Survey Says Creative Pros Can Seek Higher Starting Salaries

A new survey by The Creative Group suggests that talented creative professionals who accept an initial job offer may be leaving money on the table. More than six in 10 (63 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they are at least somewhat willing to negotiate compensation when extending a job offer to a top candidate.  Only 28 percent of respondents said they are not.


The national survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives from agencies with 20 or more employees.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, “When extending a job offer to a top candidate, how willing are you to negotiate compensation?” Their responses:

  • Very willing:  23%
  • Somewhat willing: 40%
  •  Not very willing:  14%
  •  Not at all willing: 14%
  •  Don’t know/no answer: 9%

“Job seekers often have more leverage than they realize when negotiating a starting salary,” said Donna Farrugia , executive director of The Creative Group. “Businesses that have gone through the process of selecting a top candidate are motivated to hire that person, even if they have to sweeten the deal.”

Farrugia warned, however, that salary negotiation conversations are delicate and can easily go off track. She said, “Applicants who thoroughly prepare are more likely to have positive outcomes.”

Common Mistakes in Salary Negotiations

The Creative Group offers five common salary negotiation mistakes and how to avoid them:

Showing up unprepared. Enter negotiations with a solid understanding of current salary trends for your position and location. Review compensation sources, such as The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide, to ensure you have realistic expectations.

Playing games. Tactics such as misleading a prospective employer about your current salary or other job offers in an effort to obtain higher pay almost always backfire. It’s better to be honest about your situation.

Making it all about you. Don’t base your request for a larger starting salary on the fact that you want a new car or bigger down payment for a home. You’ll make a much more compelling argument by talking about the value you can bring to the organization.

Viewing money as the only object. Salary is just one part of the equation; a generous benefits package or opportunities to learn and grow with the company may compensate for a lower starting salary. Look at the full picture when evaluating a job offer.

Drawing a line in the sand. Giving ultimatums too early in the process may cause negotiations to fall apart. Instead, look for common ground and avoid taking an adversarial stance. How you conduct yourself during the negotiation process sets the tone for employment with the firm, and you want to start on the right foot.


The Creative Group

The Creative Group 2013 Salary Guide


Reduction in Reporting Affects Public Use of News Media

While content marketing and self-publishing are creating new opportunities for trained journalists, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what is happening to “traditional” news reporting. Could all of the diffierent forms of content being produced by associations, corporations, and special-interest groups actually be replacing old-school news-reporting in terms of how we get our news? It’s an important question, particularly to any writer considering journalism as a career.

PewNewsMediaThe Pew Research Center’s “2013 State of the News Media” report notes that the continued erosion of reporting resources in newsrooms has converged with growing opportunities for newsmakers to their messages directly to the public. And while 60 percent of the public is unaware of the financial reasons for the cutbacks in reporting, 31 percent of Pew survey respondents say they have stopped turning to a potential news outlet because it no longer provides the news they were accustomed to getting.

Here are some other statistics from the report:

Newspapers: Employment in the newspaper industry is down by 30 percent since its peak in 2000, and below 40,000 employees for the first time since 1978.

Local TV: On local TV news, the amount of coverage of government issues has been cut in half and sports, weather, and traffic now account for 40 percent of the content.

Cable News: On cable news channels, interviews and opinions have replaced coverage of live events and breaking news. The coverage of live events during the day (which requires a correspondent and a crew) fell 30 percent from 2007 to 2012.  Interview segments were up 31 percent.. CNN was the only one of the big-three cable news channels to produce more straight reporting than commentary. On Fox News, opinion accounted for 55 percent of the newshole. On MSNBC, commentary filled a full 85 percent of the days studied in the research.

News Magazines: All of the major news magazines saw declining audiences in 2012. Although subscriptions remained relatively stable, newsstand sales of news magazines fell 16 percent on average.

Radio News: Athough listening to content seems to be as popular as ever, the amount of news has become a smaller piece of the piece on the broader array of platforms now available for listening to content. The report notes that many of the streaming options do not even include the top-of-the-hour news headlines that air on most AM/FM stations.

