Marketing leaders: 5 smart moves to make now for post-COVID success

By Kathy Leonard

It's a different world.

When I think back to January of this year I am often fascinated by my own stunning naiveté. Or call it blissful ignorance. Either way, nothing could quite prepare me, or any of us, for what was to come.

In early March, we were all thrust into a world that has caused virtually every organization to rethink what they do and how they work. It’s likely forever changed the way we all do business, not to mention live our lives and perform our individual jobs.

That is, those who still have one.

What had been one of the lowest unemployment levels in years has climbed – with unprecedented speed – to 14.7%. Millions of Americans have been laid off, furloughed or hit with significant compensation reductions.

As is often the case during times of economic uncertainty and turmoil, marketing departments and agencies are some of the first and most significantly impacted.

While we’ve yet to see COVID-19’s ultimate effect on the industry, most experts predict an overall decline in ad spending for 2020 between 10% and 15%. And that doesn’t even address all other marketing cuts.

It’s not surprising that brands and agencies have had to adjust their staffing models to compensate for lost revenues.

While all of this certainly is devastating for our industry, it does provide a unique opportunity to rethink the future of work in a fast-evolving world and the makeup of the workforce that will best position all of us for success.

Consider these ways to turn this disaster into a positive for your organization.

1. Deepen your bench strength.

As you reevaluate how to move forward with fewer resources, think about what skills are missing from your team and how different talent or experience would enhance your marketing effort and message.

Treat this as if you were creating a wish list of talent and MarCom and MarTech resources. Then use this time to line up those resources.

You or your colleagues may be able to identify individuals from your own past jobs and experience. But there are companies that can do that for you, and you don’t actually pay until you engage the talent.

Freeman+Leonard has a larger pool of creative and marketing talent than even the largest client or agency in the nation. Our network of professionals covers every area of expertise needed for today’s marketing environment – from strategy, project management, executive leadership and creative teams to digital planning, UX design, programming, and online media planning and buying.

These people can be identified, vetted and trained in your brand standards to be ready to go when you say jump.

Start your wish list now!

2. Upgrade your in-house team.

Here is the hidden opportunity.

You now have the perfect excuse to trim the fat from your team — even those who have been good enough, but maybe not as great as you’d like — and replace them with who you know could be a stronger, more ideal talent solution or team member.

Before this crisis, many marketing departments had become stagnant, perhaps having to rely on outside resources to deliver new skills and solutions.

Now is your chance to meet those needs with new “internal” people, while eliminating often-expensive ongoing relationships with outside professional partners.

Look within your own network, but also consider a partner like Freeman+Leonard to deliver fresh, new résumés from people you’d never meet on your own: talent with all levels of brand-side and agency experience.

Whether as an onsite addition or working in a virtual capacity, our talent solutions could immediately increase the value of your internal team by adding new skills and expertise – while eliminating the bloat and inefficiencies so common with many outsourced solutions.

Not every qualified candidate will be a good fit for your team, though, and social distancing can present even more challenges to the vetting process.

That’s why we provide all clients with a predictive performance assessment to ensure that new hires will succeed in their defined roles. This amazing assessment tool can predict a person’s ability to perform successfully in a job at a 98% level of accuracy! No other job success predictor on the market does this. Use this tool and don’t risk making an unfortunate hire.

3. Break out of your own box.

Corporate marketing and agency staffing are no longer about hiring permanent employees. They’re simply about getting the best talent to deliver the best work.

The more you feel the need to bring people into permanent roles, the less you allow yourself access to amazing talent.

It’s time to rethink that.

On-demand solutions provide access to remarkable talent with a variety of skills – skills and expertise you can tap as needed, and scale down as business needs change.

Think of how much more efficient and effective your own marketing machine could become with that level of flexibility and access.

Freeman+Leonard was created to give clients and agencies access to on-demand talent for variable needs. With our diverse talent pool and variety of ways to access that talent, organizations utilize the right people and skills to solve any size and type of marketing challenge.

The need might be simply for a single project, such as the redesign of a website, or more complex and seasonal, say, for a fully integrated brand advertising campaign or a retail sales promotion. No matter, we have experienced individuals and established teams that can tackle any project, large or small.

4. Go ahead. Reach for the stars.

Perhaps when you hear “staffing” you think primarily of entry- or mid-level talent. Think again.

One result of embracing a more flexible staffing solution is that now you can access more senior-level marketing talent.

Many extraordinary leaders – from Marketing Directors and CMOs to Account Directors and Creative Directors – currently seek opportunities to contribute their talents for companies that could benefit from senior leadership and depth of experience.

Freeman+Leonard has relationships with seasoned marketing experts, leaders and consultants who’ve had tremendous success and experience throughout most every industry.

And many of these invaluable resources are currently pursuing both traditional and non-traditional ways to engage with new organizations that face new challenges.

Regardless of the specifics of the particular need, companies today can access more-senior talent in more ways, so they can not only survive, but thrive in today’s climate.

5. Diversify. Now.

It’s time, more than ever before, for organizations to commit to having their workforce better reflect the diversity of the world around us.

Freeman+Leonard values, seeks out and promotes a diversity of talent to benefit any organization. We hope that our commitment to change within our industry can not only solve specific client problems, but also help solve larger systemic problems that can be eliminated only through action.

We are committed to that. We want to use our talent resources to help you do that, too.

Feel free to reach out to our leadership to discuss certain needs of your organization and how, together, we can make all of our teams stronger.

Do yourself a favor.

Our world has changed significantly, so we are working hard to give clients access to more amazing talent and innovative ways to use that talent.

And on the other side, we want to provide top-performing talent with interesting ways to engage with clients and deliver creative, blow-you-away thinking.

Use the contact form below to reach out and start a conversation. We can show you more ways to find and use the nation’s best marketing and advertising minds.

And it costs you nothing to explore that opportunity.

Get in touch with a Freeman+Leonard consultant today: