I‘ve always been comfortable being the youngest person in a conversation, which I credit to my two older sisters and parents who excitedly discussed and debated anything and everything around the dinner table. I also started kindergarten a year early and entered college before I was old enough to vote, making me the youngest one in the room by default. These experiences were followed by at least 15 years working at large, somewhat stuffy companies (SAP, Oracle) where I was often the youngest and one of the most forward-thinking people on the team.
I’m not bragging, though—it was kind of like being the fastest horse at the glue factory.
When I joined Domo in 2012, I was in for a bit of a shock. For the first time, I was one of the oldest people in the room. The environment was that of a high-growth startup, with a team of people much younger, and in many ways more connected, than me. I knew I had to step up my game. I needed to reach outside my comfort zone, trying new things and evaluating success with a different eye.
My time at Domo has given me invaluable experiences, jettisoning my path to becoming a data-driven CMO. Along the way, I’ve gathered a few suggestions for old dogs like me trying to learn a few new tricks.
- Data is your friend. At a recent CMO panel, the grey-haired panelist next to me said he didn’t really get “big data,” and instead believed in making gut decisions and measuring the “ROI of a handshake.” As I picked my jaw up off the floor, I realized a large percentage of my CMO peers are still wary of using data, thinking it doesn’t make sense for them or wouldn’t be worth the effort. This couldn’t be further from the truth. And luckily, many CMOs are learning to move into this new marketing world—one that is digital and data driven.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. At Domo, we started out with a shotgun approach to our marketing efforts. We tried everything within our cost constraints as we sharpened the riflescope. The result? My team developed a myriad of highly successful, creative campaigns that would never have been considered if we had left data out of the equation or decided to play it safe. The beauty of data is that it makes experimentation much more reliable and a lot more creative—so you can spend your efforts on campaigns that matter and ditch those that don’t.
- Be thorough in your evaluation. The ability to work with data is only valuable if you can follow through and accurately evaluate the results. This takes diligence and the tenacity of a bulldog to achieve. For instance—it is not enough to know how many leads a certain campaign delivered and how much they cost. You need to track impressions through each stage of the sales cycle to revenue in order to truly understand the value of the campaign. To do this, you’ll need robust reporting in place so you can quickly identify what’s going on in real-time.
Whether you’re just starting out in marketing or you’re a veteran with 30+ years experience, it’s time to strap on that seat belt. Marketing in the 21st century is getting more exciting by the minute, and data-driven CMOs are sure to come out on top. I, for one, am looking forward to the ride.
This post originally appeared on Heather Zynczak’s LinkedIn authorship profile, here.