Leadership is about setting long-term vision while focusing on achieving quarterly targets. While some may say Marketing leaders are too narrowly focused on their near term acquisition targets and not enough to set strategic vision there are always exception to the rule. Our guest on this episode is one such marketing leader who likes to exceed short-term targets while setting up long term vision for the company.
In this BobCast episode, we are excited to have Aaron Goldman, CMO of 4C Insights share his 7 Leadership Lessons Every CMO must follow. And stay tuned till the end to watch an encore performance by Aaron!
Tune in to this Podcast and learn:
- The 7 leadership rules every CMO must follow
- Getting your marketing acquisition mix right
- Marketing measurement metrics
- Hiring, managing & retaining marketing teams
- Managing your team with OKR
- And many other marketing leadership tips
Our Guest Speaker for this Episode:
Aaron Goldman is Chief Marketing Officer at 4C Insights, a data science and marketing technology company. Bridging TV, digital, social, and mobile, the 4C product suite helps marketers make multi-screen magic.
Prior to 4C, Aaron was CMO at Kenshoo, a leading enterprise marketing software company, for nearly 5 years.
Previously, Aaron founded Connectual, a digital marketing consulting and matchmaking firm. Before that, he was VP Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at Resolution Media, a search marketing agency that makes it rain under the Omnicom umbrella. And in the early days, Goldman managed U.S. Midwest sales for MaxOnline, an ad network that was folded into IAC. He sold a lot of pop-ups.
Transcript of this podcast – The 7p’s of Marketing – Leadership Lessons from CMO
Bob Tripathi: All right folks. Very nice to have you Aaron. Aaron we are so happy so delighted and excited to have you here. I’ve been following your career. I think we’ve spoke on few conferences together. You’ve been in digital marketing probably as long as I have. And Aaron Goldman is the CMO of 4C Insights so Aaron really excited to have you.
Bob Tripathi: So if you don’t mind just introduce yourself. Your career I know it’s a huge one. So go for it. Welcome.
Aaron Goldman: All right. Thanks for having me. Well I’ll do the condensed version here for the sake of keeping us on track and not boring your our viewers. But yeah I. I’m coming up on 20 years here in the industry I started early on at an ad network one of the first ad networks called At 90. I’m working in a sales role there.
Aaron Goldman: And then that company got bought or acquired other companies five times in my four years there. So I never actually changed my location I was in like the same desk actually just a few blocks down here in Chicago down on Wacker but we got acquired by the Excite network and then by Ask Jeeves and then by IAC.
Aaron Goldman: So kind of all those early dot.com
Bob Tripathi: OMG, all these ancient names that have part in all of in a while.
Bob Tripathi: Go.Yeah. And I’ve saved all the swag too. I’ve got like you know the butler and and then the shirts and so you know I can plug my ebay store for the merch. No I won’t do that. And then from there I helped start Resolution Media. So one of the first at the time focused on search engine marketing agencies. But then over time we expanded to all forms of marketing got acquired by Omnicom into that was a fun period. From there I went off on my own for a couple of years I started a company called Connectual I wrote a book everything I know about marketing I learned from Google still available on Amazon. Although, I must say I learned a few a few things since then. And then I joined Kenshoo as the CMO. That was back in 2010. If I’ve got my timing right I spent about five years there. Kenshoo and then came over to foresee. So coming up on five years here at 4C and here we’re doing everything from social to e-commerce to TV to OTP and we’ve built a platform that puts all these channels together into one self-service tool for video centric marketing. And that’s bringing us up to speed.
Bob Tripathi: Nice. Awesome. Yeah. Remember like as your background especially back in the early 2000s. You remember we used to have sessions at the conferences that the future CMO is will have a lot of search background.
Bob Tripathi: I’m not sure if you Remember. Right. And here we are in 2019 you and many others who have gone the background from search and who understand the digital world so well and you live that life and you’re living that life. So super exciting. But I’m sure Ask Jeeves and all that you’ve seen so many changes when it comes to digital. You know back in the day what we used to call it E-Marketing business online all those kind of things. Right.
