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COVID is Speeding up the Inevitable for Digital Marketing

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Editorial by Taylor Treese

Content by Raisin Bread

Aug 24th, 2020

COVID has thrown us all Out-of-Whack, and for several industries it seems to be acting a little like a speed dating exercise.

We are witnessing things happen in the digital marketing arena that we here at TIMBUC felt were 2 to 5 years off. The vast majority of workers working from home seemed inevitable to us, at some point. Commutes to work were getting horrible for just about everybody. Living where you really want to live has been possible for many who work "online," for years. However, it was unclear as to whether the workplace was ready for such a mass exodus from the office. Companies weren't sure how to handle that sticky issue even thought executives may have also wanted remote work to be more the norm. Marissa Mayer didn't like that idea either, back in 2012 when she took over the helm at Yahoo, and (sourly) demanded that all remote workers immediately start reporting to a Yahoo office. This caused quite the stir in the digital marketing landscape and upended hundreds of employee's flexible work schedules. Forbes called it "Back to The Stone Age" and felt she didn't really study that decision before making such a huge change. It obviously did not benefit Yahoo and only a handful of companies followed suit. We have since languished in a sort of middle-earth, where many people were allowed to work from home a few days a week, but were required to be at an office at some point, which still dictated where they live.

Then 2020 happened and COVID now mostly dictates what we do in terms of commuting. The jury is still out on what the effects are exactly, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say everything is fine in digital marketing land and that this was inevitable.... COVID simply sped up the process.

There are some interesting new work dynamics that have sprung up as a result of COVID and the following article gives several excellent reasons why freelancers are seemingly winning out to small, medium and large agencies. However, they left out one major plus that seems to be in harmony with our current situation; it's really hard to find good marketers, en masse, in local markets.

In the Coronaconomy, Freelancers Are Trumping Agencies. Here are 4 Reasons Why…

It’s no secret that the world looks a little different these days. With financial experts forecasting an economic shrink upwards of 7% in 2020, the “coronaconomy” has businesses eager — desperate, even — to find a way to break through the noise, cut costs, and drive sales. Agency partners who have been equally hit by COVID-19’s impact continue to raise fees and hourly rates to make up for lost profits. If the coronaconomy appears to be the new norm, is it time for businesses to shift to a freelancer-friendly model in an effort to save money and garner better results?

Here are a few benefits to hiring freelancers in the Coronaconomy you may want to consider:

1) Freelancers ultimately cost less

Between retainers and hourly rates, the bill from your marketing agency partner can add up quickly — especially when the output of hours doesn’t match the quality of the work you get in return. In a study conducted on SEO freelancers versus SEO services provided by an agency, freelancers not only billed their clients less money per hour, they often produced higher quality work and drove stronger results in the long run.

2) Freelancers are experts on their channel

Whether you need an email marketing maestro, a paid search savant, or a copywriter that can distill the toughest of subjects down to quippy quotes and thought-provoking testimonials, freelancers hone their craft for years and have the credentials to prove it. Marketing departments can’t always afford specialized employees, but adopting a freelance model allows a business to prioritize new channels and test key metrics by using the best talent possible.

3) Freelancers are unbiased

If you’ve seen an episode of Mad Men, much less worked at an agency yourself, you know the client/agency relationship can get tense when competing values are in play. Marketing freelancers, on the other hand, simply want to surpass benchmarks and show their value. Because they’re at an arm's length from the business, professional freelancers know how to dispel emotion and create great work for the sake of creating great work.

4) Freelancers create long-term partnerships

As unemployment rates continue to soar, the coronaconomy threatens the traditional, “full-time” model as we’ve known. We are and will continue to see skilled freelancers and other players in the gig economy create long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. For freelancers, that partnership includes flexibility of hours and terms, whereas businesses profit from not having to pay for salaries, health insurance plans, and other benefits that are typically accompanied with a full-time role.

It’s difficult to forecast what the rest of this year — and the future in general — could mean for businesses across every industry, but it’s important to step back and consider the value of existing partnerships. Could freelancers be the cost-effective, results-driven answer to the questions that are still up in the air? It’s worth a second thought.


Raisin Bread was the content creator of this piece. Their editors partner with top marketers to share their knowledge and expertise directly with you. And, their tag line (which I love) is: Eat it. Digest it. Apply it. Then I - Taylor Treese - came along and decided to editorialize a little on their points. I hope you enjoy the insight from our angle.

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