Word of Mouth: According to the report, many people (72%) get most of their news from friends and family via word of mouth. Of these, 15 percent get news from family and friends through social media sites. Nearly 25 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds get news from friends and family on social media. Two-thirds of Americans say they will seek out a full news story after hearing about an event or issue from friends or family.

Digital News Consumption

In 2012, the total traffic to the top 25 online news sites increased 7.2 percent, according to ComScore. According to Pew Research data, 39 percent of respondents in 2012 got news online or from a mobile device “yesterday,”  up from 34 percent in 2010.

The number of people using smartphones and tablets to read news has risen. Some 31 percent of adults owneed a tablet computer as of 2013–almost four times as many in 2011. As of December 2102, about 45 percent of American adults owned a smartphone, up from 35 percent in May, 2011. Accessing news is one of the most popular uses for the devices. Fully 65 percent of tablet owners said they get news on their devices weekly; 37 percent said they did so daily. The trend was similar with smartphone users: 62 percent said they consume news of the device weekly; 36 percent do so daily.

The Impact of These Changes

“There are all sorts of contributors to the evolving landscape of news, and in many ways, more opportunities for citizens to access information,” says Amy Mitchell, acting director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. “But there are more signs than ever that the reduced reporting power in the news industry is having an effect, and may weaken both the industry’s capacity to produce in-depth journalism and its credibility with the public at the same time that others are gaining more voice.”

Cutbacks in the news industry means that media outlets are unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones, or question information that is put into their hands.

At the same time, newsmakers are more adept at using digital technology and social media to put information into the public arena without any filter by the traditional media.

In 2012, Pew Research Center analysts confirmed that many campaign reporters were acting primarily as “megaphones” rather than investigators of the assertions put forth by the candidates and other political partisans. At the same time, the campaigns also found more ways than ever to connect directly with citizens.

The Pew Reseach Report notes that while traditional newsrooms have shrunk, other new players are producing content that might advance citizens’ knowledge about public issues. As examples, they cite Kaiser Health News published by The Kaiser Family Foundation and support by the American Institute of Physics. Some news outlets have started carrying this content, with direct attribution of the source.

Pew analysts note that “For news organizations, distinguishing between high-quality information of public value and agenda-driven news has become an increasingly complicated task, made no easier in an era of economic churn.”


The State of the News Media 2013: The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism

Overview Infographic: The State of the News Media 2013

Enterprise-Class 3D Printers Will Be Available for Under $2,000 by 2016

Successful creative professionals can discern what types of technology skills might be most in demand in the next few years by reading reports from technology research firms. For example, designers should pay attention to what’s happening with 3D printing.

Analysts at the Gartner technology advisory service are urging enterprises to start experimenting now with 3D printing technology to improve traditional product design and prototyping, with the potential to create new product lines and markets.

In a report entitled “How 3D Printing Disrupts Business and Creates New Opportunities,” they point out that 3D printing is already disrupting the design, prototyping and manufacturing processes in a wide range of industries and will soon become available to consumers via kiosks or print-shop-style services.

“3D printing is a technology accelerating to mainstream adoption,” said Pete Basiliere, research director at Gartner. “It is a technology of great interest to the general media, with demonstrations on science shows, on gadget websites and in other areas. From descriptions of exciting current uses in medical, manufacturing and other industries to futuristic ideas — such as using 3D printers on asteroids and the moon to create parts for spacecraft and lunar bases — the hype leads many people to think the technology is some years away when it is available now and is affordable to most enterprises.”

Broad Acceptance of 3D Printers

The material science behind 3D printing processes and materials will continue to progress, and affordable 3D printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services. As a result, the 3D printer market will continue moving from niche adoption to broad acceptance, driven by lower printer prices, the potential for cost and time savings, greater capabilities, and improved performance that drives benefits and markets.

Businesses can use 3D printing to design personalized products, components, working prototypes and architectural models to promote their brand and products in new and interactive ways. Indeed, there are opportunities to create entirely new product lines in which the finished 3D-printed product is what the consumer purchases.

3D printers are now priced so that any size business can invest in them and start experimenting with the myriad ways to monetize them. By 2016, enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for under $2,000. Early adopters can experiment with 3D printers with minimal risk of capital or time, possibly gaining an advantage in product design and time to market over their competition, as well as understanding the realistic material costs and time to build parts.

