Welcome to CMO Secrets. This series features genuine insights and advice from today’s exceptional marketing leaders. Some names will be easily recognized and others may be new to you, but every single one will have been hand-picked for their experience and knowledge in the world of startups, technology and marketing. No pretense, jargon or PR spin here. We asked our most burning marketing questions, and they answered. Get their unfiltered thoughts and opinions and find out how these
gurus rockstars marketers got to where they are today.
(Note: This content was previously published on Mautic.com in August 2018 and has been updated for accuracy.)
Today, we welcome Dan Slagen, SVP of marketing at ClimaCell, an AI powered weather intelligence software company. Dan is an executive with a history of building and scaling marketing teams by utilizing a people-first mentality. Passionate for all things marketing, he has worked and held leadership positions at companies including Wayfair, HubSpot, Alignable and ThriveHive. Featured in the New York Times, Bloomberg, Forbes and more, Dan is a frequent contributor to the marketing world and an active speaker at industry-leading events. He also advises a number of start-ups and marketing teams on their planning and go-to-market strategies.
If you could add one more role to your marketing team today to own a different/new/experimental area of marketing, what would it be and why?
Every marketing team has resource issues especially in the early days, which inevitably means certain functions get left behind. I would have loved to add an engineer/data analyst or two to the marketing team, as well as design/video/creative resources.
You once posted on LinkedIn about the dangers of copycat tactics. You said, “In order to get the marketing success you all want, the team needs to focus on hiring, work ethic, strategy, expertise, focus, metrics, creative, passion, GSD, no drama, helping each other.” As a senior marketing leader seemingly pulled in a thousand directions each day, how do you make time and create process to address each of these in an ongoing, impactful way?
The truth is, sometimes you don’t, and that sucks. A week or two can go by where process gets thrown out the window, but you have to reset. If you’re not growing strategically and learning each week, then it’s a waste of time. The best way I’ve seen is to consistently overcommunicate to key stakeholders the quarterly goals, and then the monthly/weekly/daily actions that are happening to help us reach said goals. In addition, keeping the exec team involved and bought into the overall vision/roadmap of where marketing is going, what’s needed and why.
How do you bridge the gaps/make the connections between data/measurement to insights and then to clear and actionable strategy? In other words, if the data is pointing you towards a similar direction that you’re seeing competitors going (i.e. following similar strategies or tactics), how do you create something new so you aren’t following?
Excellent question. If every company has access to the same data, does that mean they all know what to do with it? No. We live in a world now where the marketing playbook is available to everyone, but not every marketing team is successful, why is that? The reason is that you need the right people, thinking creatively about how to use the data. A good example of this is when I was at Nanigans. We were a brand that needed recognition and an increase share of voice…so what do you do? All our competitors had similar data and Facebook “expertise”… I decided to partner with the investment community, and that ended up making all the difference. We became the go-to resource for firms like JP Morgan and Goldman, but why? What was the point?
The opportunity I saw was whenever the analysts at these investment firms would get PR opportunities, they would want to include us in the discussion, and that’s exactly what happened. We ended up getting invited to every Facebook stock PR opportunity out there, including going on Bloomberg, being featured in the WSJ, Forbes, CNBC, all the marketing pubs, and we ended up having a 40% share of voice against competitors that were more than 10x our size. Using data and your best assets creatively is what will continue to set marketing teams apart.
If you could wave a wand and fix one area of marketing – for all marketers – what would it be?
I think the biggest issue I’m continuing to see is defining the role of marketing within a given company. It’s high level, but everything cascades from that agreement between the success of the business and the role/expectations of marketing. Define the goals of marketing in a clear and concise way, and then let your leaders build it. I find this discussion to be a constant source of struggle amongst most teams, which is unfortunate, as something as simple as proper communication ends up wreaking havoc on marketing’s ability to be successful and unlock their true potential.