The CMO Club’s Pete Krainik Talks 2014 CMO Awards and Qualities of Successful Marketing Leaders

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Pete Krainik, Founder and CEO of The CMO Club This week, The CMO Club presented the winners for the 2014 CMO Awards (thecmoawards.com), in the categories for Leadership, Marketing Innovation, Officers, Rising Star, Programmatic Marketing, Content Engagement, Creativity, Customer Experience, Social Responsibility and President’s Circle.

The CMO Club will host a CMO Awards dinner in NYC Tuesday, Nov. 18 at The Dream Downtown Hotel, to honor all 40 winners, and announce and present the “CMOs Choice” award to one CMO from each of the 10 categories. CMO’s from companies such as Petco, WeddingWire, eBay, Xerox, Target, Allstate, McDonalds and more are being honored at the dinner, and Pete Krainik, Founder and CEO of The CMO Club, took some time to talk about the organization.

Question: In a constantly changing marketing ecosystem, what are some qualities that CMOs should embrace?

Pete Krainik: Having hosted hundreds of CMO dinners these past years and reviewing the 2014 CMO Award winners, the most important quality I see between good and great — being fearless. The top CMOs tell me, as they look back on their careers, that the highest impact, brand changing ideas and programs they delivered were the ones that caused the most anxiety. It would have been easy to respond to those feelings; fearlessness is needed for big success.

The other quality all CMOs need to embrace: it’s not about that great campaign, it’s about creating and leading a culture responsive to change to continue to thrive in a world where customers are changing all the time. The best CMOs spend time thinking about a culture of change, rewarding those that thrive and drive change, and standing up for those that focus on this with periodic stumbling blocks.

There are hundreds of bright marketers in the world (many in CMO positions), but only a few have the expertise, understand the value of a culture of change — and are fearless.

Question: What are the trends you see in these awarded CMOs and their successful campaigns?

Pete Krainik: A number of things:

1) The ability to leverage new data and technologies available to segment customers and prospects into groups never before possible. More segments for more focus and value for those segments equals success. They also then meet the more specific needs of those customers.

2) Their focus on embracing their advocates and influencers from their customer base. It’s not just who loves a brand, but who loves that brand and has a following that listens to them. The best CMOs are building long term relationships with their customers, who are helping share campaigns, build out the Social media aspect of the campaigns, etc.

I started The CMO Club seven years ago, as a CMO, after participating in a number of less valuable events, and the growth, from 0 to more than 850 CMOs, has been led by CMOs that are advocates and influencers in the industry. Their passion and amplification of the value of the club has driven the growth.

Question: How are some of these awarded CMOs paving the way for others?

Peter Krainik: A number of the winners are active within the club, sharing insights and leading roundtables at our semiannual Innovation Summits. Two weeks ago for example, some of the CMO Awards winners including Evan Greene of the Recording Academy, Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly from American Express, Bob Kraut from Papa John’s, Tom Santora from Omni Hotels and Resorts, Lisa Armstrong from Pentair, Richard Marnell from Viking River Cruises, David Minifie from Centene and Rocki Rockingham from Jarden Consumer Solutions, all led ‘behind closed doors’ sessions to help their peers.

In addition to the Summits, last year’s CMO Award Winners created and shared what I call ‘CMO Worthy Content’ exclusively for their peers within the CMO Solutions Clubhouse. They are not doing it for the applause; they are doing it because they live the Give to Get and Pay it Forward mindset every day. That separates the great from the good as well.

The final thing I will share is the value the winners see. The real honor they feel when their peers select them as winners, versus many other marketing awards driven by Media Companies or Vendors selling to them and focused on creating events to sell tables, is priceless. I’m most proud of the CMOs in the Club focusing on creating the CMOs Choice Awards for their peers.

A complete list of this years CMO Club winners can be found here.

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