Furthermore, enterprise uses for 3D printers have expanded as capabilities of 3D scanners and design tools have advanced, and as the commercial and open-source development of additional design software tools has made 3D printing more practical. Gartner believes that the commercial market for 3D print applications will continue expanding into architectural, engineering, geospatial and medical uses, as well as short-run manufacturing.

“Businesses must continuously monitor advances to identify where improvements can be leveraged,” said Mr. Basiliere. “We see 3D printing as a tool for empowerment, already enabling life-changing parts and products to be built in struggling countries, helping rebuild crisis-hit areas and leading to the democratization of manufacturing.”

3D printing is already established in industries ranging from automotive manufacturing to consumer goods to the military, as well as the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Major multinational retailers have the means to market the technology to consumers and generate revenue by selling printers and supplies, as well as from sales of individual 3D-printed pieces. One vision is for the retailers to not only sell the printers, but also offer a service bureau that prints custom items or personalized variations on stock items, a key consumer trend.

Another possibility is for roving display vans to visit the retailer’s stores. Customers would visit these self-contained vans parked in front of the store that contain two or three operating printers and watch parts being made (including possibly their own personalized 3D item).

Alternatively, the consumer could order the custom or personalized part to be made while they are shopping, or to be available for pickup the next day.

Models of chains, gears, wheels, and even a dinosaur are made at the touch of a button on the using the Dimension 1200es 3D printer at Braintree Printing in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Models of chains, gears, wheels, and even a dinosaur are made at the touch of a button on the using the Dimension 1200es 3D printer at Braintree Printing in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Braintree Printing Adds 3D Printing Capabilities

When I read about reports by marketing analysts, I look for evidence that some of their predictions are coming to pass in the real world. On my Great Output blog, I recently published a news item about Braintree Printing, a 30-year-old commercial printing company that has recently purchased a 3D printing device. They will be using the device to enable customers to  convert  digital files supplied by customers into physical 3D objects, such as prototypes, customized parts, and architectural
and medical models.


Gartner Report: How 3D Printing Disrupts Business and Creates New Opportunities

About Gartner


Great Output: Offset Printing Business Adds 3D Printing Services

Learn How 3D Printing May Affect Art, Design, and Business


Survey Shows How Photographers Plan to Grow Their Businesses in 2013

Photographers_Outlook_on_2013PHOTOGRAPHERS. PhotoShelter recently published the results of a “2013 outlook” survey they conducted in November, 2012.  The report “The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013” offers an in-depth look at photographers’ top business and marketing goals, investment plans, and revenue expectations for 2013. It also talks about some of their anticipated challenges.

The 46-question survey was sent to photographers who use PhotoShelter products as well as members of the photography community at large who receive PhotoShelter’s monthly newsletter.

Over 5,000 photographers responded to the survey. Sixty-nine percent live in the United States; 35 percent live outside the U.S. The respondents included full-time professionals (34 percent), part-time professionals (31 percent), aspiring pros (23 percent), hobbyists (10 percent) and students (2 percent).

Key Findings

Although 74 percent of the respondents said their top business challenge was finding new clients, many feel encouraged about their business prospects and plan to dedicate time and resources to marketing, solidifying their online presence, and growing their bottom lines.

Revenue and Spending

  • 93 percent plan to invest to improve their photography
  • 69 percent expect to make most of their revenue from new clients
  • 74 percent say finding new clients will be their biggest challenge


  • 54 percent say word-of-mouth referrals are the greatest marketing channel for finding new clients
  • 68 percent will focus on social media to market their work
  • 73 percent will use Facebook to promote their photo business

Business Tools and Planning

  • 90 percent plan to improve their websites
  • 76 percent will use Google Analytics to track and improve their website
  • 79 percent plan to attend more network and industry events

Along with the survey results, the report includes business-growth tips and resources on marketing, business strategy, and revenue-building.

About PhotoShelter

PhotoShelter offers professional, reliable and innovative online tools for growing a photography business. PhotoShelter’s websites, social, and SEO tools enable photographers to show their work online and attract new clients. Online image archives help photographers stay organized and access images on the fly. Image delivery and e-commerce tools help photographers sell their work easily and securely.

