At a glance:

The hybrid approach is all about identifying, hiring, and creating a happy mix between in-house and outsourced talent. The way things are progressing with the way we work, marketing leaders who want to attract and retain top talent need to adopt the hybrid approach to stay relevant and compete.

We all witnessed a historic move in the 2020 job market due to the Covid-19 pandemic, driving businesses to change faster and at a larger scale than ever before. 

No longer a trend, remote work, and outsourcing have become the norm in many companies.

Marketing leaders are under a lot of pressure to embrace digital, do more with less, and accelerate results. Those who were once reluctant to the idea had to adapt. That said, a lot of CFOs and CEOs are now going from skeptics to believers, with some companies even rolling out plans within a week. For example, the University of Sussex in the UK (whose on-site campus closed when the pandemic hit) fast-forwarded a five-year digital transformation strategy and got 22,000 people working remotely in a week. 

To make the best out of the new reality and deliver results, marketing leaders need to redefine priorities and rethink talent sourcing. This is where open talent comes in, as a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled, rapid-cycle way of doing business. When done right, open talent provides more opportunities for companies and employees and fosters diversity. It also helps organizations better manage costs and accelerate results by effectively managing insourced vs. outsourced workforce. 

The hybrid talent model isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; there are lots of ways to structure flexible teams. Evaluate the strengths and pitfalls of each to understand what is best for your needs.

The pitfalls of insourcing

Believe it or not, no marketing organization can produce everything in-house. Here’s what happens when a brand tries to do too much in-house:

  • The Echo Chamber

When there’s no diversity, the brand suffers. Diverse talent brings in unique skill sets that can improve the performance of an entire team. Want to serve and work with a diverse customer base? Unlock talent pools in other locations and create an organization of diverse identities, expertise, and backgrounds.

  • Standing Still

Business is evolving faster than ever, and so are the demands on marketing teams. To remain relevant, marketers must learn and grow alongside their customers. The riskiest thing a marketer can do is nothing

  • Misused FTE Budget

Although marketing leaders often make a case for insourcing, headcount tends to be finite in every planning cycle. Marketers need to do more with less, and fractional, outsourced talent can bring faster results at a lower cost—an opportunity missed with a model solely based on FTEs.

  • Agility Loss

Large, bloated marketing organizations move slowly and don’t like change, failing to deliver on new business priorities. Hybrid models can bring in top-shelf marketing talent on short notice and quickly pivot to meet shifting demands.

The strong case for open talent

Brands have unique talent needs and this is where an open, flexible talent model can help an organization thrive. Sometimes it’s all about speed to market; other times, a deeper understanding of the business is needed to crack an idea. In any case, a fresh perspective and a new set of skills mean businesses are one step further to delivering high-quality work in less time.


Overall, companies that embrace open talent are more cost-efficient in talent and can reduce large fixed costs, which makes them more competitive. A hybrid approach of insourcing and outsourcing helps marketing organizations improve their creative output, better manage their cost structure and get to market faster than the competition.

What the hybrid approach looks like

  1. The in-house team

In-house marketing teams should function as the strategic heart of the organization. That doesn’t mean they need to execute everything, but they should be involved at the highest level. The key to this is having marketing leaders who can seamlessly switch between leading the internal team and inspiring external agencies, partners, and freelancers.

  1. Flex staffing

The amount and type of work that needs to get done changes throughout the year. Even if the marketing team does a great job planning (and sticking to the plan), they will still cycle between planning, ideation, execution, and optimization. As priorities keep evolving, establish a way to alternate the efforts of an in-house team with those of reliable, external talent to help meet changing needs.

  1. Marketing consultants

Your organization can cut back on costs by having an in-house team working together with a team of specialized marketing consultants. These are thought leaders who reached a point in their career when it doesn’t make sense for them to work at an agency anymore because they can make more money freelancing. Many enjoy the freedom of contracting or are starting their own businesses. They are top strategic, creative, technical, or operational talent, eager to do great work and they don’t come with the additional cost of ‘agency of record’ agreements. 

  1. Thought partners

A growing number of specialists can add massive value to your business, often in marketing innovation spaces. For example, the rise of growth marketing goes hand-in-hand with measuring the performance of marketing organizations against revenue. Rather than hire the skills to execute in-house, businesses can achieve more cost-effective results by partnering with vendors specializing in Search, Website Development, MarTech adoption, etc.

  1. Production partners

Once an idea has landed (internally or with a partner), we need to create assets to support the vision. Previously, agencies used to manage this process, but with a hybrid approach, brands can pivot these tasks to cheaper production partners while managing the process (and therefore, costs) internally.

The future (and present) of work

Going fully digital comes with the benefit of having access to top-tier talent. By expanding the search focus worldwide, companies see not only an increase in quality of expertise but also the quality of work. With remote work and open talent here to stay, rushing people to the office seems expensive and inconvenient, whereas the hybrid approach is delivering great benefits for both employees and employers.

Talent platforms are creating better ways to staff teams and projects, enabling businesses to fill talent gaps, deliver cost efficiencies and innovate at scale. Those that fully leverage open talent will gain a competitive advantage by bringing in better ideas, faster execution, and stronger results. The best way to remain competitive is to build and maintain a strategic talent pipeline now. 

With Communo, finding vetted, specialized and skilled talent has never been more accessible. Communo helps businesses grow their revenue asap, not months from now by hiring the right talent to deliver projects on brand, time, and within budget. 

The hybrid model, in short, helps hiring teams focus on what’s most important: become more agile and streamline the hiring process by building a sustainable talent-led organization.

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