How To Be An Adaptable Brand In Ever Changing Environments With Margo Kahnrose of Skai

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In this week’s episode, Jenna sits down with Margo Kahnrose, CMO of Skai. They discuss what it's like to grow a brand and own a place in the market when consumer's have unlimited choices and how you can keep your brand relevant in this ever changing world.  They also cover how the rebrand from Kenshoo to Skai was conceived and why it was necessary along with the changes that all companies in AdTech and Marketing Tech are facing.

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Scratch is a production of Rival, a marketing innovation consultancy that develops strategies and capabilities that help businesses grow faster. Today's episode was hosted by Jenna Cummings.

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Eric: Hey, before we get into today's episode, I have a favor to ask actually. So we are now over a year in with Scratch. We've recorded about 50 episodes and by the time you're listening to this potentially more, it's been amazing and I've really appreciated the feedback and support from you all. But I really want to try with the second year to get scratch in front of a wider audience. And so I'm asking you if you've been listening for a while or if you're new, if you find this content valuable, if you're supporting what we're trying to do, I would really appreciate it if you could just take a second press pause on this episode. Either leave a review or share this episode and scratch with someone else who you think would find it valuable. It would mean a ton to me and to us as we're really trying to build the audience and the rival brand and get this content in front of more people that we think and that you think can help. Thank you so much for the continued support. Now onto the episode,

Margo: The power shift has changed. Consumers are setting the course now. They're basically saying we have so many choices we have, so there are so much competition in every product category that we're considering. There is absolutely no reason for me to stick with a brand that doesn't play by my rules. That's never been the case before in history and E-commerce kind of built that evening of the playing field and allowed brand new upstart D two Cs to compete for my eyeballs right next to the category mainstays. So that's not going to change, and ultimately consumers are going to have to basically tell us what they want and we're going to have to follow suit.

Eric: I'm Eric Fulwiler and this is Scratch Bringing You Marketing lessons from the leading brands and brains rewriting the rule book from scratch for the world of today.

Jenna: Hey everybody, welcome to Scratch. I'm Jenna Cummings, one of the co-founders here at Rival filling in for Eric this week. I'm very excited to talk to our guest, Megan Conroe, the CMO of and I'm the channel marketing and analytics platform that I've known for a long time. You may have known them previously as Ken Chu or Ken Chu search. We had a really great conversation with Margo today talking about one, how that rebrand from Ken Shu to Skai has got for them and really kind of what that's done for their positioning in the market and how they've responded to some of the really big changes that we've seen in the marketing and ad tech ecosystem as well as some big changes in consumer behavior and really what they're seeing from other marketers and advertisers and how they've kind of built their platform to be responsive to those types of changes. Really exciting conversation. I've been a fan of Kens U for a little while back when they were a little bit more oriented around kind of marketing, like digital ad buying, functionality optimization, and I've been really excited to see them change into a marketing modern marketing kind of enablement company that does a lot of the things that we need to be doing as changes come not just from Covid but just from the general landscape overall. So a really great conversation with Margot. Very excited to talk to her today and hope you guys enjoy the listen.

Jenna: Margo, welcome to Scratch. How you doing today?

Margo: I am doing great. Thank you so much for having me.

Jenna: Of course. I'm super excited that you're here everybody. This is Margo Kahnrose she's a CMO of Skai that I've known actually for a long time since it was Kenk Analytics. That kind of dates me in my career a little bit but very excited to talk to you today. Let's get started just a little bit. Our usual opening line is a little bit, what are the brands that you're obsessed with in your role as a CMO and who are you looking at these days?

