CMO Impact
Leading a Culture of Innovation as a Growth CMO

On Building Marketing Bridges from Pete Krainik, CEO and Founder of The CMO Club

February 20, 2015

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“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” –Isaac Newton

In our super-connected world, we need more bridge builders. These are the people who are able to connect those who can benefit from knowing each other; it’s the recipe for “everyone wins”. Today, in our super-connected, socially-savvy world, this is more possible than ever with people around the world.

My passion is connecting CMOs and heads of marketing and watching the magic happen from those new relationships. I facilitate events, digital communities, content and introductions to catalyze the most impactful, inspiring and helpful conversations among senior marketers.

The Evolving Role of the CMO

Because I get to speak with the world’s leading CMOs on a daily basis, I’m often asked about my perspective on how the role of the CMO is evolving.

As a former CMO myself, I can honestly say that there has never been a better time to be a marketer. The breadth, depth and value that CMOs provide is unprecedented.   In the C-Suite, the CMO is the new champion.  But it’s also a challenging time because the CMO’s role has expanded so rapidly and it is ever-evolving and there is no playbook. So it’s critical that CMOs have the opportunity to learn from each other, help shape the role, make solid marketing choices and further elevate the profession.  That’s the essence of what the The CMO Club aspires to be — the best facilitator and catalyst of those CMO conversations that are helping CMOs with CMO challenges.

For example,

  • CMOs are now responsible for driving new sources of revenue growth for the business
  • CMOs are responsible for cross-functional integration across the C-Suite
  • CMOs are held accountable for leveraging data effectively by investing in emerging digital marketing platforms and integrating those new platforms with traditional forms of marketing

Supporting the Evolving CMO

The CMO Club is innovating in several ways to support our members in the areas where they face the most challenges at any given time.  Our mission is to help create collaborative and innovative peer-based experiences that serve the CMO community leveraging a give to get DNA:

  • Going digital for expanding CMO relationships beyond local chapters and summits! We’ve created the CMO Solutions Clubhouse, where we’re using unique, relevant and CMO-requested content to facilitate peer-to-peer online conversations about specific challenge areas (25 to be precise).  Our goal is to provide a valuable membership service that meets CMOs where they need it most:  to find solutions to their self-identified professional challenges.
  • In Person: Our two Innovation & Inspiration Summits– one in NYC and one in CA — are drawing major attendance from global CMOs.  The conversations, content and collaboration are amazing elements we’ve worked hard to cultivate.  Members tell me – and I’m honored by these words — that these are “must-not-miss” CMO events.  In addition, we’re facilitating strategic member-to-member relationships at a number of in-person events including our Chapter Dinners and industry events such as CES, SXSW and Cannes Lions where our members are able to have peer-to-peer conversations with one another and attend workshops on topics that are meaningful to them.
  • Safe Environment: Above all, The CMO Club provides a safe and confidential place for CMOs to relate to one another and work together — transparently and authentically — to solve their current challenges and connect with like-minded peers.

My Personal Perspective on my CMO Relationships

To me, each relationship is gold. Running The CMO Club is the best job I’ve ever had and I have been fortunate to work at Gulf Oil, Mars, Inc., Siebel, DoubleClick and Avaya. What is that saying? Something like, “love what you do and you’ll never work another day in your life”. That holds true for me. I get to see and hear first-hand, the transitions, challenges and success of CMOs around the world – that is very gratifying. And so many of the members have become my personal friends. I’m the luckiest guy in the world and am excited to help each and every CMO member to keep on growing, succeeding and connecting. My passion is to be the connector that can remove the walls and build the bridges to help make that happen. Are you a connector? Trust me, it’s worth the ride.

Advice for Those Who Want to be Better Connectors

Always be in the moment with people you meet. Half listening while on your cell is not in the moment and you will miss something important.

When you ask people their biggest challenges don’t think in terms of how you can help them, but how your network of friends and colleagues can help them.

75% of the people I engage with over-promise and under deliver. Show people how much a friend you are with your connections vs telling them what a great connector you are and name dropping.

Lighten up a bit. The best business deals I have seen occur within the club are build on real friendships first vs how can they help my business. Grow your relationships first and business will come.

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