Josh Anisfeld (Heidrick & Struggles) - Core Foundational Elements

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This is a podcast episode titled, Josh Anisfeld (Heidrick & Struggles) - Core Foundational Elements. The summary for this episode is: <p>Vincent and Ajay chat with Josh Anisfeld, VP of Digital Marketing at Heidrick and Struggles. He talks about how his company helps with culture-shaping for all sorts of organizations around the globe. Ajay is off to Hawaii, and Vincent remineces about traveling, himself.</p>
How Josh got into marketing
03:36 MIN
What does it mean to be a disruptive marketer?
01:59 MIN
Be proactive in marketing, not reactive
01:47 MIN
What to look forward to with Heidrick & Struggles
02:00 MIN
Employee Advocacy: Do it now!
01:50 MIN

Vin: Welcome to The Marketing Stir podcast by Stirista, probably one of the most entertaining marketing podcasts you're going to put in your ears. I'm Vin, the associate producer here at Stirista. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders and get their take on the current challenges of the market. And, we'll have a little fun along the way. In today's episode, Vincent and Ajay chat with Josh Anisfeld, VP of digital marketing at Heidrick& Struggles. He talks about how his company helps with culture shaping for all sorts of organizations around the globe. Ajay is off to Hawaii, and Vincent reminisces about traveling, himself. Give it a listen.

Vincent: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another episode of Stirista's The Marketing Stir. I'm coming at you in a different way. I was having some technical difficulties. Imagine, not being able to hear me. Come on, I love talking, you know that, ladies and gentlemen. The Marketing Stir, we're back at you. Very happy to be here. It's cold. It is freezing in New York, as you can tell by my flannels, if you're consuming us on YouTube. If you are listening to us, which most of you do, just use your imagination. Ladies and gentlemen, it's so good to be back. Just a few things about Stirista, before we start. We are a marketing technology company that focuses on identity. We have our own business to business data, business to consumer data. We help companies target that data to get new customers, through maybe email marketing. We own our own DSP, called AdStir. We can help you target that same data or onboard your own. OTT, display, connected TV. Email me, vincent @ stirista. com. That is how confident I am. That's enough about Stirista. And then, moving on to this next gentleman, we know him. We love him. I call him the San Antonio Slayer, also my CEO. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What's up, Ajay?

Ajay Gupta: Hey, Vincent. Looking forward to Thanksgiving coming up here, and a couple of days away from my vacation. So this is fun.

Vincent: I knew you were going to go there. I knew you were going to start talking about your vacation. Normally, I like hearing about your vacations, because they're just another area in Texas that you're going to, that I've never heard of. Like Corpus Christi or South Padre Island. And this year, Hawaii, ladies and gentlemen. Let him hear it in the comments. He's going to Hawaii. That's awesome. How long are you going for?

Ajay Gupta: Six days.

Vincent: Nice, nice. It's going to be great. That's, you're having Thanksgiving there?

Ajay Gupta: I am. Yeah. Hawaiian brunch.

Vincent: I love it.

Ajay Gupta: So we'll see what that's all about.

Vincent: Oh, I I love it. A big pig roast. That would be awesome. I would love to do Thanksgiving that way. That is awesome. We were talking about it the other day, a lot of people go to Hawaii for their honeymoon. I went to Argentina and Santiago, Chile, and I always wanted to get out there. So you have to give me some pointers. You got to let me know how it is.

Ajay Gupta: Yeah. I'll send you photos from the beach, it'll keep you entertained.

Vincent: Oh yeah, I knew you were going to do that. I knew you were going to do that anyway. But, it's great. I'm excited to be in San Antonio, coming up in December. We have our second, hopefully, annual summit. It's a virtual summit, but it's going to be fun. We've got some great guests already confirmed for that. Some podcast guests, ladies and gentlemen, that you already might have heard from. So be sure to stay tuned, for that. I don't know if everyone, it's not really open to the public, so I don't know why I just said that on The Marketing Stir, but hey.

Ajay Gupta: Actually it is, this year.

