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Read Q&As with the top B2B marketers today in Drew's Ad Age column. 

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  • May 29, 2024 3:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    “Don’t quit” I pleaded to a CMO at a billion-dollar B2B company. “It’s ugly out there,” I explained, “A year ago we had 30 members on the CMO Huddles Transition Team, now it’s 152 and many are struggling to find new roles.” There were several seconds of silence as this icy factoid sunk in.

    That silence made me wonder if the B2B recession I hear about from other CMOs is universal or limited to certain industries.

    I do know that you can link many CMOs desire to quit right now to this oft-repeated sequence of events:

    • Deals that should have closed are pushed back
    • Quarterly revenue targets aren’t met
    • Marketing budgets are cut
    • Pressure on CMOs to generate demand with less funding increases
    • CMO says, “I’m not a frickin magician” and updates their resume

    There are a couple of problems with quitting right now. First, it will be that much harder to land your next opportunity. Having a job gives you leverage. Recruiters will want to recruit you. No job. No leverage. Second, there’s a good chance the former CMO left for the same reason you want to leave. Perhaps they too were asked to do way too much with way too little. “Magical thinking” seems to be the new epidemic, particularly at PE-backed companies.

    However painful, my advice right now is to make the most of where you are [unless you have 12 months guaranteed severance or have enough funds saved for early retirement!]. And by making the most of it, I mean taking these specific actions to increase the odds you can land an even better CMO role soon:

    1. Enhance your story
    2. Grow your network
    3. Tell your story

    1. Enhance Your Story

    You’re a CMO. You’re a builder. You’re a leader. You’re a change agent. You’re a strategist. With a bit of self-reflection, now’s the time to tighten up your personal brand and take actions that reinforce it. If you’re a change agent, drive some more change at your current org. For example, some CMOs are taking the lead on Gen AI, not just to increase productivity but also to drive innovation across their orgs. If you call yourself a revenue driver, then initiate at least one program that bucks the overall recession-related pullback – maybe it’s an upsell/cross-sell program built on top of a community.

    2. Grow Your Network

    Just like finding a job is easier when you have one, so too is growing your network. You just have to make a bit of time for it (like an hour a week!) Start returning recruiters’ calls and help them source candidates for their searches. Join a community like CMO Huddles and get to know some of your peers. If they offer to set up 1:1s for you, have at least 1 per month. I can tell you that the second biggest regret among CMOs in transition is that they didn’t take the time to build a peer network.

    3. Tell Your Story

    The first biggest regret among CMOs in transition is that they neglected their personal brands. They were too busy, with noses to the proverbial grindstone to join a podcast, sit for an interview, speak at events, or write up their insights. Don’t be that guy. Even if you're introverted, you need to put yourself out there. It’s a skill you can master with just a little effort. And it's not purely self-serving, your company will benefit. Future employees, customers, and partners will see your content and become aware of you and your company.

    Written by Drew Neisser

  • May 23, 2024 4:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 398: GenAI as a CMO’s Strategic Ally

    With mounting pressure to deliver ever-increasing pipeline results, it’s time for CMOs to prove that they’re not just tacticians—they’re key strategists essential to business longevity.

    In this episode, Liza Adams of GrowthPath Partners dives into how AI can make it all possible. She’s shepherding in a shift from “growth-at-all-costs” thinking to sustainable profitability. Armed with use cases and custom GPTs, Liza brings her extensive experience as an AI consultant and fractional CMO to outline how you can leverage generative AI as a strategic thought partner.

    Here are a few things she covers:

    • How to deploy AI for competitive analysis and positioning
    • How AI can identify and prioritize high-value customer segments   
    • How to use AI insights to blow away your C-Suite
    • How promising to tip your AI can yield better results

    Don't miss this insightful conversation that could redefine how you view the role of AI in your marketing strategy!

    What You’ll Learn

    • How to use AI as a strategic thought partner
    • Strategic AI use cases   
    • How to get more accurate AI answers
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegademarketing.com/podcast/
  • May 21, 2024 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Partnerships are an increasingly important growth strategy in the B2B world, which is why March’s Peer Huddles at CMO Huddles focused on the evolving landscape of effective collaborations. These sessions brought together CMOs who unpacked the complexities and opportunities inherent in modern partnerships.

    Here’s a concise yet compelling look at some of the collective wisdom distilled from these Huddles.