Bob Tripathi: But what is the biggest shift or change you’ve seen at least in the last 10 years you discounting the search and all those stuff
Aaron Goldman: Yeah it’s interesting we know it’s almost been things coming full circle where I think what search what was fundamentally different and what made search such a high growth channel was that it changed the way that we thought about how brands can reach people. Prior to that it was all based on context. So whatever page I was on the web or channel I was on on television or page in the magazine or the title of the magazine that was what we used as inputs to put plans together, I want to reach someone who is a sports fan I’m going to advertise on ESPN, maybe a radio print television and in digital and what search taught us is that we can pass some of that out and begin targeting people based on what they’re looking for at a given moment. And that changed the way we really thought about how we can connect with our audiences and what it means to be in the moment with our marketing. And then from there we had the whole sort of programmatic era where we went all the way down to you know targeting people at these very precise nano moments with very precise messaging and then social came along and added a whole different set of things that we can target based on what people are interested in or who they’re connected to. And now here we are coming into 2020 it’s almost like we’ve come all the way back now to where context is really important again. We’ve over optimized and over indexed on this precision marketing and we’ve built these we’ve built essentially a house of cards based off of cookies and all this data that is getting tougher to manage in some cases getting illegal to use it apply. And so some of that was what’s old is new again in terms of how we think about where our audiences are and what’s the right way to reach them and engage them.
Bob Tripathi: No that’s so true. I mean you know we recycle things but I think somebody always used to say the search people are the utility players because if you knew it how it works and now you look at it from a really wider optic you know but it is great because when I look at leaders like yourself there are so many marketing leadership lessons.
Bob Tripathi: So I want to focus a lot on that today. So you know I think as we discuss we can talk about the seven leadership digital marketing or marketing lessons. And so I think we can just walk it to through. You know I think we can start with the seven P’s for marketing lesson so that’s what I want to focus on and just get your insights. So Aaron let’s start with the first P.
Bob Tripathi: So what is the first P when it comes to seven marketing leadership lessons.
Aaron Goldman: Yeah. The first is people no matter what stage you are in the life cycle of your company your role your market having the right people is critical to success and that is both in terms of attracting talent but more importantly keeping them engaged. Putting people in the right roles to play to their strengths but challenging them just enough being able to put your ego aside so that people can bring new ideas to the table, creating an environment where there is collaboration and then ultimately helping people find ways to be helped to hold themselves accountable, so that you as as a manager don’t have to be the one you know it’s not always about you know cracking the whip but creating a framework where your people can really flourish because they know exactly what’s expected of them and they know where within what guardrails they can operate and just go into what they do best to push the organization forward.
Bob Tripathi: Yeah that’s that’s great and we all talk about people and I think it 4C Insights you build a cool brand but what are some of the things you do or you advise people to attract talent especially in this time of the you know 2019 we are in there you know anybody who wants to can have a job if you will. Right. So what do you do to attract good talent you know and those A players or B players that you can convert.
Aaron Goldman: Yeah well I think I think the key is you know another word for people is this person.And I think the lesson is to keep it personal. That’s what I always try to do is I get to understand people on a personal level all the way from the first interview to the first anniversary really showing an interest, taking an interest and treating them as as people differently right as everyone is their own person in the way that you manage one person won’t work with another you have to know what makes them tick, what makes what they’re really motivated by what their personal passions are outside of work so that you can help foster and create an environment where there’s enough balance where people are gonna get excited to come in every day but then can continue to work on themselves because they’ll bring them their best selves to work every day if they’re feeling that they’re getting that support from their manager.
Bob Tripathi: Yeah that’s so true. That’s great. Great. So that’s a great first P which is People. What is the second P?
Aaron Goldman: Well the second P is Process so once you’ve got the right people in and maybe not necessarily in the right seats but at least you know everyone’s on the bus now you got to figure out a process by which everybody can operate consistently. It goes back to what I just said about how you hold people accountable and that’s what I’m setting very clear objectives for the team and then translating down to the individual level and then creating a structure by which everybody can be aligned towards that common goal.
Aaron Goldman: And so it could be you know that process is there’s a lot to unpack there and it could be anything as as tactical as the project management software that you use to kind of keep everybody clear on what’s the next step and who has to approve certain things all the way through to just how you communicate. You know are you an email driven, culture, phone. We use a lot of flak here at 4C. We try to actually in some ways you know I think the best process is very little process. So we try to keep things much less formal so that everybody can over index on just doing the work versus thinking about how we manage the work that does good.
Bob Tripathi: I think one of the things that’s scaling tech companies face is you know you can have processes but if you don’t make it into a habit you know it won’t work. So have you seen any specific instances where you have creative processes and how do you convert them into habits.