Vincent: Oh, it is. Look at that. It is, so email me for information on it. We've got a great one today, Ajay. That's why no technical difficulty was going to hold me down. We've got a guest, a VP of digital marketing. I love that title. That wasn't a title that was around 20 years ago, ladies and gentlemen. If it was, that was cutting edge. But VP of digital marketing, digital marketing is so important. It is so valuable to our field. That's why we wanted to get this gentleman's take. His name, Josh Anisfeld, but let's get to him moment. He is the VP of Digital Marketing at Heidrick& Struggles, VP Digital Marketing, we're so happy to have that title on, because we are always looking to learn more about that industry. Ladies and gentlemen, a warm Marketing Stir welcome. Josh Anisfeld, what's going on Josh?

Josh Anisfeld: Hey guys, how are you? Nice to be with you.

Vincent: It's nice to have you here. So great talking to you again. I'm away, without my headphones, I feel like I'm lost, but I'm not. I'm here, I still get to talk with my hands. That's the most important thing, as an Italian American, I think. Well, I'm sure there's other important things for Italian Americans, but at least for me. But Josh, so great to have you here. I want to get into a few different questions right off the bat. Heidrick& Struggles, talk to us about the organization. I'd love to also learn about your title within the organization there. Digital marketing, that's a title now, right? It's common now, 20 years ago, you don't see that title.

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah, it's a pretty cool title, I have to admit it myself. It's a fun one, and people will always be like," Ooh, digital marketing," and half the people think it's super cool, half the people think I'm on Facebook all day.

Vincent: Yeah.

Josh Anisfeld: And then the other half, the third half of the people, including my wife has no clue what I do whatsoever. And doesn't even care to learn.

Vincent: Exactly. I always like explaining things, like people say, if you're explaining it to your mom or dad like," This is what I do." That's always the best way, also, to kind of break it down, I was always explaining to my mom what I did. So talk to us, first let's let's get into Heidrick& Struggles. I'd love to talk about the organization, there. What do you do? What is it? And then, some of your day to day, as far as the VP of digital marketing?

Josh Anisfeld: Market. Yeah. So Heidrick& Struggles, we are a professional services. Firm, been around for over 70 years now. People consider us the pioneers of executive search, and that's really our bread and butter, is, placing the best of the best in the top positions at the best global organizations out there. We've been doing this for a long time, and it's not our only business now, we consider ourselves the whole suite of leadership advisory services. Of course, executive search is always the big one with us. We have other advisory services. We do culture shaping, so working with organizations to create impactful, sustainable cultures. Leadership assessment and development, digital transformation, the list goes on and on. We're now into the on- demand talent space, as well. So we are really out there partnering with the best organizations in the world, helping them accelerate, to become powerful and sustainable and successful. As far as what I do, listen, digital touches everything these days. There's not a part that digital doesn't touch. And I work with, across our organization, from the brand perspective, across our practices, corporate channels, our corporate teams, such as human resources and talent acquisition, all the way down to the consultant level. And my team oversees social media, our strategy and our execution. Email marketing, website, SEO, paid media, paid social, analytics. That's just our foundational stuff, that we're doing on a day to basis. We work in the campaign space, as well. I put a heavy hand in marketing automation, lead scoring, lead grading, marketing technology implementation. Just a few things going on, during the day. There are not enough hands, there are not enough people. There are not enough hours in the day to tackle what I need to tackle, on a regular basis, but it's fantastic. I love it.

Vincent: That's awesome. And so, so much more than just being on Facebook.

Josh Anisfeld: Oh my God, yeah.

Vincent: That's awesome. And Josh, tell us how you got into marketing. That's a staple question that we ask here on The Marketing Stir, a lot of peoples' paths, not so traditional, so love to hear about your path.

