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Virtual events on the hunt for freelance tech talent

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With demand for virtual events rising, a new report reveals more than half of marketing directors are facing a technical skills shortage, leading them to outsource services.

Brand experience agency, FIRST, has published a report, Tracking Trends and Predicting the Future of the Experiential Market, by, that shows that with 55% of marketing directors across the UK and US are experiencing a shortage of technical skills. Some 90% are now gearing up to outsource crucial expertise in a race to achieve the competitive advantages tech offers.

The biggest problem facing the sector is access to the right technology resources and talent, meaning many organisations may struggle to compete in delivering meaningful experiences for attendees.

With face-to-face sessions relying on high-resolution displays, data capture, and management software, marketeers’ growing reliance on digital to deliver the best brand experiences has led to staffing limitations and the need to invest heavily in new tech. Data shows more than a third (39%) of marketing directors are prioritising this investment to help deliver virtual experiences.

While 41 % of marketing directors are considering hiring digital specialists, 90 % will outsource some or all their brand experience function – either by retaining an agency or expert freelancers or by establishing an embedded agency-within model.

Indeed, three quarters (78%) have already farmed out more of their experiential portfolio over the last year, with over a third (37%) planning to make staff members redundant.

Megan Henshall, Google Global Events Strategic Solutions Lead, identifies digital as a key area of focus for the organisation as it looks to outsource its skills pool. Traditionally self-reliant, the Global Events Team is now working with sources outside the organisation to secure the skills needed post-pandemic, moving to an agency-within model for the first time recently.

We’re all the better for reaching out for more collaboration externally. Across the board, we no longer work in silos and with capabilities now integrated, there is community and connection, which are vital for any events operation.

People can readily swap ideas and knowledge and call upon the support of others in managing the new market realities shaped by Covid.

Megan Henshall, Google Global Events Strategic Solutions Lead

The report also found that many of the world’s leading marketeers are keen to update their data collection processes as they navigate the transition from in-person experiences to data-rich online ones.

What skills are in demand?

One in three (35%) marketeers flagged up data and analytics as a top priority, with a lack of data collection and analysis capabilities at online events the biggest blocker for 11% during the pandemic.

Jennifer Kauf, Senior Vice President Creative Strategy & Brand Marketing at FIRST, said: “Our report shows that the experiential industry is becoming ever more complex and competitive. Integration and delivery of content across every viable platform is key, but with so many channels available, the challenge is knowing how your end-user likes to receive it and when they like to.

“There is no one size fits all solution, which is why the growing tendency among those who oversee the brand experience function to enlist outsourced expertise is no surprise. A partnership relationship with a seasoned provider that has built its name on staying ahead of the trends is an increasingly attractive prospect, whether this involves establishing a scalable embedded agency-within or simply benefiting from outside consulting,” said Kauf.

Who’s hiring in virtual events?

FIRST Agency

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