    Huddle 1: Transforming Partnership Dynamics via Co-Selling

    This Huddle was led by Chip Rodgers of Workspan, who illustrated the shift from traditional re-selling models to a co-selling paradigm where partners collaborate closely, sharing strategies and resources (also known as “Ecosystem Partnering”).

    This model enhances deal influence through unified sales teams and maximizes potential opportunities by leveraging shared technologies like interconnected CRMs.

    Key strategies discussed include:

    • Customizing GTM support to align with each partner's unique goals
    • Navigating challenges such as diminishing tracking capabilities and increasing ad costs
    • Shared funding for marketing initiatives to extend budgets and deepen trust among potential clients
    • Addressing the complexities of selling highly technical products through less technical partners via educational programs and involving technical experts in sales discussions.

    Huddle 2: Channel-First and Robust Connections

    The shortest distance to a new customer is an existing relationship. How do you know you’re a channel-first company? Over 90% of your sales go through partners, you have dedicated senior staffers, and partners who are initiating more than 60% of new business.

    This method emphasizes integrating partners into all aspects of business, from sales strategy to product development. The important aspects of a channel-first strategy include:

    • Creation of joint product solutions, leading to tailored offerings that directly meet customer needs and showcase the strength of the partnership
    • Structured agreements such as memorandums of understanding that clarify roles and responsibilities
    • Regular reviews of these agreements to keep the partnership aligned and responsive to market changes
    • Cross-business exposure (i.e. Your CEO meets their Sales team, and their CFO meets your customers)

    Huddle 3: Strategic Collaborations with Industry Giants

    Partnering with large industry players involves navigating complexities like bureaucratic delays and requires building strong relationships with key decision-makers to align efforts.

    One of the benefits that makes it all worth it? Substantial investments by big players can support broader marketing strategies and significantly stretch limited budgets.

    Keys to successful large-scale partnerships:

    • Identify and build relationships with the decision-makers to gain alignment and speed up approvals
    • Partner with companies that share your customer values
    • Mutual understanding and continuous engagement, including regular business reviews and open communication channels
    • Event partnerships for cost-sharing and expanding audience reach

    Conclusion: The Art of Partnership

    A month of Peer Huddle insights leads to this: Successful partnerships are built on a foundation of strategic alignment, creative adaptation, and a deep commitment to mutual benefits. With the right approach and commitment, partnerships can significantly amplify business outcomes, turning collaboration into a powerful growth engine. For those looking to explore the full depth of these insights, joining CMO Huddles is the next best step.

    Written by Melissa Caffrey

  • May 17, 2024 11:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 397: A CMO’s Guide to Global Website Management

    What does it take to transform a local website into a global powerhouse? Find out from Tom Bianchi of Acquia and Hannah Grap of Sitecore, as they dissect the strategies behind successful international digital presences.

    Learn how Acquia’s latest initiatives are making the digital world more accessible and how Sitecore is modernizing data to tailor customer experiences across borders. We cover the changing landscape of SEO, how to localize your site for different countries, and which website metrics matter.

    Whether you’re revamping your digital strategy or just tuning in to the latest trends, this episode is your gateway to mastering the art of engaging a worldwide audience through smart, inclusive web design. Don’t miss these essential insights that could redefine your digital footprint!

    What You’ll Learn

    • How to modernize your digital presence
    • How to localize your global website   
    • Which metrics matter for site optimization
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegademarketing.com/podcast/
  • May 14, 2024 11:40 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This is an open plea to CMOs. It’s time to be telegenic. Every day you’re on camera with peers, employees, partners, and customers. And every day you’re representing your company brand and your personal brand. And each time your face is blurry or bleeding into your virtual background or you sound like you’re underwater, you’re doing yourself and your company a disservice. You’re simply not communicating like the pro that you are.

    It’s time to be ready for your close up. Here’s how:

    Tip #1: Invest in an external camera

    While built-in cameras on laptops have gotten better, most only have one setting which is often quite close. An external camera will give you the option of a wider frame, putting some distance between you and the camera, improving the odds that you’ll be in focus. This should also help if you are using a virtual background (more on those soon). My recommended camera is the Logitech Brio ($159 on Amazon) for both lens quality and ease of use. The main thing to look for is the 16:9 frame option and 4k resolution.