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah. I have an interesting one, and not tooting my own horn, but it's quite an interesting path. You know, I have a marketing major, and my very first job out of college was pretty traditional. I went into an advertising agency as a media coordinator, which was essentially taking paper insertion orders, and stamping them approved and stuff. And it didn't last long, because I saw something else out there happening. My brother at the time was a stock trader, this was the late'90s, and he invited me over for lunch one day. And I had seen that he had made more in the morning, than I make in a year, and decided to follow him in that. So I started working as a stock trader for a couple of years, and I wasn't any good at it. So, that ended pretty quickly. And what I ended up doing, I decided to follow my passion at the time, which was television film entertainment. I ended up as a reality TV producer, one way or another, I started working as a production assistant on some movies here in Chicago. And one day I just decided," You know what? I'm going to go for it." I picked up, packed up my car, moved out to Los Angeles with no place to live, no work. By the second day I was out there, I had a job as a production assistant, on a reality show. And I ended up spending the next few years, working at E Entertainment, producing some really fun reality shows out there. Doing some casting for shows like Wife Swap. And it came time to, I just felt it was time for me to come back home to Chicago. I started having nieces and nephews, didn't want to be away from that. And found a job here in Chicago, working at a television production company. And I was doing television development. One of the projects that we did was a mobile show. Back in the day, all the different mobile carriers had their own platforms. And so we started working with, I think it was called Verizon On Deck, back at the time. And we were creating a very small little mobile show, with this one comedian. And I started seeing that digital was sort of the way of the future, when it came to content. The company I was working with didn't want to hear it. They didn't want to do it, they didn't want to have anything involved in it. And so I started looking elsewhere, and that took me to my first real marketing job, which was Playboy. It was a huge company in Chicago, obviously, born and bred in Chicago. And they hired me to come on and work as their, I don't even remember the title at the time, it was something about mobile programming and content development. Fun job. It was fun. It unfortunately did not last long, because it was right around the time when the company sort of took a nose dive, the CEO stepped down, they shuttered the Chicago offices. It was a short but fun eight months at Playboy, but it really gave me my step into the world where I am now. So, I went directly into Edelman. Obviously most people have heard of Edelman Public Relations. I was hired into Edelman Mobile at the time, which was a mobile marketing arm of Edelman. Over the course of the next year or two they integrated mobile into the rest of digital, so I started working with Edelman Digital, and then from there made my way through a couple agencies, such as Critical Mass, Golin Harris, which is now just Golin. Zeno Group. And, about six years ago, I decided I'm going to take that step out of the agency world, try to get into, go in- house. And here I am, at Heidrick& Struggles. And so, that was a very long story, not made short.

Ajay Gupta: Josh, it's the first time we've had somebody who has worked at Playboy. So even though it was short, it'll be memorable, for us. So, kind of tell us a little bit about your current marketing stack. What are some of the software or technologies that you're personally a big fan of?

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah, absolutely. So, our marketing tech stack is something that I've really put a lot of work into, myself, my team and our IT team has been a huge part of that as well. When I first came to Heidrick& Struggles, we didn't have much of a marketing tech stack. We had a website that was built on Sitecore. We had a LinkedIn page and we were using Eloqua at the time, for email marketing. But that was the extent of it. Over the course of the past number of years, we've started really thinking more about marketing technology that's going to be of value to us, that's going to help us scale our work. And that's also going to integrate fairly easily. We still focus our CMS around Sitecore, in fact, we just built a beautiful brand new website that we launched in May. I spent the past year and a half working on this project, with an unbelievable team, both in- house and our agency team. Little shout out to One North in Chicago. They did a great job with our website. And so, we're still focused on that. We're also a Salesforce company. So our larger CRM, is Salesforce. And so we got rid of Eloqua, and we actually started utilizing Pardot, for email marketing, automation and all that. So we put a huge amount of work into Pardot. We started, and I know we'll probably talk about the pandemic, but the pandemic really upped our game in webinar, as well. And so we started working with a platform called ON24, which in my opinion, one of the best webinar platforms out there. And sorry, I don't know if you guys do webinars or what, but they do a really nice job for us. And so, we utilize them for our webinar business, not to mention that we have a new platform that we work with them, which is more on demand content as well. We're using Brightcove for video. We're all over the place, we even use a great platform called Simpler for our intranet. And we just got, we're putting a lot more focus into our employee advocacy, as well. And we'd been using, one of the great programs that I helped launch a number of years ago was our employee advocacy program, and we were using a platform called LinkedIn Elevate at the time, which was a LinkedIn tool. LinkedIn decided to shut down that service of theirs and that platform. So we've recently moved over to Sprout Social. So we use Sprout now for our employee advocacy, and their Bambu platform for employee advocacy. And we're using Sprout for social media publishing, and social listening. So yeah, we're sort of all over the place.

