18 People in Marketing You May Not Know...but Should
Not all influencers are well-known; that doesn't make their impact any less potent.
Marketing is a complex, multidimensional discipline. And for every area of marketing there are myriad experts whose advice and strategies are widely discussed and often emulated. Some of those authorities are well-known and vastly influential; others are lesser known—for now—but their influence is just as real and significant, and will only grow as these leaders' personal brands grow.
Here, 18 people in marketing you may not know, but should.
Rethinking the Inbox
When Josh Rosenwald and Jojo Hedaya met on a study abroad trip in Israel, the two discovered that they had more in common than their Blackberrys and birthdates: They shared a passion for startups. Both started their first ventures in high school: Hedaya collected email addresses for a highly targeted community newsletter, while Rosenwald created an online raffle community. The duo teamed up for Rosenwald's latest startup, Sportce Inc.—a sports content company; however, it folded due to a lack of technological knowledge.
Not ones to be defeated, the entrepreneurs turned their ignorance into ingenuity and began tinkering with new startup ideas. But there was a problem: While emailing ideas back and forth, Rosenwald and Hedaya would lose each other's messages among their inbox clutter. So, they started building a platform that would address the overload and Unroll.Me, their “accidental startup,” as Rosenwald put it, was born in late 2011.
Unroll.Me is a free email management service that enables people to “mass unsubscribe” from emails they no longer wish to receive, Hedaya says. After users input their email addresses and grant access to their messages, Unroll.Me scans their inboxes and provides a list of their subscriptions. Users can then easily mass unsubscribe, keep preferred subscriptions in their inbox, or add them to Unroll.Me's Rollup: a digest that compacts subscriptions into one email. “[Consumers] are getting rid of the ones that they don't want—that's great for marketers,” Hedaya says. “These people, you're wasting money on them.... They're only [opening] up to 20 emails, and they're only the emails that they like getting.”
The company has grown rapidly, including going from 150,000 to 700,000 users between December 2013 and March 2014. But its biggest impact has been changing the inbox from being marketer-centric to consumer-centric. Consumers now have control—forcing marketers to reevaluate their content on “judgment day,” Rosenwald says.
To make email more personal, Rosenwald and Hedaya are building a platform that not only separates marketing messages from personal messages, but also contextualizes and unifies emails from similar experiences—such as by grouping travel information like flights and itineraries, or purchase messages such as receipts and delivery notifications—into their own categories. The initial stages of this rollout will take place within the next six months through an app.
“A newspaper has 1,000 different sources. If every single source had its own format, it would look [chaotic]. That's what your inbox looks like,” Rosenwald says. “We're trying to be the newspaper publisher and say, ‘We'll take all of this data that you want from all of the different sources and create some sort of uniformity for you.'”
Hungry for Innovation
Technology isn't just something that B. Bonin Bough, VP of global media and consumer engagement for Mondeléz International, likes to snack on. He devours it.
“It's said that by 2020 all [of] the products in a grocery store will be connected to the Web,” Bough said while presenting at the Direct Marketing News Marketing&Tech Partnership Summit last January. “That means we might be one of the biggest tech companies in the world.”
To keep Mondeléz International on the cusp of innovative marketing, Bough heads several cutting-edge programs, including Mobile Future—an initiative that connects the company's brands to mobile startups.
He also strives to satisfy the company's hunger for social. For instance, his team turned Oreo into the poster child for real-time marketing by showing the world that “You can still dunk in the dark” with the brand's infamous Super Bowl XLVII tweet. Other social strokes of genius include: the Oreo Trending Vending Machine at SXSW 2014—a 3D printing technology that creates real-time, customized cookies based on trending flavors; and Trending 10—a show created by Trident gum, Twitter, and Fuse music television that sources content from trending music and pop culture conversations. Of course, Bough ensures that social is a measurable channel for Mondeléz International. In fact, his social ingenuity has led Nilla Wafers to experience a nearly 10% increase in sales.
The Epitome of Personal Branding
YouTube fashionista Bethany Mota has more than 6.3 million YouTube subscribers, more than 1.54 million Twitter followers, and, according to Business Insider, an estimated $40,000 monthly income from advertisements—and she's only 18 years old.
