If all marketers and CMOs came from the same professional backgrounds, the industry would never evolve. Sometimes it takes an "outsider" perspective to see if there are new approaches to be taken. That's where people like Srdjan Popovic, CMO of Crossrope and guest on a recent episode of CMO Convo, come in.

In this article, Srdjan reflects on his background as an engineer, and how it allowed him to approach marketing differently.

You'll find insights on:

Prefer to listen? Check out Srdjan's appearance on the CMO Convo podcast 👇

Srdjan's background and route to the CMO role

So before we get down to looking at the skills and perspectives you've gotten from your engineering background that help you as a CMO, let's talk a bit about your background and how you came to your current role as a CMO

Yeah for sure. I got into engineering because it was the I guess Eastern European thing to do.

My family immigrated to Canada in the mid-90s, school, academics, in general, was always a high priority in the household, and then coming into high school and figuring out what you're going to do with the rest of your life, engineering was at the top of my list or on top of my parents’ list I should say.

They wanted what was the best for me, honestly didn't know much about what engineering was or what it was about.

I did my part in school, got good marks, focused on basketball that was my passion at the time. So I ended up in engineering because I had good grades and all my friends were coming from similar backgrounds and entering engineering. So I got into it because I was able to.

What I found after graduating, all of us went into the field but a few years in most of my engineering friends ended up going into other industries. A lot of them went into finance, some of them went to tech, and a couple like myself just went into this e-commerce and marketing.

So, I'm sure we'll talk about a little bit more it definitely builds a good foundation of skills, work ethic just the ingredients you need to really flourish in any industry that's fast-paced like those ones that I mentioned, a lot of things changing quickly.

Ecommerce as an example has obviously accelerated very quickly over the past few years and I feel a lot of the skills and things I've picked up along the way and in university and then in the subsequent years working in the engineering field, a lot of the skills I picked up have come in very handy in time in an industry like this.

So my entrance into engineering was almost culturally based and then my exit out of it, that's a whole other story. I'm happy to get into how I transitioned but I just found it helps you build the right foundation that lets you really go into any industry almost, and figure out how to make your mark in it.

Yeah let's dive into how you transitioned into marketing because that's got to have been somewhat of a culture shock, it sounds like a big change between engineering and marketing. But if you didn't think it was a big change, it would be great to hear about why you thought it was the right jump to make.

It stems a little bit from what I mentioned earlier about basketball being my passion, I played the sport growing up because my dad played the sport and so did a lot of my friends.

A lot of things in my life I can credit to the early days of really just playing a game and eventually led to my interest and passion for fitness and training that I picked up in high school, just trying to improve myself so I can play the game better. And then, in high school, I took this one course maybe fortuitously called communications technology.

Through that, I got to learn all the things that e-commerce is built around today, I learned how to build websites, although at the time, we were using Dreamweaver and Flash and whatnot, learned three out of innovation, audio editing, video filming, and editing, all the stuff and I just loved that, by far my favorite class.

I fell in love with the creativity, with the tech and I even considered animation as a potential career opportunity until I realized there wasn't really much money to be made, at least at the time.

But anyway, that was my first little taste of this online marketing or online tech world and for whatever reason, those two passions of mine fitness and this tech space merged once I graduated from university. I remember reading about these books early on, like how to create a blog using Blogger, some random stuff. For whatever reason I came across that I was fascinated by it.

And so after graduating from university while I was entering the engineering field, I started tinkering, I created my own fitness blog, my YouTube channel, really just as a playground, I love writing so it's an outlet for me to write about fitness, something I really enjoyed. My philosophy around it was focusing on simple exercise tools, kettlebells, your bodyweight, jump ropes, etc.

Around 2011, about a year after I graduated I had a couple of YouTube videos do really well, they started getting millions of views, just me jumping rope. Different times, obviously, in the YouTube space, but the jump rope space was so small, and it's still relatively small.

