Why Hybrid Marketing Teams Are Better for Everyone

In November 2021, a record 4.5 million people participated in the Great Resignation and quit their jobs. Experts can debate all day about what’s driving this trend, but a big part of it has to do with evolving feelings about work. More than ever before, people are leaving full-time jobs in favor of gig work and contract opportunities because they want more freedom, more work-life balance, and more control over how, when, and where they work. And, according to a survey we conducted in 2021, nearly 40% of people who have turned to freelancing and gig work are not interested in returning to traditional full-time job settings. With no end to this trend in sight, leaders are becoming more willing to build hybrid teams that leverage both full-time employees and freelance subject matter experts. As a marketing leader, are you ready to say goodbye to the traditional team structure and hello to a new modern approach? If you’re still not fully convinced, here are 6 reasons why hybrid marketing teams are better for everyone:

1. Hybrid Teams Allow for Greater Access to Top Talent

In the past when you built a marketing team, the talent pool you had access to was limited based on things like location, budget, availability, and loyalty. If you wanted the best, sometimes you had to convince someone to leave a role, company, or city that they loved. But when you choose to build a hybrid marketing team, you don’t face the same kind of limitations when bringing talented people into the fold. You can get nearly instant access to top-performers across the full spectrum of marketing by simply being open to the idea that not everyone on your team needs to be a full-time employee.

2. Hybrid Teams Make it Easier to Scale Up and Down Quickly

Bringing freelancers into the fold can also make it easier to scale your marketing team up and down quickly depending on needs and priorities. Here’s an example: say you’ve been testing Facebook advertising on a small scale and decide you want to double-down this quarter. The problem is, you don’t have time to manage it yourself and you don’t have any subject matter experts on your team who can take the reins. What are your options? You can either waste time trying to recruit, hire, and onboard a full-time employee, or you can hire a freelancer and have them up and running in days rather than weeks. Let’s take the example one step further: say you get to the end of the quarter and realize that advertising on Facebook isn’t actually profitable for your business right now. Now consider your options: if you opted to hire a full-time employee, you have to decide if you’d rather shift them to another channel or role, or let them go. But if, on the other hand, you hired a freelancer, all you have to do in that situation is wrap up the engagement and go your separate ways. If you’re in that phase of growth where resources need to shift often, hiring freelancers can make it a lot easier for you and the rest of your team.

3. Hybrid Teams Are Less Expensive Than Hiring FTE-Only Teams

Hiring a full-time employee is expensive. So is replacing a full-time employee with another full-time employee. According to Glassdoor, the average company spends around $4,000 and 24 days hiring a full-time employee. Those numbers go up dramatically when you’re trying to hire a seasoned specialist. Some companies pay recruiting and placement firms as much as $16,000 per placement per year, according to Toggl. When you hire freelancers, you spend less time and money on things like recruiting, onboarding, training, and company swag. You also save money because you’re not having to provide the same benefits and perks that your full-time employees get. If you’re trying to keep costs down this year, building a hybrid team that leverages contractors might be the way to go.

4. Hybrid Teams Welcome More Creativity

When you choose to hire freelancers, you bring more unique experiences, perspectives, and expertise to your team. A team of FTEs can still bring a lot of experience and creativity to the team, but they are limited by the work they do for your organization alone. A freelance marketer, on the other hand, is typically working on multiple projects at once. This means that they could be running tests, learning best practices, and refining strategies for a handful of different clients all at the same time. Why should you care? Because they could have recent experience helping another business solve the exact problem you’re trying to solve.

5. Hybrid Teams Allow Everyone to Focus on What They do Best

What happens when an employee leaves your marketing team? You or someone else is forced to fill in the gaps and take ownership of responsibilities until the role can be filled. This takes you or another member of your team away from the work they were hired to do and the work they are best at doing, which isn’t always productive for your organization. By welcoming freelance marketers onto your team, you can give everyone the opportunity to focus on what they do best. Your FTEs can continue working on their initiatives, your freelancers can add value by leaning into their area of expertise, and you can get back to managing and enabling the team. If you want to create a more efficient, performance-driven team this year, think about going hybrid by adding expert freelancers into the mix.

6. Hybrid Teams Help Ensure Flexibility

By investing in a hybrid marketing team, you’re reiterating to everyone your commitment to continue building a flexible work environment. Now more than ever, people want to have ownership over when, where, and how they work. A desire for perks like free lunch, team happy hours, and ping pong tournaments has been replaced with a desire for more flexibility. Hiring freelancers will allow you and your team to continue embracing things like remote work, flexible schedules, and outcome-driven work beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, which can lead to a happier, more productive, and more loyal team. Final Thoughts The old way of hiring and managing a marketing team is dead. As a leader, the sooner you realize this and the sooner you act, the more likely you’ll be to grow and thrive in the year ahead.

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