Truthfully, it’s hard for me to be more astounded by the fact that a whopping one-third of a marketing staff is being eliminated, or that Uber had about 1,200 in their marketing operations. Maybe it’s both.
As a public company, Uber is of course is facing the reality that it can’t go on burning through money as freely as it did before its IPO earlier this year. As with so many other corporate restructurings, marketing traditionally is among the lines of business to face significant cuts.
In an internal email to its staff, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi emphasized the continued importance of marketing…
we are not making these changes because Marketing has become less important to Uber. The exact opposite is true: we are making these changes because presenting a powerful, unified, and dynamic vision to the world has never been more important.
…but also mentioned that things had gotten too bloated, and needed to be trimmed back for greater effectiveness.
Many of our teams are too big, which creates overlapping work, makes for unclear decision owners, and can lead to mediocre results… As a company, we can do more to keep the bar high, and expect more of ourselves and each other… Put simply, we need to get our edge back.
Bloated marketing operations may not be unique to Uber
Uber may well be far from the only young tech company with an oversized marketing team.
It’s no secret that the tech startup economy has created an incredible number of jobs in marketing. Much of this has to with the fever pitch of spending big on digital marketing, growth marketing, and demand generation, along with bulking up an army of salespeople to put as many boots on the ground as possible.
Startups have the atypical luxury of generous amounts of capital to spend on marketing, and the ability to go back to the well for more investor cash whenever needed. But this cycle generally doesn’t last forever.
And when it stops, cutbacks and job eliminations normally ensue. The digital marketing economy, itself largely a byproduct of the tech startup economy, could end up with a tidal wave of unemployed marketers streaming into the job market. The likelihood is fierce competition for the relatively few available opportunities associated with traditional companies.