At the time when our now CEO at Crossrope first launched the product in 2011 ish, 2012, the space was so small that I had the best performing jump rope video, he had this new way to jump rope system that he sort of prototyped.

We just kind of found each other online and started connecting and for a couple of years, two/three years, we just sort of bounced ideas off each other, he was a former Navy pilot, so he was doing his thing there, building Crossrope up slowly, as a side project. I was building my blog and YouTube channel as a side project for my engineering work.

Then we started really talking about this idea of what would it be like if we just came together and focused on one project? Because he also has an engineering background and so we really clicked in our approach to things and our systematic way of creating content and growth in general.

And so, in 2015 we started talking about it, and we floated this idea, why don't you just come and do marketing for Crossrope, you handle that, it was still really early on, maybe one or two employees handling EA type of stuff.

Obviously, it was a pivotal moment, I was doing really well, I was really enjoying what I was doing in the engineering field at the time, it was sort of my dream role in a sense. I made a couple of attempts in between me graduating and me joining Crossrope to leave engineering.

Actually, a whole other story, I had an offer from a PPC agency to join and I would have but then this new opportunity came and long story short 2015 came around, and it was sort of like this, "If I'm ever going to give this marketing thing which I'm doing on the side, evenings, weekends, all the time, a true attempt this is the best opportunity that I have and engineering will always be there for me if things go south".

I took the leap, had a really long transition period, it was probably eight weeks because I was leading a department at the engineering firm I was at.

Mid 2015, I think the title at the time was Director of Marketing at Crossrope when there were two of us. So that's how the transition happened and now looking back, obviously, it's one of the best decisions I ever made. It's been a blast. It's been about six years now since that transition.

It sounds kind of boot strappy how you taught yourself marketing. Has that given you a certain philosophy or approach in how you approach marketing, how you approach the CMO role? Do you still have that self-taught mindset, when you're going about how you do your role?

For sure, everything, like we mentioned earlier, e-commerce and online marketing, the whole landscape as an ecosystem is changing and evolving so quickly that there's no textbook that can prepare you for being successful in this field. I find the people who are curious and who are able to learn very quickly and adapt very quickly are the ones who typically do well within this field, which are sort of the things you learn from engineering.

Even just schooling is a very intense five-year program, you absorb an insane amount of information in a very short period of time. And you're sort of forced to learn it, and obviously, it has a high drop-off rate because it's so demanding.

I feel like five years of that really conditioned you to learn and absorb. I feel like my curiosity, always learning, always reading, always listening to podcasts, always is trying to understand where the industry is going, where it is, pulling inspiration and ideas and insights from other marketers, CMOs, and others in the e-commerce space.

I feel like the self-taught approach is almost like the only approach to being successful here, because it just changes too quickly, for there to be any sort of formal education that will prepare you for the ups and downs of this field, from my experience anyway. I do a lot of recruiting and I'll say I don't look at education very much, I looked at it but I don't put a lot of emphasis on it.

I'm more interested in the people who are working on side projects, building out their own blogs and podcasts, and just tinkering because that's how you learn in this space. You learn from doing, you learn from trying and testing and experimenting, regardless of the outcome.

I had one candidate, I remember I was super impressed because she had a poetry blog, nothing to do with what she was going to be doing within her role but it showed me here's somebody who's willing to put themselves out there, learn how to create a blog, which in today's day and age is super easy, but still, it takes initiative.

She's out there publishing stuff, she's putting herself out there, and I know because I've been there, what it takes to start something like that and learn and watch YouTube videos, read books just figure something out. I find in marketing, that's what you're doing all the time.

We're always facing problems, challenges. And so how do we deal with Iowa's changes in privacy, things going on right now. We're all facing the same challenges, I find those who have conditioned themselves to really learn and iterate that quickly are the ones who flourish.

Approaching marketing with an engineer mindset

You mentioned tinkering and problem solving and, apologies if this is coming from a position of ignorance, but that sounds like a lot like what engineers do. That sounds like a lot of what they do, they tinker with minor little issues, they find ways to approach problems in a creative way.

