Where do marketing agencies fit in the gig economy?
Like it or not, the gig economy is here to stay. It’s fundamentally changing the way businesses approach their marketing because it offers clear advantages, especially in terms of flexibility and cost reduction. Many traditional agencies are ill-prepared to compete with it, and a radical rethink is needed if they are to survive a gig economy future... but it can be done.
Shaking up the traditional agency
The gig economy is defined by short-term labour contracts which businesses use to leverage the services they need as and when they’re required. It makes for a fast-moving, agile world, and the slow and inflexible traditional agency model can’t keep pace with it. Marketing agencies are under pressure to demonstrate ROI, especially since in-house teams can now be more effective than ever, thanks to powerful new toolsets that utilise automation.
The marketing environment has become more sophisticated, and agencies need the skills to be able to offer the kind of services that organisations are looking for. This means that agencies need to specialise to be able to offer the level of expertise their clients lack in-house, especially when it comes to the likes of data analysis or system administration.
Rather than the cumbersome old agency structure, which tends to carry significant overhead, the new approach favours on-demand hybrid workforces made up of full-time staff, short-term contract workers and on-demand services from third parties.
Adapting with flexibility
Agencies need to focus on augmenting the skills their clients lack, which generally means seasonal work during busy periods or project-based work such as product launches or big campaigns. Some organisations may also need a temporary boost for an overstretched or underperforming in-house team to help get them on the right track.
The trend towards more flexible staffing solutions is born out in statistics from a recent LinkedIn report on the changing marketing jobs landscape, published in 2021. It found that over a six-month period, there was a 19% drop in employers hiring temporary and part-time workers but a 15% increase in the hiring of contractors.
The report also found that businesses were looking further afield to find the right kind of talent. Remote working has grown in popularity since the pandemic and fits well with the more flexible staffing model. It also works to agencies’ benefit as they can cast a wider net for the talent they need to strengthen their service offering.
Stronger in partnership
In this new paradigm, it’s important that every agency determine where their greatest strengths lie and then focus on delivering the highest standards they can in that particular niche. They will need to acquire the resources to do so and learn to work in partnership with other agencies that complement their services. Clients are left to focus on their brand, audience, and products and enjoy the benefits of everyone concentrating on what they do best.
Leaner specialist agencies with lower overheads and a depth of expertise to offer can thrive in the gig economy while making market-leading solutions and services more accessible for smaller businesses. It’s the quintessential win-win scenario.
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