, 19 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
1/ The business role (non-technical) I’ve seen that has the greatest supply demand imbalance in my career is ecomm/digital “expert” for consumer companies in 2018. It is insane. Companies can’t find the talent to fill the roles.
2/ You’ll be hard pressed to find a CPG company that isn’t trying to find someone to help them with their “digital strategy”. Mostly they want help with both marketing (acquisition, content and brand) and online distribution (d2c and wholesale ecomm). A lot.
3/ As you might have guessed, part of the problem is that they lump both marketing and distribution together. Those are different things. Even though some consumer companies are just saying they need a “digital” expert, industry needs to advance and differentiate between the two
4/ Thus there are two core issues I see. First is defining the problem appropriately. What hole is being filled? Second is actually filling the role(s). Let’s focus on the first.
5/ Hiring someone to do marketing and online distribution in CPG… what is the equivalent in tech? It would be like hiring a social media marketing person that also maintains the site’s code and strikes up new partnerships. There is a reason this role doesn’t exist.
6/ Marketing and Distribution are SO SO different.. Even if they both happen to be digital.
7/ Marketing- Each week I get requests from CPG brands and other investors for referrals to candidates that can “create and execute digital marketing strategy”. That concept on its own is massive. It includes acquisition, content and brand marketing. It is a unicorn.
8/ So you often have a CEO, investor (!) or other leader that doesn’t understand the problem well enough to define it but they are still asking someone else to solve it.
9/ How then do you hire that role? How do you hold that role accountable if you don’t understand the problem?
That’s scary.
10/ Distribution- I see consumer companies lump online distribution together. But d2c has very different requirements and success drivers than ecomm. D2C is your own site- your flagship offline store. Ecomm is third party (i.e. Amazon).
11/ Different success metrics, different CAC and acquisition strategies, different margin profiles, channel conflict, etc. It’s like saying owning your own flagship store is the same as selling through Sephora offline.
12/ Also trade off in fixed v. variable cost structures for d2c v. ecomm (and implied margin difference). Build your own online store v. sell through existing? Need to think through about channel level profitability. Just one issue.
13/ d2c and third party ecomm each have marketing and distribution issues. Some issues overlap. Many are different. Think about the difference in purchase intent, the opportunity to communicate your value proposition, how to acquire the customer, etc.
14/ It's very likely it is different people with different skillsets that are needed to drive each channel.
IF you cant afford more than 1 that's ok, but then focus on 1 problem at a time.
15/ Then there are consumer co's that look for digital experts that can do all of the marketing AND all of the distribution tasks. It’s unheard of.
16/ As a result, their searches never end until they hire someone that is likely under qualified but has experience working at a big company. Thank goodness they worked at @instagram with an unlimited budget.
17/ Ok so founders of early stage companies every day hire for roles they don’t totally understand. That isn’t new. Fair- but here the pain is particularly acute because the responsibilities and value drivers of the role are so vast, and because the supply of talent is so low
18/ The co's I’ve seen that have been most successful in their digital strategy home in on which components of the strategy are most important for them- then hire for that. It can’t be everything at once or in one role. May require combo of inhouse & and outsourced talent.
19/ Most importantly it requires the CEO to focus on what matters and say no to the other things. To do that the CEO needs to understand the problem space first.
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