The Ever-Changing Role of the Chief Marketer

As marketing evolves, so does the role of the chief marketer. We asked the 2015 Marketing Hall of Femme honorees to discuss one responsibility that’s new to their role—something that changed in the past year or so—as well as what’s important about that new aspect of your job. Here, their responses.

New teams

Michelle Bottomley, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer, Mercer
Sales was added to my role over the past year and, having been in professional services for the past nearly 30 years, I have to say that selling has always been near and dear to my heart. The potential of integrating sales and marketing to drive extraordinary growth is one that delights me. The teamwork against a common methodology and set of metrics is one we’ve set into motion and are seeing sparks and evidence that this integrated approach has great business-building potential.

Lucille DeHart, CMO, Tristar Products Inc.
Business success today is defined by maintaining focus while remaining nimble. Marketing, in particular, needs to be more flexible in identifying and adapting trends, consumer behaviors, and industry/competitive activities. The role of the CMO continues to change and evolve as more technology, digital, Big Data, and direct-to-consumer media expands through social, video, and Web.  My role, specifically, has absorbed the IT function for the company and certain aspects of brand and product merchandising. This is a direct output of the challenges to rapidly respond to the market and enhance speed to market—all while maintaining brand integrity and consistency.   

Corinne Sklar, Global CMO, Bluewolf
I’m no longer only the corporate CMO, I also oversee and now manage the digital, creative services here at Bluewolf. So, I’m not just transforming [my company], but transforming some of the largest companies in the world. 

New measures

Blair Christie, SVP and CMO, Cisco
It’s not very sexy, but [it’s] this new way of how we are measuring ourselves: awareness, reach, response, and revenue…. We’re measuring our campaigns and our overall performance with that framework. It applies to communications; it applies to all of the disciplines in marketing. It’s a way that we’ve tied some shared goals that has allowed us to work together as one team, even though we might have different disciplines or subject matter expertise. A lot has to go into a marketing campaign, whether it’s a brand team, demand gen team, integrated marketing team, public relations, or investor relations.

That dashboard, that way of measuring our progress, it’s very tangible and we do it quarterly…. It’s powerful and it helps us tie the art and the science of marketing together.

Elizabeth Jackson, CMO and EVP of Corporate Strategy, HookLogic
In addition to marketing, I lead our analytics and insights team, which leverage business intelligence data and insight to add value for our customers.  It’s important because data is the foundation to our company at HookLogic, so leveraging data through campaign reporting, custom analytics, brand insights, and PR is key to our business growth.

Kate Spellman, CMO, Penton
With marketing automation [added to my purview], we really understand the data. Slicing and dicing the data. Data is more and more important because data is people. 

New challenges

Mish Fletcher, Worldwide Managing Director, Marketing, OgilvyOne Worldwide

[When I got promoted,] I added to my responsibilities global business development. Part of that main step is that I’m able to get much closer to clients. As I’m gaining greater understanding of what their needs are and what their pain points are, that’s enabling me to develop services and offerings that better satisfy clients’ needs.

Amy Hoopes, CMO and EVP, Wente Vineyards
This year I was elected to serve as president of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association and to play a more instrumental role in raising awareness about Livermore Valley as a unique wine growing appellation and world-class wine country destination. I’m proud to take on that role.

Ashley Johnston, SVP, Global Marketing, Experian Marketing Services

In the past year my role has expanded to include every aspect of our global go-to-market strategy for the Experian Marketing Suite. I’m now responsible for our global product marketing and analyst relations functions, which allows collaboration and communication across these teams to be more seamless and intuitive. Adjusting the team around our integrated offering in the Marketing Suite is exciting and we’re busy creating stories and promoting experiences that encourage brands to go further and truly center their business on the customer.

Alicianne Rand, VP of Marketing, NewsCred
Building culture. I focus on making NewsCred an incredible place to work. As we grow, we don’t want to lose our startup roots. We’ve implemented the agile process as a marketing team, taking those design-thinking principles and instilling them in the marketing process.

New content

Leslie Doty, CMO, Reader’s Digest Association
I’m in this media world, which is actually very new for me. I hear everybody talk about content in the industry, because everything is digital and you have to have content…. [Everybody says] that today’s marketers need to be publishers. We are publishers; we are marketers; and content is our product. Lines are breaking down so quickly and there’s so much going on online in terms of media, advertising, channels, and brands. I’m learning a lot about that and working and trying to figure out, how do we take this new model and get people to pay for it? That’s critical. It isn’t necessarily about pay walls and paid content. It really is about the consumer experience. I’m right in the thick of that. It’s exciting to solve those digital content issues.

Samantha Skey, Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, SheKnows Media
We’ve been doing a lot more with branded content where we’re collaborating with advertisers to create content for our readers in a way that’s less structured and less traditional. It’s interesting to build a brand into a piece of content that’s endemic. It provides a three-way alignment between SheKnows, the brand, and the audience.

New adventures

Linda Vetter, VP of Marketing, Yes Lifecycle Marketing
[With] the launch of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, we’re promoting this holistic vision to the market, but we also still need to hold onto certain brands, like Yesmail, so that we’re not cutting off our nose to spite our face, so to speak…. [It’s] just making sure that proper attention is getting to both of them across the board. With that, certainly starting with Yesmail and building on everything that we did there, it’s been taking all of the great learnings and applying them to Yes Lifecycle Marketing as a whole—anything from KPI reports to strategy and tactics of how we’re going to market. Being with the organization for a little more than three years now, we’ve done a great job of drinking our own Kool-Aid. Now we’re able to take all of this great data and make it applicable to our strategies. We’ve seen an 87% revenue growth from 2013 to 2014 based on drinking our own Kool-Aid, so we know that what we’re telling our clients to do and our prospects to do—we’re doing the same and we’re seeing these fantastic results.

Melissa Wallace, VP of Marketing, Splash
The whole approach to work here at Splash is different; it’s designed so that everyone can be creative.

Lori Wright, CMO, TIBCO Software Inc.
Everything about my role is new. I have a new boss, new corporate owners, a relatively new team, even a new office. What’s important to me is trying to quickly get the team aligned around a common vision and put the right processes in place that allow them to be successful. My goal is to build an organization that will scale and be self-operating, so that I can keep my head “out of the boat” looking for market opportunities. If I’m doing too much of the rowing then we are not operating at our highest potential.

Yael Zheng, CMO, Tintri

My first anniversary in the CMO role at Tintri is coming up. There have been so many firsts in the past year I don’t think there is a single one new thing.

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