Indeed’s CMO on why every company should view marketing as a growth center, not a cost center

Indeed’s CMO on why every company should view marketing as a growth center, not a cost center

In exploring the value of modern key performance indicators (KPIs), I’ve been speaking with academics and industry experts over the past few weeks. And as KPIs are becoming more customer experience oriented (for example, metrics such as employee experience, customer experience, and customer lifetime value) my conversations with experts continue to point to the importance of enhanced synergy between finance and marketing teams.

“There’s always a partnership between finance and marketing because traditionally, marketing is viewed as a cost center,” Jessica Jensen, chief marketing officer at, a worldwide employment website, told me. “And the evolution, that I think is also related to digital transformation, has been to viewing marketing as a growth center.”

Jessica Jensen, chief marketing officer at / Courtesy of

Jensen, in her role at Indeed since 2021, is a technology industry veteran whose experience includes former head of products, platforms, and insights for business marketing at Facebook. During her career of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley, she’s seen the relationship between finance and marketing shift from: “’Here’s your budget,’” Jensen says. “‘Here’s your dictate on ROI. And we need to control the cost of marketing.’”

She continues, “Over my time at Facebook, Open Table, and now at Indeed, it’s much more focused on: “How do we invest smartly in marketing to drive revenue, market share and other forms of top-line growth?”

Marketing teams at Indeed include brand awareness and brand consideration as just some of their KPIs, all linked to revenue, Jensen says. “There’s a term in marketing land, UAC, which is unaided consideration,” Jensen explains. UAC is the percentage of respondents aware of your brand without being assisted.

“That’s a very important metric that we use in marketing to indicate if we have brand awareness and understanding,” she explains. “If we have awareness and consideration, that will make our customer acquisition activities more effective, which leads to a lower customer acquisition cost. And if we satisfy those customers after they join us, their lifetime value extends. So, it is an interlinked web of metrics.”

“However, a board member or a CEO might say, ‘What the heck do I care about UAC’? Jensen says. “So, making the linear connection between a metric like that and revenue or client acquisition is the job that we have to do in marketing.”

Customer lifetime value is still a critical measure both on the consumer and the B2B side, Jensen says. “How much does it cost to acquire a customer (CAC) versus what is the lifetime value of that customer?”

I asked Jensen for an example of a collaborative project she’s worked on with Sean McSherry, SVP and head of finance at Indeed.

“I think we’ve gotten much more sophisticated about our use of LTV (customer lifetime value) segmentation,” she explains. “We’ve done a big project around construction workers, truckers, nurses, legal professionals, etc. We are running jobs across an incredible array of different industry segments and job types. So, we need to be very purposeful about the LTV and CAC assessment at that segment level. And that was a major collaboration between our finance team, our job-seeker product team and our marketing team.”

“The CFO-CMO relationship is key to our company’s overall business growth,” McSherry told Fortune in a statement. “Our relationship has to be transparent, dynamic and with constant ongoing feedback. This allows finance to be more flexible with our investment approach so we can determine the best ways to fund growth opportunities in real-time and iterate along the way. Together, we’re not managing predetermined budgets, but rather finding and funding the best pathways for growth.”

“You’re 70% more likely to go through a successful digital transformation with a marketing leader who is really able to translate [marketing] metrics for business impact,” Courtney Rose, sector lead at Google, told me. Research by Google, in partnership with Kantar, found that “the CMO and the CFO is the power pair that holds that key to unlocking digital transformation, especially at times like this when we face a lot of uncertainty,” Rose says. But the implications of the CMO-CFO relationship goes beyond digital transformation, she says. “At the end of the day, it’s about what we’re doing to enable the best business outcome,” Rose says.

That involves, “driving a modern aligned business with shared goals and metrics across everyone in the C-suite,” Jensen says. Using shared data, everyone should be able to articulate, “Here’s our customer strategy and here are the metrics that move the needle for the business and for our customers,” she says.

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
[email protected]

Upcoming event: If you are a CFO in the Chicago area, join us at Sepia on September 22 for our CFO Collaborative in-depth dinner conversation. The topic of discussion: The Finance Talent Model of the Future. I will be joined by Fortune CEO Alan Murray, Fortune Finance Editor Lee Clifford, and Clem Johnson, President, Crist|Kolder Associates. Click here for more information and to apply. Please note that attendance is complimentary and subject to approval.

Big deal

The corporate compliance training market share is expected to increase by $2.42 billion by 2025, and the market’s growth momentum is predicted to accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.24%, according to a report by Technavio, a market research company. The market experienced year-over-year growth of 7% in 2021. One of the key factors driving the growth of the global corporate compliance training market is the rise in continuous monitoring, according to the report.

Courtesy of Technavio

Going deeper

“Managing Shareholders in the Age of Stakeholder Capitalism,” a new report in Harvard Business Review, offers four sets of tools managers can use to cultivate steward shareholders. These tactics are based on two dimensions: time-to-efficacy and implementation difficulty, which pertains to potential resistance managers may face in carrying out the tactics, according to the report.


Jack Calandra was named SVP and CFO at Caleres (NYSE: CAL), which has a portfolio of consumer-driven footwear brands, effective September 12. Calandra will succeed Ken Hannah, who has served as CFP of Caleres for the last seven years. Hannah will be available to Caleres as needed to support the transition, according to the company. Calandra most recently served as CFO of a.k.a. Brands. Before that, he served as EVP, CFO, and treasurer for Tailored Brands. Calandra also held several executive positions at Gap, Inc., which included SVP of corporate finance and investor relations; SVP and CFO, Banana Republic Global; VP and CFO, Gap Inc. Direct; and VP and CFO, Gap International.

Henry Hagopian III was named CFO at Annovis Bio, Inc. (NYSE: ANVS), a clinical-stage drug platform company addressing neurodegenerative diseases, effective immediately. Jeff McGroarty has stepped away from his role as CFO to pursue other interests. McGroarty will assist in a transition of his duties over the next several weeks. Hagopian comes to Annovis with 30 years of finance and accounting experience, including 15 years at Organogenesis, a publicly-traded regenerative medicine company, most recently as SVP of finance and treasurer. In 2020, he was the company’s interim CFO.


“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term because otherwise, civilization will crumble.”

—Elon Musk, CEO of the electric vehicle company Tesla, told reporters during an energy conference in Norway on Monday, as reported by Reuters. Musk also said: “One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy. That will take some decades to complete.”

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