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Creating Long-Term Value with Creative Process Outsourcing

Written by: Joyce Claravall
January 24, 2024 • 9-minute read

Creating Long-Term Value with Creative Process Outsourcing

In recent years, outsourcing has become an increasingly popular business strategy, with 59% of businesses that outsource citing cost savings as their primary motivation. However, outsourcing is becoming more than just an economic choice for businesses.

Last 2022, approximately 68% of workforce requirements in the US were outsourced, accounting for around $85.6 billion in the global market. It has become integral to maintaining steady growth and productivity, with many businesses delegating tasks between in-house and outsourced resources. 

At StraightArrow, we specialize in a specific subset of outsourcing called Creative Process Outsourcing (CPO). In this article, we delve into the nuances of CPO, a pivotal aspect of strategic innovation and growth in today's dynamic business landscape. We will also learn from personal anecdotes and insights from StraightArrow's tenured and respected leaders.

Creative Process Outsourcing’s Relevance to Today’s Business

In response to emerging challenges in the market, companies leverage outsourcing for flexible, cost-effective solutions, notably in tasks like lead generation, digital marketing, UI design, and web development. StraightArrow pioneered CPO in the Philippines and has only polished this concept over the years.

When asked how we exemplify the fusion of creativity and process-oriented solutions, AMER Operations Lead Sophia Lozano shares that "we always provide a clear and compelling vision of how we can support accounts that align with their business goals and needs. This has helped to deliver services that consistently create value for the clients and the business."

Defining Creative Process Outsourcing

But what is CPO? Creative Process Outsourcing (CPO) transcends traditional outsourcing models, specializing in digital marketing, advertising, and brand management. Though time and resources are finite, businesses do not need to choose between meeting marketing trends while focusing on core operations. A dedicated and responsible team becomes the bridge to fill this gap. This is where CPO becomes indispensable.

We asked one of our Inbound Marketing Specialists turned Assistant Team Leaders, Jade Albert, on how CPO has played a role in the strategies we have created for businesses. During her time with real-estate company Imagine Homes Management, she mentions that "CPO is a great example of how being creative and process-oriented are not mutually exclusive. With our processes, we standardize the turnaround time of deliverables and ensure the quality of work. This benefits our clients and team members as we level expectations and meet shared goals."

At StraightArrow, we offer two engagement models:

  • Dedicated Team: A dedicated outsourcing arrangement translates to exclusivity. Clients can arrange specific procedures or confidentiality controls that would be difficult with part-time arrangements. Because of the scope of the work and the commitment of time, our dedicated team members have a deeper understanding of brand values and strategies.
  • Shared Services: Part-time arrangements, on the other hand, offer agility, allowing businesses to experiment with new marketing areas or fulfill specific one-off tasks. This flexibility is especially beneficial for startups and small to medium enterprises seeking quick turnaround times and dynamic resource allocation.

With this flexible setup, our clients only need to identify the areas that they need help with, whether it's copywriting, creative design, customer support, data entry, web services, or more. 

Creating The Long-Term Vision with StraightArrow's Leaders

Let's take a closer look at the advantages of forming a long-term partnership with an outsourcing company, because it goes beyond cost-effectiveness. Chauncey Chu, Operations Manager for StraightArrow’s APAC/EMEA region, emphasizes that such relationships make the CPO an extension of the workforce rather than just a vendor. 

This sentiment is echoed by Team Leader Darwin Valmeo, who adds that long-term relationships empower our team members to become process owners and specialists in our clients’ tools. The benefits extend to improved skills, technology, and processes, enhancing the overall partnership.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Outsourcing significantly reduces labor costs, cutting down at least 70% of expenses associated with hiring in-house employees. Not only does this help the company enjoy substantial savings, but also yield high rewards. Ross Biazon, Operations Manager for StraightArrow’s AMER shift, shares a success story: "One standout example is with a key account that initially sought support for data analytics. They were pleased with our work and continued to tap into our expertise for additional processes. The real game-changer happened when they embarked on a major fundraising campaign. Our team not only supported them with the technical aspects but also contributed to the client gaining millions of dollars in revenue."
  • Access to Specialized Expertise: Outsourcing agencies attract top talent, offering expertise that might be challenging to secure with in-house hiring. This ensures access to high-quality skills without the risk of losing employees to larger firms. Ross tells a success story on behalf of his designers: "The team proposed a branding concept that resonated so well with the client that they used it for a major campaign launch. Seeing the team’s ideas come to life not only validated our creative capabilities, but also solidified our client's trust and confidence in our long-term partnership."
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Long-term outsourcing provides flexibility in staffing, allowing businesses to scale up or down based on workload demands. This agility enables steady growth without the financial commitments of hiring and supporting additional in-house employees. As the Team Leader of one of our long-term dedicated accounts, Jennina Colcol highlights the growth of the support they were providing. "Initially, we started supporting them on web development tasks such as emails and landing pages. As we continued supporting the business, we found out that they needed SEO/PPC support. Until today, we're supporting the brand with SEO/PPC alongside our web development support."
  • Focus on Core Competencies: Outsourcing allows businesses to delegate time-consuming tasks like customer service, enabling internal teams to concentrate on essential tasks. This not only enhances efficiency but also improves the overall return on investment (ROI). Ross shares another story where "over time, the team became an integral part of the client's decision-making process, particularly in creative branding. The team’s collaborative approach and in-depth understanding of the client's business led to several instances where our creative ideas were not just considered but chosen for key branding initiatives."

