Mindful Marketing Goes Mainstream: A “Third Metric Live” Conference Review

A great breakfast discussion with Aaron Benway and Don Clarke
It’s unanimous: The CFO is one of the most influential allies that a CMO can have, yet they are often the most underutilized. During my CMO Breakfast Roundtable last week, participants learned how to tap into the financial and strategic wisdom of their finance teams and build strong bridges of trust.

photo courtesy of Lisa Nirell

photo courtesy of Lisa Nirell

Now in its third year, my CMO Breakfast Roundtables dive deeply into the strategic opportunities today’s marketing leaders face. The sessions are confidential, agency-free, and highly interactive. Unlike networking events or crowded wine soirees, these programs create a safe haven for CMOs to share their toughest issues, and develop action plans to address them.

CFO guest panelists Aaron Benway of HelloWallet and Don Clarke of Plex Systems (formerly with Eloqua) provided the group with practical financial leadership advice and fresh insights.

Our private discussion helped participants: 1) identify the most common roadblocks to building strong bonds with finance; 2) establish marketing budgeting guidelines; and 3) commit to actionable strategies that improve relationships with their CFO. We addressed three areas: CFO Trends, root cause for CMO-CFO dissonance, and recommendations.

The participants represented a variety of industries, including: internet merchants, industrial suppliers, technology services, software, healthcare, professional services, energy, and IT security. Celerity hosted the event.

You’ll be hearing more about our key findings shortly. In the meantime, if you would like the full MP3 transcript and handout, join our Making Marketing Waves community.

copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
It’s unanimous: The CFO is one of the most influential allies that a CMO can have, yet they are often the most underutilized. During my CMO Breakfast Roundtable last week, participants learned how to tap into the financial and strategic wisdom of their finance teams and build strong bridges of trust.

 

Now in its third year, my CMO Breakfast Roundtables dive deeply into the strategic opportunities today’s marketing leaders face. The sessions are confidential, agency-free, and highly interactive. Unlike networking events or crowded wine soirees, these programs create a safe haven for CMOs to share their toughest issues, and develop action plans to address them.

CFO guest panelists Aaron Benway of HelloWallet and Don Clarke of Plex Systems (formerly with Eloqua) provided the group with practical financial leadership advice and fresh insights.

Our private discussion helped participants: 1) identify the most common roadblocks to building strong bonds with finance; 2) establish marketing budgeting guidelines; and 3) commit to actionable strategies that improve relationships with their CFO. We addressed three areas: CFO Trends, root cause for CMO-CFO dissonance, and recommendations.

The participants represented a variety of industries, including: internet merchants, industrial suppliers, technology services, software, healthcare, professional services, energy, and IT security. Celerity hosted the event.

You’ll be hearing more about our key findings shortly. In the meantime, if you would like the full MP3 transcript and handout, join our Making Marketing Waves community.

copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

“CEOs are from Mars; CMOs are from Venus.” That is one of my favorite lines from the former CEO of Eloqua, Joe Payne.

And ten years after the birth of marketing automation there is still plenty CMO turmoil and distrust in the executive suite. The abundance of data, coupled with the accessibility of data, only makes things worse for marketing leaders.

What can you do to earn your stripes in the C-suite? Here are some things to consider:

  1. Recognize that data is the new black. Just 10 years ago, decisions were driven by the hunches of “the smartest folks in the room.” Today, you can do the same thing, but you must play your hunches and test your assumptions. As a marketing leader, you need to augment your intuition and years of experience by digging for root cause for the problems you’re facing, gather benchmarks, and scan industry data to support your position.
  2. Stop using “marketing speak.” Think about it. Your CFO and the VP of Sales report on pipeline, revenue, backlog, and return on investment. Often, when attending board meetings, marketing uses different language, such as campaigns, lead scoring, social media, and event planning. This causes dissonance. Dissonance can lead to misunderstandings, and misunderstandings can lead to mistrust.
  3. Get in sync with the reporting cadence of the rest of the organization. Most organizations follow a reporting cadence that is weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. During staff meetings, the VP of Sales reports how you are tracking against forecast. The CFO reports on how earnings, revenues, and renewals compared to previous quarters. The milestones don’t change at random intervals. Conversely, the VP of Marketing may report on the latest Twitter campaign results at one meeting, and the number of leads from a big trade show at the next. This is downright career-limiting.

If you are lacking data to support your gut instincts, speaking your own language, or are following a different reporting cadence than the rest of your company, then you are swimming against the current within your organization. In my book, The Mindful Marketer, you will find practical strategies to help you secure your seat in the power circle without needing a life preserver.