The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013 joins PhotoShelter’s ongoing series of free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals. PhotoShelter’s e-book library includes 25+ educational guides including topics such as social media, email marketing, and starting a photography business.



The Photographer’s Outlook on 2013

PhotoShelter’s E-Book Library

About PhotoShelter

Conference Panel to Discuss How Art and Design Thinking Drive Innovation

SXSW-EDUA panel discussion at the 2013 SXSWedu (South by Southwest E-D-U) Conference will explore how art and design can drive innovation by deepening the value of technological advances and enhancing the processes of scientific learning. The session, entitled “STEM to STEAM: Full Circle from Education to Economy,” will be moderated by Rhode Island School of Design President John Maeda. The panel will explain why STEAM (adding the Arts to the national imperative around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is gaining significant momentum as a pathway to economic competitiveness. They will talk about:

  • How (and why) art and design is poised to transform our economy in the 21st century, just as science and technology did in the last century
  • How art and design methods can be introduced into STEM curriculums, making science and discovery “visible” and relatable
  • Programs that are successfully implementing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) practices for developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to build for 21st century careers.
  • Examples of how technology is being used in the classroom to enable the creative process

Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, Senior Vice President of Education and Research, Sesame Workshop;
  • Jon Perera, Vice President, Adobe Education;
  • Matt Goldman, Co-founder, Blue Man Group and Blue School;
  • Ainissa Ramirez, Science Evangelist, Yale University.

The panelists will stress the importance of arts integration, noting that the STEAM acronym provides a visual reminder to include the Arts in a range of disciplines throughout primary and secondary education.

“Twenty-first Century innovation depends on the problem solving, risk-taking and iteration that is natural to the way artists and designers think,” said RISD President John Maeda. “Creative thinking is required to solve the complex challenges of the day, and to communicate, energize, and engage students of all ages in this learning. Sustaining arts education in its own right remains critically important. But equally important is taking a page from schools that have been successful at integrating the arts into STEM curriculums.”

Adobe Vice President of Worldwide Education Marketing Jon Perera agrees, positing that “STEAM plays a critical role in positively shaping the future of education. Tech tools are not means to themselves; their value is directly tied to what they can and should enable – creativity and innovation.”

Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice President of Education & Research Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D. thinks it’s never too early to start: “As STEM topics continue to be a critical component of early childhood education, it is important to allow children to explore these concepts through various channels, especially the arts. Incorporating the arts into our STEM curriculum was an exciting and natural addition, as Sesame Street has always used music, visual and performing arts as tools to educate and entertain children.”

“The issues of the future need creative solutions that teaching by memorization will not solve. Schools must create a space for creativity so that students can develop this muscle.” said Ainissa Ramirez, science evangelist and associate professor of mechanical engineering at Yale University.

STEAM is a movement championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In addition to encouraging the integration of art and design thinking into science, technology, engineering, and math research and K-12 education, the STEAM movement wants to influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.




Rhode Island School of Design

Predictions from Various Marketing Communications Experts

Are we all about to be buried under a deluge of content-marketing crap? Maybe. That prediction seemed credible as I read through dozens of the marketing predictions, trends, forecasts that were posted at the end of 2012.

In my opinion, freelance providers of writing, photography, videography, or design services should pay attention to marketing-communications trends simply because so many clients expect us to.  It’s particularly enlightening to search out insights, statistics, and forecasts from multiple sources with different points of view. The more you read, the more you see how the backgrounds and business biases of different sources affect what they are predicting.

Some trends that were mentioned repeatedly for 2013 included the continued growth of content marketing, visual communications, automated marketing software, and “big data.” Plus, now that so many of us repeatedly consult our smartphones everywhere we go, companies will focus on using mobile marketing in a more strategic and integrated way.

Below are a few specific trends and ideas that might help you identify where new opportunities for freelance services might arise this year.

 From IDG Enterprise

IDG Enterprise is a communications company that serves the information needs of the IT and security-focused audiences that read Computerworld, Infoworld, Network World, CIO, and other IDG brands. In 2012, they conducted a survey with the 30,000+ members of the B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn. The survey findings are based on the 740 responses they received over the three-week survey period. The report is entitled “B2B Content Marketing Trends.”