Margo: Great question. I am basically obsessed with brands, so I think I always look at everything. I'm a B2B marketer in my current role and I always look at everything from a consumer lens. I'm very curious about myself as a consumer. So all the brands that I love are big popular consumer brands, or at least consumer brands say one of them is a big one. Spotify to me, Spotify has done so many interesting things that we just take for granted that we don't even talk about. I remember first of all, I remember Pandora when Pandora kind of ruled the streaming music space. I feel like maybe it was like 2012, 2013, I don't know. And I was a customer of that and I thought it was super cool and then Spotify came in and it was like everybody just forgot about everybody else. And I had a brief stint I will say too, as an Apple Music subscriber and it didn't compare. So what does Spotify do that's so cool? For me, the most telling thing, they do great advertising, don't get me wrong. I think their campaign or that they do at the end of the year where it's like this was what you listened to this year and then you can share it with friends and it says all this stuff about you. To me that is just brilliant on so many levels when you talk about just getting your customers involved in your marketing. But the biggest thing that they've done that makes me love them so much is they bring people together. So it's one thing to have an individual connection to a brand, but it's another thing to have discussions around a brand all the time. And for me and my kids, Spotify has been this big family bonding kind of thing because my kids are different ages older adolescents and they send me music and they get me listening to new stuff and I send them stuff and no matter where they are, because now a couple of them are in college, they're sending me songs to listen to that they know I'm going to, and we have shared playlists and it's just like, I don't know, it's so much more than an individual experience streaming music on the train in the morning. So that's real branding when you actually can seep your way well beyond your commercial offering into a deep connection with your customers. And for me they, they've just done that in a way that nothing else in my life has right now.

Jenna: Yeah, I love that collaborative kind of music function we do. My friends and I do shared playlists on Spotify all the time. That's always really fun. Although then I really struggle to remember what was the theme of when we were putting these random songs on there. And the playlist name is absolutely no indication that whatsoever. But yeah, I agree. I really love I say their end of year campaigns. I think that I say it gets talked about a lot about what a smart use of data and insights actually looks like, and that campaign is just the best example far and away of using what about your customers to really differentiate yourself in branding. So huge fan, definitely agree. And I'm sure, like I said, that your perspective, like I say on the smart use of data has got to be pretty interesting given where you are given Skai. Like I said, one of the first things like I say to talk about I think is first, how is the rebrand going? Like I say, I'm familiar with Skai from the Ken Shoe days back when it was mostly a search buying and bidding tool and functionality, but you're so much more than that now. I'm super excited for this conversation because again, I think that you're such a good example of how the ad tech space has kind of evolved. But let's start with just the rebrand. I think you're what about a year on now from the switch to Kenji disguise? So what was the impetus behind that? How's it going? What kind of things have you found throughout that process? Yeah, how's it going?

Margo: Yeah, I mean you articulated it probably better than I can us as the kenk of search, maybe a search bid management tool. And we're so much more now and hence the need to rebrand into a name that kind of shed our old presumptions about what we were capable of and where we fit in the lives of big advertisers and marketers. I've done a lot of rebrands over the course of my career and this was definitely the most challenging because we had a lot of brand equity as Ken Chu in our space. We might not be a household name to everyone, but if you work in digital, if you work in marketing, we were more or less a household name and it's not a easy or small or light decision to say we're going to let go of that and take a risk on something new where we're going to have to reeducate the market and build that equity back up. But we did it because we had gotten to this place where we started out, as you said, in the world of paid search, we had always been on the cusp of what new digital ad channel was going to pop and also fit our internal set of criteria around the type of advertising that we wanted to support. So paid social came into the picture and we worked really closely with Facebook on actually developing their network in the early days and saw a ton of adoption around there so soon. Soon we were search and social and then at some point Apple Search Ads really w was taking off as well. And we acquired a company that helped get us into the world of mobile app marketing so that we could support that natively as well. And then the biggest thing that happened in the last few years was retail media when Amazon started offering advertising and it just took off gangbusters and so many other retailers followed suit and still so many are continuing to trying to do so. It was an entirely new ad channel that really took us to another level. So behind all of that we've also been working on connecting the data parts that separate all these platforms from each other and make it hard for marketers to see outside of the walls of each of these closed ecosystems. And when you totaled it all up, we felt like we're not Ken you anymore. We're not this tactical ad tech campaign management tool with some cool optimization kind of flares. We really are being looked to from our clients for more strategic input for kind of insight and help managing whatever ad channels they needed to manage that were new with while de-risking that adventure into a new channel. And I tried as <laugh> as the head of marketing for years to rebrand without rebranding to tell the story of who we were through thought leadership and kind of weave it into every sales pitch. But at the end of the day, when you have a lot of marketers who have been working in the field for a long time, they feel like they know the tools, they know who you are, they know whether they need you, whether they don't need you, what to expect from you. And it just this kind of changing perceptions without changing the fabric of our identity just like wasn't working. It wasn't taking. So we thought, you know what? Let's start a new chapter for the company. Let's go so far. And I remember when our CEO texted me and he is like, you know what? I would go so far as to change the name of the company. I'm like, wow, because that. Big. That's really big. And then it went very quickly from idea to and can we do it within three weeks, <laugh>? No big deal. Sure, cool. No big deal. So it was kind of a, which is it? It's good. I really love deadlines, I hate things that are open-ended and give you a chance to over overthink or over vest or second guess. So we went for it and it's gone very well in that by our measures, which can we change perceptions about what the company is. We did kind of like a before and after brand study and saw that yes, actually we're the words that we're associated with the value that we're associated with as Skai is actually materially different than it was as Ken Shu. It sounds tactical, but the budget levels that we're associated with as Skai are different than they were as Kenchi, which allows us to do things like shake up our commercialization and kind of figure out how we can best go to market in a way that's going to serve both our clients and our business. So it's been a lot of fun. And I will say too, internally, this will be the end of my monologue, <laugh> internally. Sometimes you need to change things in order to shake up shake things up morale wise and the way people who have been with the company a long time kind of think about the company and are Modus Opera Brandi. And I think it did that, right? It was not just for the rest of the world, but for us as a company, set new expectations, set a new bar set different kind of KPIs internally for how we look at ourselves and how we're doing. So I feel like it's a success story. I guess time will tell.

