NewsCred Lays Off 10% Of Staff, Hires President And Layers On Services

NewsCred on Wednesday laid off 10% of its staff as it changes its product offering and adds advisory services to its content marketing software. As part of the reorg, NewsCred hired a president and COO, Charles Hough.

“We’ve been selling [brands] content marketing platforms, but they need expert services, and someone to hold their hand through the execution,” said CEO Shafqat Islam, who will co-run the company with Hough.

The company’s layoffs, which will reduce the staff from 200 to 180, are concentrated in account management. NewsCred plans to replace those employees with another team with expertise in day-to-day, services-oriented account management. Headcount will pass 200 by the end of the year, Islam said.

Marketers will still license the software and use it themselves. But the new account managers will work more closely with them.

For example, account managers will help brands set KPIs for their content performance and track ROI through NewsCred’s software. And they will offer ways to optimize campaigns shortly after they go live, when it’s still too early to use machine-learning insights.

About 30 of NewsCred’s 170 clients already have started to work with NewsCred through its content marketing advisory services program, Islam said. NewsCred’s clients include HP, Virgin, Fidelity and USAA.

Content marketing is still a relatively new area of marketing tech and Islam hopes NewsCred’s services component will help “pull customers up the maturity curve.”

NewsCred will provide different types of services for clients who are experts at content marketing versus those who are just getting started. The vendor uses a “maturity index” to score customers on how far along they are in content marketing.

NewsCred said it doesn’t track churn rates for its smaller, less mature customers who may be testing the platform – but it wants to improve those customers’ experiences. For enterprise clients, Islam said NewsCred posts “best-in-class churn rates.”

The incoming president, Hough, worked at marketing company Lithium and served as COO for data company VTS. He’s part of a string of exec hires over the past year with experience as operators at larger companies.

Hough said he plans to bring the company to profitability in 2018.

And both Islam and Hough emphasized the company still has deep enough pockets to weather this transition. NewsCred raised $42 million in 2015 and still hasn’t touched much of the cash, in part because it decided to grow sustainably and cut back on hiring plans.

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