WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED IN MARKETING AND MANAGEMENT THAT MOST APPLY TO OTHER INDUSTRIES?
Flexibility is essential. It’s required in every facet of the job—how you budget, how you strategize, how you manage a team.
Before the pandemic, we introduced the concept of the “gas tank” to our budgeting process. It was a discretionary budget that allowed us to shift more resources to a particular show or tactic that was driving results, allowing us to make the most of the data we were seeing.
That kind of nimble approach is critical to marketing that’s meant to be part of the cultural conversation.
And when it comes to the human element of this job, there is a version of the “gas tank” as well. Back-to-back meetings might seem necessary, but we all need space to deal with the unexpected that inevitably comes up. This is increasingly important to keep teams motivated, productive, fulfilled, and engaged.
IS MARKETING DOCUMENTARIES VERSUS UNSCRIPTED OR SCRIPTED SERIES SIMILAR TO MARKETING PRODUCTS IN OTHER INDUSTRIES?
I see the similarities more than the differences. Whether you are marketing a documentary, a scripted show, a consumer brand, or a B2B product, the questions you need to ask are always the same: What’s the most interesting thing we can say about our product? Who is our audience and what do they care about? Then our job as marketers is to find the intersection and make it as compelling and memorable as possible.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT ALL MARKETING STRATEGIES CARRY THE UNDERCURRENT OF HULU ORIGINALS BRAND?
The Hulu Originals brand is ultimately a promise of first-rate quality and originality. And we believe the marketing should be just as creative and enveloping as the programs themselves.
We start by honoring the vision of the show’s creators. It’s a collaborative process, and they’re involved every step of the way to ensure that our tone and message are true to the show itself. The creators’ alignment with our strategy is paramount to fueling this level of authenticity at each step of the campaign.
We tether that with research: For every title that we have, we commission a positioning study to gauge interest, find flags, and build our strategy. Every campaign on my team starts with a universal truth, something that can be relatable and tied back to the title.
HOW HAVE MEDIA BUYS/SPEND CHANGED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS?
We definitely saw an immediate shift back in 2020 at the outset of the pandemic that required us to pull back on things like out-of-home and cinema and shift towards digital media, where people were spending their time.
The media mix is the most fluid variable in content marketing. Consumption habits continue to shift from year to year and audience to audience. Even the platforms that are constant in our lives—from Instagram to TikTok—the very way people interact with those is shifting. Not to mention the phasing out of third-party cookies.
It all requires us to constantly question if what worked yesterday still works today, and refining how we gather and analyze data to inform tomorrow’s campaign.
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP YOUR MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY?
It ultimately comes down to trust.
I’m a firm believer in trusting my team because you can’t scale a business alone. Every single person should be trusted to own what they know and be given the authority to do it. Giving people the space to do their best work is fundamentally how we garner the best output. It also allows me to both celebrate their wins and hold them accountable when we need to up our game.
Earning their trust also means having expectations for myself that are just as high as the team. I see my team as partners and that’s something that I think fuels a lot of the way decisions are made and the team is structured. I’m on the floor stuffing gift bags if that is what it takes to get the needle moved.
On a personal level, I believe that we build trust by bringing your full self to work. And I model that behavior personally. The way I talk to my team and my colleagues is the real me, the only me. I’m direct, enthusiastic, and positive, and I’m definitely going to ask what you ate for lunch because I care about those things.
WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?
It sounds like a cliché, but I most admire my mom. Nearly 30 years ago she had an innovative idea with her best friend and followed it through, ultimately creating one of the first minute clinics in the country, growing it to a team of 200 employees, and then selling the company.
From her I get an intense work ethic and relentlessness, balanced with optimism and joy. Fun was absolutely a key ingredient to my mom’s success, because it kept her enthusiastic and curious as they constantly adapted and grew.