by Amanda Fone
1. PR will not vanish from job specs! Despite some soul searching in 2014 there is still a strong demand for classic PRs or ‘story tellers’ as they are now called. PR has been one of the busiest areas of the marcomms mix for us in 2014 and this looks set to continue during 2015. More and more of our clients need accomplished story tellers across corporate comms and crisis, financial PR and stakeholder engagement, internal comms as well as consumer and brand PR. This applies across all sectors and specific sector expertise is becoming more important for in house and agency clients.
2. Speeding up at the Ad agencies. For decades now, Ad agencies have seemed to own the high ground around planning and creative processes for TV and integrated ad campaigns. These campaigns often take many months to execute. But client demand for ‘just in time’ responses means the speed that ad agencies need to work at will continue to accelerate. From months to weeks or days from briefing to execution and delivery. The creative and planning disciplines, that used to be wholly the domain of the traditional Ad agencies, are being transformed by the new world of the ‘mashed’ up creative comms agency. We will see creative talent graduating from university, shrugging its shoulders at the traditional Ad agency team hierarchy and choosing to join the ‘owned, earned and shared agency space’ to cut its teeth. As these agencies are muscling in on the ‘paid for‘ space anyway why not join the party early?
3. Datanomics and your team. Data, analytics, measurement and planning skills will continue to be in high demand across all agency environments, and for in-house marketing teams. The STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Economics and Maths) are important so make sure that your team has enough of this talent. The most sought after people are left brain thinkers that have right brain client servicing skills, i.e. people who can analyse information but also interpret it, make sense of it and present it to clients with marketing solutions and yes, great story telling. These people are like gold dust and not easy to find. Management consultants and market & data research professionals from all sectors, for example, will be in high demand. But you need to catch them before they have clocked up more than six years’ experience or they become far too expensive. Read The Rise of the Humans – how to outsmart the digital deluge – by Dave Coplin.
4. LinkedIn Fatigue will reach epidemic proportions and will result in the breakdown of the impact of LinkedIn on the jobs market. When people are bombarded day after day about ill-considered opportunities by in-house recruiters they just press delete – and so risk missing something that might be important to them. People (companies and individuals) tell us they miss having the informed middle person who can broker and manage introductions, communication and the interview process. Clients that resolutely told us they would not use us again for roles below AD and Manager level are coming back to us in their droves.
5. Candidate power. A defining trend of 2014 was the rise in candidate power and this will strengthen in 2015. Agencies that haven’t caught up with the phenomenon yet are still highly prescriptive about exact skills and attributes they would like to see in a candidate. They are still thinking as if it’s a buyers’ market but this market collapsed a couple of years ago. The market is now candidate led. Clients that haven’t faced this are surprised when it’s hard to meet their exact requirements or when candidates are counter offered or snapped up elsewhere.
6. Flexible working and remote working will become a reality. For NEW roles not just for existing roles. There has been much chewing of cud over this subject but now it’s on the agenda to stay. Candidate power is increasing and so is the speed at which women of a certain age and experience (and some men) are leaving the marcomms sector. The exodus is beyond companies’ control and now the market will be forced to consider employees who will only come to the office 2-3 days a week. These employees will happily work 4-5 days a week but want to work remotely for the 4th and 5th day. Read Business Reimagined by David Coplin to realise how our businesses are still stuck in Victorian times. Companies that re-invent themselves around the value their employees bring to their organisation and assess people on output not input will compete for the best global talent. 2015 will be a year when we face the fact that the starting pistol for change around how and where we work was fired several years ago.
7. New letters at the top. We’ll see more new players in the mashed up agency space, particularly those with a truly global footprint. These agencies will also woo people with in-house experience. We’ll see many, many, more Creative Directors within PR and integrated agencies and more Comms Marketing Directors rather than Marketing Comms Directors in-house.