The Dawn Of The Digital Sommelier
Starved Of Creative Capital
The economic correction from COVID-19 has left the digital marketing industry in an opportunistic and pivotal position.
The pandemic has not only shifted our collective workforce understanding, admonishing archaic habits and stifled customs but, it has created a huge demand for the “freelance” marketing entrepreneur.
Work-life flexibility, a robust digital pedigree, and competitive culture have all evolved, exponentially stemming towards a collaborative and skill-based economy, valuing the jack of all trades, as opposed to a master of one.
This upheaval in human resource capital and mechanics through 2020 was not limited to a particular industry. Instead, it permeated every office and agency around the world.
The shift left several marketing departments thinning or altogether disbanded. This change has given rise to a demand for independent agency or “boutique” marketing work.
A new frontier for creatives and brands that values B2B marketing, brand transparency, and social responsibility with their audience. The paradigm has shifted, and the modern customer is listening more intently, advocating more critically, and adapting new shopping patterns expeditiously.
Those marketers positioned well enough will bear emphasis on providing the most content, specialty aside, with a plethora of deliverable variability for their clients.
The marketer of tomorrow is geared to provide more with the evolving tools around them, by managing dynamic client expectations amongst a culture-triggered transition to digital dependency.
A Silver Lining
Rewind to the early days of 2019 and you’d have found marketing coordinators, directors, and managers alike, with little to no background in design, graphics, or digital media, running the show.
Those same coordinators, vested in academia and powerful titles, possessed very little know-how on the step-by-step operations of digital media production and project management.
With considerable book-smarts and enough corporate jargon, PDFs and emails maintained the “optics”, but unique marketing talent floundered. Those leading entire ad campaigns, or integrating marketing communications for luxury brands across industries, found themselves commanding lackluster creatives.
This had an inverse effect, not only on top-down communication between departments (and customers) but weighed heavily on artistic flavor and the creative caliber of the businesses marketing deliverables overall.
Essentially, by removing the departmental middlemen, along with the list of corporate hierarchal protocol, consecutive marketing content can be rendered and produced more effectively.
The Wild & Free Marketing Era
Whenever it came time to wow the audience, sway customers, or promote the NEW product or service, it always comes down to the marketing/graphics resource-dependence.
What has given way, is a new breed of digital fluency amongst the common digital marketer. A new generation of young talent effortlessly versed in the uncommon and extraordinary is here to compete as well.
Fast forward to 2021, and your typical freelance associate is expected to not only, satisfy an exploding pallet of brand expectations, and, to do so on a project-by-project basis for a multitude of clients expecting those same internal marketing capabilities once possessed pre-COVID-19.
I spoke to five different digital marketers on all levels of industry and experience to synthesize a dominant consensus around the matter.
Dana Anderson – Account Executive, MethodGroupe LLC.
“With the recent transformations in digital technology and marketing, the resources and knowledge required to develop a successful marketing strategy, campaign, or creative are now easily accessible to even novice marketers.
Businesses themselves are becoming more marketing savvy, and therefore weary of the bureaucracy and frivolities of larger ad agencies.
On the other hand, freelancers and independent marketers are quickly growing in numbers.
They can react quickly, speak knowledgeably to most (if not all) facets of a campaign, and be more flexible and creative, making them the ones to watch in the coming marketing industry shifts.”
Nino Monsalve – Marketing Manager, DWNTWN Realty Advisors
“The Commercial Real Estate marketing landscape has changed in the way that a company used to need a marketing department with separate designers, a research team, coordinators, and managers.
These days, software and subscription services offered online like Costar (multiple listing exchange), Crexi (commercial real estate listing exchange), and Buildout (marketing management software), give companies the power of an entire department.
These tools and insights are all built into a CRM platform, and managed by a single individual, with a strong enterprise management emphasis.”
Melanie Prieto – Marketing Director, Whitehall Media Agency
“A freelance digital marketer brings a different perspective to the table.
They avoid the typical clichés that normally a marketing department will take due to the fear of risk.
At times, boutique marketing is even more time and cost-effective in its scope and application for small, emerging brands.”
Yanyn San Luis – Owner & Founder, The Win Woman
“These days, marketing professionals need to be using a data-driven approach to empower their client management processes. Not everyone will be the right fit for your product or services.
Defining your customers and curating worthy business exchange, through a memorable experience is key.
You will want to consider asking and probing the following before choosing to do business: timeline, content expectations, past work portfolio, and designs, to further refine your scope of work.
When you ask to gain the specifics, you can build meaningful rapport and prevent the probability of your services and offerings going to waste or falling short for new customers (B2B or B2C.)”
A shifting landscape in the marketing industry amidst the post-pandemic transition economy provides many opportunities for the digital nomad.
More so, it improves the probability of a surge of freelance marketers.
A new evolution in digital technology and automated marketing software has given the power to the boutique marketing firm. Couple this with an aging corporate protocol and stronger inter-department transparency, and you have the dawn of a new breed of digital fluency.
As evident in the commercial real estate industry, consolidation on a large scale, thinning human resources, and a more competitive market have marketing directors and managers optimizing through suite and cloud services.
Brands and businesses are smarter these days and expect more from their marketing content. The best response is for independent marketers to understand not to oversell and underdeliver, but rather pick and choose who they want to work with.
The future for digital marketing is bright, albeit different and tweaked (and maybe via Zoom) but exciting nonetheless!