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A CMO's Survival Guide from a Marketer's Marketer

Presented at Inbound 2016

Title:  A CMO's Survival Guide from a Marketer's Marketer
Abstract:  The role of a marketing agency CMO is a weird one. I had one goal while running marketing at an agency for three years: market the agency at least as well as we marketed our clients. While I didn't always succeed, I learned a lot on the job that all kinds of aspiring and veteran CMOs can take to heart. Reflecting on this recent tenure as a first-time CMO, here are some hints of what works, and a roadmap to some common pitfalls to avoid.

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A CMO's Survival Guide from a Marketer's Marketer

  1. 1. #INBOUND16 A CMO’S SURVIVAL GUIDE FROM A MARKETER’S MARKETER How to make a “weird” job a little less weird David Berkowitz Principal, Serial Marketer This is the annotated version of my INBOUND 2016 talk. Link to share:
  2. 2. #INBOUND16 CONTACT @dberkowitz Links to sources are in the notes; you can download this as a PowerPoint to see them. Also note that a lot of images work as GIFs and may not be as clear on SlideShare as
  3. 3. #INBOUND16 Most agency jobs feel like a never-ending episode of Survivor. An agency Chief Marketing Officer job, especially one focusing on brand marketing rather than business
  4. 4. #INBOUND16Granted, more often that not, survival at an agency feels like this.
  5. 5. CREATIVITY FOR THE NEW CONSUMER I’m going to reflect on what I learned as a marketer’s marketer – marketing a marketing services company, the creative agency MRY. Maybe some of this will increase your own
  6. 6. One challenge is that a marketing leadership role needs to be a ‘buck stops here’ job, but a lot of people feel a need to have a say. What’s important is getting buy-in from
  7. 7. #INBOUND16 One of the best aspects of marketing an agency was leading by example. We created the world’s first Vineathon, we were the first business to accept payments through
  8. 8. #INBOUND16 8 Always be open to asking for advice. When I took the role, I reached out to a number of professionals I admired and shared their input into this deck that I still find useful. You
  9. 9. #INBOUND16 9 A lot of the work marketing a creative agency is fun. To tap into the budding enthusiasm around drones, in early 2015, MRY sponsored the first ever international drone film
  10. 10. #INBOUND16 We also created research around topics like how people are connecting with their cars. We didn’t have deep expertise in the autoa category, but we did in how people are using mobile devices, so we use the latter topic as a springboard for the former. Granted, we also went TOO far with it, essentially combining two research studies into one, so it was
  11. 11. #INBOUND16 11 As CMO, I was constantly asking my peers what the marketing team could do for them. Did you want first-party research? Did you want to put on an event? Did you want to get more experience speaking or asking? In marketing, we could constantly create new opportunities for others. Constantly aim to figure out how you can help others get ahead.
  12. 12. #INBOUND16 Rely on your team. A couple of these intrepid souls were really part of my team. I also brought on design and video production hires, half reporting into marketing and half reporting into their creative and production departments, as the biggest staffing change. But we also relied on expertise in legal, SEO, strategy, and elsewhere, and administrative staff and others were instrumental in pulling off all our initiatives. Whether
  13. 13. #INBOUND16 13 A mantra we had in the marketing team was, “Everyone Contributes.” We even made annual videos featuring people across the agency sharing how they did so (see the link in the notes). A lot of agencies shy from this, focusing so much on people in a high- turnover field, but even still, our people and our work were all that mattered.
  14. 14. #INBOUND16 14 Never eat alone, as Keith Ferrazzi wrote. What I hadn’t taken to heart is how much that applies to people in other disciplines across the agency. All too often, people would
  15. 15. #INBOUND16 Client acquisition Client retention Talent acquisition Talent retention Research studies SXSW Blog Hosted events Press Lunch & Learns Cannes What was hardly a given was how much of the role would focus on talent retention – more of an HR function. Yet a lot of the activities we did had dual value, such as to
  16. 16. #INBOUND16 16 Speed ProvocativePOV Relationships There were three pillars that I constantly reinforced in dealing with the press: the speed
  17. 17. #INBOUND16 Measure more than what your boss wants you to. This is true whether you’re being held to very lax or very high standards. Always question the value of what you’re doing and
  18. 18. #INBOUND16 18 Never cede your turf. When I came into the role, I tried to be a little too diplomatic, and it was hard to get some of that ground back. Always fight for what should be yours, as
  19. 19. #INBOUND16 Even with some of the hurdles mentioned, having gone out on my own into a consulting
  20. 20. #INBOUND16 1. Practice what you preach 2. Ask for advice 3. It’s okay to have fun 4. Know when too much is too much 5. Ask what your CMO can do for you 6. Make everyone your team 7. Focus on how others can get ahead 8. Never eat alone 9. Always know your purpose 10.Stick to your core pillars 11.Measure more than you’re asked to 12.Fight for what’s yours Let’s look back at our time together
  21. 21. #INBOUND16 I’M FEELING SO BLUE TO LEAVE YOU! @dberkowitz