What a world we live in. I think I’ve mentioned before how busy our lives are and how much it amazes me sometimes.
I’ve been freelancing since September, and now with over 6 months under my belt, I’ve realized now more than ever how tough it is out there for marketers.
Freelancing has really shown me a different side of what is going on in our industry, making it really tough for those of us that are good at what we do to stay in the game and show what we’re made of.
There are 3 core areas I wanted to flag on my blog this week that show the reality a typical marketer now faces:
1) Globalization and the internet has made everyone a marketer – I’ve noticed this especially in the writing projects I’m doing but it appears to be happening across most areas of marketing – from planning to research even to developing business strategy. Now with so many freelance sites at our fingertips, there are individuals bidding on jobs for peanuts. I’ve seen requests for articles for a budget of $1 per 500 words! The issue here? Devaluing what marketers can deliver – it’s great that a business can find a cheaper solution to their needs but is it worth the price for marketers? More importantly, is the customer truly getting what they need? I still have faith that those of us who provide work that a customer values will be here to stay, but it is a definite test for our industry.
2) Too much marketing out there (quantity over quality) – the amount of messages out there is unbelievable. Largely due to the explosion of the digital channel, the need for articles and copywriting services are through the roof. Are we now in a state of quantity over quality? I am a big believer in strong communications but I am also a supporter of defined and clear messages. This issue challenges and encourage marketers at the same time. Our services are in demand to satisfy the quantity needed but it challenges us to deliver quality marketing services due to the volume. For us, finding a balance will be the key to success.
3) We continue to get further and further away from our customers – I see this now as a freelancer but also when I was working in the corporate world. Often, we sit in our offices and brainstorm ideas of what customers really want. Customer research isn’t often undertaken so we are developing marketing strategy and communications with a blind eye. Searching on the web about customer preferences can only tell us so much. As the world gets bigger and smaller at the same time, we need to get as close to the customer as we can. Since I’ve been working solo, in all the projects I’ve worked on, I’ve tried to get as close to the customer as I can. As most of you know, the voice of the customer is a key element for how I work, and even with the time constraints, it has to be a priority to differentiate myself and service my customers effectively.
So...what can we do? Globalization, volume and getting close to the customer are all issues we need to realize are out there. More importantly, we need to do something about them!
We need to be aware of these realities but also be sure to take a stand. My advice:
1) Don’t undersell ourselves (both in our financial contribution and the quality we deliver)
2) Get close the customer (meet with them, understand them, satisfy them)
3) Embrace the heightened competition and realize that not everyone is looking for a cheap solution – show the value you bring and reap the rewards
It’s tough out there and only the fittest will survive...so keep the faith and keep up the great marketing work.
Have a great marketing week and see you next Monday,