In-housing or agencies? Meet your new marketing team solution: the Flex Team

Marketing in 2021 is always-on. A customer journey across 50+ channels that changes all the time. Today’s marketing world offers so many options. Just starting with a S there is already Search, Snapchat, SEA, Sprinklr, Salesforce, Segmentation to name a few. 

Understanding where and how to play, and getting it done right is the key challenge for marketing leaders. Channels, martech and customer expectations have changed faster than marketing organizations.

Is your marketing team in danger?

Let’s do a quick check-in. Is your marketing team struggling to…….

  1. …attract the right skills? 
  2. ….experiment? 
  3. ….get it all done?

If you answer YES to even one question, we got something new for you. 

Your team has changed 

What is the positive effect for you from working at home since March 2020? 

When I ask my peers they like: flexibility, more time to think, and more control over how, when and where to work. Some moved from the city to the country. We all shift working hours. Our teams manage their own tasks without oversight. 

I think this is a great development. More transparency, effective communication, better collaboration, time to think and visibility with tools like Slack, Trello and ZOOM. Less need for meetings. More output. 

Are you going back to the office full-time? 50% in the office and 50% WFH seems to be the post-Covid19 norm. 

This new way of working is great for marketers. Honestly much needed. Our world is changing so rapidly. 

In-housing all marketing skills or outsourcing to agencies requires big budgets. Most companies don’t have that. But even if you do, how do you get the right specialist skills, speed and fresh thinking you need in today’s marketing? 

The economy is volatile. A new lockdown can happen again. As marketers, we need to operate more nimble and flexible.

How are you planning to future proof your marketing team? 

Rethink your concept of a team 

We are now used to working remotely and online. Location based boundaries to finding great team members are no longer there. Platform based working is rapidly becoming the norm. Organizations understand they need a flexible model in times of rapid change. 

So what is a team? A group of people working together towards a common goal. I challenge you to not limit your idea of a team to your employees only. 

In many organizations non-employees like freelancers or interim managers lead strategic programs. Why? They bring specialist skills, fresh ideas and tons of experience. They need excellent references and happy clients to grow their freelance careers, so they operate as entrepreneurs. Wouldn’t you like your employees to work like that? 

A marketing team needs fluidity. You need space to try new strategies and learn fast. You need motivated people that understand specific channels and tools. You don’t need them on your pay-roll, or in a multi-year agency retainer. 

I build blended teams of employees and flexible freelancers of global brands, combining the best of both. What is your learning building high-performing teams? 

How big brand marketing teams work

I host a podcast about marketing, strategy and innovation called HelloMasters. Very popular in the Netherlands 🙂

Most guests are CMO’s at big brands who built in-house marketing teams, like, TUI, L’Oreal, and Albert Heijn.

In-house marketing teams mostly look like this:

In-housing your marketing team is a strategic transformation that takes time, big budgets and a multi year effort to get it right. 

In-housing is not easy. Finding and hiring top marketing talent takes time and can be expensive. You need a top brand to attract top talent. Employee contracts are fixed. In our fast changing marketing world in-house teams are better suited to work on strategic matters leaving execution to experts who are wired to work independently. 

Marketing agencies are fragmenting into many specialist shops. In-house marketers often spent the majority of their time managing up to 5 agencies simultaneously. I’ve heard many stories and have plenty of experience myself how time-consuming, complex and expensive it can be to manage marketing this way. 

So what to do when you want to win in the fast changing marketing world?   

Meet Flex Team! But what the heck is a Flex Team?

Flex Team: a flexible group of top freelancers added to your marketing team. You keep your strategic team in-house: think of strategy, customer journey and data. You add flexible skills to your layer when needed. 

Flex teams are great for ongoing marketing operations like content creation, social media, performance marketing. It’s also good for audits or when you need a squad of complementary skills for specific projects. Experiment more and try new channels like Podcasting or Tiktok in no-time. No need to hire new employees or get into a contract with a big agency for experiments. 

Let me give you a real world example: social media.  Yes, you can hire a full time social media manager but this person needs to create strategies, produce content, run campaigns and manage communities, often across 3-5 channels. They need to know the latest on how it works (and trust me, these channels change a lot!) 

With a flex team for social media you can work for instance with an Instagram expert, vlogger, LinkedIn social selling expert, Facebook Ad manager and 10 other specialists. Each specialist works on specific channels. You agree on output for a set hours per week. They work directly with your in-house team. A much leaner way of working than agencies with direct communication, no middle managers, only people that fit your brand and culture.

This example of a social media flex team includes 4 part-time specialists that operate for the same budget as a 1 FTE social media manager on your payroll. More bang for your budget and flexibility. 

This is how your marketing organization could look like with a flex team:

High tech. High touch. 

Another great benefit of a flex team is quality vetting and industry matching.  Unlike recruiters, we are marketers so our “BS detector” can quickly validate real world experience and culture fit. We started to build our community two years ago and know the intentions and ambitions of our members. 

Brand affinity and industry experience makes good marketers great. At agencies you are limited to their employees. With a community of 250+ people we can introduce you to two people for every skill. All you need to do is to meet and make the ultimate decision on fit.  

Next up is a flex team kick-off, help with onboarding, we provide marketing quality assurance and personal check-ins with freelancers and clients. 

Are you a big believer in transparency? So are we! Meet our happiness tracker. Every two weeks your flex and in-house team get invited for a 30 sec online check in. We share team scores on collaboration, speed and output.  If scores vary we get involved to make sure the team continues to operate well. 

Do you like fresh ideas? Our community of top 10% freelancers are ahead of the curve. They bring the latest tools and hacks for better collaboration. Just use our community tools on the HelloMaaS platform to ask your flex team for fresh ideas! 

So, in a nutshell: why you need a Flex Team

Are you interested in…..

  1. executing faster
  2. managing your marketing operations smartly 
  3. boosting know-how of your in-house team 
  4. managing your P&L more efficiently 
  5. de-risking marketing experiments

Just imagine how you can delegate, experiment and grow with a flex team that is agile, affordable, and reliable.  

I invite you to find out. I invite you to consider a Flex Team

If you like to pick my brain, feel free to schedule a call. 

Looking forward to your feedback,
Louise Doorn
Former CMO now founder/CEO HelloMaaS