Jenna: Well, yeah, I mean just that point you made again about being associated with different words. Again, in my experience as someone who is again familiar with your brand where it's during the Ken shoe days, definitely I say the words were, I say bidding as you said, bidding optimizations, working with ad tech, more kind of buying a tactical things. Whereas now I definitely have the impact analytics more kind of maybe MarTech as opposed to adtech kind of space a little bit. But one of the ones that I think is really interesting is the walled garden terminology. Cause again, I think I say in the early days when I first became familiar with it there was a lot of conversation around say the walled garden of the Google ecosystem, the Facebook walled garden, but especially over the last couple years, with your point to Theri, the rise of retail media, just how big Google has gotten Facebook is not just Facebook anymore, it's meta and all the properties within meta. Do you guys still think about different, I guess, advertising ecosystems as walled gardens? I know again that one of the words that you guys use now to talk about yourselves is omnichannel. And have you thought again about the distinctions between walled gardens versus really how you're trying to connect all the dots? How has that kind of changed and evolved with the landscape for you guys?

Margo: I mean it's definitely been a pivotal two years in that regard. I think first of all, when Covid hit and so many businesses were hurt by all the kind of trickle down effects of it our business, I'll use my kids' terminology here, popped off because <laugh> cause marketing dollars were scarce. And when you've really got to preserve budget and you've got to be held very much accountable to it you're going to put it into channels that are easy to measure and close to the bottom line. You can call 'em performance channels if you want. I don't really care what you call, they end up going to these platforms, which are the walled gardens that you're talking to. And that happened. Dollars went away from kind of traditional upper funnel, long term marketing and advertising channels, and they funneled right into the channels that we supported. So that happened, that helped our business. Obviously that's always nice to be on the receiving end of that, but ultimately I think it also forced a new behavior in some of the bigger companies, like kind of traditional CPGs whose business was actually primarily offline and were trying very rapidly to figure out online both in terms of kind of sales and distribution channels, but also in terms of connecting with the customer. As Jenna, from your background in ad tech like digital, you're very close to the end customer. You're not putting out a billboard and wondering if somebody walked by it and what they thought and felt. You're able to actually get very rapid feedback. And this was something that some of the digital native companies, the Ddcs of the world, it was like they're bread and butter. But for some of the big CPGs and companies that were newer to the digital world it was a skill they had to hone. So we worked with them a lot and it was kind of like this journey for them from open web and traditional advertising channels to waled garden advertising. But what they were really trying to do was go from layers and layers and layers between themselves and their brands and their end customers to a much more direct connection with their customers. So back to your original question about how have Waled Gardens and perception of them and everything changed, I think they went from being looked at as these tech titans with evil kind of undertones as more practically just where customers are and where you can commune with them in a more direct fashion and learn from them and respond to them which is what advertising is made of today. So there's been a little bit of a perception shift. That's not to say that there haven't also been regulatory actions and things, and there's always kind of antitrust stuff kind of percolating that never seems to really do anything but makes us think someone's doing something. But at the end of the day, I think it's more of the advertiser landscape has embraced these environments for what they are, which is ultimately where customers have chosen to not just be but engage with brands by choice intentionally and interact and ultimately even transact. And as a result, they're good places to market. So we're just seeing a lot of this kind of swell of behavior and dollars moving from the open web to the walled gardens and our play where we sit. And yes, we do call ourselves omnichannel is in this position of actually being really, really close to the walled gardens and in depth in our capabilities on them, but not being one of them. We don't own the media. We don't really care where marketers spend their next dollar. We have no vested interest in whether it goes to meta or to Google as long as it's working for them. So we want to be this third party neutral place that can help you market across them and break down some of the walls or at least, I mean, always put it as maybe we're not going to break the walls of the walled gardens because they're there because they consume. Consumers want them, they protect them but maybe they can glass and not brick walls. Maybe there's some windows that we can pop into and that's where we're really focused.

