In this case, we are talking about the outsourcing of PR jobs to India/SE Asia, etc. This eNewsletter article says "No" because "it wouldn't be effective." I disagree.
There are some faulty assumptions being made in this article:
First of all, true PR and media work requires long-term relationships with media members. A level of trust, rapport and understanding needs to be established to receive proper recognition and media placements.True, but what rule states that you have to be in the same geographic arena as the media? Why wouldn't someone in India be able to form a relationship with media? If they don't have them now, they can partner with a US firm or an independent US consultant for help (and let me tell you, there are lots of very senior PR people floating around looking for work) and eventually transition it all over.
In addition, there are many subtleties in media relations, ranging from understanding attribution, ground rules and other ways that the U.S. press works within the context of the First Amendment and other cultural/business factors that cannot be grasped on a phone line from halfway around the world.
And you are assuming that this is impossible to learn and learn quickly? That is rather arrogant. Plus, remember those top quality independent PR people floating around who are generally pissed off at "big agency?"
Second, the main contribution of a good PR agency is in the consulting area. Defining the PR messaging, understanding a client’s business and the ever-changing dynamics of their respective industries, all while targeting the correct (shifting) media is as important, if not more so, than the tactical execution of those strategies.
Sigh. Why do we assume that no one else can do this? "Someone outside the grand ol' US simply couldn't understand our dynamic industries..." Insulting and bad assumption. Haven't we heard this routine before (and it has proven wrong every time)?
While a company may be able to relegate simple technical and telemarketing to an agency in another country, integrating them into cohesive and effective PR campaigns requires special expertise.
"Special expertise" surely can't be acquired by an agency located elsewhere, right? Wrong.
Finally, what you pay for PR is much less important than what you receive from your investment.
This is true, of course, to a point. But given my experience over the last four years I have to say that price does matter, and companies are increasingly refusing to pay big agency prices. Why should they when they can get great service from smart people for a fraction of the cost?
I'd say that if you are working in the communications field you should damned scared of outsourcing. As with high tech, overseas agencies will open local offices with local people here to learn the trade. Agencies here will open offices there to train new people. Costs will dramatically lower. Over time, there is nothing that would prevent the jobs from moving out of the US. Not all of them, surely, but some will go. And I bet it starts to happen soon. In fact, anecdotally, I am seeing it happen already with creative work (design, web pages, etc.). If I am managing the process, it doesn't matter where my vendors are located if they give me good service at a good price.
I've also written about outsourcing here.
[Via Corporate Engagement]