The young YouTube sensation posts fashion, beauty, and DIY videos on her channel, Macbarbie07, every one to two weeks. Her content has caught the attention of major retailers and has spawned partnerships with brands like Aeropostale, where she has an eponymous clothing line.
Mota is a prototype for how marketers can use YouTube more like a broadcast network and less like a viral video gambling arena. Focusing on regularly scheduled content, instead of one-hit wonders, entices people to return to channels and builds long-term engagement, Vanessa Pappas, YouTube's global head of audience development, previously told Direct Marketing News.
“You're not looking to build one-off virality,” Pappas said. “You want people to come back and subscribe to your content.”
Scott Brinker is the very definition of a subtle-yet-prolific influencer. By day Brinker is CTO and cofounder of marketing apps company Ion Interactive; he moonlights as the owner and founder of one of the top marketing-tech blogs in the business, chiefmartec.com.
Brinker has published LUMAscapes and presentations whose virality had a significant impact on the marketing industry in that they illustrate just how extensive and complex it is. His book, A New Brand of Marketing: The 7 Meta-Trends of Modern Marketing as a Technology-Powered Discipline, explores and evangelizes the future of marketing and IT collaboration, as does his rhetoric at conferences.
Brinker's momentum and influence in the marketing world will crescendo this August at the inaugural MarTec, a marketing-tech conference he's launching. The conference's advisory board includes notable names in the space such as Eduardo Conrado, SVP of marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions, and Virginia Sharma, VP of marketing at IBM North America.
“Go back 10 years and marketing and IT were the most diametrically opposed components of a business,” Brinker says. “In today's world digital and businesses have to engage with customers in these incredibly savvy ways. Marketing and IT are hitched together and it's exciting. I'm one of many voices that hopefully put the spotlight on how people are doing this.”
The CMO Whisperer
CMOs have it tougher today than ever before. Fortunately, they also have Sheryl Pattek, Forrester Research's VP and principal analyst, serving CMOs—particularly those at B2B brands.
Pattek's research focuses on areas such as the increasingly dynamic market conditions driving CMOs to develop ever more integrated marketing strategies and metrics, marketing and tech collaboration, and optimizing organizational design. She evangelizes customer centricity and challenges CMOs to use their influence to fuel business growth.
Pattek's prolific blog and research, combined with her prior executive positions at tech giants such as Canon and HP, ensures that savvy CMOs heed her advice.
Agent of Change
In a marketing landscape that's increasingly digital and personal, it's important for marketers to change and update their strategies. Lisa Arthur, CMO of Teradata Applications, says she's determined to help marketers do just that by serving as an agent of change in the industry. “I'm passionate about helping marketers redefine our function,” says the author of Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value. “My hope is that through my writing, I'm inspiring marketers to change [and move away] from the way we've been doing things all these years.”
A four-time CMO, for companies such as Akamai Technologies and Mindjet, her more than 30-year marketing career has positioned Arthur as an industry thought leader. She has published more than 100 articles in Forbes' CMO Network, is a contributor to the Economist Group's marketing blog, Lean back, and continues to be featured in industry magazines, including Direct Marketing News. Today she meets with marketers across the globe speaking at industry conferences, including at the Direct Marketing Association, the Australian Direct Marketing Association, and the MIT Sloan CMO Summit.
“In my quest to help change the face of marketing, I meet with thousands of marketers every year,” Arthur says. “I talk to huge groups and sometimes have one-on-one conversations. And I hear the same questions from today's marketers: ‘What is Big Data; what does it mean for marketers; how do we get there?'” Arthur says she plans to continue to use her career as a platform to answer those questions, and hopefully, inspire others to come up with solutions of their own. “I want to teach marketers to take the data [they have] and use that to inform better interaction strategies.”
–Natasha D. Smith
The Hybrid Marketing Technologist
Evangelizing collaboration between marketing and IT has become a call to arms, and rightly so. The value and benefit of marketing and IT fostering healthy relationships will only increase as new technologies continue to transform marketing, content, and communication on a global scale. Few represent the fruits of this collaboration more than Eduardo Conrado, SVP of marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions. Conrado is effectively one of the world's few chief marketing tech officers (CMTO).
