Flexible outsourcing means having external professionals handle part of the workload in a project. This is often seen in the field of marketing communication activities, where account and project managers work with external creative designers, photographers or copywriters. Flexible outsourcing allows companies to focus on their core competences, while still being able to benefit from all-round services with lower overhead costs.
The collaborative construction of flexible outsourcing has many benefits, of which the temporary hiring of exactly those specialists that are needed for a specific job is probably the first that springs to mind. These ‘service providers’ are independent and can be called upon at will. All there is to do is to brief them on the project requirements and off they go. That is: in an ideal world.
First time right
Truth is that more than once details get ‘lost in translation’. As a result, a creative designer comes up with beautiful artwork that has no bearing on the intended message. Or the copy that is written is not exactly what the client had in mind. Another reason for not nailing it the first time, is that during the process newly gained insights become important. The initial tasks were carried out as planned, but along the way focus shifted and adjustments have to be made afterwards.
Whatever the reason, going back to the drawing board means loss of resources. It can frustrate the people involved and it can increase cost.
One way of solving the challenges of flexible outsourcing is to deliver better briefings, where all stakeholders work with the same set of expectations. A good briefing ideally includes a description of who you are working for. Just to be clear: this is not just the client itself, but the customer who the client is trying to reach. This inclusion makes it easy for everyone involved to understand who the customer is and how the client is addressing his needs.
“People may say what they think, but they act upon what they feel.”
This brings us to customer understanding.
Our take on this, is expressed by one of the motto’s we use: “people may say what they think, but they act upon what they feel”. Understanding how this works and taking this into account when drafting the briefing, allows for a different perspective on how to streamline flexible outsourcing.
Deeply understanding the needs, drivers and motivators of the customer transforms a briefing to something much more valuable than just a set of instructions. If done well, it becomes the overarching guideline that helps decreasing project times and increasing effectiveness. Making the initial effort to spend time on this, results in less challenges along the way. Our experience is that the use of personas is key to this process.
A persona is an archetypical description of the customer. Less than every little detail of every single customer in a CRM system, more than just a typical one-dimensional buyer description as often used for marketing purposes.
Through the “Persona Academy”, Yiist – Change Agents offers workshops that answer the following questions:
- When and how to use a persona?
- What characteristics should be included and what can be left out?
- Where to start and how far to go?
- How to implement personas in a briefing?
In a mere 4 hours you will learn how to make effective personas. At the end of a workshop, you know how to deliver better briefings and how to improve flexible outsourcing projects. It teaches you how to use customer understanding in an organization and how this allows you to improve products and services based on customer behavior.