Meet Teri Llach, CMO, Blackhawk Network

Teri Llach is a master at putting herself in the customer’s shoes. And it’s this customer empathy, paired with her determination to get the advancements she’s earned, that’s helped Llach grow her personal brand along with several others including The Learning Company, The Clorox Company, and now Blackhawk Network.

Marketing strategy: What’s best for the consumer is best for everybody. If you put customers first and think about them with virtually everything you do, you’ll be successful, the retailer you’re working with will be successful, and it will all come back in a positive way.

Winning ways: I was challenged by a lot of our retail partners to find a new way to talk to consumers about gift cards in a way that [conveyed that] gift cards were for everyday spend, not just for gifting. A lot of retail partners have a really cool promotion where if you buy gift cards you get discounts on gas, [so, my creative director and I] came up with the “Before You” campaign [that includes] posters and signage all over the stores and they all have different phrases like, “Before you paint, buy gift cards and save on gas.” We just found out that we’re a finalist in one of the prepaid industry’s highest awards, the Paybefore Awards.

Defining moment: When I was moving forward in my career—either taking on a new challenge [or] being given a new title—I had to ask for almost every single one of those [advancements]. Nobody just handed it to me. First I take on the work, and then I go back and say, “Now you’re going to give me the title.” Ask for what you want and don’t take no for an answer.

Trend watching: It has to be omnichannel marketing…. This isn’t a new trend, but I think that the speed at which consumers are adopting new ways to communicate—almost everybody is a critic now and everybody is an influencer—requires you to have your hands on every place that a consumer might interact with you.

Words to live by: You, 100%, [should] always give credit to your team.

Good read: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. It’s about the 1936 men’s crew team from the University of Washington, which won the gold medal at the Berlin Olympics. It’s fascinating how many hurdles were put in front of these young men. They stood up to the challenge and made it happen. [To me, that says,] take hold of your title, take hold of what you do every day, and make sure that you succeed because you’re driving it yourself. [You’re doing it] with your team, but you’re making it happen.

Good advice: There are two important constituents in what you’re doing: the consumer you’re selling to and the employee you’re working with. You have to focus on both of them equally, and then you’ll succeed in business.

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

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