Early in her career, Carrie Palin (LinkedIn | Twitter), was doing well, but wasn't necessarily on the CMO track. But friends and mentors challenged her to set her sights higher. Since then, she has served as a Chief Marketing Officer three times. Currently she is the CMO and SVP at Splunk.
On this episode of Marketing Trends, Carrie walks us through her career experiences and explains the leadership lessons she has learned along the way. She talks about how to succeed as a new CMO, what to do when you're a leader in an organization that's being acquired, how she evaluates new opportunities, and much more.
5 Key Takeaways: - Results matter. As a leader, one of the first things you should be focused on is measuring and improving your results. - Marketers can get carried away coming up with new creative campaigns all the time. Consistency matters. - "Who you work for matters. I will never work for people who aren't wonderful humans at their core, outside of work." - Carrie Palin - Getting into the data is crucial. Carrie always makes sure her CEO is comfortable with her hiring data scientists onto the marketing team before she takes a new role. - "You don't have to know everything at the age of 25 about what you want to be in the future, that can ebb and flow over the course of your career. But have the guts to dive in even when you're not ready." - Carrie Palin
Bio: Carrie Palin has served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Splunk since 2019. Prior to joining Splunk, Carrie served as the Chief Marketing Officer at SendGrid, a digital communications platform company acquired by Twilio, from 2018 to 2019. From 2016 to 2018, Carrie served as the first Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President at Box, a cloud content management company. Carrie served as the Vice President of Marketing for IBM’s Cloud Data Services and Analytics Software Division from 2015 to 2016. She also previously spent over 15 years at Dell leading various marketing organizations. Carrie holds a B.S. from Texas Christian University.
Notes & Quotes: Carrie's Background - (2:00) - Carrie moved around quite a bit as a child before settling down in Austin, Texas. - Her career in marketing began at Dell. She started in internal PR, but was quickly moved to brand management. - She spent the next 15+ years there, but eventually decided that she wanted to try something new and challenging, so she took a VP role at IBM. - Carrie was ready for a new challenge and a little more risk, so she left Texas for Silicon Valley where she became CMO and SVP of Box.
Early Leadership lessons - (5:00) - "As far as leadership lessons go, number one is that results matter." - Carrie Palin - She learned operational excellence and data proficiency with Dell. - "I always say that my number one job is putting the right team on the field, but the right team captains matter most because as they go, so the rest of the team goes." - Carrie Palin - Carrie believes that it's important to look at the fringes of your team and treat both your superstar performers and those who constantly struggle a little differently from the rest of the team.
First 90 Days at Box - (11:30) - Carrie had concerns before taking the role of CMO at Box because she had never taken a public-company CMO role before. - "I thrive on feedback." - Carrie Palin - The first thing Carrie did at Box was a huge listening tour. She found that morale was low within the marketing department and she needed to get the right team captains in place. - She also undertook a category rebuild where she helped build the category of "cloud content management."
Transition to Splunk - (17:30) - "As marketers, we tend to over-rotate on creativity and we sometimes just confuse folks. I think it's all about being very simple and hammering the market with a very simple message that people already have a headspace for." - Carrie Palin - Carrie loved her time at SendGrid. She helped the company get acquired by Twilio, after which it was time to start looking for a new adventure. - Her best advice for someone going through a merger or acquisition? Check your ego at the door, and do what's best for the greater good of the team and the company. - Carrie was excited by the prospect of Splunk because it was at the size and growth stage that was perfect for her skillset. - "Who you work for matters. I will never work for people who aren't wonderful humans at their core, outside of work." - Carrie Palin - Carrie had some family matters come up that she needed time to deal with right when she joined Splunk, and she was glad that she chose a team that allowed her to do so. - In her first six months, she has tried to focus on not making too much change, and focusing on the changes that are necessary to stabilize for the future.
General Marketing Thoughts - (34:30) - Carrie is very excited about the future of audio. She recommends audiobooks The Advantage and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. - She always makes sure that her CEO and COO are supportive of her hiring data analysts and data scientists in the marketing organization. - "For me, it's super important to understand this it's human and science put together. It's technology and people." - Carrie Palin - Carrie likes to get her basic dashboard set up as quickly as possible when starting a new job, in the first few months at the latest. - When it comes to aligning sales and marketing, Carrie stresses the importance of having a good relationship with the leader of the sales org. - "You don't have to know everything at the age of 25 about what you want to be in the future, that can ebb and flow over the course of your career. But have the guts to dive in even when you're not ready." - Carrie Palin
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