Jenna: And I think that that kind of insight is going to be hugely important, especially because mentioning the changes in thinking and how some of the big CPG brands are thinking about these things and long-term versus short-term thinking. Have you guys seen or do you think that some of these changes are here to stay versus some of them that may have been a little bit short-lived during Covid? Like I say, I agree that a lot of, especially retail media, which is so exciting is that for big CPG companies, that is such an interesting place to learn more about how your customers transact and really create that as a valuable experience with people where they're actually where they need that input to value. But I know that there's been questions about is that e-commerce trend that we saw an explosion of during covid, is that reversing our consumers going back into brick and mortar versus do you guys have a POV yet on what some of the changes that happened during covid are maybe here to stay versus which ones are what? We'll respond to this right now, but we're not going to make long-term decisions about the business based on this kind of consumer behavior.

Margo: I mean, think the changes are here to stay. That doesn't mean that brick and mortar business is going to die. I mean, I think we're going to go back to more hybrid models in every area of our lives including as consumers, but I don't think the advertising trends are going to reverse. I think it was a big reckoning for the industry to have to actually pay attention to what was bugging consumers because the law told them to mean 20 years of misbehavior and all of a sudden consumers are raising their hands and being like, can you stop? And suddenly, suddenly we have no choice but to change. And what I'm seeing actually from a lot of the advertising industry is a desire to work around versus adapt. How can we figure out a new way to do the things that we're pissing people off instead of not doing them? And that will run its course and it'll have some limited success but ultimately the power shift has changed. Consumers are setting the course now. They're basically saying, we have so many choices we have, so there are so much competition in every product category that we're considering. There is absolutely no reason for me to stick with a brand that doesn't play by my rules. That's never been the case before in history and e-commerce kind of built that evening of the playing field and allowed brand new upstart D two Cs to compete for my eyeballs right next to the category mainstays. So that's not going to change. And ultimately consumers are going to have to basically tell us what they want and we're going to have to follow suit. I will say I think all this data privacy stuff will mellow a bit because it's generational. This aversion to things like cookies to the point where there's just a blanket.There's these blanket rules that are being rolled out that comes from not understanding how your data is being used and where it's being used and how it's, who's got access to it and from not understanding. There's kind of an assumptive paranoia that I don't think younger generations have. I'll tell you my teen C sample size, I gave a lecture at my son's high school to a senior class that was studying media and data privacy. It was a senior elective, and I'm kind of telling them about how all this stuff works and what's being changed and how their data's being used, and they're just looking at me kind of blankly and finally one kid is like, why do I care if it's just helping advertisers serve me an ad for a product that's more likely to be interested in and it's useful, why do I care? And that's not to say if they understood the full picture, they're not going to find some things to be problematic, but it's a wildly different take than my mom or my grandmother who are, they know everything. They're listening to everything I say and everything I do, and I'm going to just go dark. So I do think customers are going to take some agency and some control over their data and how it's used, and that's going to change the dynamic quite a bit because it'll change from this who has the control to a permissive relationship, a true relationship between brand and consumer. So I expect that to start shaking out in the next few years. Right now it has an icky feeling like how do I use my data or make it into an asset, but it'll become normal.