Ajay Gupta: That's great, Josh. On your LinkedIn, you mention being a disruptive marketer. What does disruptive marketing mean to you, and what makes marketing disruptive?

Josh Anisfeld: Great question. To me, it's not complicated to define what disruptive marketing is. It's being the first to do something that people just haven't seen before. It's eliciting some sort of emotion or connection with people, so that you sort of disrupt them. People, all of us, we're inundated with information, content, campaigns. And it takes something really special to break through all of that, to capture somebody's attention and get them to want to take an action. And it's not one size fits all. What's disruptive to me might not be disruptive to you, or to the next guy over there, and vice versa. So when you look at disruptive marketing, it changes on a daily basis. I mean, think about back to 2013, if you ask anybody about real time marketing they're going to bring up the whole Oreo thing at the Super Bowl, the blackout Oreo thing. It was disruptive in that moment, and at that time, and it got a lot of attention for Oreo and a lot of attention around social media. The problem though, is that everyone wanted to jump onto that. And every brand started trying to be disruptive, by doing the same thing. By doing real time marketing. It worked for so on people, it didn't work for others. I remember when the movie Sharknado came out, there was I believe, the number one trending Twitter conversation, ever. There was more talk on Twitter on Sharknado, because they were doing real time marketing around it. By the next year, it wasn't so disruptive at anymore. Every brand was doing it. It was almost expected. And when something's expected, it's not so disruptive anymore. So to me, being a disruptive marketer, it's constantly ideating, coming up with new ideas, taking chances. It's not sitting by the sidelines, waiting to copy what other people are doing, just because it was successful for them. Because by then, it's not disruptive anymore.

Vincent: And I want to continue with that Josh, because of your experience in marketing, and what you just said. Advice for people. How does one become proactive in marketing, as opposed to reactive?

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah, it's easier said than done. It really is. We see that on our end. A lot of it has to do with your resources and your current needs. We're a really small marketing team, comparatively. We're powerful. We do amazing work, but I think we're only about at a 13 or 14 person global marketing team, serving an organization of 23, 2400 people. So we are inundated with requests, of people needing things. So it's always a great question. How can we get ahead of that eight ball, be more proactive with our marketing? And it requires the time, it requires the resources. But to me, the best way to be proactive is through insights. If you have a team that is out there, keeping your pulse on the industry, on your customers, on your clients. What is going on in their world, not necessarily specifically their business, which is important too, but if you have a pulse on their world and you could start to be a bit more forward thinking on," What is going to impact you tomorrow, the next day or the next year," it gives you that time to think a little bit. And," How can we get ahead of this?" Versus," Something in the industry is blowing up right now, we should probably create a piece of content around it because as there was a huge conversation yesterday." That's being reactive. But if you can start to kind of look into that crystal ball a little bit and use those insights, the data, the trends. Like I said, we are inundated with information. There's no lack of it out there. You just have to find the right information, see what's happening, and try to think about how can you disrupt this and sort of just get in front of it before it's really impacting your clients, so that they know that you're already there.

Vincent: And you also mentioned Josh, that you had to, you mentioned some great tech stacks there. Salesforce, Pardot, we use those ourselves. ON24, show them some love, I know they're doing great things. I actually attended their webinar world conference, one time. I wanted to talk about webinars, because we had a lot of people on the podcast say that webinars and thought leadership really helped their clients, and also helped themselves with getting more interest in their companies. I have some people who are like," Well, we used to do a webinar. We had 43 people. During the pandemic, we had 500. We had to get a whole new platform, I think because there was that thirst for thought leadership." Talk to me about some of the tactics you took, webinar being one of them, what advice out there. But also, how you had to market differently during the pandemic. What you did, and what succeeded.

