Over the past decade, the sharing economy’s effects have rippled through the ridesharing, hospitality, payment services, insurance, and even banking industries. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the new trends and attitudes popularized by sharing services have begun to reshape traditional practices and dynamics in the advertising industry.
The sharing economy has created a variety of popular peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces where individuals can monetize their special skills, homes, or vehicles. Services like TaskRabbit and Fiverr offer anyone with an internet connection or a smartphone the ability to earn money by completing basic tasks for other users. Some have argued that the sharing economy has also given rise to the freelance economy, where individuals can earn a living through gig work facilitated by such P2P platforms.
Flexible work schedules, short or nonexistent commutes, and greater overall control over work-life balance have popularized the freelance lifestyle in the advertising industry. Major brands or agencies who need temporary workers can find some of the best creative talent in freelance collectives like Working Not Working.
When talented creatives can work for blue-chip brands from their neighborhood coffee shop, why would they sign a contract with a large agency?
A New Kind of Creative Agency
Founded in 2016, Toronto-based No Fixed Address operates with a sharing platform-inspired agency structure. Founders Dave Lafond and Serge Rancourt realized that they needed to compete with the flexible lifestyle offered by freelance work in order to attract the best creative talent. Consequently, No Fixed Address makes few demands of its employees: unrestricted vacation time, no limits on work location or hours, and less rigid compensation plans. Their leaner operating model and low overhead allows them to spend 70% of revenue on their staff, in contrast to an average of 50% for traditionally structured agencies.
P2P Behavior between Advertisers and Marketers
Some marketers and advertising agencies voluntarily offer their proprietary, first-party data in exchange for access to other marketers’ first-party data, which effectively cuts out third-party data vendors. According to a March 2015 Emarketer survey, 11% of marketers already participate in such data coops. Data sharing gives marketers access to information about entirely new groups of consumers. Participants may even find new audiences for their products and are then able to diversify their brand’s customer base by targeting their marketing efforts to these individuals.
Over the next decade, trends toward freelance-competitive agency structure and cooperation between firms may take place in even the oldest and most traditional advertising agencies and brands.