What Works: Words of Wisdom from 6 Top CMOs - Social Media Explorer
What Works: Words of Wisdom from 6 Top CMOs
What Works: Words of Wisdom from 6 Top CMOs

If it wasn’t the least fun job I ever had, this one was certainly a close second…

While selling encyclopedias door-to-door the summer after my freshman year in college was taxing, it also provided an unlikely foundation for future renegade thinking. Among the most basic of learnings was the math of sales. “Knock on one hundred doors, and you’ll get at least two conversions,” they told me, which, by the way, was not only true but also yielded double the earnings of my previous minimum wage jobs.

Two other lessons proved to be prophetic. First, I discovered that when a prospect was aware of the brand I was pushing (Colliers), closing a sale was significantly easier. So it should be little wonder that Renegade’s “cut through” mantra is all about growing awareness to open hearts and ultimately, purse strings. Second, I figured out that if you asked the right questions you could establish a quick rapport with just about anybody—a strategy that is still on display in the last six episodes of the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast, teased below for your inspirational pleasure.

Rebranding: Internal Audience Should Be First Priority

When Gina “The Builder” McDuffie grabbed the CMO reins of what was then known as Video Equipment Rental, she found a company beloved by the entertainment industry but woefully behind when it came to modern marketing techniques like CRM. Eager to fix this and then symbolize the transformation with a new company name (VER), McDuffie took an inside-out approach, engaging the internal “influencers” who recognized the need for change and then helped spread the word. It wasn’t that simple or easy, but it was successful, so click the podcast below if you want to hear the important details.

Leadership: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Enthusiasm

Elissa Fink is unusual when it comes to CMOs. First, she’s been with Tableau Software for 10 years (the last 5 as CMO) — a well above-average tenure. During those 10 years, Tableau grew from a 40-person start-up to a 3,200-employee software powerhouse. Second, Fink is beyond enthusiastic when it comes to team building, marketing innovation, and Tableau’s offerings. “I realized over the years that enthusiasm goes a long way toward doing the right thing and getting things done because it produces energy,” she notes. To grab onto Fink’s contagious enthusiasm, hit the “PLAY” button, below:

User-generated Content: A Powerful Weapon (If You Have Happy Customers)

Veteran retail marketer Rich Honiball is Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer for the Navy Exchange, a global 2-billion dollar retail operation exclusively for sailors and their families. Tapping into the goodwill generated by a “sailor-first” attitude, Honiball and his team have found great success with user-generated content. “When you have that kind of community connection, and you honor it in the right way, it just takes on a momentum of its own,” explains Honiball. Sail into this episode here:

Building Loyalty: It Never Hurts to Say “Thank You”

I met Will Dailey at what I thought was an unlikely venue for a successful singer/songwriter: a content marketing conference in Vegas. But as it turned out, it was the perfect place to witness his broad range of talents as a storyteller, performer, brand partner, brand builder and fan supporter. Dailey’s story is particularly unusual in that he walked away from a major record label in order to preserve his independence, forcing him in the process to become a marketer, a skill that has allowed him to pre-fund album production and galvanize his fan base. Appropriately, Dailey is the first to sing on Renegade Thinkers Unite!

Loyalty Programs: Test Your Way to Success

The battle for share of mind and wallet in retail has never been fiercer, so it’s no wonder that a retailer like Sally Beauty would strive to make the most of every customer visit and enlist an expert like Ryan Linders to build a new loyalty program. Among the lessons learned, Linders notes that these programs don’t have to be free (they charge $5) as long as they provide an immediate value to the customer. He also shares advice on continuous testing, whether it’s through email or custom audience advertising on Facebook.

Customer Experience: Winning in the “Give-to-Get Economy”

As an original partner (Renegade designed the logo and first website) and the only person besides founder Pete Krainik to attend all of the twice-yearly summits, I am hopelessly biased when it comes to the success of The CMO Club. That said, this particular episode is flat-out awesome. Really. Krainik speaks to the power of giving to get, whether that means free attendance at a roundtable dinner or a free app that puts the “clubhouse” at member’s fingertips. To hear Krainik wax eloquently on this and the power of creating unexpected event experiences, click below.

Final note: For the record, the least fun job I ever had was snatching terrified chickens from their stinky coop and putting them into cages for transport to kosher butchers while on kibbutz another college summer. What was yours?

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About the Author

Drew Neisser
"CMO Whisperer" Drew Neisser, is the Founder/CEO of Renegade, the NYC-based agency that has helped CMO’s find innovative ways to cut through since 1996. He is also the former Publisher of Social Media Explorer. He is a recognized authority on non-traditional marketing techniques having won innumerable awards for creativity and campaign effectiveness and is the author of The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing and is the host of the podcast series Renegade Thinkers Unite. Ranked in 2016 among Brand Quarterly’s “50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50,” he has been a featured marketing expert on ABC News, CBS Radio and the Tony Robbins podcast series among many others. Drew writes the CMO Spotlight column for AdAge and TheDrewBlog. He consults on digital / social media trends via the GLG network and sits on the boards of the Urban Green Council and Duke NY.

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