What Makes a Marketing Visionary?
What makes marketers respected and appreciated by their colleagues? What skills, attributes and successes bring accolades from your peers and opportunities to move up in the company? When we asked readers to nominate people for Marketer of the Year, we also asked who on their teams deserved to be recognized as a marketing visionary, and why. The results reveal some remarkable marketers, but also three important areas where marketing visionaries excel, and some of the strategies they’ve used to succeed there.
It turns out, the kinds of achievements that most often lead to respect in the eyes of marketing colleagues are: being customer-centric, transforming the culture, and transforming the technology and data stack to enable the kinds of marketing the company couldn’t do before. All of these can lead to big wins for the brand, increased revenue and increasing budgets.
Here are 11 marketers who’ve earned these accolades from their peers — a model for the kinds of people you want to work for, work with or have working for you in 2019 — along with excerpts from their nominations that reveal how they earned such respect.
Larry Shaw, Aurora Brands — MacKenzie Childs, CMO
“Larry has completely turned this company around by organizing marketing folks around events in the customer journey, rather than silo activities. Data is organized by moving up customers in the loyalty ladder. Teams use that data to build campaigns based on segment needs. He has completely broken down the silo challenge and the results have followed. Larry is innovative and willing to market ‘outside the box.’ He’s truly one of the smartest marketers I’ve ever met.”
Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth, Chief Marketing and Experience Officer
“Aligning marketing to be about patients, not providers or facilities. [Manny] Has championed new vision for marketing across the 22,000-employee health system of 10 hospitals in Colorado, and launched an internal agency to improve cohesion and power creative. Brand messaging and advertising are now totally patient-centric, with beautiful ads that seem more like mini-movies than healthcare ads. The new voice is resonating with providers with patients who need referrals requesting to stay within UCHealth for their care.”
Brian Killingsworth, Vegas Golden Knights, CMO
“This new NHL franchise exceeded all expectations for season ticket sales, merchandise jersey sale and international social media reach. Perhaps more important: They stopped everything a week before the start of their season to do all possible to help the community after a shooting tragedy in their city.”
Pat Palingo, Yale Appliance, CMO
“We stopped talking about ourselves and started focusing on the needs of the client. [He] oversees a blog seen by 8 million people, 20 buyers guides and 23 email campaigns with a budget that’s .03% of sales. He is an unbelievable inbound marketer.”
Transforming the Culture
Colin Hall, Allen Edmonds, CMO and GM International Business
“Colin transformed the brand for exponential growth. He took an aging company and rebranded it to create a story that customers/prospects loved. He used data to guide the process and the results followed. He truly knows how to build a team to execute on a brand’s vision.”
Kristin Guthrie, ICW Group Insurance Companies, VP Customer Experience
“New to the company, she has been influential in getting the members of the executive team and other stakeholders to buy into the importance of CX [customer experience] and its impact to the bottom line. ... Rather than waiting for our culture to change on its own over time, we took an action to treat our culture change like a product, targeting the message to the internal audience as if it were a full-scale marketing campaign: A/B testing, multichannel communications and rigorous effectiveness measurement.
“Using a product development mindset allows us to bring structure and accountability, in order to lead us toward CX excellence. Before we could create the plan, we first performed a company-wide evaluation to identify individuals and departments who already exhibited the customer-first mindset we wanted to instill and those (including leadership) who did not. In marketing terms, we identified our target market and key value prop components, measured awareness and demand/appetite, and identified the preferred communication channels. Using personalized communication strategies, via segmentation, we created bite size CX learning content that was 1) easy to read, 2) easy to relate to how CX fits within our business, 3) how their roles support CX, 4) and how to do their jobs better to serve customers — we were driving adoption. We needed the organization to BUY customer experience and then used it!”
Dennis Ineman, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Marketing Director
“Successfully introduced several new consumer package goods products to established and new markets using primarily digital tactics in traditional legacy company.”
Transforming the Data and Technology Stack
Brian Cook, OneMain Financial, VP Marketing
“Led his team to master the art and science of using data to optimize creative in a testing strategy that proved the value of segmenting customer audiences into different lifecycles using needs-based modeling and enhanced personalization. When he arrived at OMF in 2013, he quickly transformed marketing programs from generic, static messaging to dynamic, data-driven content. ... He built a team that seamlessly evaluates customer lifecycles, credit risk criteria, and other internal and external data elements to inform and drive creative and marketing strategies. ...
“Brian Cook is a shining example of someone who exemplifies building a team that is successful because they understand what drives their business, their customers and their business partners.”
Chantal Josephy, American Express, Marketing Manager
“Chantal has been a driving force for developing lead generation attribution reporting for her team as well as identifying opportunities for better targeted communications to customers and prospects alike. She is really moving her division through the revenue marketing journey and taking cues from campaign learnings to adjust future targeting and exceed results.”
Debbie Qaqish, The Pedowitz Group, Principal Partner and Chief Strategy Officer
“Debbie Qaqish first bought marketing automation [to work] in 2004 as VP of Marketing for an Atlanta-based software company. She understood then that marketing automation would change sales and marketing roles, forever. In 2004, she became an owner and partner at The Pedowitz Group and is a visionary, pioneer and thought leader in the field of B2B modern marketing. She coined the term ‘Revenue Marketer’ in 2010 to describe the new role of marketing and created the ‘Revenue Marketing Journey’ in 2011. ... For the last six years, Debbie has been named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. She has also won SLMA’s Top 20 Women to Watch distinction for four years. Kapost named Debbie among the Top 40 Most Inspiring Women in Marketing, and FierceCMO Magazine named Debbie one of the Top 10 Women CMOs to Watch.” [And, she’s a member of the Target Marketing Editorial Board.]
Jordan Polak, David’s Bridal, Senior Director CRM
“In a challenging speciality retail environment, it is difficult to be a change agent at a well-established company needing help. Jordan understands the direction strategic marketing is headed and the pressures on retail. He utilizes a data-centric framework communicated using marketing governance to deliver an omnichannel vision.
“His changes are all in the last nine months and real-time. Jordan saw the need to stand up SMS as a channel and implemented it for transitional and promotional purposes. He partners with advanced analytics to make first-party data-driven segmentation decisions. He communicated to the organization about the IT need to house data and allow for in-database scoring of model creation.”