Uncomfortable Breakfast on Leading with Talent

in New York

The New York Hub of The Marketing Society held a compelling Uncomfortable Breakfast Leading with Talent at SAP”s stellar offices in the Hudson Yards. 

Host Alicia Tillman of SAP welcomed us. Board member Adriana Rizzo opened and closed the event that was moderated by and as always cogently summed up by Margaret Molloy, New York Hub Chair and Global CMO and Head of New Business Development at Siegel+Gale.  

The panel included CMO’s Alicia Tillman, SAP; Ed Dandridge, AIG; Elizabeth Rutledge, American Express; Micheal Joseloff, Fortune; and Meg Galloway Goldthwaite,NPR. Richard Sanderson of Spencer Stuart provided insights into the CMO role. 

Margaret asked key questions that led to good insights from the panel.

Is marketing’s focus long-term or performance? How do CMO’s navigate demand gen and strategy? 

There is no dichotomy. The more solid the brand is, the more it will drive business. Marketing is a relationship role internally and externally. It is the voice of the customer. The stronger the relationship with sales and customers, the stronger the performance. Drive performance to align with longer-term strategies.  

There are a number of ways to expand diversity and inclusion, to have marketing mirror the experience of the customer.  Since people hire who they know and are comfortable with, senior leaders need to stretch themselves and their contacts outside of their current network. If you are out there, the pipeline will come to you.

Is there a future in marketing? Will it be subsumed by AI? Will data be the sole driver? All agreed that AI/data will take a much bigger role. The emergence of the Chief Growth Officer role takes in elements of marketing and other areas. In a few organizations there is no CMO, just VP’s in specific areas such as demand gen. There is more of an emphasis on performance marketing.

The panel’s advice to marketers: Hone your technical skills while prioritizing soft skills. Work with a sense of urgency, and operate with persuasion. Empathize with the customer and your team. You have to understand numbers and must generate revenue. 

Margaret summed up: Marketing is a team sport and a contact sport. You have to be in the field, in the trenches with your team, your customers and your internal clients. Acknowledge and work on the tension between brand and performance. Diversity and Inclusion can unlock talent in an organization. Your leadership will sustain your organization to make AI a friend and not a foe, to get the right proportion of activities and for marketing to be a vital function that draws on creativity and analysis to be a strategic growth engine.  

Special thanks to Adriana Rizzo for organizing this excellent event.

By Jay Colan, Career Coach