What is up in US Domestic Sourcing?

What is up in US Domestic Sourcing?

Recently, my colleague Juliana went to the IAOP Outsourcing World Summit in Miami. When she came back we started talking about outsourcing in general, its new trends and the geographic skill specialization around the world and the subject of U.S. domestic sourcing was brought up – as it often does in our office, since we are strong supporters (Anyone remembers our Ahilia’s 1st ever US Domestic Sourcing 2013 conference? – formerly known as Momentum). Juliana went on to announce that IAOP actually had just formed its first domestic sourcing chapter, which was great news to us as they will be a great resource to help educate buyers on the domestic sourcing market. However the fact that the chapter will focus on globally all-encompassing domestic sourcing (i.e. China to China, India to India) dilutes the focus as each region has very different issues when it comes to their own domestic sourcing that don’t necessarily overlap with each other. As a result, it will be difficult for US domestic sourcing providers to get the support they really need and will have to seek avenues for advocacy and promotion of the industry in the US.

There is a clear need for a US domestic sourcing organization to start in the US in order to support and address issues faced by the many domestic sourcing players. This organization could also provide momentum to the US government, which really needs to start investing in the knowledge services industry at large.

So why does the U.S. need to invest in US domestic sourcing? You will find compelling argument in Amrita Joshi’s article titled “Time for U.S. Government to Invest in IT and BPO Domestic Sourcing”

act, it is an “easy” way to provide high skilled jobs to depressed rural areas with far less starting investment than say manufacturing which is the current focus of the Obama administration but in reality does not create that many jobs because technology has replaced many of the job functions. It is time to give IT and BPO services a turn.

Would you be interested in joining a US domestic sourcing organization if one was started?

10 Tips for a Successful Social Media Program

Many of our IT and BPO services clients have not embraced or even launched (afraid maybe?)  a social media program. By being silent, they are missing out on amazing opportunities from what has proven to be an effective marketing tool to promote their services and products to their communities (and should I dare say global communities). So, if you are one of those companies, it’s time to embark on a new adventure. Here are some tips to executing strategic social media programs more effectively.

Note: Make sure you are ready to embark on this adventure and you are planning to commit time and creativity on a regular basis.

Ready, Set, Be “Social”

The following are 10 tips that will help you create a social media program that will attract and engage customers and ultimately help grow your business.

1. Write remarkable and neutral content that will position you as an industry expert

Show off your expertise in your area, but don’t blatantly push your products/services. The purpose here is to establish a following and a “social” presence by showcasing reflections, analysis, and comprehension of what matters to your target audience.

2. Make your title brilliant

This is extremely important in order to differentiate your content from others. It will grab the attention of the audience, which lets not forget is bombarded with more and more information everyday a multitude of avenues. This is a unique chance to shine and rise above the crowd. Use your imagination: attention can be grabbed by using humor, out of the box or mysterious titles. “Burn after reading” was the title of a mass email I was sent by an online catalogue – it definitely raised my curiosity.

3. Diversify and experiment with style and medium

There is a plethora of “social” mediums and channels; and every day there are new ways to reach your target audience, so explore new ways to push your content.  Try them all: blog, video, article, guest blogs, and links via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… the list goes on.

4. Use a mix of medias to promote your story

Be “green” with your marketing assets: recycle, reuse, re-purpose. Don’t use only one marketing avenue to promote or push one piece of content, use all available avenues with different spins on the same material. This way, your audience will be able to get the information no matter what channel they use – and you’ll save time.

5. Make friends within your mediasphere and blogosphere, and subscribe to other blogs

Follow, like and subscribe to other experts and companies’ blogs and postings; enlarge your circle of friends. This will help you expand your audience since most bloggers will reciprocate the favor. You also show that you are keeping yourself in the know and are not afraid of supporting someone else, including your competition. And don’t forget to promote people that write about you.

6. Participate/contribute to your community

This goes hand in hand with the previous tip; Make thoughtful comments, repost, refer, retweet others’ relevant materials. This is crucial to create a sense of community.  Also, you should try to contribute as guest blogger, for example, this will help you gain recognition and traction as well as establish your expertise in the field.  Finally, make sure you follow up on comments in a timely manner.

7. Don’t try to be perfect

Perfection is not necessary as long as the content is pertinent and meaningful.  Keep the tone professional but genuine. So have fun and create content that is relevant and interesting.

8. Share meaningful stories

This goes with #7 – you are trying to build a long lasting relationship with your audience. Clients want to relate to your experience and knowledge – so be genuine, creative, and have something useful to say. They are not looking for perfect; they are looking for solid and relevant solutions they can trust and build upon.

9. Integrate your social media program into your marketing plan

Social media should be part of your overall marketing strategy serving very specific goals and objectives.  For example, when participating in a show, social media can be a very effective way to maximize your presence by promoting demos, speaking engagements, or raffles you might have. In addition, utilize social media to promote your thought leadership initiatives and assets.

