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Ep 2: How Can Marketing and HR Intersect Strategically?

Discover how marketing and HR can become highly compatible departments and establish overlapping objectives and goals.

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Meet Scott Carr, Director of Marketing Communications @ Stukent

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Scott's expertise in brand strategy blends business development concepts with proven marketing tactics to further Stukent's mission to help educators help students help the world. Prior to joining the Stukent team, Scott held several leadership roles in marketing and brand management at consumer goods companies such as Malouf, iFIT, and Melaleuca. Scott earned an MBA from Idaho State University and a BA from BYU. Outside of work, he cherishes his many adventures with his wife and their two children.

About Stukent

Stukent is a digital courseware provider serving over 5,000 collegiate and high school institutions including UCLA, BYU, and Oxford.  Their mission is to help educators help students help the world. Stukent is used by professors of business, marketing, and communications and their students. They offer 40 different courses in the form of a simulated internship (aka a simternship).  In this simulated environment, the students get to practice what they'll be doing when they enter the workforce. It gives them a real world experience - they have a supervisor, coworkers, different assignments.  All assignments are auto-graded.

Episode Highlights

How Can Culture Drive Greater Profits

Crista Vance: “Throughout your career, you've been in marketing and PR, you've been a people leader, and now at Stukent, you're doing it all. From your experience, how have you seen company culture drive greater profits?”

Scott Carr: “A great question. I wish it was a question that more people provided answers to because, especially in the world of marketing or PR. A lot of financial leaders will view [HR functions} as cost centers of the business rather than growth generating centers of the business, and in partnership with, with HR and with employee experience, company culture is a part of the brand regardless of how you look at it in my opinion. Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder, is famous for saying, ‘What is branding? Branding is what people are saying about you when you're not in the room.’ “

The essence of who we are, as a company, or a brand, is what other people are saying about us. And so managing that reputation, or that brand, across multiple platforms is so important. And so when you talk about company culture and how does it grow profits, well, some of my personal experiences as I've worked with organizations who had great company culture and not-so-great company culture. The employee engagement is palpable; you can see it, you can feel it when employees are engaged in, what the company is doing, and if there's a shared mission or vision behind what they're doing. “

“Social media marketing is one of the areas that I'm responsible for here at Stukent, and as I compare employee engagement on social media at Stukent compared to previous companies I've worked for, on average, there's about a 50% increase in employees sharing about the mission of the company.  Not just, ‘Hey, I work at this cool company, and they provide cereal in the break room for free.’ “

“That's cool. But these are posts that say, ‘Hey, I'm working for this company, and I'm making a difference in the lives of these students who are then going on and changing the world.” And so it's a different, deeper level of employee engagement. That is surely leading to profit growth because we all know the stats about employee turnover and employee disengagement and how that's a real cost to companies. And talking about turnover,  turnover at Stukent is less than 5%. It's three and a half percent on average, month to month, which is great. And we're a Software As A Service company, and for other Software As A Service companies, the industry average is close to 20%.”

How Can Marketing Teams Intersect Strategically With HR Teams

Crista Vance: “I hear you're coordinating with HR as well with marketing. That's an interesting crossover. So how do you feel they can intersect strategically, both HR teams and marketing? And what does that look like at Stukent?

Scott Carr: “I think marketing and HR are highly compatible departments and have a lot of overlapping objectives and goals. As we look at Stukent, we've overlapped those things. The first example that comes to my mind is our website. So, we spend a lot of time and energy on improving messaging on our website and making it the most persuasive and engaging. Go to our careers page; this is a project that we just updated about six months ago to really put our best foot forward when there are new applicants looking and considering a job opportunity with Stukent. So, that's an example of a project that is run by HR but heavily influenced by marketing because we're the ones that are creating that asset, right? And so, there's a lot of opportunity like that, especially as we're sharing job postings and everything's on social media, or we’re contemplating our blog strategy.

Matt Vance: It's interesting because [the careers page] can be a showcasing piece, right? You may have customers who are looking at how you speak to and treat employees and job candidates and vice versa. You can have job candidates and employees that are seeing how you treat customers and potential clients. You need to be mindful that other stakeholders are observing. They're watching your performance you're on stage.

Scott Carr: Matt, I really like you talking about the stakeholders of the business. That's a phrase that I love when we're talking about company culture and branding overall. The experience of every single stakeholder within the company, or the influence of the company, needs to be considered, and it can't just be about the financial success of the company. You have to take into consideration employees and their families, their neighbors, and the community as a whole. We want to take each of them into consideration as we're, making progress and putting out messaging moving forward.

How a company mission really drives engagement and performance

Matt Vance:  “Do you have any more examples or personal stories about how a mission really drives engagement and performance?”

Scott Carr:  “I would say I've worked at four companies in my career, and I kind of split it down in the middle to say two or maybe mission-driven. And two, we're very much profit-driven, and the mission was secondary. As I compare my experience there and my interactions with my co-workers, the joy of coming to work and contributing is so much stronger at the companies that are mission-driven.”

Entrepreneurship is awesome. I am a capitalist business person, but I will say there's an aspect of conscious capitalism that is very inspiring to me and that I've seen inspire large groups of people. And that is when we collectively use all of our skill sets together to further a  monumental change in the world, and I think that's what gets me really excited to get out of bed.

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