KUALA LUMPUR: More and more businesses are coming to the realisation that a new breed of freelance ‘marketing professionals’ are just winging it when it comes to ideating, developing and executing marketing plans.
“It’s tiring and counterproductive. We try to give upstarts, freelancers and lesser-know agencies a chance. And they end up delivering utter nonsense,” said Alzan, a disgruntled SME business owner, while repositioning his mask after a nose-scratch.
A quick research online revealed hundreds, if not thousands of agencies and freelancers offering all kinds of marketing services; including social media management, strategic work, SEO, web design and content development, among others.
Social media platforms seem to be inundated with these so-called professionals’ sponsored posts and ads. Just one search for the term ‘marketing consultant’ in Facebook resulted in a constant stream of targeted ads. Our newsfeed is virtually infected, like a bad case of chlamydia that will not go away.
“It’s sickening! A few months ago, I hired a marketing consultant and paid the asking deposit. A couple of weeks later we have a meeting expecting a well-thought-through plan. But he just showed up for the free coffee,” lamented Gina, a former brand manager.
“I threw the coffee in his face. And now he is nowhere to be found, the deposit included”. Gina has since quit her job due to the stress and is now the spokesperson for Flying Coffee, giving talks on the art of throwing coffee.
Such occurrences have diminished the confidence of businesses towards marketing professional for hire, especially those that promote themselves in social media.
Most businesses have become wary about click-bait type ads that claim to do marketing wonders and guarantee uptick in sales.
These ads promise so much, but often only deliver a fraction and even that not within a reasonable timeframe. The expectation and reality are so far apart that they must be learning from our politicians.
“Anyone with a MacBook Air and free Wifi can claim to be a marketer these days”, quipped James while sipping on his coffee, presumably thrown to him by Gina. Nice catch, James!
“Back in the day, there was a prerequisite that someone work their way up in an ad agency before going out on their own. But now, it’s just one Udemy course for less than RM100, and you can become a digital marketing consultant”.
Continuing his rant, James added, “Agency-experience is an important asset for a marketing service provider to possess. This is where adherence to fundamentals, quality and timelines are honed. Enthusiasm and willingness, while laudable, will not bring you far”.
James who has been a freelance marketing consultant for over a decade is also frustrated that a handful of self-proclaimed marketing experts out there spoiling the market.
“A lot of us freelancers and consultants out there do good work, under the radar to very appreciative clients. But because of the mushrooming of inept marketing professionals hawking their services aggressively, those of us who are legit get a bad rep as well”.
James advised clients to not be fooled by the ‘Winging It’ generation. “Please do your homework before hiring. Check their credentials and ask the right questions”.
“You wouldn’t go to a mechanic that learned the trade doing online courses, would you?”.
All names in this fake editorial have been changed to protect frayed identities. And no one has chlamydia in case you’re wondering.