10. Listen to your audience

To be responsive and stay relevant to your audience you need to stay tuned to what people are expressing in their comments; it will give you insights on what they want to learn/read about, what information they need to do their job. Make their jobs/lives easier by keeping an open ear for what they need and you’ll retain their attention.

By listening attentively, you will also gain valuable insights on your business: what direction should you should explore? What is missing in you mix of services/products? What areas need improvement?


I hope this will get you on your way to being more social – And please let me know what topics you would like us to talk about.

Phew… Momentum 2013 Was a Success!

Seriously, what a sigh of relief. I am not sure I have been so anxious about anything since my college applications. We are going through the evaluations now, but anecdotally we heard two things over and over again. 1) That the conference was very well run (thanks to our partners at Total Event Solutions) and of course, Ahilia’s Managing Director, aka “The Whip” (as we affectionately call her), Juliana Gidwani, and 2) that the content was valuable and sound. As a marketing firm we have seen too many conferences that don’t spend enough time focused on the actual content of sessions and thus become heavily reliant on pay–to-play speaker slots, which many times brings the quality of content down. We were thrilled to be able to hand pick our speakers and content for this inaugural conference. I thank all or our speakers for their advance preparation and putting up with my rounds of feedback – it was well worth it!

Highlights for me from the conference? Definitely Ron Hira’s keynote – honestly it scared the hell out of me a few times – but seriously, he did an amazing job of explaining the impact global sourcing has had on the U.S. economy, why we haven’t seen a big outcry from government and industry leaders, and teed up how we as industry leaders can influence public policy. Continue reading →

Is it Time to Outsource Your CMO?

Marketing strategies and tactics are complex and require a variety of skill sets. Marketing people are required to be analytical, detail oriented, confident, intrinsically motivated, risk-takers, socially and technologically savvy, good writers – and the list the continues. This underscores the fact that marketing is a team effort, a collection of skills capable of executing a strategy; it is not a one man (or woman) job. With the influx of technology and importance of both an online and social presence, marketing strategies are becoming more complicated, requiring more skilled management and a wider boarder skill set in order to be effective. According to the IBM CMO Study: From Stretched to Strengthened, CMOs have the shortest tenures of any executive position; it is difficult to find any one person with all these skills, and progress is often halted with changes management and as a result, teams are changing too often.

Many small to mid-size businesses are in a position where strategic help is necessary for the company to continue growing, however, they don’t have a large enough scope of marketing activities to justify hiring a full time CMO or Director of Marketing. Without the size and competitive salary, finding a senior marketing person capable of strategic marketing is difficult, if not impossible. Organizations in this position often find themselves hiring a junior to mid-level manager without the necessary skill sets to develop or implement a strategic plan. And marketing functions such as graphics, web development, and content writing and creation get outsourced anyway because they require specialized skill sets. When you are looking for Tier One quality but you only need these resources part time, it is time to outsource your CMO. Continue reading →

What Constitutes Good Thought Leadership?

Working with the marketing departments of multiple outsourcing and technology companies, we read a lot of their content and we see a lot of bad “thought leadership”. Our favorite of these thought leadership pieces are really sale pitches poorly disguised as whitepapers and blogs.

That being said, there are companies with legitimate reasons for writing whitepapers on their products and services. However, if you are only defining the features and differentiators of your product, how is this any different than sales collateral? A sales pitch in the form a blog is not thought leadership. Continue reading →

Disaster Strikes as Ahilia Expands into the Gourmet Food Truck Industry

DAVIS, CA (April 1, 2013) – Ahilia, a knowledge based marketing and consulting firm that services the Global IT, BPO, and Technology industries, was looking to expand their services into the food industry, more specifically, a gourmet lobster food truck. Upon the escape of one rogue lobster, the FDA was notified of the food operation taking place in a local business office with camping stove rather than the required industrial kitchen.

The plan to expand into the lobster food truck industry began several weeks prior, when Marketing Associate, Diya Tahiliani, began offering frozen yogurt topping consulting services at a local shop during what CEO Amrita Joshi believed to be “coffee breaks”. One night while working late Ms. Tahiliani confessed her activities and Ms. Joshi, lacking sufficient sleep, agreed to expand the business into the food market. It was not long before all US members of the team were on board. Marketing Manager, Delphine Wilson, worked alongside “Chef” Tahiliani, to create a menu entirely in French consisting of such food truck delicacies including Lobster Tater Tots, Lobster Sliders, Lobster Poutin, and of course, Classic Grilled Lobster Tail. Marketing Director, Juliana Gidwani was diligently shopping online for designer uniforms and what she described as “metro” plastic bibs for patrons when the authorities arrived at the office. Continue reading →

How Much Should you be Spending on Marketing?