“I'm responsible for all marketing at Motorola Solutions—[everything] from product solutions to traditional brand, digital, social, and all the way up to our field marketing,” Conrado explains. “I also have responsibility for all of IT. That means infrastructure, cyber security, relationship and transactional systems, and internal systems for employees. I've had this dual responsibility for just over a year and a half.”
Conrado operates in a rare and coveted space as a marketer. Much of the conversation about marketing and IT collaboration centers on the duties core to Conrado's current role. He embodies what businesses can achieve once silos are abolished, and marketing and IT work as a cohesive unit.
It sounds like quite the heavy load, but given today's marketing landscape it's essential to have someone who intimately understands the two departments. Having started his career in engineering, Conrado was uniquely poised to solve marketing problems from a technological angle. Further, with 15 years at the tech-focused company, it made sense for him to spearhead the marketing and IT collaboration.
It's worth noting that Motorola Solutions' heavy technological slant made the decision to merge marketing and IT simple. However, that doesn't mean the benefits of a marketing and IT collaboration diminish for less tech-oriented verticals, such as retail or insurance. “All marketers are taking a more customer-centric approach,” Conrado says. “As you start [becoming more customer centric], marrying the software and architectural knowledge of IT with the user-centric approach of marketing will get you the best of both worlds.”
This is the message Conrado has worked to spread through interviews, speaking engagements, and the like since taking on his current role—a message that Motorola Solutions executives understood enough to eschew its siloed corporate structure. “There was no resistance from the executive board,” Conrado notes. “There was actually a
lot of support [from them] on the changes we had to make.” Those changes included moving IT away from a more functional alignment to end-to-end processes that enable a more customer-centric marketing strategy.
It's All Fun and Games—Until Someone Makes a Profit
There's an engagement crisis happening today and Gabe Zichermann, cofounder of livecube, says he has the cure: gamification. And that's not just because he's authored three books on the subject.
Consumers simply don't engage with content or experiences the way they did in the past. In a world where Nielsen says 80% of U.S. consumers watch TV with a second or third screen open, advertisers need to rise to the challenge with a new game plan.
Zichermann's company, livecube, uses game mechanics to engage attendees and motivate social sharing and networking at live events. (One testimonial on the livecube website actually said of the app: “Candy Crush has nothing on this.”)
Not only does Zichermann run the largest gamification design certification program in the country—with more than 3,000 graduates since 2011—he's helping pioneer the concept of gamified loyalty programs that go beyond the traditional model of one point per dollar spent. One salient example is the mobile-centric Urban Outfitters loyalty program that rewards users for actions like social sharing and trying on clothes in-store.
Zichermann predicts that traditional loyalty programs, which he calls “really, really, really, really—that's four reallys—boring,” are on their way out. “Over time, brands realize that they're just creating customers who are dependent on discounts and deals,” Zichermann says. “When we do gamification, we always advocate for non-cash incentives and rewards.”
Girl Power Accelerator
According to the Kauffman Foundation, just 3% of tech startups are helmed by women.
There are several large organizations that invest in female entrepreneurs, yes—but what about the plethora of early stage, female-led tech startups that need a boost? That was the question that inspired IBM marketing vet Ari Horie to found the Silicon Valley-based Women's Startup Lab, an accelerator that nurtures passionate female founders as they go through the often challenging process of securing funding and preparing their companies to thrive in the historically male-dominated tech landscape.
The focus at Women's Startup Lab is on quality relationships. Once accepted into the program, startup founders are given direct access to a coterie of mentors, advisors, leadership coaches, investors, venture capitalists, and peer founders, as well as to workshops and group meetings.
And the results are starting to show. One recent graduate of Horie's accelerator program—Cognea, an artificial intelligence and cognitive computing platform—was just acquired by IBM's Watson group in May.
As Horie states on the Women's Startup Lab website: “Women's Startup Lab started as a side gig and turned into a kick-ass cause because we couldn't help but follow our hearts. Sound familiar? It's the startup journey and we're damn excited to be taking it with YOU.”
Paving the Way for Future Marketers
At 29, Shama Hyder is already making an impact on the minds of future marketers. Today, Hyder's The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue is used as a textbook for business and marketing students around the globe, including at the University of Notre Dame.
