Meet Dorothy Dowling, SVP, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International

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Meet Dorothy Dowling, SVP, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International
Meet Dorothy Dowling, SVP, Marketing and Sales, Best Western International

Dorothy Dowling travels more than 150 days a year to ensure that Best Western's owners, employees, clients, and agencies align around the 68-year-old brand's contemporary objectives. But no matter where she goes, her voice-of-the-customer mantra rings true and she continues to build solutions designed to benefit all of Best Western's customers.

Marketing strategy: I would characterize myself as a pragmatic marketer. I always begin with the end in mind in terms of expected outcomes, and work the plan accordingly to achieve the business results.

Winning Ways: One was winning the Digital Marketer of the Year by HSMAI, which was a TravelClick eMarketer award that was given last year at the Adrian Awards. When I look at the hospitality space in particular—and the convergence of how everything is being driven through the digital space, because so much of our business is transacted there—to be called out in the industry and recognized for that kind of industry leadership was significant…. [The other] was an award in terms of our loyalty program, second only to Marriott; to be recognized for that kind of achievement [and] to have the second most powerful loyalty program was quite extraordinary.

Defining Moment: We deal with inventory that has an expiring rate of 24 hours.... That has always made me very pragmatic in terms of understanding the business realities of having to sell the inventory that you have today and has [given me] a great sense of urgency in terms of the implementation of opportunities and projects to make sure that you materialize the business successfully.

Trend Watching: The challenge that we have in our industry today is that there are more channels for us to have conversations [in] and to materialize business. There are always more costs associated with those. It's the integration of the sum of the parts to make sure that you're harnessing all of the value of [the] marketing investments or sales investments that you're making.

Words to live by: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is one of my favorite books. The concept of “beginning with the end in mind” is something that I try to think about for every outcome that I'm trying to drive toward.

Good read: Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. People view people as being talented, where most of their talent was derived from hard work. There are a certain number of hours that one has to invest to develop a certain level of expertise.... [As] Ram Charan said in his book [Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done], it's about a disciplined approach to hard work in that you're constantly learning, course-correcting, and personally evaluating so that you can get better at that work.

Good advice: We're all salespeople, and we all have to engage in persuasive selling—whether it's ideas, products, or positioning.

Meet the rest of the 2014 Marketing Hall of Femme honorees and read their inspirational stories.


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