    Tip #2: Fix your lighting

    If you have a light source behind you, rotate your desk 180° if possible. If not, you’ll need extra lighting in front of you. Otherwise, you’ll always look washed out. In terms of lighting, I’m a fan of LED lamps that you can rotate or swivel. I use the Desk Lamp E7 with Clamp ($79 from Uplift) and have an extra long-neck desk lamp just in case it’s getting dark outside. Warning: If you wear glasses, don’t buy a Ring light!

    Tip #3: Upgrade your audio

    Ever wonder why radio announcers all sound great? For one, they aren’t using earbuds or cheap-tinny sounding headsets. Nope. They are using a high-end condenser microphones which are also the faves of podcasters. I use the Heil Sound PR 40 on a simple mic stand that runs through a Tascam pre-amp. Besides giving your voice a richer texture, these mics don’t pick up other sounds in the room which means you can listen via your computers speakers. If you want a simpler solution, a dynamic mic like the USB like the Shure MV7 will plug right into your computer and still sound better than your earbuds or a wire headset.

    Tip #4: Assess your background

    Since many CMOs are working at home, you’ll often see them using virtual backgrounds. If there is no way for you to be in a natural setting (always first choice), then pick a virtual background carefully. Some are simply impossible to work with because of the coloring or patterns or your available lighting. Simpler is usual better. Here again lighting is key - have enough lighting options to find the combo that makes your face look natural.

    Tip #5: Get more bandwidth

    All of the above will go to waste if your internet connection is slow. At a minimum, you should have 100 Mbps download & 25 MPS upload speed (test here). Ideally, get yourself in the 400 Mbps range both and up and down. Not only will your video and audio broadcast clearly but also you’ll be able to work faster on every internet-based task.

    You’re articulate and a gifted communicator. It’s time to make sure you’re equipment isn’t diminishing your talents.

    Written by Drew Neisser

  • May 10, 2024 12:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 396: Think Fast, Talk Smart: CMO Edition

    Every day, CMOs must navigate a whirlwind of high-stakes, spontaneous conversations, from high-stakes boardroom challenges to delicate internal communications. Yet many have no formal training in this area or formulas for improvement.

    In this episode, Stanford professor and communication expert Matt Abrahams shares actionable, science-backed strategies from his latest book, “Think Faster, Talk Smarter.” Whether it’s acing unexpected questions in job interviews, managing crises, or giving feedback, discover the structures and exercises that will prepare you to handle every spontaneous scenario like a seasoned pro.

    This episode was originally recorded in front of a live audience, hosted by CMO Huddles, an exclusive community of B2B marketing leaders. If you’d like to join these conversations in the future, learn more at cmohuddles.com.

    What You’ll Learn 

    • How to master spontaneous conversations  
    • Structures to help you be clearer and more concise, plus exercises to practice
    • How to deal with unexpected interview questions
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegademarketing.com/podcast/


  • May 07, 2024 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Many CMOs in transition are wondering what it takes to land another CMO role right now. To help develop an answer to this question, we’ve spoken with several CMOs who recently secured new posts.

    Here’s what we learned with specific references from our March 2024 Transition Team Huddle conversation with a recent success story (anonymized as Happy Huddler/HH for maximum honesty!)

    1. Mine Your Network

    About 25% of CMO roles are found via recruiters. More than half are the result of a connection in your network. Happy Huddler, who secured a new role in January, noted their new position came through a business contact, not a recruiter. Others have reported that a former boss or a colleague provided the introductory connection.

    2. Pursue Your 5x5 Matches

    HH shared that his previous experiences perfectly aligned with his new opportunity. Not only had they worked in the same category, but also they had worked for companies in the same growth stage, with the same target and the same financial backing (in this case a PE firm). Because the company operated remotely, HH’s location in this case didn’t matter (other CMOs have noted they’ve lost to the local candidate). This 5x5 match was true for the other recently hired CMOs.

    3. Look for Cultural Alignment

    Throughout the interview process, HH asked questions to help them assess the culture to make sure it was a good fit. Once they understood the culture, they then leaned into it, demonstrating empathy and openness. For example, when asked, “What’s it like to work for you?” they responded with a list of former direct reports, saying, “Please speak with any of them and find out for yourself rather than take my word for it.”

    4. Go All In When You See the Match

    HH and others have shared the extra effort they’ve taken to secure recent roles. At every stage, they tried to anticipate questions and deliver more than expected. In HH’s final round presentation, they offered up “KPIs” even though they hadn’t asked for them. They also provided a SWOT analysis that essentially played back the various ideas shared by execs during the interview process.

