Podcast: Soft Skills

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Branding and performance are two sides of the same coin. Maybe that’s why they can never see eye to eye?

This week on the podcast, 360i CEO Jared Belsky discusses the need for clients to bring the two disciplines together rather than allow them to exist as competitive factions that inhibit brand growth.

“When I look out at 90% of our clients at 360i, so many of them have a marketing organization that’s divided between performance and brand,” Belsky says. “You’ve got the brand people and brand media folks literally on one side, and you’ve got the performance marketers and the performance analytics folks on the other side. And sometimes there is even disdain.”

The performance marketers have won the internet. Well, they’ve won its first three decades at least. Their primacy has fueled today’s massive internet stock valuations, but that may change.

“Performance has made FB and Google the juggernauts they are now. Performance has enabled these platforms to scale, and it’s made some DTC marketers really prosperous,” Belsky says. But he adds, “If your job is to optimize for programmatic and you’re thinking about it too tactically without thinking about the brand, you’re not doing your job. You’re not going to always be able to measure everything to perfect precision. If you only invest your money where there’s perfection, you’re not going to grow your brand.” 

In his 20s, Belsky paused his career to get an MBA in marketing and strategy. He had been working at Razorfish through the dot-com bubble and bust – and decided the time was right to refocus on the fundamentals.

“When you’re in an agency environment…or at a platform, you know a lot about something narrow,” he says. “At Razorfish I realized I knew nothing about product, price, promotion, legal, HR, compliance, sales. I knew a hell of a lot about digital media and bidding and targeting and how to track an ad.”

While he wouldn’t advise every budding young marketer to get a business degree, Belsky passionately advocates for a curious and knowledge-seeking mindset.

“Go and build your career based on learning, not salary,” he says.

Also in this episode: what the modern CMO wants, Belsky’s book on “Soft Skills.”

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