  • Content marketing is expanding dramatically in terms of tactics, forms, and volume of content; 84 percent of marketers say they plan to increase content production over the next 12 months. This includes 30 percent who plan to significantly increase content production.
  • Infographics is the fastest-growing format used by the IDG survey respondents, rising from 28 percent in 2011 to 43 percent in the 2012 study.
  • About one in three companies relies on external agencies and freelancers to create content.
  • The most outsourced form of content production is videos (33 percent), followed by white papers/e-books (32 percent) and case studies (26 percent).

From the Content Marketing Institute

Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is a leading content marketing and education organization that teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. In August, 2012, they teamed up with up with the MarketingProfs online community to electronically mail a survey to a sample of B2B marketers who are members or subscribers of MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute. The survey findings are based on responses from 1416 North American companies.  These statistics come from the report entitled “B2B Content Marketing: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: North America.”

  • More than half (54 percent) of B2B marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months. This includes 9 percent who say they will significantly increase their spending.
  • On average, 44 percent of companies outsource B2B content creation. B2B marketers still use a combination of insourcing and outsourcing to create content, but they are outsourcing it less frequently. The number of B2B marketers creating content in-house has risen by 18 percentage points.
  • Producing enough content is the number-one challenge faced by B2B content marketers (64 percent), followed by producing the kind of content that engages (52 percent) and producing a variety of content (45 percent).
  • The use of video is rising. From 2011 to 2012, the number of companies using videos as part of their content marketing programs jumped from 52 percent to 70 percent.

From Hubspot

20-Marketing-Trends-and-PredictionsHubspot sells all-in-one marketing software designed to make it easier for companies to get found online, convert leads into customers, and measure and analyze the results. They are masters at content marketing and have produced dozens of immensely helpful e-books and blog posts about website design, e-mail marketing, SEO, and how to get the most from various social-media networks.

These three trends were featured in Hubspot’s e-book “20 Marketing Trends and Predictions for 2013 and Beyond” by Jessica Meher.

  • Real-time marketing is in. Marketers will move away from short-lived, themed “campaigns” and use more real-time events and triggers based on inbound marketing activity. According to best-selling author David Meerman Scott, “In 2013, buyers instantly engage with brands on their websites, talk back via social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and follow breaking news in the markets in which they are interested.” As a marketer, “Success comes from engaging your buyers when they’re ready—not when it’s convenient for you.”
  • Content crowdsourcing will grow. Now that marketers have used social media platforms to build networks of fans and followers, Hubspot believes that marketers will leverage crowd creativity to build interesting and viral pieces of content.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words. So that we all can absorb more information in less time, communications will continue to become more visual and less text-based. A lot of the content developed in 2013 will include infographics, photos, picture boards, and video.

From CEB Blog

The CEB (Corporate Executive Board) is a business advisory group that combines the best practices of thousands of member companies with advanced research methodologies and “human capital analytics” to equip senior leaders and their teams with actionable solutions for transforming operations.

In a blog post entitled “10 Marketing Trends for 2013 You Haven’t Heard,” managing director Patrick Spenner made these predictions:

  • Content marketing will experience a sophomore-year slump. “The shine will come off content marketing in some circles. Not because it inherently lacks merit, but because there will be execution problems.” He suggests that jump-on-the-bandwagon adopters of content marketing may lack some of the factors needed to make content-marketing successful: mandate, resources, energy, and savvy.
  • Countless, limp branded social efforts will be abandoned, countless more will be launched: Spenner contends that many brands and products don’t need a Facebook page, YouTube channel or LinkedIn group and many brand social executions have become lifeless zombies.

From Velocity Partners

Velocity Partners is a U.K.-based B2B content-marketing agency. On Slideshare, they published a presentation entitled: “Crap: Why the Single Biggest Threat to Content Marketing is Content Marketing.”

They predict that the growth of content marketing means that “We’re all about to be buried in crap” including:

  • “Me-too” blog posts
  • Three-sentence ideas pumped up into 36-page e-books
  • Video interviews that might as well be subtitled  “yadda-yadda-yadda.”
  • Microsites full of the obvious disguised as the profound.

As we get deluged with crappy content, Velocity predicts that “the people we’re marketing to will start to raise their barriers again.” So, marketers will experience diminishing returns from their content marketing efforts. Velocity believes that “The winners in the Post-Deluge era will be the companies that build something precious.”



