The pandemic has changed the way we work — and not just where we work.

And for highly technical marketers, that means new opportunities…

If you know where to find them.

Whether you’re a marketer looking for these opportunities or a company offering them, my guest today knows the best place to look — because she founded it.

Today I’m speaking with Susan Marshall, Founder and Board Member at Torchlite, who shares everything you need to know about the Upwork for highly technical marketers.

Specialization is key

Susan: Since the pandemic began, we have had incredible demand for freelancers and we have extremely talented people joining our network who have been let go from agencies or from their jobs.

A lot of customers are struggling and they need help, but they can’t hire a full time person. We have those people for them.

It’s a terrible time for the world but our marketplace is really providing some relief.

And for marketers interested, I will say: Specialization is key right now.

Specialization is key right now. Get really good at a specific vertical, understand that market, and broadcast your skills.”

Also, there’s a need for last mile training.

You’ve got to understand the technology.

Even if you’re an executive who manages a team, understand how the technology works, especially if you want to communicate well to people who are trying to execute your vision.

I see a lot of executives who have lost touch with that.

You have these younger millennials who are looking at their bosses like, “Yeah, you want me to do this, but you don’t even know how it works.”

The executives need to understand how the tech works.

And the technologists, who are coming in need to have that last mile training. So they need to understand how the technology works, but they also need to know how to make it relevant to a specific customer and a specific industry.

The top 5 in-demand skills freelance marketers need


  1. Marketing automation: In the Salesforce world, they call it journey building. There are lots of tools that enable you to do that.
  1. AI & Analytics: Often, a company makes an investment in a specific technology, and then they go, “Oh, I gotta find somebody who can do it.”

Or they go through this whole RFP process, they buy their tools, and then the person who was supposed to operate it leaves, so they’re stuck. And that’s why a marketplace like mine is really valuable.

  1. Strategy: there are lots of great marketers out there, but it’s hard to find a really good strategists who can help you think:

“Okay, now that I have the tools in place, how best should I communicate with customers? What sort of content makes the most sense that will really resonate with my particular customers?”

These strategies also include things like persona development and helping companies get really focused on who it is they’re trying to talk to.

  1. Content: You’ve got to have the technical skills around marketing, automation, artificial intelligence, strategy, but we still have a lot of demand for content creation — you need to be able to write in a way that’s super compelling.
  1. Data: Data is essential for companies to get a 360 degree view of their customers, but often it’s all over the place. It’s a strategist who can come in and say:

“You have 10 different marketing automation tools, you don’t need all these. Your data is all over the place. Let me help you leverage the tools that you have in order to execute your vision.”

“Use your marketing skills to figure out where the demand is. If you’re a great marketer, be smart about the market that you’re trying to enter.”

Talk to your customers

Susan: So many people who are on the frontlines, interacting directly with customers have so much knowledge that they can share with an executive team.

I’ve always said, the most important thing you can do is know your customers and interact with your customers.

Talk to your customers; don’t just wait for a report to show up on your desk and read that and try to analyze that.”

Get them on the phone, hear their story, hear their struggles — that’s going to impact how you make decisions in a big big way and make it make you a better marketer and make for a better company.

Because we’re marketing to them, we need to understand them. We need to understand why they’re buying, how they feel about things, what their challenges are and we need to stop talking about it in such an abstract way.

So, my challenge is: Get out of your box.

This is gonna sound crazy, but maybe it has nothing to do with marketing — go and expand your mind in other ways.

We’re marketers: what we do is we connect with other people.

And I think the more we broaden our own experiences, learn new things and interact with the world, the better we are as marketers.