Facebook and Mondelez Are Marketing BFFs, but They Do Compete for Talent

Both need technologists for social-commerce aims

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Even for a marketing panel, it was unusually kumbaya—until the topic turned to the fractious subject of tech talent. 

When Facebook exec Carolyn Everson began her Advertising Week session about mobile video Monday morning, she threw quite a bouquet in the direction of her co-speaker, Mondelez vp of global media and consumer engagement B. Bonin Bough

"[He's] arguably the most important change agent in marketing," said Everson, the social site's vp of global marketing solutions. 

When it was Bough's turn to speak, he tossed a positive nugget about Facebook—which has struggled to find its e-commerce footing—that probably surprised the few hundred attendees at the Times Center in New York.

"Very quickly we believe that Facebook will become our No. 1 food-selling channel," he said. He cited 5 percent growth in Germany for Mondelez's Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand as one example to support his enthusiasm for Facebook commerce. 

OK, we get it—Facebook and Mondelez's 18-month global partnership is going swimmingly. The two companies inked a 52-country deal last year in which the brand marketer put the social-media platform "at the core of our media investment plans," as it said at the time. 

Interestingly, though, they appear to be going head-to-head more often when it comes to recruiting digital talent. It's not shocking; platforms need marketers to create smart ad products, while brands need technologists to suss out how to reach mobile consumers.

"Talent is the single biggest determinant that will grow organizations over the next 20 years," said Bough, adding that keeping talent is imperative.

Looking at Everson, he said, "We are no longer going up against our competitors, we are up against folks like yourselves."

It's no secret that college grads want to work for companies like Facebook, but when tech players come to poach Mondelez, Bough argues that the diversified tasks at the CPG giant will bring hard-to-come-by experiences.  

"I say, 'If you stay here, you can kind of work for Facebook, kind of work for Twitter, kind of work for Google,'" he said. 

When Everson replied that Facebook wants its partners "to have great talent," Bough called it "just stage talk" and said, "You just hired one of ours last week." 

"I might just hire you right on the spot," Everson quipped. 

She was joking, of course, but it didn't seem like an entirely unbelievable idea. After all, software companies are eating up everything nowadays—including, as Bough's plans for Facebook commerce suggest—big dollars for food marketing that once went elsewhere.

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.