The American economy is shifting even as it recovers from the global disruption brought about by the pandemic. The people whose labor fuels that economy seem to be behaving in unprecedented ways.

A brief skim through the business press or watching a half hour of CNBC programming indicates clearly that something unusual is happening.

A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September 2021, as job openings remained elevated, and the pace of hiring slowed with businesses struggling to staff up.

Employers had 10.4 million unfilled positions at the end of September, slightly down from a record of 11.1 million in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics… but challenging expectations that job openings would decline.

The “quits” rate, or the rate at which people voluntarily leave their jobs, climbed to an all-time high of 3 percent in September. This metric is considered a gauge of workers’ confidence in the labor market as well as their ability to find a new job.

While coverage of worker shortages in the service economy get most of the press coverage, 2021’s Great Resignation involves a lot more people than waiters, line cooks and grocery store clerks.

Whether it’s working parents leaving the workforce to care for their kids or Kellogg’sJohn Deere and Kaiser Permanente workers going on strike, the American labor landscape is in flux.

CEO surveys released recently by Blackstone and Deloitte state clearly that a tightening labor market is a rising concern across the board.

Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO of Deloitte US, said of their survey findings: “Expectations for business growth remain strong, as investments in digital transformation and innovation continue to drive a positive economic outlook. Attracting and retaining talent in a tight labor market has ascended to the top of CEOs’ list of strategic priorities…

The ongoing shifts of the US labor force hit home recently in an unusual way. A large, industry-leading company reached out to us to inquire about our marketing services. That in itself isn’t unusual, but what was unusual was their motivation. This global leader reached out to us because it is having difficulty staffing its in-house marketing department.

We suspect pretty strongly that this firm isn’t alone in its struggles to keep an in-house department fully staffed. 

Reduce your overhead

It’s expensive to maintain an in-house marketing team. From HR and recruitment, to training and benefits, now more than ever it’s a lengthy process to find — and retain — qualified people.

Say, for example, you have a big trade show in three months, and you’ll need all hands on deck. As you get ready for the show, other mission critical work comes to a virtual standstill as everybody pitches in.

So, what do you do about all of the work that’s not getting attention? Outsourcing the trade show strategy and planning leaves your regular staff free to keep doing the tasks you hired them to accomplish in the first place.

Preparing for a new product launch, producing a catalog, and managing your social media accounts are all examples of time- and energy-consuming projects that pull your marketing staff away from the important job of supporting sales.

Outsourcing these kinds of projects can be less expensive in the long run than having in-house staff do them. An outside agency — especially one with building products experience — will have accomplished these sorts of campaigns before and will be able to get up-to-speed and on schedule faster… and with less stress.

Support your team

Everyone on your in-house team has different strengths. Depending on where your business is headed, your needs will vary year to year. Some years require foundational work. Some years call for strong strategic thinkers. And some years lean heavily on people who can execute tasks competently.

But not everybody’s a good strategist. 

And some people are great strategists but not so proficient at execution. And so on. An agency has people who are experts at all of that. And who can become key support members of your team… helping you achieve your marketing goals.

Leverage industry expertise

Marketing agencies, by definition, live and breathe marketing. It’s their job to stay on top of the most up-to-date tactics, technologies and trends. The key to any successful marketing plan is to keep it fresh and regularly evaluate results.

An outside agency is able not only to develop high-impact programs and compelling content but also effectively track the impact of those campaigns. After doing the legwork to monitor engagement and collect feedback, an agency can then provide statistics that lead to actionable insights… ensuring that the valuable marketing dollars you spend are maximized.

Ensure consistency

Many organizations offer their employees the opportunity for growth within the corporate structure. Their career path may include sales, R&D, product development, operations and marketing. While this is great for retaining your employees, it can be disruptive.

When it comes to marketing, working with the right agency provides the consistency that may get missed when staff get shuffled from department to department. The right agency can be that ongoing presence that keeps strategies on track when you are short staffed or overextended.

Keep your eye on the big picture

Many times, you know your company so well that you may not be able to watch the bigger picture… because you’re too caught up in your day-to-day responsibilities. It’s easy to get too intimately involved with your brand. And, sometimes, it’s difficult to separate emotions in order to view it the way a customer does.

It can be eye opening and rewarding to have an outside agency take a look at your brand strategy… and offer new and innovative ideas you haven’t yet thought of.

Fresh eyes truly can bring clarity. 

An experienced outsourced marketing team can focus on your business and provide a new perspective to help move your marketing planning and execution to the next level.

However the winds of the Great Resignation blow over your organization, the team at Kleber & Associates is here. If you’re looking to fill out your bench or just get a fresh perspective, send an e-mail to Steve Kleber at to get the conversation started.