Here’s what I think: Anyone who opens e-newsletters or browses online news feeds can see how much repetitious, formulaic crap content is being produced. And yes, we are starting to tune a lot of it out.

Personally, I hope companies will think twice before churning out more cheaply produced content just for the sake of trying to generate “enough” content.  I admire agencies that are actively recruiting the most talented, tech-savvy creative pros they can find.

In 2013, I predict that the quality expectations for all forms of content will rise.  And, companies who aren’t afraid to innovate in the production of original, visually appealing, and useful content will succeed in getting noticed.

For proof, check out how the people are reacting to BMW’s amazing interactive “Window into the Near Future.”

Mega-Trend: Re-Imagining Everything for an Asset-Light Generation

In a widely shared presentation on Internet trends, Mary Meeker of the venture-capital firm KPCB (Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, & Byers) presented statistics about the global growth of the Internet and rapid adoption of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, and e-readers).  It’s worth reading, partly because the ideas contained here will help influence the thousands of entrepreneurs who dream of creating business plans worthy of receiving start-up funds from companies such as KPCB.

KPCB Internet Trends 2012 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Once you get past the first section with all of the basic stats, the next two sections can give you a much broader understanding of what the trends means and how they might affect your life and career. In Section 2 Meeker talks about the re-imagination of nearly everything. In Section 3 she discusses the rise of the “Asset-Light” generation and an economy based on sharing things instead of owning them.

Re-Imagining How We Live and Work

Meeker summarizes all of the things that entrepreneurs and technology providers have helped us “re-imagine” over the past couple of decades.

For example, when we do research, we no longer rely on printed encyclopedias that are updated annually. Instead, we turn to Wikipedia because it is updated in real-time. And instead of waiting for newspapers or TV shows to deliver news that has been gathered by reporters, we check our Twitter feeds for headlines that are being written and shared by people around the world.  Navigation technology has replaced the need for printed maps and the popular Evernote app has changed the way we take notes. Technology has changed how we shop, pay for things, recruit employees, read books, and preserve memories. We use Pinterest in place of scrapbooks.

Computers, too, have also been re-imagined. Soon, fewer of us will use keyboards and mice with laptop and desktop computers. Instead, many of us will rely almost exclusively on smartphones and tablets that respond to our touch and voice.

Areas currently in the midst of being “re-imagined” include education, healthcare, and employment:

  • People will be able to attend classes anytime and anywhere they choose;
  • Consumers can use technology to track and analyze data about their health and fitness;
  • Companies will hire fewer permanent staffers and rely more on temporary employees.

Education, healthcare, and staffing are ripe for re-imagining because billions of dollars could be saved by reducing some of the costs associated with delivering effective healthcare, providing high-quality education, and employing full-time workers.

Sharing Assets Instead of Owning Them

Meeker also talked about the rise in the “asset-light” era, in which people will focus less on acquiring more things and more on accessing what we want, when we want it. For example, instead of purchasing collections of physical books, magazines, music CDs, and movie DVDs, we will access digital content on-demand when we want it.

The biggest advantage of adopting an “asset-light” lifestyle is that it will require less time, space, and money than buying, storing, organizing, and maintaining collections of stuff.

Companies that use flexible staffing services will not only spend less on employee benefits, but also will spend less on building, furnishing, and maintaining offices.

How Creative Pros Are Affected

After you read through Meeker’s presentation, you will see how some of the news and posts on this blog provides concrete examples of the mega-trends she outlines.

For example, in her presentation, Meeker noted that Photography is one area that already has been re-imagined. Instead of toting around a dedicated camera and removing the film or card to process the images, more of us are using smartphones to capture, edit, and share photos instantly.

As it has become easier for photography enthusiasts to shoot better pictures and sell them, many professional photographers have “re-imagined” their own businesses to serve other fields that are being re-imagined, including art, communications, publishing, and marketing.  (See: Guide Suggests Ways to Rethink Your Photography Business for the New Economy and New App Helps You Sell iPhone Images at Stock Photos and Photographer Uses Aurasma to Bring Still Photos to Life)

Art. In previous posts on this blog, I have written about new ways for collectors to view, buy and display art. Meeker’s comments about the asset-light generation made me wonder how technology is going to affect the next generation of art collectors.

