Advertising, Marketing & PR  June 22, 2021

PR, marketing firms grapple with talent acquisition, consolidating media landscape

BOULDER — As the economy breaks out of its COVID-19 doldrums, some Boulder Valley area marketing, advertising and public relations companies are busier than ever. 

But these local firms are finding it challenging to recruit qualified talent and are being forced to reckon with evolving demands from their employees, industry leaders said Tuesday during BizWest’s CEO Roundtable on Advertising & Marketing.

Clients who scaled back their advertising budgets are flooding the zone with projects as the economy thaws, which People Productions CEO Don Poe said is a good thing.

But “as [workloads] grow, it’s becoming more and more difficult” to keep up with staffing, MAPR CEO Doyle Albee said.

Too often, Communication Concepts PR & Advertising owner Stacy Cornay said, candidates don’t have “the experience and quality that we all need.”

As the media landscape shifts, advertising and marketing companies must devote more effort to recruiting staffers who are comfortable operating on emerging platforms such as TikTok, VOCO Creative managing partner Jennifer McGhee said. 

More and more, advertising agencies and marketing firms are turning to out-of-state candidates to fill roles, a transition to remote working that’s been accelerated by the pandemic.

“This is the future — people are going to be out of state,” said Vermilion CEO Bob Morehouse.

While the industry is adjusting to this remote-work future, new challenges are emerging as companies grapple with finding new ways to “reinforce our creative culture,” he said. “… When the meetings are all on a screen, we miss a lot of signals.”

Further complicating matters, some states’ regulatory environments are more friendly to remote workers than others, Avocet Communications CEO Lori Jones said.

With workers spread across the country, and potentially the globe, rather than just down the hall, “making sure expectations are really clear is a hard thing to do,” Room 214 co-founder James Clark said. 

In some instances, Boulder Valley area companies have had a head start in the transition to remote or hybrid work situations.

Clark said his firm began allowing remote working years ago when employees found it difficult to afford housing in Boulder. 

Similarly, MAPR has opened outposts in Denver and Fort Collins to accommodate employees who’d prefer to live in those communities. 

Because of the increased demand for talent, “candidates are more interested in [whether they] can grow with the company” than simply settling for any offer that comes their way, Parallel Path CEO John Kadlic said. 

The industry’s fight for talent is occurring in conjunction with the ongoing shrinkage and consolidation of print media. This phenomenon has lessened the number of outlets available to cover advertising firms’ clients.

Essenza CEO Pamela Stewart said her company is adjusting to the industry evolution by branching out into new services such as business coaching.

“We’re trying to stay nimble,” she said.

The industry’s current inflection point provides an opportunity for companies to “reimagine core values” and take a hard look at the projects and clients they devote their energy to supporting, Moxie Sozo CEO Evan Faber said.

BizWest CEO Roundtable sponsors were represented at Tuesday’s event by Jim Cowgill and Sean Nohavec of Plante Moran, and Ashley Cawthorn of Berg Hill Greenleaf Ruscitti. Bank of Colorado is also a sponsor of the Roundtable series.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

BOULDER — As the economy breaks out of its COVID-19 doldrums, some Boulder Valley area marketing, advertising and public relations companies are busier than ever. 

But these local firms are finding it challenging to recruit qualified talent and are being forced to reckon with evolving demands from their employees, industry leaders said Tuesday during BizWest’s CEO Roundtable on Advertising & Marketing.

Clients who scaled back their advertising budgets are flooding the zone with projects as the economy thaws, which People Productions CEO Don Poe said is a good thing.

But “as [workloads] grow, it’s becoming more and more difficult” to keep up with…

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