We’ve all heard about the importance of digital marketing, and how businesses big and small need to embark on digital transformation and thinking digitally. But as we reflect on the year and how things are moving, are we?
Starting on the basics
We see the importance of doing social media marketing and tadah..we all have a facebook page for our business. But think about it, how many of our pages actually still engage with the majority of our fans, or a better question is, when you go into your analytics to view your latest stats after years of promoting our pages, do we even have real fans from the right country we are targetting.
There are many digital marketing agencies out there who offer to provide solutions for digital marketing, and there are also growing headcounts in companies to find talented people specializing in digital marketing.
No doubt these are steps to improve your digital marketing, but are they necessarily the best approach?
Let’s start off with some challenges we all face when we invest in these solutions.
1. Longevity Issue – Working with Agencies
I have worked with multiple agencies for 6-7 years of my life, and up to now.
When we work with agencies as a brand, we likely work base on 1 off big campaigns or 2 a year, but the problem is these campaigns are set with clear objectives, eg. run a banner advertising placement or a media spend of $15,000 worth of Facebook Ads.
But what about all the other loose ends and gaps in the entire online user journey experience that makes a campaign successful, that only an individual who has background and access to the company’s info or platforms can adjust.
When you lack an individual as ‘part of your company’ with the right access, expertise, time commitment and brand knowledge who can follow through on this in the longer run even months after a campaign ends, then spending money on a digital agency without proper continuation/ assessment and optimization is high costs with potentially good but volatile gain.
2. Lack of Talented Hires for Digital Marketing from Singapore
Then you’ll say to me, okay, then let’s hire someone inhouse, who has technical expertise who can look into all our digital marketing. Perhaps Facebook and Instagram too, since its technically ‘digital’. Or how about look into our email database, find solutions for content marketing and a whole list of other technical digital opportunities.
And with the sheer amount of scope of work that you need a digital marketeer or team to fulfill, you realise you have 2 issues:
Issue 1 is getting inexperienced candidate applicants ( a percentage of which are fresh graduates, though nothing against them!). On the other hand, you’ll find that there are experienced technically trained digital marketeers with really good overall skills, but it leads to issue 2 – they either command extremely high return, are already doing pretty well in their own company or prefer to move only to join companies that are in the forefront of digital. And you know who they are, the top 100 giants of Amazon, Facebook, Google, Expedia and the list goes on.
So how then – to close the gap between the need for digital expertise for your company yet having a continuation in a longer run to make it work for company’s bottom and top line.
Here’s an idea.
Work with a freelance digital marketing consultant.
There you go! Problem solved..
And then you’ll go…
”Who? Why and how?”
Well, then perhaps here’s some good solid reasons for your queries:
Why should one work with a Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant
1. Great Expertise from Cross-Industry Knowledge
A digital marketing consultant, unlike a full-time staff, dabbles with different portfolios over their consultancy stint. It can sometimes be cross-industry, cross-organizational structure or disciplines, and they are also one foot in the latest digital changes, facebook advertising algorithms, trends and marketing shifts by attending multiple workshops, conferences and other digital marketing related networking events.
A full-time staff no doubt do attend such events too, and take a workshop once a while, but how many of them actually find time to really do that and keep abreast of current issues when the bulk of their time is spent on meetings, calls, emails or turning up at the office.
2. Reduce on HR Headcount Issues
We all know of the usual HR pain points – headcount cuts, headcount freezes and all. But if your business really needs to move forward in driving digital marketing specifically in 1-2 aspects, then maybe you can skip all the paperwork processes and slow turnaround with HR but instead hunt about for a relevant digital marketing consultant with the right skills you have.
Discuss the key KPIs and rates, sign a contract with that consultant or contractor, and then bam..they start work and running some initiative to solve the problem. This costs will hence not fall under HR, but just counts into your marketing spend as long as you have enough buffer for it to get quicker solutions.
Against common belief, consultants don’t always cost that much as long as you find a right fit for you. If you can justify well what scope/ hours you require and the expectation from both ends, you might not have to pay them as high as a full-time hire, yet they can get things done as efficiently within a committed timeline.