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah, that's, all great questions. Listen, I'm a big fan of webinars. I think they're incredibly powerful tools for a number of reasons, both from awareness of your company, awareness of the employees in your company, building the relationships. And listen, there's no black and white way of doing a webinar. We've done webinars where we actually do co- created presentations, with clients. So that's more of a co- creation type webinar, where you're showing a slide deck or whatever it might be, and you're each taking apart in it. And we've done more round table type stuff, the interview type stuff. To me, the most important thing in a webinar is that the end viewer is going to learn something from that, that they are not going to get elsewhere. And that could be a number of things. It could be that they're actually learning a strategy, learning about a specific case study about a company, or it might be that they're just interested in the guests. And don't ever discount quality talent, and quality guests. We have had, we did an incredible webinar with the chief digital officer of Albertsons Companies. And not only were they discussing some fantastic case study work and stuff about the Joel transformation, but that's a big name and a big company. And people want to know, what are those companies doing? So there's that whole element of it. But then there's also the lead generation component of webinar. It is direct lead generation. What I love so much about the platform we use, and about webinars in general is that, the data that you get from these is so unbelievable now that, it's so granular. And this is my big selling point across my organization. Not only are we going to pull a list of three, 500 people who have registered for the webinar, but we're going to be able to tell you, how long did that person stay on for. If we're doing a poll, what did every single person answer in that poll? If we're going to ask questions, what did every single person ask and answer in those questions? For people out there, for the marketers, we're not just doing that to keep people on the line for 30 minutes or an hour. We're doing that because at the end of the day, we're going to segment our outreach and our business development post event communications, based off of what those people have done. We're going to look for our high priority people, the CEOs, the CHROs, and we're going to say," Okay, did they ask a question that we didn't get to answer?"" No? Well, let's do a personal outreach then, let's answer their question. Let's send them a piece of content that is right aligned with how they answered a polling question," or a piece of content that they already downloaded. It's about segmentation. It's about personalization, for me. It's about being able to get that data, and reach out to them at the same time. We're now able to have an on demand piece of content that, it's the gift that keeps on giving. If you look on our website and you go into our insights section, you're going to see a whole section there for our on- demand webinars. Great assets for people, but guess what? They still have to fill out a form to watch that webinar. It's passive lead generation for us. So that's incredibly important. To answer your other question about the pandemic, everything shifted. And yeah, webinars, straight through the roof. I'll be frank, I had a hard time getting our consultants to participate in webinars before the pandemic, because it's time consuming, of course, it is. It takes time for our consultants to create those presentations and to help us find the talent. And I get it, it's a lot of work, but then all of a sudden the pandemic hit. I couldn't work enough hours in the day, to get these webinars going. And they were amazing. They were fantastic. And yeah, you're right. Before where we were getting maybe like a hundred, 200 registrants, all of a sudden we were getting five, 600. One of ours, we got almost 1200 registrants for a webinar that we were doing. It was amazing. Beyond the webinars though, where we had to really put to some focus and pause, was showing our clients that we can still partner with them and drive success virtually. It's a big question that people ask," How do you hire in a virtual world? A company, how do you hire a CEO that you've never met in person?" It's a great question. And we put, for a while there, we put all of our focus on that, all of our content creation, all... Everything that we were putting online, in social, was about how do we show people that this can all be done virtually? We created new assets, new thought leadership, all around this. And it really just shifted the whole dynamic of what we were doing. But at the same time, it felt wrong to kind of go along as business as usual, when there needed to be more focused on the immediate. But over time, we started seeing that people were kind of getting sick of seeing every single thing in their feed, being about the pandemic. It was like pandemic just, it was too much about pandemic, and too much about virtual work and all that. And so we kind of had to refocus again on," How do we stay in tune with what's going on right now, but at the same time, not be one note pony, here?" And not just talk about the pandemic, but how do we start to bring that value back again, and still talk about things that are still impacting our clients, that are not necessarily pandemic related?

Ajay Gupta: Yeah. We have found our podcast also to be quite effective, during this time, where there's less travel and less chances to interact with clients and prospects. And the podcast has been kind of similar space for us, as the webinars have been for you.

Josh Anisfeld: Oh, us too. Big plug for the Heidrick& Struggles leadership podcast, go check us out.

Vincent: Absolutely.

Ajay Gupta: Josh, you've been at the company for about six years now. What's been a highlight for you? I'm sure there's quite a few, but is there a moment or project that really stands out for you?

