Freelancing in demand among marketers in Asia Pacific–study


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AS businesses learn how to embrace the new normal due to the ensuing health crisis, marketers who are forced by today’s global economic downturn to bring positive outcomes and generate more sales now tap the gig economy to fit in to structural changes post-pandemic, revealed a new study.

Hire Digital, a platform that matches leading businesses with world-class digital experts, polled hundreds of senior marketing professionals in Asia Pacific (APAC) to know how they are adjusting and restructuring amid rising inflation and the current Covid-19 situation.

The report showed the demand for temporary and part-time workers. Outside expertise are brought in for most non-core activities to launch new campaigns and immediately scale their initiatives.

Apparently, 59 percent of senior marketers said there’s been a freelance services growth over the last five years, almost half of the marketing teams indicated that they have already used freelancers or planned to start soon, and 66 percent predict hiring of them to boost their respective organizations.

The company also found out that online freelancing marketplaces are reaching traditional outsourcing ways, wherein 34 percent of the participants resort to the former for support compared to 12 percent that continue to consider the latter.

“On-demand specialists can bring in fresh perspectives and sometimes also have the ability to think in an unconstrained manner,” said Anil Viswanathan, senior marketing director of Mondelez Foods.

Forty-seven percent of the senior marketing practitioners expect their teams to be fully remote. To their edge, teams are beginning to adopt this work setup even if the industry requires frequent collaborations.

This holds true for a multinational consumer goods company that took part in the survey. Unilever Global Brand Director Duygu Ersoy shared: “The challenge of remote working presented itself as an opportunity for us. After Covid, our innovation cycles have improved by 30 percent.”

While nearly half are open to work outside of a traditional office environment, 26 percent believe that up to half of their marketing personnel may perform their jobs remotely. A mere 5 percent is uncertain, saying that none of the team should do so.

Per its research, Hire Digital discovered problems confronting marketers in the region.

Almost a third or 31 percent of those asked agreed that lack of bandwidth and expertise is their biggest challenge in achieving their goals. More specific marketing roles arise with the growing industries. Hence, freelance teams are now filling the increasing demand for certain marketing functions.

Nineteen percent of those surveyed perceive that long approval processes are the main hindrances of their success. This is no surprising since the last three years have seen rapid marketing teams revamp. And with marketers working in a hybrid arrangement, delayed communication results to late approvals.

The needs and behaviors of consumers, likewise, have transformed from the time the coronavirus hit in 2019. Due to implementation of lockdowns meant to curb the rapid spread of this fatal viral infection, a hyper-accelerated digitalization happened that led to  e-commerce surge as they turned more online for information and products they need.

“30 years ago, marketing was more art, less science. The job descriptions for marketing reflected that. Today [last five years], marketing has pivoted to more science, less art,” said IBM Global Businesses Services Asia Pacific Chief Marketing Officer Arun Cavale.

With the rapidly changing market, marketing teams now harness more consumer data from online transactions for their growth. But there are still some that have had a hard time catching up with this shift.

Onbording chief experience officers was among the biggest challenges being faced by 13 percent of the respondents, while 10 percent answered that slow delivery was their major blocker, and 8 percent said that micromanagement remains a problem.

Confronted with such, most of the marketing organizations were convinced that their team is either completely or a bit nimble yet still has room for improvement. Of the 89 percent who said so, 51 percent believe their team is somewhat agile as 38 percent think they’re quite agile. Only 11 percent perceive their team is not agile at all.

Seeing that the marketing industry rides along the evolution of the digital economy, the teams’ focus have also changed. The report bared the following key capabilities they trust could help them gain marketing excellence: Strategy and insights (29 percent), customer experience and personalization (24 percent), analytics and return on investment (20 percent), creative and content (12 percent), media and channel activation (nine percent), and product and pricing (six percent).

But success doesn’t end there. Strategy and insights are also essential to effectively get the message of marketing campaigns across the desired audience. Nevertheless, it seems like senior marketers are catching on with the personalization trend as shown in  Epsilon and GBH Insights report, wherein 80 percent of adult respondents want personalized content from retailers.

“Client centricity, external eminence, and solid sales relationships are skills every senior marketer should have,” Cavale stressed.

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