The Curious Evolution Of Marketing At Twitter
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Holmes Report
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The Curious Evolution Of Marketing At Twitter

This week news broke that marketing at Twitter would now report into the CFO.

Aarti Shah

The Curious Evolution Of Marketing At Twitter

The plight of Twitter’s marketing function became more puzzling this week when the Verge reported the division would now report into CFO Anthony Noto. 
 
The upheaval has been months in the making, according to a company insider,  and also alters CCO Gabriel Stricker’s oversight — which has undergone many changes since he joined in 2012. 

In 2013, CEO Dick Costolo put Stricker — then VP of communications —in charge of leading Twitter’s pursuit of one billion users by giving him marketing responsibilities. Then last year, Stricker was upped to CCO (amid a management retooling)  and also added the lucrative media partnerships remit to his job.   

“There are only so many hours in a day,” a company insider told the Holmes Report, indicating that Stricker’s communications function had become somewhat of a catch-all.  
At the end of last year, Twitter was still considerably short of its billion user goal. At this point, the wheels of a rework were put into motion. To recap, at that time marketing, media partnerships and communications all reported into Stricker who reports to Costolo. Public policy, led by Colin Crowell, also reported into the CEO at that point. 

Here’s what’s changed at the start of 2015: given Stricker’s background in public policy, that function was moved under him. Meanwhile, media partnerships head Katie Stanton now reports into the CEO and marketing moved under the purview of Adam Bain, president of global revenues and partnerships.  

“[Stricker’s] reasoning for taking on public policy and letting go of marketing was this: they are both time-consuming, but at the end of the day, whether Twitter gets blocked in Turkey or blogger laws in Russia prevent services like Twitter from existing will have a much bigger impact ultimately,” the source said. 

The puzzling move this week that reshuffles marketing under the CFO has been met with skepticism both inside the company and out. The insider told the Holmes Report there’s concern Twitter will have a difficult time hiring a superstar VP of marketing now because of the unconventional reporting structure. 

“[The marketing team] had been doing some product marketing that didn’t require much cost,” the insider pointed out. “Now they’re doing more performance-based marketing to drive growth and there are some efficiencies to had there by reporting into the CFO. But they company doesn’t want to do any brand marketing because that would require a significant investment.” 

So is the ask for CFO Noto still to grow to one billion users? Twitter execs like to say they are building the “largest daily audience in the world.” The current tally has Facebook at more than a billion and Twitter is just north of 300 million.  

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