• Mary Elizabeth Wieder

Strategic, Fast and Social: The Rise of Staff-On-Demand and what it means for Marketing

The very nature of the workplace is changing. Companies want top talent to guide strategies that create both economic and social value. And most importantly, they want results quickly. A Strategic Marketing Officer (SMO) on demand can help.


A recent article in The Economist reported that, on average in 2020, employees worked 455 hours a year more than their contracted requirement. Unfortunately most of this time is spent in video calls or meetings or doing other mundane administrative or organizational tasks. In fact, The Economist goes on to estimate that “80% of the time of 80% of the attendees in meetings is wasted”.


Managing employees has always been a difficult task and today requires more than just a contractual agreement. To be competitive and have a competitive advantage in the market, companies need to be strategic (niche), fast and flexible, and today also “social”. Social in this case does not refer to one’s presence on social media, rather it’s a company’s commitment to social impact and their contribution to the community. More importantly, they need employees and staff that rise to the challenge.


To meet the demands of a fast-paced global market, staff-on-demand, or external experts and consultants, becomes key for organizations. Not only does it allow companies to enter into less risky contractual obligations with top talent, it allows them to continuously expand and diversify their strategic and creative network without losing “company culture”.


Let’s explore what this means and how it can be applied to marketing.



Strategic

Strategy is not a new concept for an organization, but the importance of a quality strategy is often overlooked. Many times, business and marketing plans get written (hopefully) but never fully executed usually for a lack of resources’ time or rapid market changes.


The concept of strategic thinking has also changed significantly. Whereas marketing plans were one time written for 1-2 year periods (or even more), today’s strategies need to be flexible and be designed to adapt quickly. A content, event or social media calendar could not be planned a year out today, even quarterly or monthly is difficult, because macro trends in economy, politics and nature are constantly affecting us.


How does marketing usually work in companies?

In large companies, there are usually teams, and resources are divided by experience and skills. There is a hierarchical organization chart where the Marketing Director or Manager is in charge of coordinating the team, and maybe in some cases setting strategy. The other resources spread themselves out through the operational tasks of content, digital and other areas of marketing.


In smaller companies there may just be one lone marketing figure responsible for both strategy and the day-to-day operations. In this case, strategy may still fall under the CEO who doesn’t have the time to dedicate thinking exclusively to marketing. In other cases, the marketing person falls under the “commercial” team and may respond to a sales manager.


But marketing is very complex today and these professionals are responsible for market segmentation strategies, lead generation and CRM management, inbound marketing funnels, marketing privacy regulations, product marketing and management and much more.


How can companies manage this workload?

Consider staff-on-demand solutions: imagine an experienced marketing consultant that can analyze the company’s marketing activities and market through an unbiased audit and then produce the strategy while following high level requirements like GDPR compliance and progress metrics leaving day-to-day execution to the employee(s). This marketing staff-on-demand doesn’t require an FTE contract but rather time and deliverables that can easily be augmented when needs arise.


Fast

This staff-on-demand approach also allows companies to be quick to market, respond to compliance or technology issues or adapt to marketing trends. Companies can call on these experts to lead ad hoc marketing campaigns maybe for the launch of a new product of service, run Sprint designs in the New Product Development Process, restyle or redesign communication strategies or even participate in compliance audits for privacy and information security.


The objective is fast response, but always being smart and strategic.


Social

Social Impact goes beyond Corporate Social Responsibility, but they are very much related. Staff-on-demand can assess your current Social Balance Scorecard and make strategic suggestions for implementing a social impact strategy.

Marketers tend to have the mindset of a social entrepreneur and technophilanthropist, and strategic marketing staff-on-demand can help companies develop a Massive Transformative Purpose (Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail) and the relative messaging.



What are the essential benefits of marketing staff-on-demand?


1. Avoid FTE contracts and wasted time by bringing on a strategic resource to set and monitor strategy

2. Saves time for the CEO or other CxO figures that need to also manage marketing strategy

3. Keeps ratio of workload/time in check without sacrificing company culture

4. Dedicate this strategic consultant exclusively to marketing strategy

5. Ability to quickly augment the demand for ad hoc needs like compliance, campaign launches or strategy changes

6. Social impact becomes a dedicated priority

Book References:

- Exponential Organizations by Salim Ismail

- Abundance: The future is better than you think by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler