Mike Isaac

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Twitter Comms Chief Adds Consumer Marketing to List of Duties

twitter_bird_380Irony of ironies here: Twitter has a communication problem.

Not the core service (tweets continue to fly as fast as ever). It’s about giving a simple, straightforward explanation of exactly what Twitter is to the masses of people who just don’t get it. An unenviable challenge, if you ask me — for such a simple product, understanding Twitter can be rather complex.

Luckily, I don’t have that job. It now belongs to Gabriel Stricker, Twitter’s current VP of communications, who will head up the company’s consumer marketing efforts from now on. That’s according to a recent change in his Twitter profile, which now lists him as VP of marketing and communications.

Stricker comes from both a PR and a marketing background: He headed search comms at Google for more than five years; in 2003, he wrote a book on marketing strategy, and he has a history in political campaigning.

Historically, Twitter hasn’t had a solid, unified consumer marketing team or a person to lead it for years. Pam Kramer did a short stint as VP of marketing back in 2011, but it didn’t work out so well; Kramer was shown the door after only three months.

Gabriel Stricker

Gabriel Stricker

Since then, and even before, Twitter’s consumer marketing efforts have been splintered across the company. And instead of focusing efforts on basic user education of what Twitter is, resources would often be divvied up among departments on a first-come, first-served basis.

Stricker will fold a number of design team employees into his newly christened MarComms department, while the rest of the team will remain focused on designing and building actual products (rather than occasionally being peeled off to work on a promotional launch, for instance). It’ll also likely involve hiring new people (or contractors), which Twitter is actively doing at the moment.

Sales marketing remains a separate division under the control of Tom Thai, who came in from Twitter’s acquisition of Bluefin Labs earlier in the year, and who took the reins from Shane Steele.

Twitter declined to comment on the changes.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus