July 21, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The “Great Resignation” has been reported from nearly every major media publication. People are quitting their jobs post-Covid, looking for better pay, better benefits and more.
My team over at MarketerHire wondered if marketers, in particular, were planning on quitting. So, we sent out a survey to our 20,000+ newsletter readers, asking them two questions:
- Does marketing have a wave of resignations coming?
- Are you personally planning to quit your job?
And the results were telling: 78% of respondents said that marketing is about to see a great resignation, and 48% said that they are personally planning on quitting.
But why? To understand that, we need to look at some of the larger trends in the marketing industry.
The creator economy
The creator economy is booming, and a lot of marketers can make more money teaching others how to market than they can at a 9 to 5. They do this by putting together online courses and ebooks, producing podcasts, and then doing what they do best: marketing them.
For the same reasons journalists are jumping ship from media over to Substack, marketers find the creator economy and its easy-to-use tools appealing. Work your own hours, build your own audience, sell your own products.
Still, it’s rare to become a truly successful creator. According to The Harvard Business Review, the top 1% of creators earn 80% of creator income. On Patreon, only 2% of creators on the platform earn the federal minimum wage.
In order to make the creator economy work (i.e. pay well), a marketer needs to have built an audience. And a lot of them have. But marketers without audiences have options too.
The freelance economy
The freelance economy is also booming, and there, marketers don’t need a big audience to make two to three times their existing salary.
They just need to have deep channel expertise in email marketing, social media, SEO, content or any other marketing discipline. From there, they can join talent platforms like MarketerHire or The Mom Project.
These platforms are a far cry from Fiverr or UpWork. Instead, they fill more senior freelancers’ client pipelines and pre-vet clients for them, essentially serving as a sales arm for expert marketers who don’t want to spend all their time trying to get new clients.
It’s working. The highest paid marketer on the MarketerHire platform in 2020 earned more than $300,000. The year prior, in 2019, he made $90,000.
The remote work economy
As companies make the decision on whether they will allow remote work indefinitely, move to a hybrid model or force employees to come back to the office, a lot of marketers are choosing to stick with the schedule and routine they’ve become accustomed to. That is, a lot of marketers prefer to stay remote –– and that’s not all.
Many marketers are choosing freelance and flexibility over a full-time job. Some, according to our survey, now see freelance as the more stable option. “The pandemic made me realize that I’d have even more security by freelancing full-time,” one survey respondent told MarketerHire. “If an employer decides to lay me off at a full-time job, my entire livelihood is stripped away.”
This shift has thrown the supply and demand of the marketing industry off balance. The marketers who are willing to go full-time are looking for more benefits from companies. Remote work is one of them, and higher pay, of course, but the four-day work week is on the rise too.
Flexible work isn’t the future. It’s the present.
What are entrepreneurs in need of marketing help supposed to do? Well, they can hire expert freelancers, for one. But most organizations will need at least one marketer in house to help project manage, report on metrics and more.
The key is offering a flexible work environment that puts an employee’s preferences center stage.
“Over the past year, no area has undergone more rapid transformation than the way we work,” says Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft. “Employee expectations are changing, and we will need to define productivity much more broadly — inclusive of collaboration, learning, and wellbeing to drive career advancement for every worker…All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where, and how people work.”
Flexibility isn’t new for entrepreneurs, but applying it to hiring practices for the marketing organization may be. Focus on what you can do to build a hybrid team, with only a few in-house marketers and a larger freelance team to help them get everything over the line.
After all, this shift in marketing employment means that some of the best marketers are available hourly within the freelance economy and that you can partner with marketing influencers within the creator economy to grow brand awareness.
Every new shift can be an advantage, and entrepreneurs are best suited to reap the rewards.