3. Results focus, not Presence Focus
On that note about getting things done, what are your thought regarding an office-based vs a remote-based.
When you hire a full-timer newly on board with your company, it will be taking the full-timer quite a bit of time and energy to focus on settling into the new environment, attending meetings, putting up a good stance in front of management and avoid raising eyebrows by turning up later than everyone else for work.
While these aren’t necessarily a bad thing, why not hire a nomadic digital marketeer/ freelancer who once you establish the goals/ expectation and necessary reporting frameworks, can also start work the same time, but potentially eliminate the need for all these initiation and orientation, but can keep it to the minimum and start focusing on seeing the tasks they need to analyze on hand and building the asynchronous communication.
Instead of focusing on how to win the goodwill of everyone in the office, they can leave that to occasional office visits, and for the rest of the time, can focus on how to do their tasks and job scope to make the campaigns perform better.
Digital marketeers are creative geeks ( a mix of a marketeer and IT Specialist), they spend a lot of their time looking at their online channels, creating content for the web, data on the computer, platforms analytics, creating reports or finding patterns in their marketing campaigns.
Hence, a lot of their work can be very independent or only require interaction with others for simple briefs/ reporting or clarification. With a fast internet, good processes and good revert rate from their teammates, even if it means they are working from their desk at home in their PJs, they can still run your Luxury Online Store backend loyalty programme flawlessly. Yes, it does seem daunting in terms of whether working with a remote staff can achieve good and constant real results even when you don’t see them, but yes, if you find a person with a good track record and strong in written communication, then it can bet someone in office who, though is always there, but not necessarily as efficient or productive.
4. Lower Costs and Overheads from Singapore and beyond
Yes, the gig economy is here and here to stay.
Working from home is becoming staff welfare benefit or business direction that works for companies.
If you start to see some of the benefits of staff actually working more efficiently from home and it also reduces the company overheads like extra office space, more amenities like the water cooler, electricity and more, then hiring and working with a freelance digital consultant helps. No more need for 1 extra desk space or yearly appraisals!
5. Continuity in Longer Run
Really? Is there really continuity?
Indeed there is, as freelancer digital marketing consultants may sound temporal, but they can also end up working with you on a longer-term for 1 year to 5 years depending on the working relationship. In fact, the chances of keeping them loyal to you as a non full-time staff might be better than hiring a full-time person who might want to jump ship after 1-2 years should they find that your company cannnot provide them holistic growth opportunities (which to be honest these days, which company can tick all the boxes?)
There is nothing wrong with individuals wanting to keep growing and not being hindered from expanding their potential, so why not get the best of both world by working with a consultant who is not tied to you full time and can still take on other interesting non-conflicting projects to improve their skills or personal development.
6. Drive Good Online Business for your Brand
We talked a lot in the earlier 5 points about all the benefits of hiring a remote freelancer versus a full-timer, but we have not further deep dive into how such an arrangement can actually be good for your brand’s business itself!
Simple: If you find a talented individual/ independent consultant who has the skills you need to perform the task and yet you cannot afford to pay him/ her a full-time wage, working with him/ her on a freelance contract is a win-win for both.
While still using his/ her skills and expertise to help drive the online performance of your brand, he/ she can pick on other non-conflicting work too to get more income. With them being hired under your company as a contractor/ consultant, they can have access to some of the company’s resources too to get the jump done ( versus hiring an agency who you cannot provide any company access)
By knowing the people within the organization, it can help to make him/ her extremely useful in still serving as a representative for your company, yet ensuring all the online projects and scope under him (eg. dealing with digital agencies) are overseen and given the necessary attention.
In summary, digital marketing is a focus your company will eventually need to further invest and strengthen to drive your online presence and ultimately online bookings.
So while you can still go with the conventional approach of working with digital marketing agencies or try to hire a full-timer from Singapore to work for your company, working with a freelance digital marketing consultant from Singapore is something that is getting increasingly more popular and serves as a good solution provider for your company’s digital needs.
Are there any more queries about the effectiveness of working with consultants? Drop me a note!