The commonality is clear: fostering a long-term relationship with our clients has been the root of our success. Pat Rivera, an Assistant Team Lead for one of our key accounts in the AMER region, supports this sentiment and shares that one of our clients "consistently expresses satisfaction with our collaboration, citing our in-depth understanding of the brand. Despite their engagement with other agencies, the work we provide consistently stands out for its excellence."

Overcoming Challenges and Anticipating Emerging Trends

While having an outsourced team can help you stay on top of mission critical objectives, digital disruptions have presented our team with challenges. Ross Biazon outlines several challenges encountered when integrating CPO into long-term business strategies:

  1. Adjustment Phase: Adapting to a new CPO model requires synchronization of communication styles and workflow processes. In response, team members schedule regular check-ins and onboarding sessions to facilitate effective communication.
  2. Evolving Business Goals: Long-term strategies are dynamic, requiring constant communication to ensure creative and digital efforts align with changing objectives. Regular strategy discussions are pivotal for our team members to stay nimble.
  3. Scalability: Predicting creative and digital service demands can be challenging. To tackle this, our teams set up a flexible staffing model with contingency plans on speed dial. Being ready to flex up or down depending on the workload is the key to navigating this challenge.
  4. Maintaining Quality: As project volume increases, there is a risk of creative output quality diminishing. To avoid this, our management invests in ongoing training programs, regular performance checks, and quality assurance routines. The goal is not just about meeting, but also exceeding our client's expectations consistently.
  5. Cultural Differences: Navigating cultural disparities between teams in Manila and US-based clients requires finesse. Regular team-building activities and fostering a shared team identity can prove successful in overcoming cultural challenges.
  6. Security Concerns: Handling sensitive client information necessitates robust data protection measures, including secure communication channels, stringent data security protocols, and regular audits. Making it a practice to document everything can be a rock-solid process when fostering long-term partnerships.

Jade Albert also underscores the inevitability of bumps in the road during the integration of CPO, emphasizing the importance of open discussions based on years-long partnerships. During her team’s engagement with Imagine Homes, they addressed unprecedented growth during the real estate's peak season through increased operational capacity, prioritization, shift flexibility, and retention bonuses.

Creative Process Outsourcing (CPO) is a dynamic and integral component of modern business strategies, especially in creative and digital services. Ross Biazon shares his insights on the emerging trends in long-term CPO relationships:

  • Collaborative Tech Tools: Think real-time project management tools, virtual whiteboards, and slick communication apps. These tools not only streamline teamwork, but also bridge the distance gap, making it feel like everyone is in the same office, despite being continents apart.
  • Specialized Skill Hubs: Businesses seek outsourcing partners with niche expertise, moving away from one-size-fits-all approaches to gain a competitive edge. 
  • Flexibility: Flexible outsourcing arrangements that allow quick pivots based on project requirements are becoming increasingly popular. Need to scale up for a big project or scale down during the off-season? No problem. This adaptability ensures that your CPO partnership is as agile as your business needs it to be.
  • Smart Analytics: Long-term CPO relationships leverage smart analytics for data-driven decision-making, providing actionable insights for campaign performance and trend prediction.
  • Brand Storytelling: CPO providers are evolving into brand storytellers, understanding and conveying the brand narrative through creative content and marketing campaigns.
  • Cybersecurity: With data breaches making headlines, businesses are taking a hard look at the security measures in their CPO relationships. From encrypted communication channels to stringent data protection protocols, ensuring the digital fortress is rock-solid is a top priority.
  • Social Responsibility: Long-term CPO relationships are no longer just about business transactions; they're about shared values. Businesses are seeking partners who align with their social responsibility goals.

The shift from transactional outsourcing models to long-term, strategic partnerships brings forth a myriad of benefits, from cost-effectiveness to access to specialized expertise and scalability. Businesses must navigate challenges with adaptability, fostering communication, and embracing emerging trends to maximize the potential of CPO relationships.

Ready to transform your business through Creative Process Outsourcing (CPO)? Explore the power of long-term partnerships and stay ahead with emerging trends. View our portfolio and case studies, or contact us today! 

straightarrow case study and porfolio


Joyce Claravall
Joyce Claravall
Joyce is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at StraightArrow who harbors a love for great stories. She likes playing Stardew Valley, listening to musicals, and reading up on current events. She believes in saving the best for last: so she eats the crust of the pizza first. Despite being bad at karaoke, she’s willing to give a bad rendition of any Ariana Grande song.



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