of user interface designers, front end developers, programmers, content developers, researchers and others who create indelible user experiences for websites, mobile sites and apps. Finding talented professionals with the right skill sets can be challenging because it’s such a specialized – and ever-evolving – field.

Before req fulfillment can begin, MSPs need to understand these roles – not just knowing the titles, but what each role entails. This involves a deeper dive than usual, but it’s worth the effort in the long run. Engaging one or more of your suppliers can help you get there faster. Suppliers have subject matter experts who can help you learn what each role is responsible for and how they interact with each other on a project.

Identifying your clients’ needs. Once you gain a working knowledge of the digital marketing landscape, it’s time to discover what your clients’ needs truly are. This is an important step because it helps them separate strategic initiatives from tactical objectives, bringing more visibility and control to their digital marketing spend. Scheduling one-on-one time with clients – for example, hosting digital alignment educational events – can be a valuable and efficient way to get these insights.

Picking the right supplier. The user experience (UX) community is a different breed of talent. They have higher expectations than most talent communities, and will wait for the right (translation: “absolute best”) opportunity to come along. They are in high demand so they can afford to be choosy. MSPs should engage suppliers who have a proven track record of recruiting top talent in this field to learn what’s important to them – from work environments and promotional opportunities to organizational structure to how other departments within the potential employer’s organization view the UX community.

Digital inclusion is about partnering with clients and suppliers to gain a better understanding of the digital marketing space. Although the steps may sound the same as recruiting efforts in other programs, the level of detail required to fully understand digital marketing is very different. Extra effort will reap extra rewards – in the form of increased visibility and cost savings for your clients, stronger partnerships with suppliers, and increased revenues for your MSP organization.

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Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen
Paul Petersen is VP of global staffing solutions development at Aquent.

Paul Petersen

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One Response to “Capturing Rogue Digital Marketing Spend”

  1. Akraya says:

    I almost feel like rogue spending happens most frequently in niche markets, not just in digital marketing. Other examples that come to mind include Healthcare IT, Big Data and Cybersecurity.

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