The Australian workforce is in the midst of a freelancing revolution.
The promises of flexibility, operational ease, and control over decision-making have enticed many to step away from the traditional ‘nine to five’ model and go out on their own.
Social commentator Bernard Salt suggested that as many as 55,000 sole traders might have joined the Australian workforce in 2020, while data now shows Australia is now the home to 611,000 ‘micro businesses’ (businesses that employ one to four workers).
A recent report from The Freelance Jungle found that the number one reason people chose to freelance was to spend more time with their family (22.08 per cent), followed by the feeling of freedom (20.67 per cent).
And the media and marketing industry is no exception, with workers turning to freelancing/sole trading as a way to navigate the current market.
To reflect this shift in the workforce, the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) has updated its membership offering.
ADMA has recently launched the Data Driven Marketing Practitioner Membership [D2MP] sole marketing practitioner membership as a way to connect independent marketing professionals with the right knowledge, resources, skills and industry news that they need.
“ADMA has always been an association that supports the entire industry and we have noted the growth of contractors, freelancers, consultants and sole traders within the marketing profession,” said ADMA chief executive Andrea Martens.
“Our corporate membership model did not allow this sector to join our organisation, and we have now addressed this with our new D2MP membership.”
Martens also suggested that the freelancing revolution was well underway prior to the pandemic.
“It’s easy to say that the pandemic forced us all to become more flexible, but we were moving towards that way of working, coronavirus has just sped it up. Many people realised the ability they had to multitask, work on their own and motivate themselves,” she said.
“We’ve also seen that our industry has had an increase in individual marketers consulting as they can provide their unique skill set in a more cost-effective way to them. Many experienced marketers choose to leave large companies to work for themselves in order to increase flexibility while still focusing on their careers.”
Navigating freelance challenges
While many marketers have turned to freelancing for the sense of independence and freedom, it does not mean it is without its challenges.
Research shows that sole traders are struggling with a range of issues, including late payment, difficult clients, work insecurity, stigma, low-ball rates and pressure.
To add to this, freelancers/sole traders may not have the resources to effectively utilise every part of their business and are often competing with a number of other freelancers in the same industry.
Martens said the D2MP membership is all about providing support to independent marketers as they navigate various hurdles.
“Sole marketers will have the security that they will be able to deliver the best guidance to their clients. Membership will allow access to content regarding privacy and data and be secure in their business success with a foundation of the best practitioners sharing their knowledge,” she said.
“Membership also includes ADMA Data Pass training, ensuring that marketers are up to date with privacy and compliance issues. Displaying the membership badge will build confidence with clients and allow them to get the benefit of membership rates on ADMA education and events.”
According to Martens, a D2MP membership also serves as a way to safeguard marketers in the future.
“We have developed a highly engaging education program which is relevant to what we are all facing right now and what we can expect in the future,” she said.
“This allows sole traders to continually be ahead of the curve through their own education with an industry-led curriculum, delivered by industry experts. It also allows them to build their network and remain connected to the broader community – something we know sole traders sometimes feel disconnected from.”
D2MP sole marketing practitioner memberships in action
Craig Wallis was one of the early independent marketers to sign up for the D2MP membership, which he said allows him to stay connected with the industry while working independently.
“ADMA is and always has been the most relevant and aligned industry association in my 30-year career in data and direct marketing. There are other options for me as a sole trader, but none as relevant or connected to my core business as ADMA,” Wallis said.
“Becoming an ADMA D2MP member was a very easy choice for this reason. ADMA D2MP membership allows me, as a sole trader, to affordably remain connected as well as continue to enhance my skills and credentials, in our ever-developing industry.
“The ADMA D2MP membership will allow me new opportunities to connect and have conversations with like-minded marketing professionals.”
Sarah Ford from BlueFish Marketing is another marketer who was clued in to the benefits of becoming a D2MP member from early on.
Ford said the membership has allowed her to pass on knowledge and resources to her clients.
“As an independent marketing professional, I’m always looking for ways to add value to my clients and ensure that I’m fully informed of the latest industry developments,” she said.
“With ADMA’s D2MP membership, I have access to brilliant events, great courses and resources through one portal. These resources add a huge amount of value to me in terms of professional development, and represent great value to my business via discounted access to training courses and resources.”
Ford said the membership also enables her to better drive business results through a more informed data-driven approach and set clients, both big and small, up for future success.
“The ADMA digital badge gives my clients additional confidence to trust me as I lead advertising, digital marketing and e-commerce strategies for FMCG, B2B, small business and NFP clients across industries,” she said.
You can find out more about the new D2MP sole marketing practitioner membership here.
Featured image source: iStock/Drazen Zigic
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