In this series of articles we go backstage with a marketing rock star. We sit at their feet while they share with us what made them rockstars, what excites them and what we might learn on our journey to marketing rockstardom.
Author of three books. Launcher of five companies. Establisher of the world’s first email marketing practice inside an advertising agency. And the Internet Marketing Association’s Networker of the Year – amongst other things. One thing’s clear: Jeanniey Mullen knows a thing or two about being a rockstar marketer. Ian Truscott sits down with Mercer’s Global Chief Marketing Officer to talk the importance of people, gummy bears, and why rules are overrated.
What would be top of your rider for your next marketing gig?
Given these crazy, ever-changing times, first I need an endless supply of chocolate and gummy bears. That keeps the mind working well. Next is the treadmill desk to offset the negative parts of non-stop eating!
But seriously, I love these times! You never know what change will be around the corner so you need to be ready for everything. Keep in mind that CMOs care about two things: driving more revenue for their company, and building the brand so strong that the revenue part just (appears to) magically happen. This means you need four killer layers to your platform:
The ability to see around the corner when it comes to new technological advances.
The ability to work with your tech stack to keep it agile and open.
Cobots – we need them to pick up the tasks so we can have point 4.
Life-long learning for our people – and the ability to unleash their superpowers so they can fuel the growth and love their job every day.
What or who are your marketing influencers?
By far I have two inspirations for marketing:
Dominic the Dog by William Steig. Seriously, read it and pay attention to the Alligator Witch – she sends the message about the world’s biggest life lesson.
Madonna (the Like a Virgin era). She was bold, fearless, and didn’t know that she could not accomplish everything. So she did it all and broke ground in the music industry.
In marketing you need to be fearless and not just break the rules when needed, but forget the rules even exist and find new ways to create customer journeys and impact with authenticity.
If I was Spotify, what would I play for you first thing Monday morning to get you going?
Tough call. It depends on what meetings I have…
‘Fighter’ by Christina Aguilera
‘Like it or Not’ by Madonna
‘Brave New World’ by Britney Spears
‘Respect’ by Aretha Franklin
Or anything I can run to on the treadmill at 5am – so over 160BPM please.
The curtain pulls back, you step out on the stage of your new marketing gig – what do you open with?
I think it might be the opening remarks of Evita to her people. You know, the ones where she lets them know that she came from the people, is one of them and is representing them. People by far are the biggest key in your success. You must gain their respect and trust. But not just with your marketing people – with your peers, your finance team, your exec team and your business partners too. In order to do this you must do something powerful and amazing within the first 90 days of your new role and every 90 days after. After all, you are only as good as your next hit record.
You’re playing a huge stadium; how do you know the audience can hear your tune?
Through the profitable revenue growth and the net promoter score. Success for any marketer comes down to one thing: how much were you able to grow and protect your business’ bottom line.
If there was a billboard chart for marketing trends, what would be your Number 1?
In B2B it’s ‘people marketing’ – using your employees as your secret weapon for brand advocacy. In B2C its ‘predictive modelling’ – this is about the changes in marketing you’ve seen, or the technique, tools or skill that really got you excited and changed how you work.
What would you throw from your hotel window into the Rockstar CMO pool?
Chatbots. Seriously, why is this a big deal now? We’ve been using chatbots for over 15 years. People! Catch up, we should have all been using these already. Let’s put some IoT-enabled wearables inside our Cobots and get this marketing party started. Just think of the data we can collect, evaluate, monetize and then create new products that delight clients and customers.
What’s got you rocking today?
For my entire career I have always found myself working with companies slightly ahead of the curve. It’s been great. At Mercer, we are solidly in that space. It’s so cool. A company that has been around for over 75 years is leading the future of work – something every CEO needs to understand and manage in order to thrive in the new world. Being able to run marketing for a company that collaborates with companies to enable their employees to have the absolute best advice, support and access to services relating to their health wealth and career is amazing. None of us know exactly what the future of work means exactly to our company, but we do know that Mercer knows how to work with every company to build the most effective and comprehensive strategy to be as successful as possible. Coming to work every day means I get to work on projects that don’t just make people happy – it secures future happiness for 115 million people worldwide.
If there was a marketing hall of fame, who would you induct?
Doug Carlson, founder of Fiji Water and CEO of Tommy’s Superfoods. The way he brought the brand to life is probably one of the most compelling stories you will ever hear (ask him about the trucks in NYC and Jennifer Aniston).
Any final words before you drop the mic?
Stay laser focused on your goals. Hold a magnifying glass on a blade of grass until it catches on fire. Be fearless, be bold and be focused on your biggest asset: your people.
Follow Jeanniey on Twitter.