From an early age, I’ve been comfortable being the youngest person in a conversation. I had two older sisters and two energetic parents who liked to discuss and debate anything and everything around the supper table. I started kindergarten a year early and went to college before I was old enough to vote. I spent at least 15 years working at large, stuffy companies (SAP, ORCL) where I was typically the youngest, and one of the most forward-thinking people on the team. I realize now, I shouldn’t brag — it was kind of like being the fastest horse at the glue factory.
Joining Domo in March of 2012 was a bit of a shock. For the first time, I was one of the oldest people in the room. And to hit the point home, half my team didn’t get any of my movie references (“Heather, I wasn’t old enough to see R-rated movies when Swingers was in theaters.”). I was in a high-growth startup, working with a group of people who were much younger and, in many ways, more connected than me. I knew I had to step up my game. I had to try new things and evaluate success with a different eye.
This past week, I was speaking on a CMO panel, and was brought back to life outside a startup. The grey-haired panelist next to me was a CMO in the book publishing industry. He talked about how he didn’t really get “big data”. He believed in making gut decisions and wondered how to measure 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 old school. The good news is that most of them are trying to move into this new marketing world — one that is digital and data driven.
My 10 months at Domo have given me invaluable experience, jettisoning my path to becoming a data-driven CMO. So I thought I would share a few suggestions for those old dogs like me trying to learn a few new tricks.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. We used a shotgun approach to our marketing efforts at first. We tried everything within our cost constraints as we sharpened the rifle scope.
- Data is your friend. Ensure you have really great reporting in place so you can quickly cut out the activities that are not generating results.
- Be thorough in your evaluation. It takes diligence and the tenacity of a bulldog to achieve this. For example, 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 booked.
So strap on your seat belts. 21st Century marketing is going to get more exciting. I, for one, am looking forward to the ride.