Bob Tripathi: What kind of if you have any examples
Aaron Goldman: Yeah I mean I think one is where we start we have a weekly team meeting and we it started as a sort of a status type of meeting and everyone would come in and we go around the table and you know what’s everybody working on. And it seems trite but it’s needed that first. You know we were when we were first bringing people in and everyone was kind of new and we had to make sure that everybody knew what everyone else was doing. But then we got to a point where say OK we’re in each other’s head now we now have some process to be able to keep track of some of these moving parts. We don’t have to spend our time in person actually just running down and reiterating what we’ve already done or what we’re doing next week. We can start to dig in on some of where some of the things where we need to have discussion or brainstorm. And I think in that case you know it became very clear when the time was right to turn our weekly from just a status meeting into a true collaboration session.
Bob Tripathi: That’s great that’s great, that’s amazing advice.
Bob Tripathi: Great. So we got people, we got process so what is the 3rd P?
Aaron Goldman: Third P is Planning. So now we have the people in the process to operate within. How do we put a plan together that’s ultimately going to help the company meet its objectives. In our case here from a 4c perspective the marketing team is very focused on helping attract new customers to come onto our platform and also retain and grow our current customers. So you know like many other B2B marketers we are very focused on supporting revenue and helping drive customer satisfaction. And so the plans that we put together have to be very precise in supporting the goals of the company and in particular the revenue client service teams. And so there’s any number of tactics that we can try and when we put a plan together we try to be fluid about it. We do set annual plans I’m sure like many companies but we don’t get locked in and we’re always making changes on a daily and weekly basis based on what’s working what’s trending. And if some of the other business realities are changing as well in the environment.
Aaron Goldman: And so I think the main takeaway from a planning perspective is first you have to have a plan because it has to be something everyone can anchor on but then you have to have enough flexibility built in so that as the business needs change you can begin to shift and adapt accordingly.
Bob Tripathi: Nice. And then do you measure people based on those objectives, you know, objectives, key results.
Aaron Goldman: OKRs are a big part of our culture here. We do anchor on those we set them quarterly and discuss them no less than weekly. And so yes everyone has their individual OKRS that ladder up to a departmental OKR, Which ladders us up to a company. OKR. And we’re a very transparent culture so everybody’s OKRS are visible and we’re always as we check in. We actually use a platform called 7Geese to implement our OKRs and everyone can see everybodies and we can see how we’re tracking along. And you can watch the little goose flying across the screen as we’re marching towards our goal.
Bob Tripathi: And that’s the I think one of the best ways to align what you said is aligning at the individual department at the business level. So that’s great. Great. OK. We got people we got process we good planning. What is the next P?
Aaron Goldman: The fourth P is Product And here from a marketing perspective you may or may not have ownership over product development. In my case I don’t, have a great partner I know a pop group that is our chief product officer who looks after the product both in terms of thinking ahead the roadmap and just making sure current capabilities are there. But there’s a lot of cross pollination between our teams and our outputs run in the front lines out there in the marketplace looking after the positioning and understanding what other folks are doing. And so as we can bring back those inputs to the team we can have a big hand in helping shape how this product delivers for our customers. I think anyone in marketing who does not have a vested interest in product won’t have a very long career in marketing and it doesn’t have to work. Technology company or product doesn’t have to be something tangible that you know actually like you know in a box or in our case software you know, you’re your product could be the team, if you’re if you’re working for an agency you know and you’re selling a service that that that is your product.
Aaron Goldman: And so how do you shape that in a way that where the value proposition becomes very clear and how you can continually remind people the benefits you’re delivering to them. And so that’s probably my biggest take on this P is that we need to think about it. Each interaction with the product. How is that helping reinforce your brand and reiterate to the customer how they’re getting value and there’s lots of ways you can take that. In our case we just try and be very thoughtful about each interaction, each screen within the platform. Each invoice that somebody gets. How is that helping making the brand come to life and ultimately drive satisfaction.
Bob Tripathi: So that’s like integrating your customer experience at a super granular level and that’s how you can build the process. Right. I mean a product but how much of inputs marketing does your organization give to the product team And how do you create that trust level, you know between the two?
Aaron Goldman: Yeah, great question. So I think it kind of goes back to some of the values that I had shared just as it relates to things like transparency. We’ll get to one of our p’s coming up around purpose. We’re all aligned to a common purpose. We recruit and attract and retain talent based around our four kinds of key values. And knowing that we’re all kind of cut from the same cloth and focused on prioritizing the same types of things helps create that that trust upon which we we can build. So when you come into a room you know egos are aside. We’re all going for the same thing here. Let’s bring the ideas in. Let’s find ways to help each other out. But I think in some ways we’ve talked about what’s what’s old is new again. I think a lot of it just comes back to good old fashioned facetime. Our product team is distributed on a panel I mentioned in Seattle. We have product folks in Colorado, Ohio, New York, Chicago, the Netherlands. So making sure that we match. Oh Arizona. All great places to visit.
