Insourcing or Outsourcing? Takeaways from #ASAE16

Last year I wrote a blog post about why an association should consider outsourcing the conference show daily. During the ASAE 2016 Annual Meeting, I attended an interesting session on insourcing vs. outsourcing. Melissa Garcia, Society for Neuroscience, wasn’t specifically talking about publishing, but provided some good take-aways for managing relationships with vendors.

When considering outsourcing, you are potentially giving up more direct control but the vendor will be providing a high level of expertise because they are leaders in their field.

Advantages of outsourcing include the vendor’s network and expertise, as well as being able to have staff focus on member values. There are some disadvantages that have to be addressed, such as getting the vendor up to speed about the organization’s brand and voice. It could be seen as losing direct control, but still requires staff time to supervise.

Melissa said time, resources & cost will factor into the decision but it will also depend on the particular situation/service.

Some of the tips she shared:

  • RFP design: Be specific, assume nothing is known: list goals, objectives , outcomes.
  • Conduct reference checks:  Challenge your vendor to provide references that are similar in scope to your organization, project, etc.
  • Be reasonable: Vendors invest staff time to answer your RFP.
  • Point of contact: Be clear what staff member will be the point person working with the vendor.
  • Mutual accountability: Set up a schedule for strategic check-ins.

A successful outsourcing relationship requires communication, transparency and mutual accountability from both sides.

Outsourcing Publication Services
When looking at outsourcing publishing services, I feel this comment Melissa made definitely applies – insourcing or outsourcing doesn’t have to be all or nothing:

  • Do you already have a successful in-house or outside sales agency? Add show daily advertising to their portfolio and contract a show daily publisher such as CustomNEWS to manage production, printing and distribution (fee-for-service model).
    • No sales team? Ask us about our royalty proposal, where we publish for FREE.
  • Concerned that using freelance writers won’t produce content that stays in line with branding? You can either have your communications team produce the show daily content or, if that’s not feasible, have a staff member serve as the editor and allow time for content to be fine-tuned before it goes to print.
  • Prefer to have your production team handle layout? That’s fine by us.

As a small publishing company, CustomNEWS can craft a proposal to make the most of the resources you have, or provide the services you need if you don’t have writers, sales reps, etc. Contact us today,

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