Jenna: One of the tinfoil hat paranoia people, I don't want anybody to know anything I do on the internet. I don't like it. It's always really fascinating. I definitely know some Zoomers that are definitely in the camp of, I don't want any advertisers to know anything about me. That might be the Brooklyn sample size that looking at, but it is say, fascinating how those kind of attitudes diverge within groups. But it is, it's going to be interesting to see how it shakes out. But that earlier point that you made about some people just want workarounds to do the stuff that they've already been doing, even though actually every piece of headwind and indication of where the industry is going is going to be that you just can't do these things anymore and you're going to have to figure out new ways to do business. So familiar with that. Like I said, with that conversation for you guys, I assume that rather than necessarily with a lot of client conversations, that probably has big impact on your product development, the things that, the products that you choose to develop and the functionality that you guys choose to build reflective of marketing conditions now versus maybe where you think things are going to go. So to that point, the changing landscape around data privacy, cookie deprecation, if it ever happens, if it ever really actually happens, yeah. So first, what year do you think we might be looking at that and how do you guys, like I say, try to read the trends and have those inform the types of products and functionality that you're building for customers?

Margo: I think we have, okay, maybe I'm totally naive. I think we have another year of cookies.

Jenna: Oh, definitely.

Margo: But I don't think it's going to go, this moving target is going to go eternal because you've got Google kind of pushing the target back. Obviously they have a lot of skin in the game and they are trying to help advertisers adapt while also not kind of shooting themselves in the foot with their massive ad business. But then you have the creepers like Apple who are doing their own thing and owning the privacy space as a brand. So I don't think Google can get away with this world of no cook of cookies forever because Apple's going to be coming up and pushing the privacy narrative and creating solutions for it for advertisers. So to answer your question, I think we have probably another year before some of that starts to really maybe a year and a half till some of that really starts to hurt and we've got to be, as advertisers, we've got to be ready. How we look at it is we've always felt as a business kind of cookie, third party, cookie based targeting and retargeting and especially the whole mechanism of, let's say display programmatic display advertising is not interesting for us. We feel we've always felt like it wasn't something that we wanted natively pursue. We understand it's part of the mix and we have to help our clients bring the data in from their DSP programs and stuff like that. But there's a reason that we never went out and acquired a DSP or built our own. I mean, it's not to us what consumers want and therefore ultimately what's going to give advertisers really, really good return. So we've always kind of only pursued the channels that we felt like fit. I referred to this criteria early, earlier that kind of fit this bill of giving advertisers control, giving them really high return on their dollars, and most importantly, giving them a lot of visibility into what the ad did and how it was kind of reacted to and all that. So for us, it's been just sort of a doubling down on our dna which has been to help marketers navigate the walled gardens and a real kind of shift in focus from offering, I wouldn't say it's a trade off, but a shift in focus from the point solution kind of offering where you're just trying to give advertisers the latest and greatest and very best bidding and optimization tools within one channel to being able to help advertisers work across them. The walled gardens, which are not notoriously hard to connect, hard to bring signal in, hard to get data out, hard to look at performance across all of them, let alone execute in a synchronous way. So we've kind of said the native publisher tools, the essay 360 for managing paid search, the ads manager for managing Facebook ads, they're good for bidding and we can add some value on top of what they can natively do, but none of them can tell a marketer whether they should be spending more on Google versus Facebook versus Amazon, and then how much more or allow them to really, really test. And that's something that we're uniquely to set up to do in this kind of time of change. So that's our focus right now. We're not pretending that there's a one stop shop tech platform that's going to handle all your advertising. It's not really the point, but we do feel like there's this shift in the core of your spend going from let's say programmatic display and TV to the core, going to Waled Gardens and those other channels being more of the fringe that you have to be able to connect.

