Are You Properly Forecasting Your Freelance Marketing Budget?

3 min read
Sam Nedimyer
Sam Nedimyer, Manager, Digital Content
August 05, 2019
Are You Properly Forecasting Your Freelance Marketing Budget?
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The scope of marketing is vast and ever changing. SEM, SEO, content, video, AI, email, digital advertising, offline marketing, market research, CRM/database specialists -- the level of complexity and specialization across the field is boundless.

To further complicate things, shifting technology landscapes can ensure that last year’s tactics and skill sets no longer apply. And in this whirlwind pace of change, resource and capacity constraints continue to stretch your marketing teams thin.

In response, firms are supercharging their marketing teams by tapping into today’s prolific freelance market. Even so, one problem remains persistent: executives lack visibility into non-employee spend and management as they forecast their freelancer head counts and budgets.

Here’s the kicker. According to Ardent Partners, nearly 60% of all contingent/freelance labor is unaccounted for in financial planning, forecasting, and budgeting within the average company. That’s what we call the dreaded “Rogue Spend.

You Can’t Forecast Blind

Human capital costs are a vast chunk of operating expenses, nearly 70% according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Human Capital Management (HCM) technology has been built on the foundation of giving insight into every dollar invested in traditional human capital. Makes sense because if you can measure it, you can control it and forecast it.

But existing HCM technology fails to address the booming freelance labor segment - all those freelance creatives, marketers, and content developers that power your business. With the sheer size and growth of these freelancers, no executive should be driving blind when it comes to managing and forecasting spend.

Using an independent workforce traditionally entails a lot of manual data entry and spreadsheets to manage (and forecast) their 10-99 labor costs. Even for businesses utilizing some sort of specialized software (an accounting package, a CRM or a home-grown system), the ability to manage and track every dollar spent on contingent labor has been incredibly challenging and leaves inevitable gaps in process. Those gaps can lead to the all-dreaded “rogue spend” (there’s that word again) that further complicates any accurate forecasting efforts.

Getting the Full Picture on Freelance Spend

Fortunately, there’s a new class of technology emerging designed to help executives and their marketing teams better manage and report on their growing freelance workforce. Known as Freelance Management Systems (FMS), this cloud-based technology allows firms to find, manage and pay their freelance marketing pros all from one dashboard.

At its core, FMS technology allows businesses to consolidate every aspect of their freelance workforce under one roof. More importantly, this software arms executives with a powerful analytics engine they can use to better track, manage, and project current costs alongside ongoing budgets.

How much did you spend on freelance vs. full time copywriters last year? How much more do you need to spend on freelance designers next year? Are you tracking and receiving real-life metrics and reports on your freelance writers? What months did you have the biggest freelance labor outlay? Executive-level dashboards in an FMS provide quick answers to those questions. Not to mention insights into every aspect of your company’s freelance activity.

The marketing landscape is more competitive and specialized than ever before. By arming organizations with the systems, processes, and data to manage a skilled bench of on-demand designers, copywriters and more at scale, executives can finally forecast, budget, and plan their freelance consultant strategy.

Learn more about Freelance Management Systems in this free guide.