You don’t need to check LinkedIn every 10 minutes to know that the tide has turned hard from “I can’t find good marketers to hire,” to “We just laid off dozens of incredibly talented marketers through no fault of their own.” Venture funds are drying up, consumers are spending more cautiously, and the ripple effects are evident in the workforce.
We’ve been on the front lines of these trends since we founded Playbook Media in 2017 on a model that sources incredible freelance talent and matches it to specific client challenges and growth opportunities. And as we face an unpredictable and extra-high-stakes Q4 for D2C and eCommerce businesses who face more layoffs (or worse) if they miss their targets, it’s worth surfacing some huge benefits of bringing on marketing freelance talent.
Freelancers are, first and foremost, efficient. They get paid by projects and by results. They work on specific challenges. They require minimal management. (2022 bonus: they’ve been working remotely for years, so they’ve worked through any associated issues long ago.) If they don’t cut it, they don’t get paid. I can count on one hand the number of times a client of ours has asked to switch out freelancers, which gives you an indication of their results.
How many times have you heard an exec gush over an important new hire, only to fire or lose that person a few months later? Add up sign-on bonuses, onboarding hours for an HR team, and severance, and you’re looking at a massive sunk cost (and we’re not even including impact on team morale). Freelancers carry minimal cost beyond what they’re paid to address the very projects they’re brought on to do.
Minimal uplift for new channels
Want to get serious about TikTok? Test into CTV? Expand into Reddit? Don’t burn months building a proposal for a new department. Find the right freelancer or two and stand up a service in a matter of weeks. The right freelancer has done it before, knows the levers to pull, can set expectations for measurement and validation of the channel, and can advise on the exact resources you’ll need to optimize the channel for the long term.
We’ve seen a massive influx of freelancers at Playbook as layoffs cycle talent back into the marketplace. And there’s a ripple effect beyond those directly affected: The corporate churn and a fair amount of PTSD is making freelance loyalists out of those who may have decided to test the waters in years past. Hiring a top-notch freelancer, especially when you’re working with an organization with a rigorous vetting process, is a surer bet than ever these days. And you don’t have to pony up for a laptop, WFH stipends, insurance, 401K match, or office space to do it.
Identify a need. Build a hiring proposal. Haggle over budget. Draft a job req. Post a job req. Start the interview process. Make an offer. Get a counteroffer. Sign all the paperwork. Wait a couple of weeks for the new hire to come on board.
Even if you come to an agreement with the very first candidate who applies, that process will take months – which, since I’m writing this in Q3, is well into Q1 in a rosy scenario.
Or you can find a great freelancer and get that person up and running in a couple of weeks to jump on the very opportunity or challenge you’ve identified.