Freelance platform Publicist facilitates one-on-one meetings with CMOs

The platform allows top marketers and comms execs to lend their expertise for a fee.

The past year of remote work has opened up the talent and mentorship pool.

For agencies, it’s meant people can tap into expertise from all around the world.

And for top marketers, the extra time from not having to commute to work or jet to client meetings has opened up opportunities to mentor others.

Publicist, a freelance platform for creative and marketing talent, started noticing an uptick in searches for on-demand expertise on its platform over the past year.

So on Tuesday, the company launched a separate but complementary platform called Operator to fill that distinct need.

“Our average contract length on the platform is four months, but we're seeing an immediate demand for that one-to-one video feedback,” said Lara Vandenberg, CEO of Publicist.

Operator works by facilitating on-demand meetings between a curated group of marketers and agencies, brands or other service providers.

So far, the platform has 100 mentors including Maryam Banikarim - CMO NextDoor; Anisha Raghavan, CMO of Walgreens; and Kieran Hannon, CMO of WellAir. Operator also has mentors outside of the CMO role, such as Erika Riggs, Chief DE&I Officer for Omnicom's specialty marketing group.

Each mentor has a vetted and curated profile on Operator that clearly describes their area of expertise and hourly rate. The profile links directly to their calendar, where platform users can see their availability and request to book a meeting. Mentors are free to reject a meeting if they don’t feel it fits their area of expertise.

Operator then sends out an invite to both parties using Twilio, keeping personal contact details secret.

“CMOs generally get inundated with requests for mentorship, or people wanting feedback or private equity firms asking for advice about companies,” Vandenberg said. “And COVID has allowed people to have more time and jump on the phone.”

So far, companies are using the platform to get advice before a big pitch, or to advise on communication strategies around investor relations or return-to-work post-COVID. Small startups can also tap into these experts to get advice on launching new products.

“They're making money from their time and monetizing people picking their brain,” Vandenberg said.

Operator makes money by taking a 10% commission from the experts’ hourly rate, which starts at $200. Experts can either keep the money or donate it to a charity of their choice.

“A lot of these experts get these [requests] inbound as is,” Vandenberg said. “This is a resource to point out the people that are already trying to meet with them [and help them] book their meetings.”

Operator comes off the back of Publicist’s first year in the market, in which it grew its pool of freelancers to 4,000 vetted talent working with Fortune 1,000 brands including Amazon and other big tech companies.


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