CMO Impact
Achieving Personal & Career Success

CMO Wisdom: Hard Earned and Well Shared

Averi Melcher
December 16, 2015


No man is an island, but it can sometimes feel that way – especially when you have a marketing team to lead and a board that is looking to you for results.

A group of top marketers came together to share the biggest challenges they’ve faced and lessons they’ve learned at the Fall CMO Club Innovation and Inspiration Summit on a panel moderated by Drew Neisser, CEO at Renegade. The panel discussion provided a safe place for marketers to talk amongst their peers about how to overcome marketing challenges and effectively manage their roles for long-term success.

CMO Wisdom Panel

L to R: Roberto Medrano, Stephanie Anderson, Jennifer Francis, Julie Garlikov and Drew Neisser

Here’s what 4 top CMOs have learned along the way:

“Make Blogging A Priority”

Establishing a blog facilitates an information exchange between brands and consumers. Additionally, it helps marketers share their expertise, position themselves as leaders in the industry and announce news about emerging products or research.

Roberto Medrano, Executive VP of Marketing at Akana/SOA Software saw these benefits and decided to start a tech blog for his company. He soon realized that members of the media and prospective clients felt a connection with him after reading his posts online, resulting in strengthened consumer relationships and increased revenue.

“Writing is not my expertise… I’d rather talk, or do stuff on the board,” said Medrano. “But I found that it was very needed for our company.”

His number one tip for blogging success? Schedule time to write your blog posts – just like any other meeting – and stick to that commitment.

“Leverage Outside Talent When Budgets Are Low”

Marketers rely heavily on their budgets to find top talent and create great work. However, one CMO mentioned how to maintain top quality with a low budget.

Julie Garlikov, VP of Marketing and Sales at Nuvesse Skin Therapies said it’s all about thinking through the process in advance. She stressed the importance of being mindful about what you can in-source, looking for the right agencies and knowing what to supplement with freelance work.

“What I’m passionate about is finding agencies where the person running them come from the big guys and are really well trained, having the same kind of work ethic and standards of quality that you might have. I’ve worked hard to find and build relationships with those kind of agencies,” said Garlikov.

She said that, by doing the legwork and establishing a personal connection with these agency leaders, she has maintained a connection with talented people even when budgets decrease or roles change.

“Make the Customer Your Compass”

The advice from Stephanie Anderson, SVP Marketing of Time Warner Cable’s Business Services, was short and to the point: Move faster and take action.

“We rarely regret the decisions we make quickly. But most of the time, as soon as the decision is made, we think, ‘why didn’t I do that 3 months ago?,” said Anderson.

She recently followed her own advice when making organizational changes for her company, and found that making quick, definitive choices increased the structural order. It also allowed the entire team to focus on what’s most important – the customer.

“The customer is our compass. It’s all about improving the customer experience.” said Anderson.

“Just Keep Forging On”

Any marketing role is guaranteed to have its challenges, but you just need to keep moving toward your goals.

For Jennifer Francis, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she has the main marketing leadership role at her organization. She admits it is lonely at times to be amongst people who do not understand the realities and depths of the profession, but that it inspires her to do work that she loves, change paradigms and contribute in a huge way.

“I do it because we are on our way, progress is palpable and we SHALL achieve our marketing objectives,” said Francis. “I prioritize, make a vision and vibe with my tribe of peers at events like this [Summit] for support.”

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