What are your experiences in this area? I’d love to hear from you. Post your comments here to qualify to win an autographed copy of my newest book, The Mindful Marketer (launching in September).
If you are one of those highly accomplished, over-caffeinated, exhausted business leaders, you’re in luck. It is now cool to admit it, and approach things in a healthier way.

photo 1Based on my experience last week at the Third Metric Live conference in New York, mindfulness has officially reached the East Coast masses. As a longtime meditation and yoga veteran, I sometimes feel like yelling “It’s about time” from the rooftop. My attitude, relationships, problem-solving abilities, and well-being benefit greatly when I practice mindfulness.

HuffingtonPost President and Founder, Arianna Huffington, teamed with Mika Brzezinski, MSNBC co-anchor for Morning Joe to launch this conference. Over 1,000 well-coiffed, fashion-conscious attendees–90 percent female–enjoyed personal apothegms from Tory Burch, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ellen Goodman, Alanis Morrisette, Randi Zuckerberg (yes, that Zuckerberg), and British mogul-turned-monk Andy Puddicombe.

Just three years ago, it would have taken a miracle worker to entice East Coast urban professionals to attend a $395 conference that promised to help you “chart a new way forward and live lives that are more authentic and more fulfilling.” Now, self-help meetups such as Third Metric Live need security barriers to manage the crowds.

Mailet Lopez
Lisa with Mailet Lopez, co-founder,
Squeaky Wheel Media

I sat back and observed the conference vibe. In the past 17 years, I have attended at least 40 retreats, conferences, and seminars. (full disclosure: I’m a chronic lifelong learner, and appreciated Arianna’s offer to extend a media pass to me.)

The initial evening session inspired me. THRIVE speakers extolled the importance of adequate sleep, daily naps, and “digital detox days.” (I am a huge fan of unplugging for 24 hours every weekend). Yet the moderators and speakers tirelessly promoted their apps and newest book.

Holistic doctors and practitioners such as Mark Hyman, Richard Davidson, and David B. Agus promoted healthy eating habits and banning sugar. Yet the break areas served sweetened juices, pretzels, and boatloads of brownies.

In a nutshell, Arianna is a seasoned trend-spotter and marketer, and realizes Westerners need to find a middle path between Buddhist ascetic practices and Western style capitalism and habits. She designed a large-scale media campaign to coincide with her newest book, THRIVE, which launched on March 31. Prior to that time, she was a regular speaker at the groundbreaking Wisdom 2.0 conferences, which originated on the West Coast. Her own personal journey of transformation and reinvention happened out of necessity in 2007, when she collapsed from exhaustion and woke up on the floor in a pool of blood (her signature story and book hook).

Much like Oprah, Donna Karan, and Sheryl Sandberg, Huffington is helping us discover our best selves. These leadership pioneers encourage us to go onward, upward, and inward. Whether we agree with the glitzy approach or not, we sometimes need personalities who can bridge the intimidating, sometimes insurmountable gap between neuroscientists and ashram dwellers. They represent mindfulness for the masses.

If you are sincerely interested in deepening your understanding of some aspect of mindfulness, such as yoga, martial arts, breath work, meditation, conscious communication techniques, or Reiki, seek other options that augment these mega-conferences. I recommend several programs for you to consider. I have attended all of these programs, and found them beneficial:

Landmark Worldwide LLC–a global education firm with roots in Werner Erhard’s 80’s est training. I cannot effectively summarize the value they deliver, except to say that they offer some of the finest self-awareness, communications, and confidence building tools I have ever seen.

Clarity International-Co-Founders Cathy and Gary Hawk help successful leaders design “what’s next” in their businesses, careers, and families using a unique interviewing and visioning methodology. Professional basketball teams, entertainers, and CEOs alike have gained value from their coaching programs and seminars. (note: we have a referral relationship)

Esalen Institute-A campy, legendary retreat on the cliffs of Big Sur, CA. During their 55 year history, they have offered courses ranging from Raku pottery, Five Rhythms dance, meditation, yoga, and massage. I have attended six programs at Esalen, feasted on their freshly-grown organic produce, and savored the natural hot springs baths. Some areas of the sacred Native American property, are clothing optional. Some first timers at Esalen struggle with the earthy, unpretentious hippie culture and poor WiFi. I love the change from my daily systems and routines.

Wisdom 2.0 Conferences–check their website for dates and locations. Conference founder and author Soren Gordhamer assemble an impressive group of scientists and mindfulness practitioners, such as former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jack Kornfield, and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. Wisdom provides a brief overview of the intersection between technology and mindfulness in today’s organizations.

Is it time you injected more wisdom into your marketing and growth strategy? These options will help you get started on your new path. Please share your experiences below.

Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Other articles you will enjoy:

  1. Wisdom 2.0’s Compassionate, Chaos-Reducing Brand Of Leadership
  2. Find Your Inner Marketing Guru to Make Better Decisions
  3. How Successful Marketing Leaders (Like Arianna Huffington) Unplug

 

{photos by Lisa Nirell]

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In my opinion, this issue isn’t just about time management. Sure, that is important. I believe we need to be fully aware of how we spend our time—and I talked about it extensively in
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