· 4 min read
Each week, we spotlight Marketing Brew readers in our Coworking series. If you’d like to be featured, introduce yourself here.
Khalid El Khatib is CMO of Stack Overflow, an online community for developers.
Favorite project you’ve worked on? Since I started at Stack Overflow in 2018, I’ve had the privilege of running and expanding the Stack Overflow Developer Survey. Each year, we get nearly 100,000 developers to give us their opinions on everything from current and emerging technology to how they work and are compensated. It’s the largest survey of its kind, and I’ve worked with my team over the last several years to orient even more around trends people are curious about—everything from generative AI and Web 3.0 to burnout. Massive tech companies use it to set their OKRs, it’s cited in hundreds of articles each year, and CEOs and CTOs even look at trends like the interest and availability of remote jobs to do workforce planning. Also, bonus: It’s one of the highest-converting assets for Stack’s demand generation efforts!
What’s your favorite ad campaign? While Google’s “Year in Search” campaigns were among the first to marry big data with storytelling, the success and reach of Spotify Wrapped blows me away even years after it launched. It floods social media channels with millions of pieces of user-generated content, it taps into influencer marketing by engaging major artists around their stats, and more than anything, it catalyzes users to more deeply engage within the app (and Apple Music users to consider switching to Spotify).
One thing we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile? I’m a writer! For over a decade, I’ve contributed to outlets such as Vice, Paper, and Food52, and more recently, I’ve been working on a book. Every time I try to incorporate my writing into my LinkedIn profile, it confuses people into thinking I’m a professional journalist (I leave hard-hitting, investigative work to the pros and write about things like hummus). Though I’ve always thought of it as a hobby, I credit a lot of my success as a marketer to my passion for writing. Crafting a great, company-wide email (whether it comes from you or the CEO) is a wildly underappreciated skill.
Get marketing news you'll actually want to read
Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.
What marketing trend are you most optimistic about? Least? The trend I’m optimistic about is more of a corporate trend, and it’s that marketers increasingly have a seat at the table—meaning we are viewed as true cross-functional partners. It used to be that marketing was a bit of an island, either focused on being stewards of the brand or driving demand generation. Today, more and more companies are recognizing that marketing can do those things while also partnering with HR on evolving internal comms (an area that’s becoming more and more complex), leading the company’s sustainability practice (increasingly important), or even partnering with finance to drive profitability.
In terms of what I’m least excited about, it’s the shift away from investing in brand-building. As everyone focuses on profitability, awareness budgets are being cut or zeroed out. A recent CMO survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business shows a drop in investment in brand-building of 43% this year. While it may look good to a CFO or a board, it’s shortsighted as awareness and education are super important to feeding the marketing pipeline medium- and long-term.
What’s one marketing-related podcast, social account, or series you’d recommend? Erica Seidel is one of my favorite marketing-oriented executive recruiters. She has an excellent podcast called The Get, in which she interviews CMOs on hiring, getting hired,leading, and organizing. Not only does she have great guests, she has the interviewing prowess of a journalist.