More and more businesses are finding that it’s increasingly difficult to hire talented marketing professionals on a full-time basis. What’s more, it’s not clear that paying the salary and benefits of a senior-level marketing executive is a requirement at all companies. A savvy marketing professional can work with a business on a part-time basis to set strategy and manage implementation of key programs as a consultant or CMO for Hire. The CMO for Hire may run marketing meetings, participate in strategic planning, weigh in on marketing decisions, and perhaps do some of the work on strategic initiatives, but on a part-time, not full-time, basis.
Many recent articles address this trend. Two I noticed in the past couple of years are The Rise of the Supertemp (HBR, May 2012) and The Disposable Worker (Businessweek, January 2010). The Businessweek article talks more about workers at all levels working on a temporary basis, whereas the Harvard Business Review article is about highly-successful workers who are much in demand as temps.Both articles attribute the increase in the trend of outsourcing work to temps to the Great Recession, facilitated by technology that allows us to work remotely. The HBR article goes on to mention the hunt for superior and specialized talent is a driver of the trend – that no longer can companies pay special talent for feet under the desk full-time, but only when the need arises.
I’m not saying that full-time CMOs just sit at their desks with little or nothing to do. For small to mid-size companies, non-profits and start-ups, a temporary or interim CMO can be a great and cost-effective solution.
As a CMO for Hire, of course I like the term “Supertemp” better than “Disposable Worker.” But, the fact remains, when the project ends or your business shifts, your interim worker is disposable. In my opinion, that’s the way it should be. Several years ago I attended a broadcast of one of author and consultant Tom Peter’s talks at Pepperdine University. In the talk Peters said (I am paraphrasing) that workers today should hang out with cool people, work together on a job or project, and then disband to go on to the next thing. I’ve never forgotten those words.
What do you think about interim workers? Disposable? Super? Both? Please comment below.