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Justin Gray

5 Insanely Important Lessons from Top CMOs

Justin Gray / March 18, 2019 / 0 Comments

The Setup

The premise of the article is really simple: What lessons have I learned recently from CMOs? When I began thinking about that question for this ClickZ article, I quickly came up with five CMOs that really left an impression on me. Once we finalized the article, we went out and asked each of them to pay-it-forward and talk about a CMO they’ve learned something from recently. Those results add so much color and meaning to the way great marketers today learn and grow, through sharing experiences and opening the lines of communication, even across competitors.

It made me realize how much the profession of marketing continues to grow and evolve, which is what I’ve always loved the most about it.

1. Scott Gainey, CMO of Cherwell on Team Activation

My lesson from Scott (again, as outlined in depth in ClickZ article) is the transformative power of activating your team and creating ownership.

When we asked him for a lesson from a fellow CMO, he said:

One name that came to mind pretty quickly is Greg Fitzgerald.  I was particularly impressed with how he elevated Cylance’s brand in the face of very stiff competition from incumbent endpoint security vendors like Symantec, McAfee, Trend.  BlackBerry recently acquired Cylance for $1.4B which I credit that multiple in large part to the success Greg helped develop.  Very aggressive, very gorilla style marketing.

2. Anthony Kennada, CMO of Gainsight on Customer Success Funnels

With Gainsight’s focus on customer success, it’s likely no surprise that Anthony and his team are forging through the demand gen noise and talking about post-purchase revenue streams. Anthony recorded his words of wisdom, but here’s our favorite quote for those short on time or earbuds.

He selected Dan Rogers from ServiceNow stating:

He’s done an incredible job of … expressing the purpose of the company and activating that purpose in a really interesting way. But also, he has built such a great discipline around data and how he runs his demand gen and overall growth engine that has brought me so much value and learning. It’s given me a vision for the type of marketer I want to be.

And listen, as all great leaders are wont to do, Anthony broke the rules and mentioned another CMO, Ann Lewnes, from Adobe. Anthony said amazing things about Ann, including:

Expressing the humanity behind companies and behind brands.

He mentions being excited to see how she translates this for B2B customers with their recent acquisition of Marketo, which we happen to agree with wholeheartedly. We swear we didn’t plant this one.

3. Sarah Kennedy, CMO of Marketo, An Adobe Company on Designing a Memorable Customer Experience

Great customer experiences that are truly memorable require something that Sarah shares from her favorite CMO – vision.

Sarah selected Kristie Goshow from Preferred Hotels & Resorts stating:

Kristie is one of the most inspirational marketers to me because she’s one of the most visionary marketers that I’ve ever worked with. She can tell a beautiful story, better than anyone, and design a customer experience worth remembering.


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