One Year Later: A CMO’s First Year in Retrospect

Professional Development


Some say hindsight is 20/20. To me, hindsight, at least when it comes to the last year—my first year as the Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo—is not 20/20… it is a loud, colorful blur.

This last year both flew & crawled depending on the week or the day. But the one constant throughout all of it? I was learning and growing every single day, as was my team and the company and product we love, all at lightspeed.

With the holiday season upon us, I’m reflecting on the last year and what I am grateful for. I’ll spare you the long, emo deep-dive by sharing three perfectly crafted insights, gathered after hours of thoughtful soul-searching and 360-degree reflection—OK. Who am I kidding? I haven’t had a quiet hour to reflect on life since early 2017.

So, here’s a rapid-fire list of the seven ‘things” top-of-mind for a CMO too busy to write a flawlessly authored post worthy of a year of rewarding work… and instead, here’s my grateful, most-thankful-year-ever hit list, without any promises that I’ll go into a deeper dive on at a later date. Just ask my content team. They were promised this almost three weeks ago.

The Top Seven First-Year Takeaways from Marketo’s CMO

1. 365 days ago, and 365 days later—the one thing that hasn’t changed? This job is still very much my dream job. And every day it gets more exciting.

2. The right marketing leadership team changes everything. Literally everything. The “kind-of, mostly right” leadership team is just as challenging as the absolute wrong one.

3. When you finally do get your team right, savor every single moment. Because nothing lasts forever. And as soon as something is good enough for you to wish it would last that long and longer, something will inevitably change. So, revel in the moments when you know it’s right—especially when you have absolutely no time to pause to do so.

4. No CMO ever got a trophy for underspending their budget by 1 or 2%. And no one ever gets fired for going over budget by that same amount. What people remember is when you fail or succeed in highly visible, memorable moments. No one will forgive the corners you cut with praise for your noble budget management.

5. On that note, BFFF: Best Friends with Finance Forever. Find a way. Find a buddy. Overshare. Overcommunicate. Be transparent to a fault. And build the CFO-CMO alliance as a cornerstone of your marketing strategy to effectively drive business growth. It’s key.

6. Don’t ever miss an opportunity to make a memory for your team. And don’t be a moron and fail to realize when that opportunity is in front of you and also your influence as a leader.

7. When you finally have the opportunity to shine…Don’t just win, run up the friggin’ score. We all have something to prove, so prove it loudly, boldly, fearlessly, and leave no doubt you are the right gal or guy for whatever job you hold.

Thank you again to my team and everyone who has made the last 365+ days possible, inspiring, and absolutely unforgettable. I hope the Marketing Nation of fearless marketers—no matter where you are in the world this holiday season—take some time to reflect and be thankful. Because we have the best job in the world.