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah, there's a lot of projects that stand out for me. Listen, I said it before. I'm so proud of this website that we just launched. This was a big deal for us. When I came into Heidrick& Struggles, like I said, we had a website, we had a LinkedIn page with, I think there were 10 or 20, 000 followers at the time. Over the course of a number of years our website just started... We fell into the trap that a lot of people fall into, we started putting bandaids over things that weren't working. And a company like ours, where we have sort of different services that sort of all have their own thing going, we have a lot of people to answer to. And the answer was not ways what I wanted it to be, which was," Let's do this right, and let's do this well." But we had to find solutions. We had to be nimble about these things. A couple of years ago, we finally got the buy- in, the budget, to move forward with the new website project. It was an unbelievable experience in every way. Building the internal stakeholder teams around it, doing the discovery work, even vetting the right agency partner. And then what we found, was that we needed to start, use this, as a way to start reinventing ourselves. Brand new look and feel for the company, and we used the website project as the beginning of that, and it's starting to take off, now. We have now taken our new look and feel, and spread that into our email marketing, into our social media, into our charts and graphs, into our thought leadership. Everything is starting to move towards this new look and feel. And I'm really, really proud of that because, I helped be part of that. And there are a lot of people in our organization that I can't thank enough, for helping push this forward, and we continue to push that forward. So yeah, very, very proud of that. Like I said before, the other project that I was so proud of, was our employee advocacy program. We did a research project with LinkedIn, I have a great relationship with the folks over at LinkedIn, really, really helpful people. And we did a project with them, to see who in our organization was sharing content, and who was sharing our content. The numbers were staggering. We realized that a very small percentage of people in our organization were even sharing on social media, and even smaller were sharing our own content. And so we started asking," Why? What's going on here?" And the answers we got were, people didn't have time. People didn't know where to find good content. People didn't think that the content they saw was relevant, and that the answer was so obvious, utilizing an employee advocacy platform. Like at the time, it was LinkedIn Elevate. And we started rolling this out, and it took off like wildfire. All of a sudden we had, I think it was 60% of the company, was opted in for this. We were seeing our thought leadership numbers were just going sky high, because people were starting to share it. We started getting, essentially our own internal influencers, in this. People who were sharing hundreds and hundreds of times a month, and being able to show the benefit of it and say," You know what? I'm getting more conversations with clients now, because they're seeing me on social media." So I was really proud of that project, as well.

Ajay Gupta: I'm going to have to look into this myself, Josh, we are trying to do the same thing. Get more people to start sharing content. So, one of the things, the company has been around for a long time. You guys have obviously, you read on the website, a lot of exciting things happening. Is there any big company news coming up that you can share, going into 2022?

Josh Anisfeld: Yeah. I'm not going to go there, but, a lot of stuff that we can't talk about yet. Lot of great stuff coming in 2022, I'll tell you that. One of the things though that I think that, is really important to note, probably the biggest announcement that we made this past year was our acquisition of a company called Business Talent Group. And Business Talent Group is one of the largest, most preeminent marketplaces for on demand talent. And we realized that a lot of our clients were having a need for on demand talent, people that could come in and fill a certain talent hole that they had, at that moment. Maybe that didn't need to hire someone permanently for it, but there was a more temporary role that they needed to fill, at that moment. Whether it be a chief marketing officer, or a human resources executive, or someone like that. That they needed to come in, and do some work, maybe someone who come in, and put some focus on digital transformation. We had been working with BTG for a number of years as partners, with them, and we decided to acquire them. About, I don't even know, I think it was April that we made that acquisition. And it was very, very natural. And to this day it's an incredibly natural, seamless addition to the Heidrick& Struggles service line. So now, we like to say now, that we're sort of the only leadership advisory firm that offers this type of service. The companies that we're working with, they have this demand for speed, agility and flexibility, and they need to close those talent gaps. And it requires sometimes, not so much the long term permanent placements that can take a little while to find that right fit, but they need a quick, high level placement on a temporary but immediate basis. And we're now able to offer that to them. So that was a very, very big piece of news for us. But yeah, lots to come in 2022, maybe I'll come back later next year and share some of that stuff with you.

Vincent: Absolutely. Josh, one more business related question, before we wrap up and, getting some of the personal side. We love to do that here at The Marketing Stir, it's not all business, right?

Josh Anisfeld: For sure.

Vincent: But talk to us, Josh, you mentioned employee advocacy quite a bit. Can you just comment on the importance of that, and how companies should really begin to inject that if they haven't, into their everyday life, work?

