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Grad Conn has been called a near-perfect example of what a tech company CMO should look like. He’s a noble studier of his craft and a history savant, but most importantly he’s an adman to his core. Today, Grad is the Chief Experience and Marketing Officer at Sprinklr. He joined Marketing Trends to discuss his love for marketing, his days as CMO for Microsoft US, and why the industry is undergoing a renaissance.

Key Takeaways:

  • Say goodbye to the soapbox. Marketing is no longer about broadcasting your perfectly worded corporate ad read to a captive audience. It’s about honest back-and-forth conversations on platforms like review sites and social media.
  • If you aren’t everywhere, you are nowhere. Your success can’t rely exclusively on one marketing channel. Cultivating an omnichannel approach is the only way forward.
  • Diversification matters. Whether it’s the channels you market on or the content you personally consume, diversification matters. Good marketers know marketing. Great marketers know a little bit of everything.

Key Quotes:

“It’s always a great time to be a marketer. It’s the greatest job in the world, but, this is the best time of all because new opportunities are being created right, left and center.”

“I think my superpower might be that I get bored really easily. So I think that might be my superpower because I have a lot of interest. I can look around a lot. As a marketer, you’re well-served to be a generalist with a lot of interests, a lot of passion around a lot of different things.”

“The themes of history repeat themselves. History itself never quite repeats itself.”

“Any marketer who starts to think of themselves in a channel-specific way is asking to be put out of work.”

“Most of the technology invented in the 21st century is two way. It’s conversational media. … So this shifts from me being told what to think by somebody, to me having a conversation about what’s true. That’s a very fundamental shift.” 

“The mindset issue for companies is that in the broadcast mindset, I’m telling you how to think. I feel like I have a tremendous amount of control over the message, which is very appealing to a corporate mindset. In conversational marketing, I don’t have the same control. [It’s] a risk that some people are not going to like it. So [marketers are] really balancing essentially inattention versus occasional offense.”

“I’d rather be passionately held by a small number of people then impassionately held by a large number of people. And again, most corporations choose the impassionately held by a large group versus passionately held by a few.”

“We need to shift from being a know it all culture to being a learn it all culture.”


Grad Conn is currently the Chief Experience and Marketing Officer at Sprinklr. Conn joined the company in April of 2018.

Prior to joining Sprinklr, Conn was the CMO Lead for Microsoft U.S. Central Marketing Organization where Conn was responsible for running the marketing department for the $14B Microsoft U.S. commercial business. Conn was at Microsoft for over a decade, starting his career in the Microsoft Research organization where he was responsible for the launch of Microsoft HealthVault – Microsoft’s first cloud launch and the world’s first cloud Personal Health Record (PHR).

Before Microsoft, Conn led five start-ups as either CEO or CMO, including OpenCola Inc., which was named by Fortune magazine as one of the 25 coolest technology companies of 2001, and SiteShuffle Inc., which was declared The Next Big Web Thing at ETech 2006.

Conn began his career as a marketing executive at Procter & Gamble where he spent nine years as a packaged goods marketer on brands like Tide, Downy, and Mr. Clean.

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