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CMO Q&A: Leah Pope, Datorama

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

It depends how you define early! At the outset of my university days marketing wasn’t a part of my vision. I am sure if we were to travel back in time I would not have forecasted where I am today. Back then I was intrigued with learning more about people, their personalities and what makes them tick. I was captivated by psychology. It was later on during my college experience that I discovered my appreciation for business, my passion for marketing, and of course, how interconnected all three of those things are.

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

My entire professional life has always had me involved in marketing and technology. I gravitated to marketing in the software space — thereby combining people, technology and innovation. I studied psychology in university, driven by a fascination of understanding people, their motivations and the levers that affect their happiness, sadness, etc. I soon realized how complementary business and psychology were, which led me to pursue my passion for marketing. Leveraging a background in psychology makes you uniquely qualified to communicate with people on their terms. The rest is history.

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

Right now there are so many challenges as a modern marketer, but if I had to pick one it would be the ability to speak to your customers and audience in a way that resonates with their respective needs and passions. Of course the difficult part is getting across your message and product in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Striking that perfect balance is really the Mecca of marketing and, in my opinion, a constantly evolving, ongoing challenge for marketers.

I’m going to be a little greedy and share two challenges. This one will certainly resonate with B2B CMOs as it concerns building and maintaining an alignment between marketing and sales. While there’s always some healthy friction to be expected, having a sales-oriented marketing team is critical to achieving success. In a day and age where the marketing department has become rife with complexity — and rich with opportunity — it is important that there is a clear, strategic and shared approach to measuring performance and pipeline. I got lucky — we’re thankful to benefit from the use of our marketing intelligence platform in-house. We like to think of it as drinking our own champagne.

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

As the marketing profession has moved away from Don Draper-like approaches written on the back of cocktail napkins, it is a necessity for all of my team member’s to be analytically inclined, data driven and always on the hunt for marketing optimization. This is certainly the trend of the modern marketer, and of course it speaks to the core of why Datorama was created and what this business is providing the marketplace. So, I have always been a data-driven marketer, and always push my teams to follow suit.   

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

Really the backbone of our marketing technology stack is Datorama. For obvious reasons, I could talk about why all day long. In addition to Datorama, however, we rely heavily on HubSpot to execute our content marketing, social and our lead generation efforts. 

These two platforms are critical to our daily operations because they give control back to my team at every level of the hierarchy. When I step into the office and I sign onto Datorama, I have an executive view across my entire marketing business — all platforms, all reports, all KPI’s, etc. I know what is working, what isn’t, where to pull levers, increase spend, etc. HubSpot, on the other hand, ensures accountability and helps my team constantly optimize our content marketing engine. It puts the power in the hands of my team to execute at the speed of our customers and prospects.

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

In an ideal world, I would be a professional scuba diver. My husband and I are adventure seekers and travel enthusiasts, so, we’re always keen on exploring beautiful places and cultures. Typically though we tend to find ourselves seeking the best possible place to see the ocean and all the creatures that call it home.

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