Bob Tripathi: Finally one warm place.
Aaron Goldman: And so there’s also California. That’s speaking of nice places. And so just making sure that you can have face time with these folks and connect with them on a personal level so that it’s not always just about what’s the next thing on the agenda or the spreadsheet or the roadmap but actually like let’s form a relationship and find ways to help each other out medals and it translates into the best possible product.
Bob Tripathi: Beautiful beautiful beautiful. So. We code that list of next be believe be number of the fifth P right.
Aaron Goldman: All right. Yes. The fifth P is packaging. And so here it’s thinking about how you’ve taken what you’ve built and that can be inclusive of you know people process products and packaged it up in a way where the value proposition is immediately obvious very clear and benefit driven. Right. And this is where you’re putting on the you know the hat of your customer and thinking OK what’s something that they’re going to respond to in our case. I’m actually quite fortunate because my audience, my customer is me. It’s the CMO at other companies and so I have in some ways a unique insight. We’re not always so blessed to work in a to market products where we’re the intended target audience right. Sometimes you know you might be working on the PNG account and you know you might be you know in your early 20s and trying to market diapers to you know people who are you know 10 and 20 years and pulling different stage of life and so you have to really work hard to get in their heads and say All right you know what. What makes them tick. In my case I don’t have to work as hard and I can vary what would attract my attention. You know just like everybody else we’re very busy times at a premium the inbox is full. And so how do you breakthrough in that environment and really get a message that’s authentic and connects and that’s where the packaging comes into play and that’s everything from the words you choose to the visuals to the overall way that you tell your brand story. And if you can get that right sometimes you can even overcome some things that might be lacking in the product itself.
Aaron Goldman: You know if you can package it out I’m sure you can pick on this even just in something you might have ordered you know off of Amazon or Target or Wal-Mart another insert retailer here you know if it comes in a nice enough package and it deals premium and you feel like you’ve got a good deal even if it doesn’t do exactly what you thought based on the product description of the reviews your satisfaction can still be high.
Bob Tripathi: It goes back to the whole packaging thing. And again I think one of the key takeaways is what you mentioned in product it doesn’t have to be a physical product. So even if you had a tech company or a software it does when you said packaging it means across the board. Right. I mean it doesn’t have to be a physical physical packaging that people expect out of Apple products. So so translate to all right. Number six. What does the next P?
Aaron Goldman: Well I may have had a spoiler alert earlier but this is where purpose comes into play and making sure that the culture you’ve built is purpose driven. And you know at the end of the day in B2B marketing unless we’re working for a health care organization we’re probably not saving lives. But that doesn’t mean that what we do is not important. You can’t get excited about it and feel passionate about it. And so that could be anything from the way that you have structured your organization things like benefits things like give back days things or even just in the way you carry yourself as a manager and you know making sure that people understand that you care about them and your values are shared values and that you stand for something and you can align everyone around that. I think this is something that you know 10, 20 years ago certainly when I when I first started out it wasn’t something that people talked a lot about or thought a lot about in fact the opposite is like you know leave that at home don’t bring any of your you know personal passions or purpose driven core values you know to the workplace. It was almost taboo to talk about. Now it’s like if you don’t stand for something you stand for nothing and people don’t have no interest in you. And so you can think about it in terms of a broader societal issues but even just at a micro level having a vision within your organization being very clear on what it is you’re trying to do and why that creates value for some people in the ecosystem that can be enough to really rally and motivate people or in our case you might find some interesting ways where you know I actually have to amend my comment earlier about we’re not saving lives here. We just had a team of our folks who are walking down by the Chicago River which is just across the street here and there was someone in distress and they stopped and they helped that person and perform in a it was able well I’ll leave them the details out but needless to say I can now say we actually are saving lives here at 4Cs.
Bob Tripathi: I feel pretty good about the karma points for that right for sure. Yeah. Yeah. No no I had a tough time to work for a financial services company. I’m sure you know. And you know it’s tough to find a purpose on you’re trying to get people in debt every day. Right. And so that’s always a but I think you’re right. The sole purpose driven. Right.
Bob Tripathi: That starts with the whole TOMS Shoes moment and people on a buying to it and people are more than willing to buy into one of these book poses and they want to look for companies like that. So when you look at growing companies or scaling companies when does the focus as a company you try to put or you create your focus and then you make it look at these other values this is what does stuck. What is that tipping point. In terms of employee size of revenues or have you seen any correlation in that?
