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Meet Karen Quintos, SVP and CMO, Dell

If there’s one marketer who understands the highs and lows of a brand overhaul, it’s Karen Quintos. She guided Dell and its marketing strategy through a major privatization. Throughout the transition, Quintos never lost sight of Dell’s customer-centric focus or its pledge to “Do More” through the power of Dell’s technology. In fact, Quintos marries the two by leveraging Dell’s customer stories in its marketing; the “Power to Do More” spot with “Annie”—featuring a girl who uses her laptop to learn how to fly—earned Dell a TED Award for Ads Worth Spreading.

Marketing strategy: I believe in customer-centric, purpose-driven marketing, but balanced with a data-driven, results-oriented approach. Marketing today is about a balance of establishing an emotional connection and relationship with customers but also using technology and data to best meet their needs and deliver business results.

Winning ways: The momentum behind Dell’s evolution to an end-to-end solutions provider culminated this year as we became a private company. I’m most proud of the customer relationships we’ve cultivated and the undeniable trust that our customers continue to have in the Dell brand, in Michael [Dell], and in our company. It’s been refreshing to see the enthusiasm around Dell’s return to our entrepreneurial roots and belief in the entrepreneurial spirit. I’m most proud of bringing this spirit to life for the world in our latest marketing campaign. It highlights our heritage through the eyes of other great brands that we’ve helped along the way. For example, Dell’s first ad since becoming a private company—“Beginnings”—features some of the greatest brands, [including] Dropbox, Gilt, The Knot, Shutterfly, and TripAdvisor.

Defining moment: My background isn’t in traditional marketing, but I’ve always believed that it’s about the customer and your employees. In addition to marketing, I’ve held positions in services, customer support, and operations where I’ve gained unique perspective of the full 360-degree customer experience. It’s that insight that has helped me tremendously as a marketer as we strive to best understand our customers and how to best serve their needs. I believe that my non-traditional marketing background and varied experience helps me be a stronger, more effective CMO.

Trend watching: With the overwhelming amount of social, online, and traditional customer data that marketers must navigate to best reach customers, I see an opportunity for our industry to rally around ensuring customer privacy and data security. CMOs and CIOs need to have serious conversations and partner together to address security of data—it’s a critical part of our brand promise to customers.

Words to live by: “You spend the first 40 years of your life trying to be successful, and the next 40 years trying to be significant.”

Good read: Roy Spence’s Its Not What You Sell, Its What You Stand For was an inspiring read and includes some great pieces of advice to leading a purpose-driven business.

Good advice: Find and follow your purpose—it’s an excellent compass for your career in marketing and your life.

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

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