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Collaborating To Win Marketing: Faster, Cheaper, Better Creative
In just a few short years’ time, the collaborative economy has grown from novelty to formidable reality. In the collaborative economy, goods and services are shared and sourced through peer networks (usually via an online marketplace), and access trumps ownership.
Collaborative platforms have disrupted business models across nearly every industry, from hotels (AirBnB), to transportation (Lyft, Uber), to office space (Desktime, LiquidSpace), to personal assistants (TaskRabbit), to a company’s workforce itself (oDesk, Visually).
Venture capital firms have invested more than $2B in collaborative startups to date, and Crowd Companies founder and former industry analyst Jeremiah Owyang estimates that participation in the collaborative economy will double this year.
For marketing and design in particular, these new collaborative models offer many benefits — for clients as well as for creative professionals.
The first benefit is more efficient pricing. Just as renting a Zipcar on the few days you need to travel is significantly cheaper than owning car, accessing shared talent resources on-demand through a marketplace is typically cheaper than hiring an agency or maintaining full-time creative headcount internally. In fact, according to Mashable, 62% of marketers currently outsource content production to partners.
Talent marketplaces tend to be web-based, connecting clients and talent virtually. Accordingly, these enterprises have lower overhead — a cost savings that can be passed directly on to the client. Lower overhead means higher margins, even at reduced pricing.
Lower Costs For Creative Talent
What many people don’t realize, however, is that the creative talent working in marketplaces have lower costs, as well. Freelance designers who offer their services via marketplaces like oDesk, TaskRabbit, or Visually benefit from those platforms’ infrastructure and economies of scale — for example, they can post past work and current capabilities directly on the platform, eliminating the need to maintain a separate website. T he marketplace does the heavy lifting of sourcing clients.
Since collaborative enterprises generally take a smaller percentage of the revenue earned by their suppliers, that means creative professionals earn proportionately higher wages and take-home pay — all within a business model that offers lower prices, thereby generating greater client demand. Compensation-wise, it’s win-win for clients and creatives.
Production Time Is Reduced
In addition to more competitive pricing, collaborative creative enterprises can also offer faster production times. This is because in a marketplace, the talent pool is global and capacity is unlimited.
For comparison, if you and a colleague both have to go on a trip, but you only have access to a single car, one of you has to wait. Such is the nature of an in-house creative team or dedicated agency group; a queue of work and limited “capacity.” With marketplaces, multiple projects occur concurrently and virtual teams can assemble themselves across the globe, working continuously.
Access to a global talent pool isn’t just about outsourcing talent at competitive rates. It’s about sourcing the world’s best talent.
Year after year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the Oscars of global advertising, the winners aren’t from our backyard. They hail from the Philippines, from Brazil, from Korea — you name it. Strong talent comes from different parts of the world at any given moment.
Through scalable web-based platforms, collaborative enterprises grant clients access to talent they wouldn’t have had access to — let alone be able to source or contract independently.
Great ideas come from everywhere. Marketplaces let brands experiment with creative talent, continually sourcing fresh ideas and creative approaches from fresh pools of talent. While a brand working with a traditional agency is limited to the ideas generated by their account team, a marketplace model grants brands like Coke or IBM access to essentially unlimited creative account teams.
Independence Is Cool
Moreover, whereas in the past, the best creative talent joined the hottest agencies, today’s top talent is increasingly electing to work independently, often sourcing business through marketplaces.
According to a recent study by Intuit, by 2020, 40% of all Americans will be “contingent” workers — that is, permanent freelancers. As Jeremy Neuner, CEO of co-working community platform NextSpace, writes:
Being self-employed used to come with a social stigma; you were self-employed if you couldn’t get a “real job.” Work was inconsistent and so was the pay.
Today, the opportunities for contingent, project-based work are exploding, as is the development of tools that allow people to work independently across industries like software, design, marketing, [and] engineering.
Brands that join the collaborative economy and avail themselves of tools like creative marketplaces will enjoy a high supply of leading global talent, at rates and turnaround times that make them question why they ever tried to go it alone.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)
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