September 15, 2020
The CMO Council recently had the opportunity to chat with one of our members, Matt Wisk, five-time CMO and current head of corporate development at Snagajob, about the changes happening in the professional world today. Between COVID-19 shutting the world down earlier this year and massive shifts toward remote work, there’s a lot to unpack. We dove into what all these changes mean, what the road to recovery looks like and what marketers need to know to come out stronger on the other side.
Q: There has been a lot of movement in the job market this year. How is this different from previous shifts in the market? What’s the scale of impact?
A: Comparing now to the Recession, there is a lot more optimism about life returning to normal soon. This feels more finite, while the Recession felt as though it would go on forever. Some businesses are already bouncing back—the warehouse industry, for instance, has gone up 400%, year over year. The tech industry has also been remarkably resilient. Overall, there’s more certainty now than in the Recession; business leaders and marketers alike can see the light at the end of the tunnel. That optimism shapes behavior, especially on how dramatically you make changes to your business.
Q: What is the aftermath of COVID-19 going to mean for companies down the road? What’s the staying power of this job loss and what does this look like for companies as they recover?
A: We’re entering the era of “surgical” marketing. There is a ton of great data available—so much more than we’ve had access to in previous economic downturns. Attribution models within the marketing world are strong, but the model needs to be able to hold together. Different companies have different ratios they must maintain, but for all marketers, it’s about creating value in an ROI-efficient way.
This downturn is forcing tough decisions to be made. The investment and decision-making process is the most data-driven we’ve ever seen and has allowed organizations to precisely measure what they’re putting in and getting out. In the past, leaders could believe they’re doing something good but they’re never too sure. Now, they can see into the exact things providing value.
Once we have these capabilities in data, we can’t go back to the way it was before; customer acquisition costs and lifetime value data are things we can’t unsee in the marketing world.
Additionally, the cycle of execution has sped up dramatically which allows for pivoting more effectively when necessary. When you have analytically driven, creative thinkers, they can solve problems amazingly well and the value they bring to the organization shines through when things get tough.
Q: Marketing and sales are more interconnected now than ever, especially with a rise in digital marketing. Do you think organizations will start to realize the massive talent drain is impacting their revenue? Maybe that they’ve made a mistake letting these marketers go?
A: B2B and B2C demand different approaches. It's difficult to be too aggressive on spending when there are fewer revenue dollars coming in. The value creation of B2B marketing becomes much more about lead gen when times are tough, for example. The business model often drives the role that marketing plays. The correlations between sales and marketing then become more robust. B2C marketing is a magnifying glass. If your marketing is good but your product is bad, no amount of marketing will make it good. But vice versa, marketing a value proposition for your customer can be very effective in times of stress.
Q: We’ve noticed that marketers tend to be the first employees cut in times of stress. What have you noticed about jobs in the marketing industry during this time?
A: Value creation is crucial. If someone is creating value for your organization that can be measured, you’re not going to cut them. In fact, they’re going to be more important than ever. Regardless of the geography, economics, business, etc. you see situations emerge where someone had the ability to see something before other people in the industry or company saw and brought it to life. These people are invaluable to the company.
Q: What is a nugget of wisdom you’d like to share?
A: I have two phrases I carry around:
1. “Are you creating a mental tattoo for your customer?” Meaning, is your value proposition and the way that you’re communicating it so interesting and so compelling that the customer remembers it? There is a ton of clutter in marketing messaging right now, so it is a critical time to think about what kind of message you’re sending and what kind of impression you’re leaving on your audience.
2. “Activity does not equal productivity.” Marketers tend to get caught up in being “active” but the more productive you can be, the more you are doing your job as a marketer. Attribution is a key underpinning of great marketing.
Kate serves as Senior Marketing Coordinator at the CMO Council where she drives the social media engagement strategy and assists in content and creative development for the CMO Council’s biweekly newsletter, Required Reading and monthly e-journal, Marketing Magnified. She is a first point of contact for interviews featured in CMO Council reports as well. Kate holds a bachelors degree in Communication Studies and Foreign Affairs from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and currently resides in the Bay Area with her rescue dog, Archie. When she’s not writing for CMO Council, you can find her chipping away at her endless stack of novels on her bookshelf or writing her own.
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