Josh Anisfeld: It's so important. I mean, your employees should be your best advocates. If your employees are not your best advocates, you need to put some focus on that culture, because your employees should be proud to work with you. They should be the ones that are helping out there. Utilize them as a megaphone, really, and that's what we try to do. If you think about our business specifically, we're a consultant based business. Our consultants have these amazing relationships. And I always say, the people we are trying to reach are sitting in our consultants' social networks. We have a great marketing database but if you compile, and we've done this, if you compile all the numbers of all the first degree connections that our consultants have, it eclipses our corporate following by twelvefold. And we need to reach those people. And the best way to do that is by giving your employees the content to share and the ways to share it in an easy, easy way. And it's not just thought leadership, it is showcasing your internal culture. It is showcasing firm news. Like when we made the acquisition of BTG, it was really, really important that not only did we share that in social media, from the Heidrick& Struggles perspective. And trust me, we did, but getting our 2000 employees to also share that information, as well. And that's, what's so, so important, because when you look at these numbers, it's crazy. We have one person in our company. I love this guy. He's one of our partners in charge of one of our offices, and he loves social media. It's impossible to keep up with this guy. He shares, I think it's like over a thousand pieces of content month.

Vincent: Oh, wow.

Josh Anisfeld: It's insane. But when you look at the reach, the potential reach that this guy is getting, it's like in the millions. And listen, I never tell anybody to go that far, but somebody who is truly participating in an employee advocacy program, you can expect that that person is probably going to reach a number of a hundred, or a thousand, people per month, based off of what they're sharing, who they're sharing to. And then the virality of that sharing, as well. Other people hitting that share button, and the comments and the like button as well. It's super important for the organization, but it's even more important, especially in a business like mine where consultants are doing their own business development. It keeps you with an ongoing drumbeat of visibility in the social media world. It shows that you are bringing information to people, relevant information, and you are showcasing insights and thought leadership. And that, you will be top of mind when they say," You know what? I need to speak to someone about digital transformation. I see this person online, constantly sharing this stuff. They're probably an expert." So you hit this from both sides, you are benefiting the business and you are benefiting yourself, because your personal social brand is everything these days. It's incredibly important, no matter what business you're in.

Vincent: I love hearing that. And Ajay and myself, we try to be big on social media. Just, not even big, just really just get some messages out, relevant content. And as Ajay mentioned, as our CEO, he's trying to advocate for that, for other people able to do that. We do put quite a bit out there, but it's good to hear you reinforce it. So that is great. Let's stay on social media, because our next question is a staple question, Josh, that we ask every single one of our guests, approaching a hundred episodes now. LinkedIn, you're a nice guy, so I would be really curious to hear your answer. So, LinkedIn, you're the size of your company, your title alone. I'm sure you get a lot of solicitations. What is a message on LinkedIn that resonates with you? That," You know what? I'll take this meeting or, or I'll talk to this person." And what is one that you just hate, is a pet peeve of yours. It's our LinkedIn question.

Josh Anisfeld: Guys listen, I don't know how this is going to make me sound, but you offer me some free food, you got me.

Vincent: I like that. That's a first, that's a first, Ajay.

Josh Anisfeld: Honestly, I get crazy offers to take meetings with people. I've gotten DoorDash gift cards to take a meeting. You got it. I've gotten boxes, I think the most recent one, I got this amazing... Someone sent me this, it wasn't on LinkedIn of course, but they sent me... I don't know how they got my address at home, that was a little creepy. But they sent me a box of these amazing brownies. I'm like," Okay, fine. I'm going to take that meeting."

Vincent: That's awesome.

