How a Pandemic Changed the Face of Marketing – the Forum Way
Other than Bill Gates, how many of you could have called the COVID Pandemic of 2020? Then, how many of you could have predicted that just two years later, 48% or more of marketers were personally planning on leaving their job?
Over the past 2 years, I think we’ve all realized how important family and time really are. Work-life balance has become more important because we’ve all realized that none of us know how many days we have left. To be completely open, I know it impacted me personally in a big way, as I lost family members to COVID. And while we have all experienced some kind of loss through this time, I want to focus on the road ahead.
When it comes to marketing, the past two years have been a grind. While nurses and hospital executives worked overtime to save the lives of those in their communities, communicators have also worked overtime attempting to make sure that communication still flowed from our home offices, basements and porches. Marketers relied more on PR, social media, and online channels than they ever have before. And, work-life balance felt like a thing of the past. With every glimmer of hope in the pandemic’s path, marketers and communicators would work to plan and strategize only to have those plans and strategies changed two weeks later. For all of us, it’s been like being a mouse on a wheel that would start, stop, go backwards, and occasionally flip upside down all the while still clinging to make the wheel continue to move forward.
So, just like many industries, marketers are facing the “Great Resignation” – a time where people are reconsidering their career choices and many choosing to lean into the new Creator and Freelance economies. For those of you with in-house marketing teams, I know things are hard. Many of you are leaning on freelancers to fill the gap. And, hiring a traditional agency is a difficult decision. But, building a network of partners – like freelancers or agencies – is how many of you and your competitors have come out winners on the other side of the pandemic. Only the best companies hire the best talent in-house because of the commitment and cost required. But, some of the best marketing minds in the world today either work for agencies or as freelancers. HR firms are calling this the “hybrid marketing team” model – where you have some talent in-house to manage agencies and freelancers. This is where marketing has really taken a shift.
Over the past year, we’ve stepped into all sorts of roles – with one new client we’re serving as what they refer to as a “fractional CMO” where we’re leading strategy, and their marketing team is doing the work. In another, we’ve served as their entire outsourced marketing department. And, we don’t work with every company that comes our way because we care about your businesses. If we’re not a good fit, or you’re looking for something that we either can’t do – or looking for someone to just do as instructed, we honestly can say there are others that can do that better and cheaper than we can. We build partnerships with our clients. But that’s what I love about Forum. While we may not be as cheap as alternatives– I can promise if we’re a good match, we know what we’re doing and that we fight daily for all of our clients. There are a lot of things that distinguish us from other agencies – but here are my top three following the pandemic:
- We don’t make money when you spend money. Traditional marketing agencies make money off of the ads you buy – upcharging as much as 25% on the media that you could by yourself – on top of their standard hourly fees as high as $300 / hour. We don’t up charge for advertising buys so when media companies approach us to pitch you on a magazine, print, or digital ad placement, they offer us a discount so we can make margin on top of those ad buys. We don’t – if we get a discount where we’re supposed to add to the top of that expense – we just pass that extra savings on to you.
- We get the “Great Resignation,” but it’s a non-starter for us. Once people realized that they could work from home, be their own supervisor, AND make more money, many took the chance to do so. It’s why it’s so hard for so many companies to find high-quality labor and employees. For us at Forum, we’re an OG “work from home” company – actually from Day 0. So, the work from home mentality and structure works for us – we get it – and it gives our team the work-life balance they needed – especially over the last few years. So while there are days when the amount of communication that we’re either receiving or putting out can be overwhelming – our team PRIDES itself in the fact that we’re not like other agencies. We can fight for our clients, fight for one another, and fight against the status quo from our homes, a coffee shop, or our office. I’m actually writing this blog article in a Barnes and Noble.
- And, most importantly – we see ourselves as a fighter brand. Over the past 2 years, we’ve learned to track more, think more, and do more with less. We’ve been in the thick of the pandemic and continued to grow while working with healthcare, education, non-profit, B2B and B2C organizations – and won. 90%+ of our clients are better today and have seen sales, donations, etc., grow where other companies and agencies have folded under the pressure of the past few years.
So, as you think about your next hire, consider how marketing has changed over the past two years. I’d venture to say you’d get more out of hiring an agency, freelancers, or fractional staff than you will hiring a full-time staff person. And that’s ok – we just hope you call us first.Back