Hyder is CEO and founder of the Marketing Zen Group, a digital marketing firm that earned more than $2 million in revenue in 2013 and currently has 30 employees. The firm was named to the 2012 Empact100 list at a White House ceremony honoring companies launched by young entrepreneurs.
Hyder says she wants to continue to use her career to combat unemployment among young adults.
–Natasha D. Smith
Anand Jagannathan and Raghu Raghavan had a vision for email marketing that was nimble for marketers and relevant for customers. Thus, Responsys was born. The company grew into a cross-channel marketing powerhouse recently acquired by Oracle. But the serial entrepreneurs had already moved on to new ventures.
Jagannathan, who holds three patents in computer technology, founded three other companies—most currently NewzSocial, where he is now CEO and founder. As with Responsys, his aim with NewzSocial is to disrupt the category by rethinking processes; in this case around how businesses can use social media to build influence and enhance customer engagement.
As CEO of Act-On, Raghavan aims to shake up the balance of power between the Davids and Goliaths by empowering small- and medium-size businesses with enterprise-class marketing technologies. The company's growth suggests that Raghavan is on to something: Act-On has more than 250 employees serving 2,000 customers, up from 9 and 35 in 2009, respectively.
Clearly, the two entrepreneurs are each on a personal mission to continue to find ways to modernize and optimize marketing.
The Game Changer
Sure, Don Peppers has been making waves in marketing since 1993, but far too many young marketers today either aren't familiar with him or don't realize the extent of his influence. It's time they do.
Peppers, along with Peppers & Rogers Group cofounder Martha Rogers, Ph.D., coined the term one-to-one marketing with the release of their seminal book, The One-to-One Future. Well, according to myriad industry leaders, that future is now and Peppers and Rogers' prognostication is more real and tangible than ever before. In fact, the frequency with which brand marketers and vendor executives alike are saying that one-to-one marketing can finally be the reality it was meant to be has increased dramatically over the past year. Rare is the conversation about relevance, personalization, or targeting without a discussion of one-to-one marketing. Consider, for example:
“Now that the technology exists to do one-to-one, we can all market this way. Everyone wants to market like that.” –Sanjay Dholakia, CMO, Marketo
“Today, marketers are taking personalization one step further to deliver one-to-one communications to customers based on real-time behavior, interests, preferences, and customer data. The technology that supports one-to-one marketing is not only here, it's pervasive.” –Eric Tobias, VP of Web products, ExactTarget
The question, however, is whether Peppers thinks the one-to-one marketing happening today is the one-to-one marketing he and Rogers envisioned when they wrote The One-to-One Future. “‘One-to-one marketing' isn't really a destination. It's more of a journey,” Peppers says. “It's a direction of business progress driven by technology. And while we can observe many more ‘one-to-one' activities today than just a few years ago—for example, completely personalized promotions, dialogue-based interactions, customer collaboration—we'll see even more advanced examples in the future. We'll never reach the day when we can say we're as close to ‘one-to-one' marketing as we can ever be, and we can't get any closer to our customers.”
But marketers will never stop trying.
The Man Behind the Gmail Experience
There's nearly nothing a contrarian enjoys more than prematurely sounding email's death knell. But far from dying, email is thriving to the tune of more than 100 billion messages sent and received every day—which, in a way, is part of the problem. Email users are being bombarded.
But when Jason Cornwell, lead designer of user experience at Google, hears someone say, “Email is dead,” he just has to chuckle.
Not only were Cornwell and his team responsible for Gmail's tabbed inbox, which quarantines promotional emails from the primary inbox and caused quite the stir in the marketing community when it was rolled out in May of last year, they're continuing to transform the way users consume email—and how marketers have to approach their email strategy.
“One thing we consistently saw when we talked to email users was a sense of being overwhelmed and even a feeling of shame, which had a lot to do with the sheer volume of email everyone is getting—and over the years that's increased quite significantly,” Cornwell says. “At Google we always try to look at the problems people are having in the real world and come up with tangible solutions to those problems.”
Right now, Cornwell is working on several feature enhancements to Gmail, including the integration of more versatile quick-action buttons to allow users to do more with their email; for example, RSVPing to an event or checking into a flight—without having to leave their inbox.
