โGive me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.โArchimedes
How do you get things done in your professional life? Simple: understand the incentives and find the leverage.
In the early part of your career, as an individual contributor, you can exceed expectations and gain leverage by being incredibly good at your job. You may do it with your skills and talent or by working harder than others.
Later in your career, though, being great at your job is not enough. You need the intuition to see an untapped opportunity beyond your day-to-day job (a.k.a. โwhite spaceโ) and the ability to seize it.
Itโs no longer an individual matter. Even if you have the vision for company-wide improvement and a clear articulation of its value, the people you need may have no incentive to help you.
When this happens, you may need more leverage to make your needs their priority.
Misaligned incentives are pervasive in corporate environments, and they are usually a combination of suboptimal management decisions and a complex business environment. Over the years, I learned not to let them frustrate me, but use them to my advantage.Continue reading
[Featured image by Andy Kelly on Unsplash]
Discussions about generative AI are everywhere right now, and I feel compelled to add my take to the mix. However, Iโm hoping to bring you something a little different. Rather than focus on the endless world of possibilities generative AI will create or the jobs it will destroy, I want to step back.
Instead of focusing on the AI itself, I want to focus on the people โ thatโs us โ who are going to have to adjust to stay relevant in the age of generative AI.
What traits will keep us relevant in the age of generative AI?Continue reading
(written in February 2023, updated February 2024)
Advertising during the Super Bowl is a privilege for any advertising professional, not only because of the one hundred million people tuning in every year โ making it the most watched program in the US โ but also because of the incredible amount of resources it takes to buy a spot, develop an ad, and execute a campaign correctly.
Between 2018 and 2022, Iโve had the privilege of leading Paid Media for Anheuser Busch, the biggest in-game advertiser. Since this is the first year in a while I donโt have to worry about putting out fires and negotiating last-minute requests related to running 4-8 ads in the Super Bowl, I thought it would be fun sharing some of what Iโve learned.
Here are ten lesser-known things about Super Bowl advertising and some of my tips from experience.ยContinue reading
โWe are navigating uncertain times.โ How often have you heard some variation of this phrase in the last three years? Itโs been used to explain everything from layoffs to schedule changes to service disruptions, and โ while it may be true โ itโs getting exhausting. I think itโs fair to say that weโre all looking for more โcertain times.โ
Perhaps more certainty and predictability lie in the future, but they remain to be seen. Right now, everyone (especially those in marketing) needs to focus on navigating uncertainty.
Adjust Investment Strategies for Uncertain Times
In the past year, we have seen the tide shift from a general policy of โgrow at all costsโ to โshow profitability.โ This means that companies’ investment strategy needs to focus on protecting the bottom line, and if the correction is not done gradually over time, the marketing budget is the most exposed to cuts and pullbacks.
This is usually because of two reasons:
- A structural adjustment like laying off part of your staff comes with expensive severance packages and therefore requires time to show an impact on the bottom line.
- Because companies that need to prioritize revenue and profits in the short term are often willing to forgo a medium to long-term impact for immediate relief, favoring sales costs that can bring immediate revenue vs. marketing expenditures that bring both short, medium, and long-term benefits.
This is the reason why companies that are seeing a softening demand (i.e., topline decline) or are anticipating a market contraction, tend to cut media and marketing budgets before reducing sales costs.
The problem is that if this pullback is done too abruptly, inbound demand will soften to the point where your sales efforts become less effective and will therefore worsen the company’s need to cut costs to maintain margins. Moreover, if your disinvestment strategy is more drastic than your competitors, the market share loss will make a later recovery 2-3x more expensive than the initial savings.
At this point, people may be tempted to suggest that to prevent this tricky situation, companies should have been more conservative in bolstering costs during a growth period. Still, we need to remember that limiting spend in a moment of growth also presents the opportunity cost of losing โfairโ market share with respect to the market and competition.
Since we canโt go back in time, letโs discuss how companies can navigate a worsening financial outlook and how marketing and finance departments can partner together to adjust their investment strategy to manage the current environment.Continue reading