Tech Layoffs Prompt CMOs to Seek New Agency Partners

According to data from ad intelligence company Winmo, almost a third (31%) of tech brands that reported layoffs in Q4 2022 and/or Q1 2023 have hired new CMOs and/or agency partners in Q1 2023.

The company looked at 24 notable tech brands, from Salesforce and Twilio to NetApp and Dell, reporting significant workforce reduction in this period, to arrive at a conclusion that marketing chiefs, many of whom are newly appointed, will lean on agency partners to continue operations.

Groupon, for instance filled a long-vacant CMO seat this January, the same month it laid off some 500 employees, while NetApp, which cut 8% of its global workforce, promoted an internal hire to the role of CMO.

“Twenty-three percent of tech brands in Winmo that reported layoffs hired a new CMO in Q1 2023,” said Dave Currie, CEO of advertising intelligence company Winmo. Someone to steer the ship through turbulent waters, and, what we are starting to see, to manage an expanded scope of work by external agencies.”

DirecTV, which is reportedly laying off 10% of management employees, has assigned more work to agency partners amidst ad spend increases.

According to Winmo’s Intent Insights, which tracks interest in topics across a broad organizational level, 95% of tech brands that reported layoffs in Q4 2022 and/or Q1 2023 have been researching agencies.

Notable Mentions:

  1. Amazon (whose Amazon Studios just tapped a marketing chief) has laid off over 18,000 employees, and this week is seeing surging interest in Agencies, Branding, Campaigns, Email Marketing, and Search Marketing
  2. Meta Platforms, Inc., which said this March it plans to cut an additional 13% of its workforce, has also shown interest in Agencies, Branding, Campaigns and Event Management
  3. PayPal, Inc., which is laying off 2,000 employees, has shown interest in Agencies, Branding, Campaigns, and Entertainment Marketing
  4. Microsoft, whose 10,000+ layoffs include many in marketing and advertising, has also shown interest in Agencies, Adtech, APIs & Services, Branding, and Campaigns
  5. Twitter, Inc. whose workforce has dwindled from 7,500 to 2,000 in recent months, is showing high interest in Agencies plus interest in Retail Technology and Search Marketing

This suggests that these brands are looking for fresh perspectives and strategies to navigate the challenges they’re facing, especially now that they’re strapped on internal resources to fuel awareness and sustain market share.

“Thousands of tech and marketing professionals were let go during the tech industry’s layoffs beginning in Q4 2022 and continuing into Q1 2023,” said Currie. “But, these brands will still require marketing support with a reduced staff, offering a significant opportunity for agencies in Q2 and beyond.”

Overall, the data from Winmo underlines the opportunity for agencies, and the importance of staying agile and adaptable in the current marketing landscape. While layoffs and other challenges can be difficult, they also present an imperative for brands who wish to retain market share.

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