Since founding Ahilia five and half years ago, we have helped multiple clients develop their marketing plans which includes helping them prioritize spend. We have searched for benchmark data on what outsourcing organizations are spending on marketing but couldn’t find accurate data as most research on marketing spend of outsourcing companies only addresses IT services spend lumped in with software and hardware companies’ market spend.  Prospective and existing clients are always asking, “How are other service providers spending their marketing dollars?” “How much are they spending in comparison to their revenue?”  “What percentage are others pending on customer retention versus events?” I am happy to say that now we can finally answer all of these questions! Continue reading →

Leveraging Technology as a Communications Tool During Events

Beyond a welcoming booth, creative graphics, and the inviting attitudes, you can now use technology to improve your event ROI and maximize effectiveness. Technology can be used to achieve a wide range of objectives: attract visitors, make finding your booth a breeze, make your job easier…

Technology is not meant to replace personal interactions and conversation; it should be used to enable you to engage visitors and begin building a relationship. Here are some of the latest technologies that can improve the impact and success of your events – expand your tradeshow tool box: Continue reading →

In Need of a New Growth Strategy for 2013? Try Whale Hunting!

Last year we gave copies of Whale Hunting by Tom Searcy and Barbara Weaver Smith to many of our clients. As a year has gone by, most of our small to midsize clients have not started to look at Whale Hunting as a serious growth strategy. So we decided it was time to share some Whale Hunting wisdom yet again, but with a broader audience!

So with the New Year approaching and strategic planning and new quotas in mind, it’s a good time to try a new sales strategy and growth process called the Whale Hunting strategy. The process is created in the same spirit as actual whale hunters of the Arctic: they spend a considerable amount of time and resources on the chase of one whale, but in the end their gain is substantial.  This strategy primarily focuses on growing revenue through landing large clients, referred to as whales, as they represent 10 to 20 times the size of your regular accounts. Since these companies are rare, you need to work harder to win the deal.  The whale hunting strategy includes a few well defined steps in order to “close” those targets:  identify, chase, harpoon and finally nurture the clients. If you follow those steps and do the work, the results can be significant and impactful for your organization’s growth. Continue reading →

Try This on for Size: An Introduction to Responsive Web Design

The world of art has always been constrained.  From the moment you select your canvas, it is limited by size and location.  When and if you finally finish that painting, even the audience is limited to the lucky few who find themselves in the presence of greatness. So if the internet really is the world at our fingertips, then where are those magical jeans from that silly movie about the traveling pants?  Unlike a painting, websites are an art medium that can be viewed from anywhere, from a multitude of devices, and on a wide variation of screen sizes. While you can’t control what device is used to view your masterpiece, you can control how your creation is viewed on the device.

According to Gartner, mobile browsing is expected to outpace desktop browsing as early as 2014. For some this means maintaining multiple sites, doubling and in some cases, tripling the amount of work required. How many websites can one person or team possibly maintain? Continue reading →

Creativity and Technology – the New Lineup for Marketing

For a long time, creativity was deemed to be the primary quality of successful marketers. However, technology advancement, and more importantly technology’s impact on marketing, has been a game changer.

With this proliferation of marketing channels, marketers are tasked with managing multiple technology platforms – marketing automation, social media monitoring, behavioral targeting, web analytics, competitive intelligence, CRM, mobile marketing management … the list goes on. For the modern day marketer, this means not only thinking out of the box but also integrating the right technical marketing toolbox to deliver business impact. Continue reading →

Ahilia Opens First International Office in Bangalore, India

Ahilia expands its operations by opening its newest office in Bangalore, India. Thanks to its new location, Ahilia Marketing Ltd. will service its growing global clientele as well as the Indian market directly. Currently the Bangalore office will focus on delivering graphic design, digital media, and website development. Arup Dey, Ahilia’s Creative Director, will take the position of Managing Director in India. For more pictures, check out our Facebook page.

Exploring Domestic Sourcing in North Texas

I just got back from an event and site visit in North Texas which, to my knowledge, was the first organized domestic visit designed to educate companies, service providers and influencers on the potential of domestic sourcing in Tier 3 metro areas and rural communities. The event took place on May 17 and 18, just two hours north of Dallas in the counties of Grayson and Fannin. Obviously there have been individual panels and discussions about domestic and rural sourcing at any number of outsourcing conferences, and many companies have conducted their own site visits with domestic vendors and local development offices. But this event, to my knowledge, was the first of its kind where a delegation of global services professionals visited a Tier 3 domestic location, for the purpose of discussing the potential and promotion of domestic sourcing in the United States.

Continue reading →

Bring It On: Marketing, Your Company’s Cheerleaders

Earlier this month, I was honored to speak at the Geehan Group’s B2B Executive Summit in Coconut Grove, FL. This event was attended by an intimate group of business executives. This year, there were approximately 35 in attendance, half CEOs/business line heads and half CMOs/VPs of Marketing. This great mix of attendees creates an interactive and dynamic atmosphere where we all learn from one another. Personally, I look forward to this event each year, For me, it’s similar to a retreat in that it’s the only two full days a year that I sit and think about both my personal and company’s growth, as well as get great ideas for my clients.

Continue reading →