Will art lovers from the asset-light generation prefer to “rent” art instead of buy it? (See post: Subscription Art Service Benefits Art Lovers and Artists). Will they buy displays on which they can digitally display works that they store in the clouds (See: Collect Limited-Edition Art in Digital Form and Digital Canvas and Other Advanced Displays at Miami Art and Design Shows and Art2p0 Enables Artists to Sell Work for Digital Display)

It’s too soon to tell how quickly some of these ideas will take hold, and how these trends will affect opportunities for artists.

Publishing. The re-imagination of books and magazines for publication on mobile devices has disrupted the traditional publishing business. It has also required authors, designers, and photographers to re-evaluate what skills and services they should develop.

Since book authors are already expected to build their own platforms for gaining name recognition needed to sell their books, traditional publishers shouldn’t be surprised that many authors may choose to self publish their work first, either as an e-book or on-demand printed book. (See: Digital Book World Conference Looks at Business Challenges to Traditional Publishers)

But now that books are being “re-imagined” for multimedia and/or transmedia formats, the role of publishers and editors will change too. Traditional publishing companies will not only be responsible for editing the written content and designing covers, but orchestrating the production of video and audio elements as well.  (See: Publishing Enhanced Novels May Require Teams of Writers, Artists, and Musicians)

Design.  Meeker’s presentation talks about how product design has been re-imagined. Instead of using in-house R&D teams to design products in secret, companies are turning to open, crowdsourced design, collaborative design, online broadcast of product evaluation, and 3D Printed Prototypes. The rationale behind this trend is described in detail in Chris Anderson’s book: “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.”  (See: Will 2013 Be the Year of the Makers?)

A survey on the website revealed mixed feelings about the practice of crowdsourcing design. (See: What Do You Think About Crowdsourced Design?)

Creative Solopreneurs. In her presentation, Meeker notes that instead of hiring full-time fixed-cost employees, companies will use online staffing services such as oDesk, Freelancer, onForce to employ people on-demand. While it’s easy to understand why this trend might appeal to employers, the rethinking of “jobs” can also benefit creative solopreneurs.

As discussed in previous posts on this blog, the rise of the independent workforce enables you to earn income from projects that genuinely excite you while retaining enough time and freedom to pursue personal projects. (See: New World of Work Requires Attitude Shift and Freelancers Can Thrive in New Era of Indpendent Workers and Fast Company’s Career Advice for Generation Flux)

As Chris Anderson points out in his book “Makers,” everyone can be an entrepreneur. Thanks to the rise of the Internet and mobile devices, we all have easy access to the tools to design new products, fund new ventures, and market what we create. Plus, with the Internet, every new company instantly has access to a global market.

Some entrepreneurial owners of printing businesses and photo labs have already re-imagined their own businesses in a way that makes it easier for creative professionals to sell their art, photography, and designs to global audiences. These types of services provide printing, marketing, and fulfillment support to creative pros who don’t want to worry about marketing their products or developing or managing their own e-commerce websites. (See: Specialty Printing Sparks Opportunities for Creative Entrepreneurs and VivoPrint Enables Designers and Photographers to Sell Customized Products Online and Thumbtack Press Helps Artists Reach New Collectors )


As a writer, photographer, designer, or artist, it can sometimes seem as if your field is the only one in which the traditional ways of selling your work are being disrupted. Meeker’s presentation can help you see why it’s pointless to gripe about changes such as crowdsourced design or super-low-cost article writing.

In her presentation, Meeker notes that many areas of our lives will continue to be re-imagined. She believes that “The magnitude of upcoming change will be stunning.” Because of the Internet and changes in the global economy, fearless (and connected) entrepreneurs can take advantage of low start-up costs, innovative productivity tools, distributed work, and the ability reach millions of new users in record times. She also envisions consumers having beautiful, relevant, personalized, and curated content.

Meeker believes the Internet will continue to make it easier for consumers to get what they want when they want it, while making it easier for crafty and flexible people to make money.


Slideshare Presentation: 2012 Internet Trends by Mary Meeker, KPCB