10 Defining CMO Moments in 2015

What a whirlwind year! Our dynamic CMO community continues to thrive and doubled in size since 2014.

Many members celebrated professional milestones which have propelled them forward. I’m proud to share ten highlights here, proving that there’s power in numbers:

  1. Jen Kern dazzles modern marketers at Inbound15. Over 850 attendees learned what it takes to Jen Kern Headshotbuild lasting bridges with your Sales organization. Using jazz as the underlying inbound marketing metaphor, Jen’s audience rated her session one of the most pragmatic and valuable at the HubSpot conference. Click here for the video.
  2. Stuart Foster leads the bold foray into customer mindsets and segmentation research. Stuart, Hilton’s VP of Luxury and Lifestyle Stuart Foster HeadshotBrands, shared his experiences at CLIC ’15 (CMOs Leading Innovation Conference), and his message resonated with several leaders. It inspired them to make the shift from segmenting customers by demographic to deeply researching their mindsets to guide the brand themes and customer experiences.
  3. CLIC ’15 celebrates its maiden voyage. Even though we spent months planning and researching the viability of such an innovation conference, we still could not predict who would respond, nor how many. Thankfully, 30 C-suite executives did. Twitter, H &R Block, Hilton, XO Communications, and Destination DC leaders were among the cool attendees. Our speaker lineup for 2016 will be equally stellar, and includes CMOs Kevin Krone of Southwest Airlines and Peter Gold of Shop.com. Be sure to sign up here to receive announcements regarding our October 20-21 conference in Northern Virginia.
  4. The community movement marches forward: In late 2014, we welcomed WendyWendy Lea Lea, former Chairwoman of Get Satisfaction (now Sprinklr), to share how Customer Community is the New Marketing. Her hypothesis last year proved correct. Presently, multiple studies show that a strong percentage of our customers trust feedback from former customers more often than from the brand owner. Case in point: Salesforce Success Community members invest 2.5 times more in products than buyers outside of the community. In response to this immense growth opportunity, two of our CMO community members have launched branded customer and employee communities in 2015.
  5. Jamie Gorski of Bozzuto joins the League of Legends. Peer recognition is validating and powerful. 700 professionals attended the 25th annual MultifamilyPro Brainstorming conference and the “League of Legends” industry awards event. The award was based on her leadership, innovation and mentoring contributions within the industry.

Jamie inspired the audience with her story of her early days as swim team captain at Ohio State University, and how those lessons guided her choices throughout her real estate career. Her advice included:

Jamie Gorski Headshot

1) Be the encourager

2) Surround yourself with champions, and you will be a champion

3) Recognize that limitations are not set by others; they are set only by you.

Jamie shepherded Bozzuto’s marketing team through another banner year of rapid growth and an unprecedented expansion into new markets, such as New Orleans and Chicago.

  1. Members amplify their brand and network: Chip Coyle (Infor) joined our Atlanta CMO panel at Social Shakeup 2015 on winning C-Suite influence. At CLIC ’15, we showcased the success of Eric Lecky (Sagewater), Stuart Foster (Hilton), Rob Pinkerton (Morningstar), and Craig Oldham (TESSCO Technologies). In the spirit of contribution, they shared confidential insights into agile marketing, digital marketing, content strategies, and market segmentation. CMO.com promoted a two-part feature story about CLIC ’15 and our 3rd annual CMO Innovation Study, reaching over 25,000 marketing leaders around the globe. Here’s part 2.
  2. CMO revenue impact rockets: in 2012, approximately 20% of our members were accountable for a percentage of their company revenue. This number doubled in 2015. One member contributes close to 40% of all leads to their organization (representing over $450M in revenues). One of our professional services CMOs influences 50% of the sales pipeline.
  3. CMOs go global: Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, helped the organization complete a significant acquisition in Spain of Wedding Planner, S.L. Stuart Foster oversaw the launch of Canopy by Hilton and re-branding initiatives of premier global properties: Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria. Their global goggles enrich our conversations about customer experience, community, and mindsets.
  4. Agency relationships face upheaval: fewer members maintain an Agency of Record relationship in 2015, and several are burdened with the time required to juggle as many as 45 agency relationships. This is an area of improvement for many members in 2016. Michael Farmer, author of the just-released Madison Avenue Manslaughter, delivers some pragmatic advice on agency management and compensation in his book:

Just as Marketing was crippled by CMO job insecurity, it now is crippled by agency Michael Farmer Headshot by David Beydainsecurity. The next step for CMOs is to invest in strong agency partnerships…in recent times, AORs were dismantled, fees were reduced and relationships were severely shortened. CMOs now need to stop the revolving door and invest in improved SOW planning to ensure that their agencies are properly engaged and committed to their clients’ success.”

 Michael Farmer image courtesy of David Beyda.

  1. CMOs raise talent table stakes: Our CMO community members use our private group discussions to clarify the roles and behaviors needed to increase their influence and impact on company growth. Compared to 2014, we witnessed higher turnover among their marketing teams. Members are demonstrating greater decisiveness around what’s needed to make way for more “A players.” They are hiring digital strategists and data scientists, as well as for traditional roles such as copyrighting and events planning.

BONUS Moments:

We always remember to make time for fun. Here are some scenes from our truffle-making party at Spag N Vola last February…

CMO Community Spag N Vola Party

CMO Community Spag N Vola Party

Photos courtesy of Magnus Nirell.

Four years ago, this CMO community didn’t exist. Now it flourishes. With growth come new challenges and an invitation to raise my game, too. More importantly, each member reminds me that it is more important to live my life, not just share it on social media. On that note, I’m off to plan our next member outing on February 17.

How will you leverage your community to raise your game in 2015? Share your thoughts below.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a peaceful new year.


Copyright 2015, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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