As marketers, there’s always more we could be doing – leveraging artificial intelligence, testing out experience marketing, creating interactive content, and the list goes on. However, we often find ourselves saying no to these things because we’re lacking some combination of 3 things: skills, time, and/or money. If marketing budget trends tell us anything, spending power could be an issue for marketers in the next year. According to Gartner, “after three consecutive years of increases, marketing budget growth stalled in 2017-2018.”
However, as any savvy marketer knows, expectations and budgets do not always move in a parallel manner. This digital age has marketers racing against the clock, competing for buyers’ attention. So what do you do when your budget won’t budge? You learn to stretch it.
Getting creative with your headcount budget is an effective way to re-allocate costs to drive the results you want.
Here are 3 ways to stretch your marketing headcount budget:
Look for the right skills in full-time employees
If it’s on your agenda to hire a new full-time employee, it is important to ask yourself why you’re hiring for this position. What is that job is going to look like? If your strategy takes a pivot, will this person still be a valuable asset to your team? It is wise to invest in a full-time team member that will be able to pivot with your business and strategy.
Full-time team members should be adaptable, ready to learn, and able to manage processes or people. This is not to say that full-time team members can’t be subject matter experts. Individuals with specialized skill-sets are wonderful assets to your full-time team, if you’ll use them for the entire 40 hours each week. If the reason you’re hiring for a new position is to test out a new strategy, you may want to consider a freelance expert.
The benefit of freelancers is that the work they do on your team is agile – their hours and engagements can change to the needs of your team, business, and budget. This flexibility allows you to afford top talent to work on your team and the freelancer to work on other clients and enhance their skills during downtime. A tenured Marketing Cloud expert may be too expensive for your team to afford at full-time, but working with them on an hourly basis, only on the projects you need them, is much more feasible.
After hiring a freelancer, it is important to think of them as a true extension of your team. They may work differently than your traditional team members, but that doesn’t mean their expertise should go untapped. Ask your freelancers for advice and allow them an amount of creative freedom. Many freelance experts once worked for big brands and have since left to start their own businesses after specializing in a specific vertical of their field. Freelance experts are truly experts in the skills they possess and have had experience working with a book of clients, allowing them to bring a fresh and credible perspective to your team.
Retain, retain, retain.
Employee and contractor retention are two of the largest money-savers when it comes to your headcount budget. According to Glassdoor, hiring a new employee takes on average 24 days, and $4000. Over the time it takes to hire a new person, your team’s productivity levels likely drop and it’s difficult to focus on and work towards your goals. Whether you’re hiring full-time workers or freelance talent, retaining your employees will save you money in both the short and long-term by avoiding a dip in team morale and the costly and time-consuming tasks of recruiting and interviewing.
Retaining full-time talent is a challenge well explored and studied by human resource specialists. Retaining your freelance talent is a recent conversation on the tail of the 1099 workforce expansion. The bread and butter methods of salaried employee retention may not work for freelancers. Freelancers are contracting for your company, so many of the typical perks and benefit packages will be unavailable to them. There are however many ways to keep your freelancers happy and engaged on your team. Check out this post for a few ideas.
Torchlite helps businesses access, engage, and manage vetted freelance digital marketing experts to fill critical marketing gaps and drive results. Request a demo today and see how Torchlite’s network of experts could help your team today.
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