Job search brands like Upwork and Fiverr increase marketing

Go beyond word-of-mouth marketing

In the past, Not Working, which counts brands like Apple, Google and Airbnb as its top clients, has relied primarily on word of mouth to expand its platform to 1,000 high-profile, job-ready creatives including animation directors, photographers and painters. Employers pay annual or monthly membership fees to gain access to the talent pool in Working Not Working. This year, Gignac said, the company is focusing on expanding its talent pool, and that means doing marketing for the first time. It will launch its first marketing campaign, a short film that will be shown on digital channels such as YouTube.

“We’ve been talking about our brand for a long time — and now we have the opportunities and we feel an obligation,” Gignac said.

Waters left Instagram for Upwork earlier this month because she saw an opportunity to grow the 20-year-old brand beyond her low awareness at a time when talent markets were all the rage. Upwork, which has a strong internal team working with outside agencies, first launched a nationwide campaign in November. The “The Perfect Fit” film series focused on how Upwork is solving talent gaps for companies. It’s the latest in what Waters expects to be a major marketing investment this year – particularly at a time when revenue is also increasing. In the most recent quarter, Upwork reported a 32% increase in revenue to $128.1 million.

“We’re going to be inclined towards marketing,” she said, noting that Upwork is rolling out new product lines as well. “Because we have a single-number awareness, we have such an opportunity — a lot of room to grow not only in how people think and consider us, but also for people who know and love us to be able to introduce them to our portfolio of products.”

Fiverr, a public company that started in Israel, has continued to pump more into the marketing space since it became mainstream last year with its first Super Bowl ad. Although the company has no plans for the 2022 game, it is “investing heavily” in marketing such as television, according to Duncan Bird, vice president of brand and digital marketing.

The 2021 Super Bowl positioned Fiverr as a resource for small businesses by comically referring to the Four Seasons Total Landscaping company used in Rudy Giuliani’s famous press conference during the 2020 presidential election. Bird said the ad “exceeded expectations,” especially because Fiverr ran a social media campaign in conjunction with Big Game. The announcement was followed by a campaign called “Something from Nothing”, which shows how people can follow their dreams into reality. This month, it’s expanding that campaign to include outdoor advertising, including digital and hand-drawn ads in New York City. Fiverr also experiments with influencer marketing and podcasting.

“We always try to experiment with our marketing and make sure we learn — that’s one of our great skills as a company, that we just don’t find something and we keep repeating it,” Bird said, noting that the majority of marketing is done internally. “We want to be the spoiled child because that’s how we work.”

So far, the strategy is paying off. Fiverr reported third-quarter revenue of $74.3 million, a 42% increase over the same period last year. The company reported fourth-quarter earnings in February.

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