Josh Anisfeld: Food. I'm Jewish. We love our food. So, listen, I know who I want to speak to and I know who I don't. I'm not going to just take a meeting because they're giving me free stuff. But at the same time, I can't take every meeting that every vendor in the world wants to have with me. If there's really just no place for me to utilize your services and your platforms, it's not going to work. What really drives me crazy are the LinkedIn messages from people who are offering me the services that our company already offers. And I get those constantly." Can we help you with your executive search?" That's kind of what we do." Can we help you with your email marketing?" Kind of got it covered already. People need to do their research into what you do, and see if there's even a right fit. I love a good technology. I love the new shiny coins, and these new shiny toys out there. I like seeing that stuff. If you have an innovative new platform, and you want to show it to me for 30 minutes, and it's in line with my needs, my marketing technology. Yeah, I'll usually take a look at it, because it never hurts me to look at a new platform in a new technology. It only helps me, actually. And I like that type of stuff. The other things that drive me crazy., I'll tell you this right now, this is constant. And this is more over email than anything is, if someone wants to send me a cold email, that's fine. That's good. If I don't respond? Sure. Give it one more shot. Go for it. After two attempts, stop hitting me up every other day saying," Oh, I guess you didn't see my email," or," Oh, maybe this got lost in the shuffle." All right. After five, six times there, I'm not responding. Get the hint here, try a different approach maybe. Send me a piece of interesting thought leadership that maybe I'll open, or send me a box of brownies or something. But in all seriousness, if we don't... Stop, just stop after a few cold emails that I'm not responding to. And then I'll tell you my other biggest pet peeve, I hate this. Is, somebody connects with me on LinkedIn. Okay, fine. If I connect with them, I hate auto replies from connecting. Hate them. They seem so insincere to me. And it's so obvious they're auto replies, because the second I hit connect, I get that email back, again. I just, I'm not a fan of that. It's a personal pet peeve of mine.

Vincent: That is, a lot of firsts, there. I love the food angle. I'm Italian. I love food too, so if anyone wants my attention out there, send me some food. But I also, my other pet peeve is the same thing you said Josh, is like the... Oh no. As soon as I, if I'm duped into connecting with you because we have mutual connections and you auto send me something, that is my biggest pet peeve. But, with just a minute or so left, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Josh Anisfeld: Listen, I always say digital marketing is my job, being a dad is my career. I've got two amazing, amazing kids at home, an 11 year old boy, a seven year old daughter. And they're my life, I love spending as much time with them as I can, and taking them out and doing stuff. So I'm a really, really big, I'm a big advocate of dad's rights in the workplace and dad equality in the workplace. So you'll always see me posting stuff about that, as well, I think it's really important. And my father, love him to death. He owned his own company when I was growing up. He was never around, that was the life he chose. He was trying to build a future for us. And I have a lot of respect for that, but it important to me when I had kids, to be around. And I work for a company that truly appreciates that, and gives me all the flexibility in the world to be a present dad. And nothing, no amount of money or benefits can make up for that, because that's the most important thing to me, in an organization. And besides that, avid Chicago Bulls fan. We're going to the finals. This year.

Vincent: I think so. I'm a Bulls fan, too.

Josh Anisfeld: We're doing it, we're back.

Vincent: Yeah.

Josh Anisfeld: So huge, huge Bulls fan and yeah, that's me.

Vincent: That's amazing. I too, am a Bulls fan, even though I grew up in New York City. So I don't know if we bonded up over that yet, but we will. I love that they're back.

Josh Anisfeld: They are back.

Vincent: Where, they're like 10 and three, right now. That is awesome, Josh. I love being a dad, myself. I have two boys. I love hearing that, but we mostly love hearing from you. Thank you so much for joining us on The Marketing Stir podcast.

Josh Anisfeld: Thank you.

Vincent: That is Josh Anisfeld, Heidrick& Struggles VP of Digital Marketing. This has been The Marketing Stir, I'm Vincent, that's Ajay. Thank you so much for listening.

Speaker 5: Thanks for listening to the marketing stir podcast by Stirista. Please like, rate and subscribe. If you're interested in being a guest on the podcast, email us at themarketingstir @ stirista. com, and thanks for listening.


Vincent and Ajay chat with Josh Anisfeld, VP of Digital Marketing at Heidrick and Struggles. He talks about how his company helps with culture-shaping for all sorts of organizations around the globe. Ajay is off to Hawaii, and Vincent remineces about traveling, himself.

Today's Host

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Vincent Pietrafesa

|Vice President, B2B Products, Stirista
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Ajay Gupta

|Founder & CEO, Stirista

Today's Guests

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Josh Anisfeld

|VP of Digital Marketing, Heidrick & Struggles
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