WHY SHORT IS SWEETTweet
Consider this. A healthcare provider from Hyderabad posts an opportunity online with the requirement of a part-time chief marketing officer. An FMCG company based in Mumbai wants a new product launch consultant for its personal and house-holds products division. A new mobile-based health service company is looking for a marketing consultant to help put together a business plan. Marketing as we know it is undergoing a quiet change.
CMO, product launch, business planning: roles once considered core to the marketing function have are now being outsourced to experts for limited time periods, or specifically for the duration of the 'project'. And that's not all. Other expertise being increasingly sought by organizations is in the area of 'brand management' and 'marketing communications'; again, skills considered sacrosanct to marketing (Source: www.flexingit.com).
This is great news for experienced professionals. No longer is it necessary for them to be part of a regimented corporate setup in order to do what they love. While there’s nothing quite as exciting as marketing, a corporate structure brings along with its own downsides: long working hours, rigid processes to go through and unending power point presentations with internal updates and meetings all along the management food chain. Not to mention the precious hours spent 'working the system' to get other functions whose goals don’t match yours, to contribute to your work.
All this, when time could have been better utilized listening to consumers online, improving your relationship management program, refining new product concepts to take to the market or any other activity that would have truly added value to the brand and the business.
All this is changing. Today, there are many avenues open to individuals to work in collaboration with marketing teams, without directly being in the corporate maze. There are several reasons: promoting a company’s product(s) or services effectively requires hundreds of different kinds of initiatives that are not humanely possible for a marketing team to do on its own. Second, some of these initiatives require skill sets that are best outsourced to specialists. Third, organizations have begun to take headcount mandates seriously, making it impossible to have a large pool of in-house talent.
So, what opportunities await those looking to work on their own terms?
According to data analyzed by Flexing It, which connects companies seeking short-term, flexible, professional skills to relevant individuals, the largest numbers of marketing professionals looking at work independently are those with skills in marketing strategy and business planning (34%). Up next are those with expertise in brand management (13%), followed closely by market research and intelligence (11%) and marketing communications and promotions (10%) professionals.
If your interest and experience does not fit any of the above, do not worry as there are still plenty of other skills in demand. Expertise in any of the following - design, branding, packaging, advertising, public relations, sales promotions or events, will come in handy today. While there have been and will continue to be large companies offering one or more of these services, there's a steady movement towards engaging professionals or boutique firms as well. The fact that most companies are finding it difficult to allocate a substantial chunk of their annual marketing budgets towards fixed retainers to large service providers, is only fuelling this trend. In addition to these monetary savings, companies deploying boutique firms also benefit by getting the same quality of expertise offered by large service providers, but with the added advantage that work gets turned around faster as these professionals are solely committed to the company’s projects.
With the proliferation in new channels, platforms and emerging technologies, other areas witnessing growing need for flexible, contractual work are digital, mobile and big data. Within digital, search engine optimization, social media marketing and online reputation management are where marketers need a lot of help. The other massive white space is the need for mobility experts. Enabling companies to optimize their websites and content for iPads, iPhones and Android devices, or creating apps that fuse unique customer data, social media, geo-location services and e-commerce to deliver an integrated experience to consumers, is high on marketers wish lists. Organizations are also looking at experts in customer analytics to help them make sense of data lying in various repositories across the company in order to deliver higher ROI, stronger relationships and more future revenue from customers.
As you can see, the opportunities for flexible, short-burst assignments are endless. People now have the freedom to work independently, pick projects of their interest and gather a wide variety of experience across companies and sectors, quickly. There’s never been a better time to leverage your specific skill set without being locked in a typical marketing profile.