CMO Q&A: Penny Wilson, Hootsuite

Share this content:
CMO Q&A: Penny Wilson, Hootsuite
CMO Q&A: Penny Wilson, Hootsuite

What led you to a career in marketing?  Was it an early decision or a more recent event?

I started my career in the financial services industry—with ten years in IT at Merrill Lynch. I decided to make marketing my main focus as the industry evolved to be more data and ROI driven. I love the ‘science' behind marketing—where decisions can be developed or changed based on data.

Have you always been a marketer, or did you train for a different role prior to that (and if so, what?)?

I've spent my career helping companies better align their technologies with customer needs and experiences. After Merrill Lynch, I transitioned into marketing enterprise software—serving as the CMO and President of a 3D computer graphics company called Alias Research, and then as CMO at both Macromedia and Juniper Networks. A background in technology gave me a unique perspective as traditional marketing was shifting to digital marketing.

If you could pick out one thing you find most challenging about marketing, what would it be?

Corralling all the data that is available in order to turn it into useable insights. Finding a way to simplify is key.

How important is it for anyone joining your team today to be comfortable with data-driven marketing?

We live in a world where testing is a natural part of the digital marketing process. Marketers need to be comfortable with data and technology in order to improve their marketing strategy.

What's the single most important component of your marketing stack (by description and/or vendor name)?

Call me biased, but I truly believe that social is a key component of our marketing stack. It allows us to connect with customers at scale and to create meaningful relationship moments online. To me, that's what makes social a differentiator.

If you weren't a marketer, what would you be?

If I started my career all over again, I might be a neuroscientist or a lawyer for Aboriginal rights. Both are topics I'm passionate about.

Welcome to CMO Week, a week at DMN where we talk to some leading CMOs.

See all of the pieces here.


Next Article in Marketing Strategy

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above