The last couple of years have seen a combination of factors come together to create the perfect storm for finding and retaining talent. In short, there’s a marketing skills gap.
A recent Marketing Week survey suggested that more than half of marketers are considering a change of job – and that’s on top of the quarter of marketers who’ve already changed roles in the last 12 months.
And with the move towards remote working firmly in place, the best people are in demand more than ever. Whereas people may have previously been restricted by location, that exit barrier has disappeared. Talent churn is now officially one of the biggest concerns for marketers.
How would you cope if some of your key marketers walked out tomorrow? And how would you bridge the skills gap?
The case for external support
External support is one way to make sure that you can continue to deliver even if internal resource becomes a challenge. Many of our clients use us as an extension of their teams, freeing up their time, providing flexibility and making sure critical projects are delivered. But if your company is more traditionally minded, how do you sell that to your CFO?
Here are your top 5 reasons for using external expertise.
1. Delivering specific projects
One-off projects are notoriously difficult to get off the ground. No-one has any capacity and you’ll annoy other departments by trying to steal their resource. And recruiting permanent staff is time-consuming and you don’t want to commit to ongoing staffing costs after the project.
Temporary or agency support can be mobilised quickly and get projects moving. You’ll probably pay more per head, but it’s a focused effort for a specific project, so can be factored into the project costs. And although your delivery costs may be higher, you’re not tying up internal resource and your project will be delivered more quickly, bringing the benefits in earlier.
When you’re paying for dedicated resource, it’s reasonable to expect that they’ll be dedicated to the task in hand. And faster delivery means that you’ll get results quicker, improving your payback.
A separate, dedicated task force can complete project faster, without the distraction of day-to-day business matters. Make sure your business case reflects the benefits of delivering a project more quickly.
3. Filling a temporary resource gap
If you have a temporary need for resource, such as a one-off project, a short term increase in workload or unfilled vacancies, then it makes sense to use external support. You’ll only pay for what you need and aren’t left with excess resource on your payroll afterwards.
With the current skills gap, you could spend months looking for the right candidate, so a temporary fix can be the right solution. But make sure you’ve done your homework first and know where you’re going to look for the resource. Stay close to former employees, agencies and other partners to get recommendations for skilled resource who you can get in quickly. You don’t want to gamble on an unknown quantity at a crucial time.
Having external support on tap who understand your systems, martech and other tools means you won’t get caught short if you’re hit with resource issues, so you can keep the wheels turning on regular campaigns.
4. Political neutrality
Good external resource have the advantage of coming not just armed with the skills needed to do the job, but are also not burdened with existing inter-departmental relationships and frictions. Familiarity can breed, if not contempt, some entrenched views and a lack of co-operative working.
External resource often have a credibility and neutrality that means company stalwarts will be more pre-disposed to help – especially when the resource comes with the endorsement of senior management.
If you’d prefer not to spend your time placating egos and putting out inter-departmental fires, independent expertise may be just what you need.
5. A new way of thinking
But perhaps the most valuable contribution that external support can give you is that of fresh, independent expertise.
Often, the very skills that make your internal teams so good – their intimate knowledge of your data and systems – can also limit their potential to look at things differently, or to find new insight. How often have you heard people say “We tried that and it didn’t work,” or “we can’t get that information”?
The right external expertise will not only be up to date with latest thinking, but will have the benefit of having seen what success looks like elsewhere. It’s that independent viewpoint that can bring about real change in the way you do things.
However you choose to resource, the most important thing is to choose the right tool for the job and get a well balanced team that will meet your needs.
So if you’re trying to avoid a marketing skills gap or need an injection of external expertise, why not get in touch?
We may know the very people.