The Face Behind the Brand
The CMO Club recently sat down with Casey Terrell, West Point graduate and Vice President of Marketing & Operations at Pinch A Penny Pool Patio Spa located in Tampa, Florida. Pinch-A-Penny is the largest franchise service retailer in the US with 250 brick and mortar stores and upwards of 300 million in annual revenue. Casey started his young career at Zila Pharmaceuticals in 2008. He’s served in marketing roles for such diverse companies as Burger King, Bloomin’ Brands, (which includes such marquee names as Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill,) and The Pall Corporation. Casey served in a leadership role for the US Army in South Korea before being injured.
Casey lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife and six-month-old daughter.
CMO Club–That sure is a unique path for a marketing executive. How did your experience at West Point translate into what you are doing now?
Casey Terrell–“First and foremost, West Point is the best leadership institution in the world. In order to give orders, you have to be able to take them first. It’s that “leading from the front” mentality that I carry with me in my life and my career. Never take yourself too seriously and always put your soldiers and your people in front of your own needs. The best leaders I’ve had, both in the army and in the business world, are the people that I didn’t want to let down.”
The CMO Club–You started at 3G Capitol, which owns many name brands, including Burger King and Heinz. What was that like and what do you remember about your time there?
Casey Terrell–“I came to 3G directly from graduate school, right after they purchased the company and were cutting back to the bone on anything and everything. They brought in new people that didn’t necessarily have the experience or any experience but had the personality and the drive they wanted. They were ruthless. If you didn’t perform you were gone, goodbye, but they would take great chances on people, especially younger people and train them, put them in leadership roles. It was the “If you’re comfortable in your chair, it’s time to switch chairs” mentality, switching jobs between marketing and operations and back again. They were looking for a skillset, for smart people that questioned things, people that could think differently and figure out problems from an outside perspective. I carry that experience with me both in my own career and in hiring new marketing talent.”
CMO Club–In looking back over your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self if you could?
Casey Terrell–“Don’t look at money. Money will come when you’re doing what you like to do, when you’re happy doing it. Focus on getting experience and learning. Eventually, the money will come.”
CMO Club–What are you excited about right now?
Casey Terrell–“The biggest thing for us now is connecting digital footprints to habits within our stores. Consumers really do see the value if you give them value for that data. Then it isn’t creepy, it’s not a strange thing to them. If I can serve you personalized content that makes your life easier and better, then it’s not weird anymore. I’m excited about how we can connect your digital presence to the brick and mortar and have people come inside. People are less and less weary of that as time goes on. We have a responsibility to keep that trust they have.”
CMO Club--Anything you’re struggling with right now? How did you solve it?
Casey Terrell–“We’ve got a ton of data. Specialty retailers in general have to be as targeted as possible, so organizing that data is easier said than done. It’s never easy to go through that process of sifting-though. Whatever your timeline is…double it.”
CMO Club–Any passions outside of work?
Casey Terrell–“I have a 6 month old at home, my first kid, and I’m very excited about her. My brothers and I are all military veterans. My parents are veterans as well. We do a lot of work for Birdies for the Brave and the Special Operations Warrior Fund. I’m very passionate about veterans and the political responsibility we take as a nation in understanding what the ultimate consequences are for a lot of our foreign policy, how it affects that nineteen-year-old coming home with one leg and how when you vote, how that vote affects him or her. How I see the world now is very different than before because of the wars. I am passionate about taking care of people and I’m passionate about our environment as well. Our generation is going to have to tackle these issues. How do we leave the planet better than we found it? We need more ethical leadership at all levels.”
CMO Club–How does a young CMO like yourself change the world for the better?
Casey Terrell–“From what I’ve seen, ninety percent of consumers will choose a brand that shows social responsibility over a brand that doesn’t. Consumers are getting more and more socially aware. It’s no longer just about widget A over widget B. It’s also what you stand for. It’s a good time to be a marketer because you can connect those concerns, looking at capitalism and marketing in general not as just a sales engine, but rather as a way to make the world better. There is a way to marry the two concerns.”
CMO Club–Anything you want to share with the club that most people don’t know about you?
Casey Terrell–“I was a snowboard instructor in college. We had this slope on campus at West Point, and I taught the kids that lived on post. I was trying to show them a specific jump they requested, and these ten kids are watching me, and I’m trying to put on this big show for them, and grab the back of the board, and I hit this loose patch of snow on the take-off. I’m flying awkwardly through the air, and I land completely on my back right in front of these kids. There was silence and then they started laughing uncontrollably, and I remember telling them “see, that’s how you don’t do it.” It was embarrassing, but hilarious as well.”