"Like velociraptors testing the fence, they [marketers] are undoubtedly making progress."
This week, we are featuring your fellow Future CMO Club member, Jeremy Solly, Former Manager of Digital and Social Media, Cambia Health Solutions.
One of my first jobs was also one of my favorites. During the summers in college, I was a greenskeeper at a local golf club in Portland. Some kids mowed grass - I mowed grass at scale. It was fun because we had a great summer crew, we started early and were finished with work by 1 or 2 p.m. each day. We could then play all the free golf we could get in before dark. If it wasn’t for my car payment, I would have done that job for the golf alone. I also really enjoyed working with my hands and seeing the immediate fruits of my labor, which is why I still enjoy gardening and landscaping my own home today.
I believe that mentorship - both as a mentor and a mentee - is key to anyone’s success in business, marketing, or anything they want to achieve.
I’m so grateful to have had many mentors in my life and it's a priority for me to pay that kindness forward. One that was particularly influential for me was my first manager at Cambia, Regena Frieden. She taught me so much, not just about communications strategies, but also how to lead people with respect. She struck the perfect balance of autonomy and guidance with me that really helped prepare me for the trajectory I’ve been on.
I think the confluence of technology in marketing continues to be the most remarkable change in marketing. However, even as we have more tools at our disposal, the foundations of marketing and storytelling are more important than ever.
The trend in the past year that I think is the biggest opportunity and challenge is the continued democratization in the marketing and communications field. As technology opens up what is possible with marketing, we are now faced with the Jurassic Park question - “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” But the pandora’s box of MarTech is wide open and now we’re faced with the ethical dilemma of how to use it responsibly. The backlash has begun with investigations into Facebook ads during the 2016 election and P&G cutting off funds for “crappy media supply chain.”
I think this presents us with an opportunity to market better. To keep consumers at the center of our strategies. To be a part of the conversation around responsible regulation and to use that swimlane to be even more innovative. I’m reminded of an Aristotle quote, “through discipline comes freedom.”
No hesitation, there are four people that immediately come to mind for me, Eric Toda, Liz Valentine, Musa Tariq and Beth Comstock.
There is a common thread as to why I admire these four people and it's because they are all strategic innovators. They find creative solutions to achieving results for their respective companies and they do it with intention. They don’t win on accident - they have studied every angle and crafted the best possible strategy for success. They also aren’t afraid to try new things. I’ve heard Eric mention, “practice makes progress.”
Like velociraptors testing the fence, they are undoubtedly making progress.
Vision and analytics. Having a 30,000-foot view of what your marketing is trying achieve and how it helps the business is critical to success in this field. I also think understanding the data and analytics within marketing is becoming an essential function. I’m fond of a quote by W. Edwards Deming, “In God we trust, all others bring data.”
“Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path” - Zen Proverb.
Similarly, I keep the phrase “the only way out, is through” written on a post-it note in my Moleskine. This help remind me to be present in the moment and to appreciate the now.
In five years, I hope to still be learning and applying those traits that I see in the marketers I admire. I’m not big on titles, so the role I’d hope to be doing is that of a strategic coach. Helping to teach and empower my team and others to develop strategic, novel, and innovative solutions that contribute to the success of the business.
Burrito or burger: Burger.
Central Park or Golden Gate Park: I love both, however having gone to school in the Bay Area I’ll have to go with Golden Gate Park.
Beach or mountains: Being from Oregon I’ll have to say mountains and more specifically high-desert like we have in central Oregon.
Podcast or Newspaper: I’m obsessed with podcasts - the formats envelop me. However, I still appreciate the old newsprint from time to time.
Instagram: Instagram (@jdsolly)
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