CMOs are no longer just responsible for the customer experience. Experience, as the word implies, is made up of touchpoints. A CMO 3.0 thinks about all of these touchpoints and works to create great experiences for customers AND employees.

I’m sure many of you read The Verge’s investigation into start-up darling Away – and the toxic culture built by CEO Steph Korey. As the CMO of Checkr, I collaborated with the talent team to improve employee culture and build a brand that our teams could get behind. (We’re doing the same here at Drift.) Through these collaborations, I learned that the only way to build a better culture is to be part of it.

As a leader, that means making time to connect with your people.

The larger our teams grow, the easier it becomes to distance ourselves. The greater that distance is, the harder it is to connect with our teams and lead to the best of our ability. Becoming a “connector” leader is important for the long-term success of your department. Specifically:

  1. It’s an opportunity to lead by example. It isn’t enough to simply ask your team to align, you need to work alongside them to deliver on big goals. This doesn’t mean micro-managing every little thing, but developing a roadmap they can actually execute on. This type of approach is also a good lesson for your managers when dealing with their own employees.
  2. It’s the best way to align and scale your marketing efforts. 55% of marketing leaders in our leadership assessment said that “scaling marketing efforts” was the biggest challenge they faced. Simply put, MarTech and automation will only take your team so far. You need a strategy for how to marry tech with human effort. In other words, is your tech stack helping, hurting, or wanting for more? Talk to your team, find out from them.
  3. It will help build a better work culture. When you do make time for your team, it’s important to listen – really listen – to what they have to say, and understand what they need to be successful both in and outside the workplace. We’ve all heard the saying: Culture is what happens when nobody is looking. What would you want that culture to look like? How can you support your team in a way that fosters that culture?

As we embark on this new year – and decade – I challenge you to make a resolution to align better with your teams and work to build a culture people are excited to come back to each day.

Now, here are the headlines I’m reading 👇


CX trends that will shape marketing in 2020: If your priorities don’t revolve around the customer, it’s time for a reality check. This article outlines the six trends Forbes says will define customer-centric marketing in 2020. What do you think? I’d love to hear what you’re doing to focus on customers this year.

Marketing, 5 years later: Based on a report from The Economist and Digital Marketing Institute, Drift recently dug into what will drive success in marketing over the next five years. Here’s what marketing leaders say will separate the winners from the losers: customer experience, data analytics, and brand management.

Audit is an ugly word, but your marketing budget will thank you for it: Today’s marketing team is blessed with technology. But this blessing comes with a catch: a growing portfolio of forgotten vendors. A new year is a great time for marketing leaders to reevaluate their tech stack and identify gaps and waste. In this article, Gartner walks through best practices for doing just that.

How to remain significant as a CMO: The CMO Network reports that the traditional Chief Marketing Officer role is in decline. To remain relevant in these trying times, CMOs must make marketing business-critical in the eyes of the CEO and board.

Coca-Cola brings the CMO back to the boardroom: After a two-year hiatus, Coca-Cola is reinstating its Chief Marketing Officer role. During this time, Coke had a singular Chief Growth Officer who also oversaw marketing. The CGO’s responsibilities will now be split into three different executive roles: Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Operating Officer. Given that Coke set the trend for eliminating the CMO role in the first place, it will be interesting to see how this move influences other enterprises and their approach to marketing in the C-Suite.

Leading during hypergrowth: Away’s toxic leadership story is a wake-up call for business leaders. In her follow up piece to The Verge article, Arianna Huffington calls on leaders to do better in hypergrowth environments to avoid employee burn-out:

“Again and again, we see promising, disruptive companies rocketing to success, but powered by a workplace culture that drives people into the ground.” – Arianna Huffington

That’s it for January! Let me know how you’re liking the newsletter. Feel free to send me a note on LinkedIn, tweet to @triciagellman, or reply to this email.

See you next month 👋

Tricia

(P.S. We’ve had A LOT of great input for our marketing leadership assessment and we’re really looking forward to sharing the results in February. January 24 is the deadline to participate. Add your voice to the mix!)

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