CMOs from ReachNow, Belkin, and Simple on what it takes to be a great CMO

Becky Doles

In our CMO Connect series, we talk to chief marketing officers from leading companies all over the world about what makes great marketing. At Postback 17, we invited three CMOs to the mainstage. Read highlights from the conversation below.

CMO Connect at Postback 17:

  • Leigh McMillan, Chief Marketing Officer at ReachNow
  • Michelle Broderick, Chief Marketing Officer at Simple
  • Kieran Hannon, Chief Marketing Officer at Belkin
  • Moderator: Jennifer Wong, VP of Marketing at TUNE

How do you manage delivering on both revenue and brand?

“For us, since [ReachNow] is a service that lives under a pretty well-known brand, delivering on that service and delivering a good customer experience is the strongest way we can build the brand. So the things that we would actually do to deliver a fantastic customer service, are also the things that we would do to drive revenue. So improving the signup process. Improving the experience when the member gets in the car. Fixing app problems. Those are the things that support the brand.”

– Leigh McMillan, Chief Marketing Officer at ReachNow

Watch the full video to see why the CMO of Simple says both goals can coexist,
and the CMO of Belkin optimizes everything >

If marketing is making the complex simple, how do you simplify?

“The person who I actually take inspiration from is Julia Child. She talks about the difference between simple and easy. Something that’s easy often gets mistaken for something that’s simple. But to make something simple is actually incredibly complex, like a french pastry. It might only have three ingredients, that seems so easy. But in order for it to all come together perfectly and to rise and to have the perfect mouth texture — that is amazingly complex for you to have this simple pastry. And so I think about the care and concern that needs to go into building the brand in order to make it simple for the customer. If we are the CMOs, if we are the chefs making what’s happening in the back, the customer shouldn’t have to know any of that. All they should get is this beautiful product on the front end.”

– Michelle Broderick, Chief Marketing Officer at Simple

Watch the full video to see where ReachNow gets inspiration,
and how Belkin uses research to iterate quickly >

Which metrics do you pay most attention to?

“I think the one that I’m most excited about at any given time is referrals. Because that’s really when you’re turning your customers into advocates. If you don’t have a strong and healthy referral flow, and instead you are supplementing with a lot of paid advertising because you’re not able to get people to refer your product, you have to kind of wonder what is really going on with your product.”

– Michelle Broderick, Chief Marketing Officer at Simple

Watch the full video to see how often Belkin measures Net Promoter scores,
and which part of the funnel ReachNow tracks >

What is your advice for future CMOs?

“Try to be as well rounded as possible when you become in charge of a lot of people who are really, really good at their individual jobs. The things that people are going to look to you for as the CMO is more of a gut check — more of a what is the vision, what is the direction we want to do, how do we set these really large KPIs? If you focus on what made you really successful as a marketer, you’re going to be a very small CMO. And so you’re going to want to take inspiration from all of the very, very rich disciplines we have out there in the world. And so I think just really becoming a well-rounded person is the best thing to do to become a CMO.”

– Michelle Broderick, Chief Marketing Officer at Simple

“Take the engineers and the QA folks out for drinks frequently. Make them your best friends, not only because they can deliver on things better and faster, but it is amazing the insights and ideas they have that you never would have thought of.”

– Leigh McMillan, Chief Marketing Officer at ReachNow

“Continuing to keep that innate sense of curiosity. Never give that up. I think once you do that you start to become complacent and that’s the end. Really enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy your consumers. I spend a lot of time interacting with our customers on social media. It’s so much fun; you learn so much. You lead by example, but really empower your teams to do the same thing.”

– Kieran Hannon, Chief Marketing Officer at Belkin

To watch the full video, check it out on YouTube or press play below.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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