Google is currently working with schema.org, a collaborative project between Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, to publish standards for how third-party senders add microdata (i.e., semantic metadata encoded within HTML) to their emails to offer users more interactivity. That would allow Gmail to surface the most important information at the top of a message regardless of the email's design.
Cornwell and crew are also in the process of running a field trial within the Promotions tab to show image previews for promotional emails. Most of the content within a promotional email is highly visual—a beautiful pair of shoes, a really cool T-shirt—and giving users the option to preview that content without clicking could be another way to help them manage their inbox experience.
Although some marketers might say that the continually evolving Gmail inbox has an adverse effect on open rates, Cornwell would contend that open rates aren't really the point. Rather than be intimidated by the changing email landscape, marketers need to embrace it by creating and sending messages their customers actually want to receive. “Our goal is to create an inbox that gives users back the control over how and when they receive messages,” Cornwell says. “Produce content your users really want to read and you'll be fine; there's not anything more magical to it than that.”
Drone on, Bezos. Sweeny's Poised for Takeoff
Jeff Bezos shocked online package purchasers and Charlie Rose alike on 60 Minutes last December when he unveiled the Prime Air drone, his toy-whirlybird plot to bypass UPS and the Postal Service by flying orders to people's doorsteps. But, much as the Amazon founder would like to claim mad genius credit for this truly direct form of delivery, no legislation is in place or even proposed to regulate drones filling the skies like sparrows. Nor does the infrastructure of base stations exist anywhere in the U.S. to even make regional flights possible.
No, the first commercial force of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) will take wing sometime this year in Australia, delivering textbooks to college students for a company called Zookal, under the command of Matt Sweeny, a young entrepreneur who could pass for a college kid himself. Indeed, he got the idea for a private drone delivery fleet when, as a bored student of economics in China, he bought a toy helicopter off a Shanghai discount shelf.
His company, Flirtey, is the first in the world to be allowed to make commercial deliveries with UAVs, but doubtless it won't be the last. To hear Sweeny tell it, many more will follow across the globe once regulations and infrastructure are in place. “Drone technology is cheap and ubiquitous,” he says. “Most smartphones have more tech,” he says of UAVs, which are essentially flying PCs.
The market for drone delivery among e-commerce companies is pretty much a sure thing in Australia, Sweeny explains. “Ours is a…turnkey system [that translates to] a one-dollar cost to the shipper for same-day delivery.”
To be a viable business in the U.S., however, UAVs will require networks of regional staging areas and, of course, a government stamp of approval. The process was put in motion in December when the Federal Aviation Authority designated six public entities—among them the state of Nevada and Texas A&M University—to begin testing unmanned aircraft systems. Still, in a Congress that can't even pass postal reform, Prime Air and other UAV startups figure to be grounded in the U.S. for some time to come.
Cataloger on a Mission
At the head of a small cadre of catalogers who have established a presence on Capitol Hill is Louis Giesler, president of AmeriMark Direct, which sells a wide variety of merchandise through catalogs and websites. Catalogers are notoriously shy about divulging the details of their businesses, but Giesler decided it was time to shed the cloak of secrecy. His business's very survival was threatened by the exigent postal rate increase and the specter of a tax mess created by the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA).
“We receive 3.5 million orders through the mail each year,” Giesler says, a volume endangered not only by higher postal rates, but also by remote sales taxes that could confuse purchasers and curtail orders. “We service an older population, mostly living in rural areas...and the MFA totally ignores companies like AmeriMark that serve this population.”
So Giesler has become a frequent flyer to Washington, where he's one of the lone crusaders working the Hill on the behalf of e-commerce players and catalogers on both issues, and he wouldn't mind some company. Postal Unions live and breathe in DC, and the well-endowed National Retail Federation and Retail Industry Leaders Association lobby the MFA issue for brick-and-mortar concerns.
“The other side is pushing hard. One of my biggest fears is that MFA gets attached to a must-pass piece of legislation without the right amount of deliberation that our input would foster,” Giesler says. The entire industry needs to become more politically active.”
One profound side-effect of Giesler's political mission has been the realization that elected representatives are truly interested in what their constituents have to say. Worried that the MFA might go through unopposed, he met with members of the House Judiciary Committee to get his side of the discussion heard. “They're all attentive and receptive and,” Giesler adds sardonically, “surprised that companies like AmeriMark still exist.”