    5. Find the Critical Unresolved Challenge

    During his interviews, HH discovered a challenge that several execs referenced but had different ideas on how to fix. During their final presentation, they acknowledged the challenge and provided a path to resolution. In this way, HH showed leadership chops and the potential to be the “Convener in Chief,” someone who can bring the executive team together, a value that goes well beyond marketing.

    6. Speak the Language of Business Not Marketing

    HH emphasized marketing’s ability to impact revenue and margins throughout the interview process. This was especially important when they were speaking with board members. By avoiding “marketing-ese” and referencing past experiences in growing revenue and improving margins, HH established their credibility as a business leader and set themselves apart from mere marketers.

    7. Keep Everyone in the Loop

    Writing thank you notes is expected. Circling back to execs with whom you spoke earlier in the process is unexpected. By keeping everyone in the loop during the 5-6 week interview process, HH reinforced their interest in the job, demonstrated their working style, and stayed top of mind with all the potential influencers and decision-makers.

    8. Don’t Seem Desperate

    Even though HH really wanted this opportunity knowing that it was a good match and that there weren’t any others like it out there right now, they were careful not to seem desperate. Having 3 fractional clients helped here. In addition to being able to speak about their work for these clients, it showed that their expertise was in demand.

    Final Thought: There is a job out there for you. You just may need to do more than you ever expected to land it. We hope that you found this informative and inspiring.

    Written by Drew Neisser

  • May 03, 2024 12:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 395: The CMO “Plus” — Elevating Your Business-Wide Impact

    Are you ready to elevate your role from marketing maestro to strategic linchpin within your organization? Tap into your CMO superpower—your “plus”—and discover how it can dramatically expand your impact far beyond the conventional scope of marketing.

    In this enlightening episode, we sit down with three trailblazing CMOs who have transcended traditional boundaries by embracing their “plus.” Learn from their experiences as they share the challenges and triumphs of mastering a dual role that leverages their skills to foster cross-functional success and drive significant organizational change.

    Meet our guests and the pluses they covered:

    What You’ll Learn

    • How 3 CMOs got their “plus”
    • How to manage two roles in one   
    • How to stay connected to your teams
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegademarketing.com/podcast/
  • April 26, 2024 10:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 394: The 6 Dimensions of a Fortune 500 CMO

    If you’re a B2B CMO stuck in limbo at the moment—you’re not alone. We’re in a seller’s market for executive talent, and the round peg, round hole expectations of companies looking for their next marketing chief are exceptionally limiting.

    Richard Sanderson of Spencer Stuart brings a glimmer of hope, suggesting a brighter outlook for 2024. In this episode, he shares his expert perspective on the trials and triumphs facing today’s marketing leaders. Tune in as we explore what’s going on with the CMO role right now, the 6 dimensions that capture recruiter’s attention, and effective strategies to showcasing these qualities on LinkedIn. Plus tips on interview prep, 100-day plans, and what mediums to search through.

    Recorded during a CMO Huddles Transition Team Huddle, this episode is more than just a conversation—it's a part of a supportive community aimed at empowering CMOs through networking, resume and cover letter reviews, and shared experiences. If you’re a B2B CMO in transition, check it out.

    What You’ll Learn 

    • What the CMO job market looks like in 2024  
    • How to stand out to recruiters
    • How to prepare for the interview process
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegademarketing.com/podcast/
  • April 19, 2024 12:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 393: Beyond Happiness: The Heart of Authentic Leadership

    We’re in a defining moment where the role of the CMO is under the microscope, every decision measured against the relentless drumbeat of numbers and revenue. Yet, the pillars of authentic leadership extend far beyond the balance sheets—they’re the bedrock for sustainable growth.

    Tune in for a compelling dialogue with Jenn Lim, author of Beyond Happiness, as we delve into the art of harmonizing purpose with performance. Learn how a purpose-driven mindset can yield profound job satisfaction, catalyze growth, fortify teams, and solidify your place in the C-Suite.

    This episode unpacks practical strategies for safeguarding your career trajectory and elevating your role, even amidst the fervor of lead-chasing. Because in the end, the true measure of a CMO's success is about more than revenue generated—it’s in the resilience, innovation, and authenticity they bring to their team and the entire organization.

    What You’ll Learn 

    • How purpose drives growth & impact  
    • Exercises to build more effective teams
    • How to future proof your role
    For full show notes and transcripts, visit https://renegade.com/podcast/
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