If you’re a marketing technologist, or in martech in any manner, you probably have your fair share of “stupid questions” every day (yes, we know there aren’t technically any stupid questions—but you see where martech experts are coming from). In a niche that’s rarely understood and in an industry that’s changing at breakneck speed, it’s easy to see how everyone can get a bit lost. Even if you’re one of the old school martech professionals who basically created the industry, are you keeping pace with the latest technology?
Do you know today’s jargon from last week’s? Does it feel like you’re getting a bit left behind as brand new, freshly minted grads are vying to be your competition?
Understanding what martech is, where the industry stands and who the thought leaders are starts from the inside (kind of like inner beauty). It’s helpful that some unbiased third parties are “helping” with a slew of surveys and statistics, but do they really know what it’s like to be in the trenches?
In an effort to get things back on track and a little more in control, check out the marketing technologist poll of the day. Today’s question:
Is it better to freelance/contract or go after a permanent job?
There’s no one “correct” answer to this question. Just like many other industries, there are pros and cons to either approach. However, martech is a little different because there aren’t nearly as many full-time, regular, permanent positions out there compared to other careers. This makes those permanent jobs highly competitive, and the idea of scarcity can make them more appealing—even when they shouldn’t be. There are certainly instances when permanent might be better, but it all depends on the martech expert, their needs, and the available position. In other instances, freelancing (or outsourcing if you’re in the market to hire a martech pro) might be a better match for you.
Let’s take a look at both sides of this equation. As a permanent employee you’re, well, permanent. There’s some sense of stability there. You
might get some great benefits and stock options. Plus, as a leader in a niche field, you might be able to negotiate for a higher salary than you could swing on a regular basis as a freelancer. Some people really enjoy the security of a permanent position—but keep in mind it’s not what it used to be.
As a freelancer, you have even less stability in some regards. However, if you maintain more than one client, if you “lose” one due to budget cuts or anything else, you still have some income. It’s easier to negotiate, to end relationships, and to dabble in a variety of niches within your niche. You might enjoy more flexibility, and there’s a slightly better chance that you’ll be able to work in a virtual office or telecommute. Of course, you won’t get any benefits including healthcare. On the other hand, as a freelancer you can write off all of your healthcare premiums which can help even things out.
Which to Choose?
Only you can decide if being a permanent martech expert or a freelancer is right for you. Weigh the pros and cons, and write them down. Your preferences will likely change as your life situations does, but there are always strategies to move back and forth. If you’re new to the martech field, starting as a freelancer can be a better approach so you can test the waters before fully committing.
You’re part of a new type of industry, so tread carefully but still take risks. You have the opportunity to quickly climb the ranks to be an expert in the field, so use that leverage to your advantage. There’s only a small window before “everyone” is a martech guru.
Become a Mad Marketer columnist! Want to contribute your expertise to a growing audience of Marketing professionals? Become a writer, blogger or columnist for the Mad Marketer Web site. Contact us for details.