The Disruptive Prognosticator
Rebecca Lieb says she has one main focus in her continuous work as an industry analyst, speaker, author, and teacher: to educate marketers with information that will disrupt and then transform their campaigns. “My ultimate goal is to keep on top of what's next [in marketing], to help others understand and parse out meaning, and then communicate that to other marketers,” says Lieb, an analyst for the Altimeter Group, a research and advisory firm.
Today Lieb spends much of her time researching digital marketing trends and then culling insights to share with marketers through extensive reports and on the speaking circuit. “Public speaking is...public teaching,” Lieb says, comparing her work as a public speaker to her recent tenure as a teacher at New York University's Center for Publishing. “It's about getting into a room full of people and not just talk at them, but chat with them; public speaking is how you learn...what marketers' problems are—and what they need to solve,” she explains.
Lieb says that during the past 15 years of her career she has encouraged marketers to continually reevaluate their current strategies and embrace change. As the author of two books Lieb says she attempts to create a customer-centric methodology for marketers so they can approach customers with relevant content and meaningful messages. “Marketers tend to be distracted by tactics and by channels,” Lieb says. “But really it's about the customer; it's about where your customers are and how to reach them.”
Lieb has worked as a journalist reporting on the marketing industry for publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Variety as its Berlin-based bureau chief. The former film critic has also held several executive marketing and communications positions, including VP of Econsultancy's US operations and VP and editor-in-chief of the ClickZ network.
Lieb says there's a major lesson she wants marketers to take from her past and future work: Content marketing is crucial. “My mantra is that content is the atomic particle of all marketing; without content, [marketers] can't be [effective] on Facebook, Twitter, or even on a [company] website,” she says. “As marketers continue to focus on customer needs, they'll craft the right content.”
–Natasha D. Smith
Direct Mail's Woman in Washington
When the European Union demanded in a free trade deal with the U.S. that the words bratwurst, parmesan, and Oktoberfest be reserved for European-made products only, Tammy Baldwin responded with fighting words. “I consider this an attack on our proud traditions and I am standing up for Wisconsin cheese, brats, and beer,” scolded the Democrat senator from Wisconsin as she gathered bipartisan support to deny the request.
Baldwin's Wisconsin-first mentality is one reason she's become the champion of direct mailers and catalogers. At this year's meeting of the American Catalog Mailers Association, Baldwin won praise for her willingness to stand up to Senate stalwarts like Carper and Coburn, but the Madison native's concern for the interests of her state's businesses—and, in turn, their employees—was present throughout her seven terms in the House of Representatives. It's just that her scope widened when she entered the Senate. “We're home to many companies in the printing and graphics industries and have a vibrant mailing business,” Baldwin says. “Over the past several years I've come to appreciate the extent of these businesses as major employers. They employ about 200,000 Wisconsinites.”
Baldwin won the hearts and minds of direct mailers in January when—with the 4.3% exigent rate increase freshly installed—she battled against a clause in postal reform legislation that would make the hike permanent and add 1% to the annual CPI cap rate adjustment. Offered a compromise from Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee leaders Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tom Coburn (R-OK), the freshman senator refused to cave. “I've been offering compromise language for months and it's been rejected every time,” Baldwin told her colleagues in rebuffing their deal.
Through her work on Carper's committee, which oversees postal operations, Baldwin has come to a greater appreciation of the role of direct mail in the economy and in marketing. “I think we have to tell the story [in Washington] about why it's so impactful to the Postal Service,” she says. “Catalogs and direct mail pieces produce sales, and even if the viewing of digital marketing produces the sale of a product, it's the mail that gets the product to the home.”
Baldwin remains optimistic that postal reform can be passed this year. “The situation with the Postal Service is urgent. Reforms absolutely have to be enacted,” she says. “The odds increase if stakeholders can find some consensus. I'm in contact with many stakeholders, and I encourage them to get together at every chance I get.”
The word is that union leaders, postal officials, and mailers are indeed talking. If they're able to compose a compromise proposal, you can be sure Tammy Baldwin will be there to deliver for mailers.