If you don’t know what a digital nomad is, let me enlighten you.
The official party line is a person who works online in various places around the world rather than in a fixed business location. However, a more accurate description is a privileged, laptop-owning person moving to ‘cheaper’ countries to take advantage of being able to afford a higher quality of life.
It’s a ‘lifestyle’ that can certainly be problematic however one approaches it (gentrification, anyone?). And, seeing as I’m writing this blog from my very cheap apartment in Guadalajara, Mexico, I’m entirely aware that I’m part of the problem. I’m sure that as two part-time digital nomads Holly and I will delve into this in greater detail another time. Today, however, I’d like to talk about the phenomenon known as Digital Bromads. More specifically, why you should avoid working with any creative digital marketing agency that’s being run by one.
Beware the Digital Marketing Bromads
As you may have ascertained from the dazzlingly clever name, a Digital Bromad is a nomad who’s also a bit bro-ish. You know the type: he’s the dude with the MacBook Pro talking loudly about himself in your favourite cafe. He’s wearing a nipple-revealing vest with Thai beer branding and using terms like ‘killing it’ and ‘five-figure months’. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about you must not have been to a cafe in Medellin, Colombia, or any other bromad hub.
Tech.co and many others have already written brilliant articles on the topic of bromads. So, I won’t bang on about why I think the majority of them should have their passports confiscated for their global campaign of toxic masculinity. Instead, I’m going to take up the next five minutes of your day talking about the impact that bromads are having on the digital marketing industry.
Oh and this post is in no way about male digital nomads or male digital marketers. I’m talking specifically about bromads. We regularly collaborate with male marketers, and male creatives make up a large percentage of our drinking buddies. If you’re offended by this post then, well, maybe have a think about whether you could possibly be part of the problem.
An Open Apology to Chiang Mai
The population of digital marketers per square mile in nomad-friendly places like Chiang Mai, Thailand, is probably circa 500. We are everywhere. And for that, I can only apologise.
What’s worse is that a hefty chunk of that group is made up of pesky marketing bromads. You’ll likely hear them egging each other on to charge $100 an hour for work that they may or may not be outsourcing on Upwork for 10% of that. And trust me, many of my first writing gigs were on Upwork from fellas paying as little as $5 for 1,000 words.
Outsourcing isn’t an issue until it is. Hiring freelancers is a legitimate way for agency owners to fulfill project briefs. And, when done ethically (fair payment, good communication, clear expectations), it’s a practical way for businesses to grow. However, it becomes a little unsettling for business owners when instead of getting years of expertise and experience on their project, their money is actually getting them copywriter from Fiverr who’s got zero content writing experience.
Marketing with a Side of Jargon
The other key drawback of partnering with creative/digital/marketing/copywriting agencies run by bromads is that they are seemingly incapable of speaking without jargon. Even as a professional writer with a decade of working in digital media I’ve often found myself very confused. What’s worse is that I wholeheartedly believe this jargon is used as a ‘sales tactic’. By doing all of the talking and none of the listening I’ve seen firsthand that it’s surprisingly easy to nudge a business owner into signing a contract without them knowing what they’re agreeing to.
An example of this that stands out in my mind is a project I was working on two years ago. I was a freelance content writer hired by a marketing agency to work on one of their client’s campaigns. We’d have weekly calls led by the agency’s head of marketing who was the personification of the bromad concept. He was also incredibly disorganised and often hadn’t done the work he was supposed to have done before our meetings. But rather than disclose his shortcomings, he’d spend the entirety of every call delivering jargon-infested explanations of why it wasn’t his fault that the client’s web traffic hadn’t increased.
It obviously was his fault since he wasn’t doing the work, but by confusing and overwhelming the client with talk of “moving parts”, circling back”, and “drilling down” they were seemingly unable to disagree with him (they eventually got sick of it and fired the agency).
As the co-founder of a creative digital marketing agency, I fully believe in ensuring that clients know exactly what they’re paying for. For us, this includes an explanation of what their business needs, how we can meet those needs, and how much it’ll cost for us to do so. All in easy-to-understand, jargon-free English, of course.
Female CEOs Are the Minority in Creative Industries
Bromads were actually a significant driving force behind the creation of our creative digital marketing agency. And it wasn’t the thought of those five-figure months we kept hearing them shout about in Starbucks while simultaneously undertipping their barista that egged us on. It was the realisation that Holly and I offer something entirely different from those lads.
See, significantly fewer women own creative agencies. In 2019 Forbes reported that just 3% of agencies have female creative directors. Considering women drive 70-80% of consumer purchases (in the US), it seems bonkers that so many eCommerce platforms are leaving their marketing up to bromads.
Send us a message if you’d like to know how we can help you speak the language of your ideal customers. No jargon, we promise. If that wasn’t enough of a selling point, we won’t make you pay in Bitcoin, either (bromads probably do that, right?).