1. What was your first (or favorite) job you’ve had?
When I was at ExxonMobil I was asked to lead their CPG analytics transformation for our B2C motor oil business. For the first time, we were developing a retail strategy centered on the customer versus the buyer. I helped launch our first fuel economy-improving motor oil line right as climate change, high fuel prices and hybrid vehicles came to the top of the minds of consumers.
We immediately gained nearly 13,000 points of distribution across major big box retailers and auto parts stores growing our sales from a couple thousand gallons per year to over a million! You almost never see that kind of growth in a drab category such as motor oil.
2. What are the 3 most important components for your personal and professional success?
1.) Maintaining an analytical edge
2.) Building a team of athletes empowered for decisiveness
3.) Acting as an enabler, not an enforcer: micro-understanding, not micro-managing.
3. Name an “inflection point” experience that prepared you for your current (or most recent) position as a head of Marketing.
Prior to my current role, I led the marketing function in smaller GE businesses where we had fewer resources and stretched our responsibility by wearing multiple hats. When I landed the new CMO role, I quickly learned that simply reapplying my previous approach was not working in a division that was four times larger. There were many more resources with territorial attitudes. To demonstrate value we had to pivot, so I integrated our team into each of the function’s operating rhythms and provided clearer direction on work scope and marketing deliverables. Soon, we were back on track with the team highly regarded for its marketing expertise and ability to discover value across the lifecycle of our customers.
4. What characteristics do you value most when hiring new marketing talent for your team?
I look for independent, divergent thinkers who can provide a point of view while being ambidextrous enough to lead multiple initiatives with composure and confidence.
5. What technology are you looking forward to using or implementing at your company?
We are starting to deploy our first use cases of PredixTM, which is GE’s new software platform for industrial internet. It has been game changing for us as a traditional heavy equipment company. We are now able to help our customers beyond our machines to become more competitive as an enterprise by using core and adjacent data to triangulate and predict business performance.
6. Where have you found sources of inspiration for your work lately?
I watched Ramesh Raskar give an impressive TED talk. He has developed femto-photography that slows down videos to such an extent that we can actually see light move. These cameras have the ability to see images around corners, beyond the line of sight. Besides inspiring the science nerd in me, I discovered an insightful connection between what Ramesh has done and what we do as marketers to help our companies “see around corners.” If we can place all this social, search and use data in slow motion, we will discover new and amazing things about our customer journey.
7. Do you have a personal mantra, words of wisdom or favorite inspirational quote?
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” —Sam Walton