Jenna: I, I've been thinking about that kind of change in terms in my own career again, because again, parallels I started say on the bidding and buying side, that's how I first became familiar with Kenji. And then really over the course the last 10 years of my career, it's shifted away from expertise and yet the best bidding and optimization tactics and direct management of digital ads being a real differentiator, both as a individual skills and with companies into more of the being able to connect the dots, being able to see the bigger picture and really kind of understand what types of strategic choices you should be making across these. Again, as the automation and optimization capabilities have really become table stakes for digital buying which has been really cool and great for me because I really like the dots kind of conversations a lot better in any case. But that's kind of a good place to shift gears a little bit more towards, I'd love your POV on your the cmo again, I've been doing B2B marketing, which is increasingly really interesting space and presumably building your own team and managing this rebrand. So what are the kind of things that you look at for your own team, for your marketing organization within Skai and kind of how do you build up their skills and team there?

Margo: Well, I think empowerment is a big thing, right? It's a theme in our personal lives. Culturally, there's a lot of discussion around that. I think it's huge at work. People who are feel empowered at work people feel like they're really good at their jobs and have a safety net to experiment and to grow. They tend to be really loyal. They tend to over-deliver and that's my goal as a team manager is to create an environment where people feel that way, they feel empowered. It's been a learning curve for me because I was a hands-on marketer in a lot of different functions. I tried, pretended tried to be a web developer at one point, so I know how to code a bit. I did a lot of SEO hand kind of hand coding, SEO stuff, which was a thing in the early two thousands. I've been a designer. I went to art school, I write so I can do a lot of the things that I have my team do now and to lean out so that they can lean in has been a process for me as my team has grown. And yet it's been the most rewarding thing because I've really figured out where I'm exclusively needed versus where I need to be an input or a sounding board or sometimes a mom, <laugh>, be honest to the team here. So I'm over Covid and since Covid and all that stuff where we've had a lot less kind of physical camaraderie and you just don't know how people are spending their days. I've tried to trust the process and basically anytime someone new joins the team, that's what I tell them is the trust is there already. I'm going to assume that you're totally in control of your world and your domain and let's just kind of start from there. You don't have to earn it. And I think it works well. I think in marketing, because it's funny, I'm a marketer marketing to marketers. I run a marketing team. We use a lot of the same tools that our clients that we're selling to our clients and we get to be internally for this company. Of course, we're a support function just like marketing is anywhere. We got to make every other function more successful or we're failing. But we also get to be that strategic I don't know, think tank internally who can reflect what our clients really need and want and how they operate. So I try to get everybody on the team to embrace that and embody it and kind of own it.

Jenna: That is the nice part about running, because I handle the paid media and some of the marketing for Rival for our company and it is nice to be able to dog food your own thing. I really wish that there was a better term for it than eating your own dog food. It's not a particularly appetizing term phrase, but it is nice to be a little, oh, I want to test this thing out. All right, let's go try it. I bet you guys get access to the cool new features early for you guys. That must be fun. But yeah, so just the last couple questions. So first, I guess it's the week after Labor Day, the banks here in New York are making people go back, some agencies. Are you guys going back into office? Are you staying remote and marga? How are you doing the remote versus in person thing? How's your balance

Margo: We are, We're a hybrid model, so people are supposed to come to the office twice a week assuming they live near one of our offices. It's been a struggle. It's been a struggle to get people back to the office. I don't think it's, there's different opinions, especially within our executive management about whether that's a terrible thing or not. Look, I think you got to just as a marketer, you got to be letting your consumers lead the way. I think as employers, we got to let the market tell us what they want to do and how they want to work. And it can't be opinion based. It's got to be data based and the data is showing that people want to work remote. We're going to have to figure that out, how to not lose what you gain when you're in person. And there's a lot to gain. There's a lot that's been said. I don't need to repeat all the wisdom that's out there on either side of the debate. I do the hybrid thing. I am. So first of all, I've always had a busy personal life. I've always been crazy workaholic on in some ways, and also kind of had a crazy personal life. I've been raising kids since I was 22 years old. So I've always been multitasking, and I have to tell you, working from home really while working a full-time job for the first time in my career gave me something that I didn't have. It gave me a lot more time with my family. And it's funny because it's really just those two commuting hours. It's just shaving those off. And I thought at first that it was the time, but what I'm realizing now is it's not the time that I lose when I commute because I can use that time, well, first of all, if I drive, it's my brainstorm. Think of all my startup ideas, time, and if I commute, it's my listen to the podcast that I read, the articles I need to know for the day, but it's the energy. There's an energy difference. It hits different now. When I go to work and I come home, I'm exhausted as opposed to when I stop work at home and I transition into my evening and I'm like, oh, I feel different. So I liked the break from the office. I took up a lot of hobbies and that just did something for me as a person that I didn't know I needed. And now I feel like we're J, it's, we just have to figure out the balance because when I am here, especially with my team, even if we're just not talking about work and we're just hanging out so nice, and it connects us in a way that human connection is obviously a good thing in its own right with no other kind of end game, but it also makes you really work better because when people are closer and more comfortable, they let go of their anxieties or their errors. They let their best ideas out without fear of feeling dumb, and that only happens when you've kind of established a closeness and a safety net. So I hope we can figure out the happy medium.

