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If you are going to get laid off, be a Radian6er and get laid off by

Today’s breaking news: laid off fewer than 100 people from Radian6, a social media platform marketing company that they acquired a year ago. This news has generated tremendous sympathy and support from the marketing community. Comments have been circulating on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other web sites ever since Techvibes first broke it and Business Insider confirmed the details from Salesforce’s PR department. 

Since most of the people impacted by this layoff are from Canada, it is particularly sad to see another homegrown success story become a victim of big corporate decision-making. Sure, layoffs happen every day, especially in our fast-paced technology industry. In cases where there is perceived redundancy, it is often necessary for companies to “rebalance resources to support growth”. But let’s face it, for a wildly successful company like, what do 100 people represent from a cost perspective? And what would their collective IP be valued at for marketing the cloud today and in the future? It seems to me that announcement like this can cause shareholders to speculate about the health of the company.

Fortunately, the social community that Radian6 had built decided to give back. Within hours, dozens and dozens of “Call us – we are hiring” messages poured in from friends, industry associates and competitors. I have never seen such a highly desirable laid off workforce. Good for you Radian6!

What’s the takeaway here for Marketing? We simply can’t control the things we have no control over. Layoffs do happen and companies need to make tough business decisions. Do not despair. If you have highly desirable skills and work for a highly desirable brand, you shouldn’t be worried about your prospects of finding a new job.

Many of my peers in the B2B technology marketing space have 15+ years of experience and are in a senior role. Only a small percentage of them dare to engage in social media marketing. Some are open to learning and adapting, while others choose to turn a blind eye and hold on to what they know best. A former colleague of mine, who was laid off 10 months ago, is still trying to land her next employment. In conversing with her I learned that she had no shortage of interviews, but struggled to close the deal. Every employer asked her what she would do to leverage social media to “take marketing to the next level”. Because she was not a believer, her answer was not believable. Social media is not the Holy Grail. It has, however; changed the way businesses think and engage with their customers. Be smart and upgrade your skills, as well as your frame of mind. Trust me, it will pay off.

The other aspect of the Radian6/Salesforce story is the importance of working for a highly desirable brand. By associating yourself with a great brand, you generate a positive perception about yourself without people knowing anything about you. is a great brand, which was named as the world’s most innovative company by Forbes. In today’s world, you need to be viewed as current and transformative. I am very impressed with the Salesforce messaging and the creativity that they’ve shown in their marketing efforts. It is a wonderful brand to be affiliated with and to put on your resume.

So choose your employers wisely. A known brand doesn’t equal a good brand. Stay away from dinosaurs that are going nowhere but down. You might find it rewarding to improve the negative perception of your company, but constantly fighting the uphill battle of public opinion can be very tiring.

Both sad and happy news today for the “fewer than 100 people” at Radian6. It has provided some good lessons for the rest of us.

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