Coworking with Elina Vilk

Each week, we spotlight Marketing Brew readers in our Coworking series. If you’d like to be featured, introduce yourself here.

Elina Vilk is CMO of Hootsuite. She was previously CMO of WooCommerce. Prior to that, she served as head of global small business marketing at Facebook, and she held marketing roles at PayPal and eBay.

What’s your favorite ad campaign? I personally love Febreeze’s #Noseblind campaign—a perfect example of customer-driven innovation. Febreeze hired a number of agencies to do a deep analysis of why sales were dropping. They found that most consumers only used Febreeze before company comes over. Febreeze took those customer insights and packaged that customer behavior into their #Noseblind campaign, which ultimately increased their sales. People resonated with the campaign because it was true to when and why they use the product. “Got Milk?” is also another great brand example of a campaign that practiced customer-driven empathy and innovation. They conducted in-home interviews and discovered that it was actually the absence of milk that fueled people to buy more milk. Extracting those insights became a huge part of the campaign’s success.

One thing we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile: I really love to laugh. I play a lot of pranks on people, and laughter is a large part of my day-to-day life in the workplace. I also treasure authenticity and love real people. Though there’s nothing wrong with being a morning person, you’ll never find me waking up at 5am, doing a morning workout routine, having a well-balanced meal, and starting work at 6am. We spend so much of our time at work, and being authentic to myself is something that I’ll always advocate for myself and my team to be.

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What marketing trend are you most optimistic about? Least? The marketing trend I’m most optimistic about is content marketing. People are starting to see the power content marketing has in its ability to engage, educate, and build meaningful relationships with a target audience. Social media intelligence is another trend I’m excited about. Pulling metrics such as positive and negative engagements, interactions and shares on social can provide a blueprint around who your top buyers (or detractors) are and who your ideal customer is. Social is also the place where your detractors will be vocal about your shortcomings—instead of viewing this as a negative, it’s an opportunity to garner early reads on product improvements, customer service, and the overall customer experience.

The marketing trends that I am least optimistic about are last-click attribution and return on ad spend (ROAS). While I see high value in these metrics, many marketers get caught up in solely measuring these two points as they show the highest ROI. I find that focusing just on SEM utilizes only part of your marketing stack and misses the whole picture. If all we did was invest in SEM and not content marketing, we wouldn’t have any branded demand at all. If content marketing is done correctly, it fuels SEM.

What’s one marketing-related podcast/social account/series you’d recommend? One leader that I admire and follow on social media is Simon Sinek. He’s devoted his career to inspiring people to do the things that inspire them—ultimately leading to a better culture and a better world. I love his approach to encouraging leaders to think about the why versus the what behind their organization.

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