Jenna: Yeah, I was going to say just the people context. I'm in marketing because I think that it has some of the most interesting people on earth. You get people from such crazy backgrounds that have fun stories. Some of my best friends, like I said, are people like I used to work with. I'm with you. I don't want to commute every day. But having that kind of in-person touchpoint, getting to know the people that you spend so much of your waking life with is huge. Yeah, yeah. All right. Margo, just kind of last question and then I'll let you get back to your day. Just one. What would your one takeaway be for people who listen to this? What's one thing people should be doing differently and then if they're interested in finding a little bit more about Skai and they want to connect and follow you, where should they do that?

Margo: One thing they should do? So I mean, I guess people listening to this are marketers, so we're talking marketing advice.

Jenna: Yeah, yeah

Margo: I would say don't. It's a very zen yoga thing. Go with the flow. Don't fight the flow. So that requires a lot of mindfulness and a lot of awareness of what is changing about consumerism, and you can answer that very quickly by looking at yourself and paying attention to your own habits. For me, how I've changed the way I shop and the way I engage with brands, it's subconscious until you realize it and suddenly you think about the fact that you're kind of always connected or you're always kind of browsing and you're always casually shopping and you didn't even intend to be. What does that say about how you're getting to that point and what can it tell you as a marketer about how to relate to your end customers? Don't fight it. Get curious about it and lean into it. I think that applies. Obviously, there's so much change happening in our world, to your point, even just about office structure and the work habits that we thought were forever lean into the change and stay curious, and I think it's going to make for much better marketing, much more, much less kind of warfare and fighting the system and much more kind of harmony between brands and consumers. So that's my cheesy advice.

Jenna: I like it. And then where should people check out Skai or if they want to connect with you guys and see what you're working on? Any good places to check you out?

Margo: Yeah, I mean, anybody who's advertising on any of these walled gardens with any significant budget and cares about their career should be working with Skai. Okay. I do eat the dog food here, so I can tell you game changing, but you can always find us on our website, We have a lot of really good information on our blog, by the way, just general market education, thought leadership, that's free and open. We publish a quarterly trends report that kind of tells you what other advertisers are doing on different platforms. That could be really interesting and you can always find us on Instagram at commerce Twitter the same, and obviously LinkedIn and myself as well. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can reach out to me, margo dot conroe,, anytime and would love to hear more about what you're working on and what your challenges are. Even by the way, obviously I'm like selling a bit, but even just informationally, we always want to hear from what marketers are doing and what they're thinking about.

Jenna: Yeah, I can vouch for the blog personally. I've read it. You guys do have really good, great stuff on there. Again, even I struggle sometimes with keeping up with all the crazy breadth of skills that are required these days to be a good marketer, and it's a great resource for it. So, all right. Well, Margo Kahnrose, CMO of Skai, thank you so much for joining us. It was a really great conversation. I really liked it. It was really, yeah, interesting for me. And thank you guys so much. We'll catch you next time on Scratch. Cheers.

Eric: Scratch is a production of rival. We are a marketing innovation consultancy that helps businesses develop strategies and capabilities to grow faster. If you want to learn more about us check out If you want to connect with me, email me at or find me on LinkedIn. If you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe, share with anyone you think might enjoy it. And please do leave us a review. Thanks for listening and see you next week.

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