Aaron Goldman: yeah I mean I think it has to start all the way at the beginning because that’s how you’re going to build your team of people that aren’t going to you’re going to want to support this your mission are going to be ones who support your purpose. And if you can be clear about what that is from the beginning you’ll have the best chance to bring on the right people who will carry you to the subsequent phases of your lifecycle as a business I don’t think it’s ever too early to come out with that you have to understand too that that might change over time and might adapt. You may have to pivot or in some cases just you know make some some slight tweaks and you have to be OK with that actually one of our core values here at 4C is adaptability and the ability to when confronted with constraints you know be flexible enough to work your way around and make the necessary adjustments. And so we look for people who are comfortable with change because we know that change is inevitable and we look for people who turn that into opportunity and can thrive off of that.
Bob Tripathi: So a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. Definitely. All right. So I’m wondering if you haven’t talked about dollars ROI And as a marketer if you don’t talk about that. So I’m guessing is that just last P, Which is the 7th P?
Aaron Goldman: Yes intentionally last is profit not because it’s the least important but because if you’ve done all these other things well I think you will find yourself in a way where you’re delivering profit for your organization and again profit is going to mean different things in different contexts. But ultimately the financial responsibility and the growth or whatever it is your organization that you’re being held to is a function that at the end of the day we’re all we’re all going to be judged on. And you can’t say you can’t run from it. I think from our standpoint I’ve always tried to think through my plans and build visibility for our organization as a revenue driver. Marketing is not an expense. We deliver revenue. And I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can make sure that we’ve built all the right mechanisms such that each activity can be a track and associate can be tracked and associated all the way through to revenue. So we have a proprietary scoring model and a bunch of different systems. We’ve integrated so that in any given time I can say All right here’s what marketing is spending across all our various activity and here’s how that’s delivering on leads, opportunities ultimately closed one business and then growth and upsell from from current clients. And so there is no doubt a core part of marketing leadership that is delivering on that but I think also the way that you manage that process and the way you give visibility to your team and your peers into how you’re actually doing on that front is is half the battle. The other half of course is hitting the number.
Bob Tripathi: Right. So there is one direct contribution is how many of these deals that marketing gets in. But is there any other attribution like product development, customer support that makes a marketing a revenue driver as opposed to just an expense document. Have you seen some things that are on that.
Aaron Goldman: Yeah I mean there’s there’s a lot of intangibles right. It can be anything from the brand perception even just through decline help. We measure Net Promoter Score. And that goes back to that know thinking through each interaction with the product and making sure that that gives off a an ultimately satisfactory experience. Those are all things that can play and that aren’t direct revenue metrics but are going to contribute to profit because you’re either gonna keep your clients happy and they’re going to stay with you or you’re not and they’re going to leave. So that all has to be taken into account.
Bob Tripathi: So no no that’s great. That’s good. So let me repeat the Seven P’s of what first one is people. The second is process. The third is planning. Then you’ve got product then you’ve got packaging then you’ve got purpose. And finally the profit is there anything that you would like to add that probably would help marketers as they go in this journey beyond seven Ps.
Aaron Goldman: I guess number eight would have to be parties right. If you’ve done all those seven and there’s only one thing left to do.
Bob Tripathi: I think you have a great rap created today for this party that you’re going to share with us is that right I mean
Aaron Goldman: if you’re going to call me out I’m going to ask to do it.
These aren’t things I ever prepare. So you’ve got to go freestyle. Then I’ll even let you Bob.
Aaron Goldman: Yeah. You give me you know give me a couple words to work in so that people know that this wasn’t planned.
Bob Tripathi: All right. So let’s talk about Riverside Chicago .
Aaron Goldman: That’s okay.
Aaron Goldman: Yo yo it’s ag here at 4C in Chi town coming through. Clear as can be I got my air pods on I’m rockin the Mic we got 7ps to do what you like you no profit may be last but it’s important too and the other thing that I’m going to impart on you is that eight parties is going to happen going to take it on down and we’re gonna go back to the bottom and come back to the top because when I do it up I do my funky hip hop I like to write it own down I cruise on my boat Chicago River you know I’ve got the most the most the most the high the ROI AND I REACH FOR THE SKY AND I Dive DOWN LOW IN THE WAVE AND I GOTTA GO peace!
Bob Tripathi: Nice! Give it up for my boy Aaron and this is great Aaron and I think you know audience is gonna love listening to this but thank you so much for doing this and taking the time and of course the freestyle.
Bob Tripathi: Who can forget that freestyle right. Thank you. Thank you.