When you're going about that process when it comes to marketing, do you find you're doing that from an engineering process, approaching that with the mindset of an engineer, when you're tinkering, when you're solving problems, or is more of just a universal marketing thing?

No, there are definitely some elements of that, I mean, even thinking back to my last role as an engineer, I was designing sheet metal wall panels for commercial buildings. So, we had these massive, multi-million dollar sheet metal bending and cutting stations, and you basically designed something on paper, you build it out in a 3D format, and then you need to figure out how to build it in real life using these machines.

It wasn't like, "Oh, this is how you build it, let's just go put this code into the machine", it was literally 1000s of attempts with the smallest iterations to make sure you got the perfect bend angle down.

Because what you're building is a process for the machine to follow to be able to pop 1000s of these panels out every single day without any changes in the specifications that are required.

So, it's the same approach I find when we're trying to build a landing page, or designing a campaign, or trying to optimize pop-up for conversions, or if we're looking at a paid advertising campaign or test or whatever. You're not going to put something out there that's just going to work.

Sometimes but most of the time, you're going to have to go back in, assess what worked, assess what didn't, iterate, tweak, and so it's a very iterative and continuous improvement type of approach, which we had to do a lot of as an engineer. So there's definitely those parallels you mentioned earlier, some of those skills and habits that you pick up, it's a tedious process at times.

I feel like we've been able to build in some of these frameworks and philosophies into the way we do marketing at Crossrope because myself and our CEO, both come from these very systematic mindsets and approaches to solving problems. So yeah, definitely, there are parts of engineering that have made their way into how we do marketing, for sure. But it's a part of marketing, I think.

One downside I could say, from coming from an engineering field is that you're very heavily reliant on this iterative and continuous improvement process, that it's very difficult to sometimes pull yourself out of that, and what's the next big thing? Get away from the continuous improvement mindset, let's think what's the next creative idea?

This is where it's super important to surround yourself with people who are not necessarily systematic thinkers or operate with checklists and processes and whatnot. They're the, what we call I guess, the creatives, they just think differently, approach things differently, we obviously have completely opposite approaches to even life.

I live my life by spreadsheets and systems, and I feel completely discombobulated when I'm out of my routine. But I know others are very different from that and their creativity comes from not being in a routine, or from approaching work and life very differently.

So, I've found over the years those individuals are also very important to have a nice, rounded marketing team so you can have that system where you're continuously iterating and improving on all these touchpoints, all these things so your conversion rate's going up just a little bit on all these touchpoints and your landing pages are getting just a little bit better, ads are improving.

And then you've got these big thinkers and creatives that can like, "Hey, check out this bomb new idea, nothing to do with anything we're doing right now". You figure out how those two blend together into a healthy mix.

That ties into something when you talked about recruitment. You mentioned having these creatives in the space, is that you filling in your own skill gaps? Is that what you're doing when it comes to recruitment, you're finding people that can slot into what's missing in what you're able to do with your processes?

You said you have a very process-driven mindset, do you intentionally bring in creatives to fill in a gap outside the process mindset?

Yeah, 100%. I can't say from my early days of recruiting that I was actively thinking about it from that approach. I think from a recruiting standpoint, we're always biased to hire people similar to ourselves, right? What we've learned over the years, is, especially through examples, internally we've built a fairly diverse team but I'd say the best examples are with some of the agency partners that we've started working with over the past few years.

Where even in discussions with them, they've seen some of these big, creative ideas, I'm sure they operate with processes internally, but they're not as close to everything as you are and so they're looking at it from a completely different perspective.

So, I'd say definitely it's something I've become more mindful of, in the latter half of my years at Crossrope in the recruiting space, just even looking at personality types and stuff like that to really assess like, yes, we want people to match and blend well and work well together. And there are certain personality traits that you want to have a common thread through.

But there are some traits with these things where it's important to think about for sure, otherwise, as I said, you're just gonna get stuck in this continuous iteration loop and never have that next idea that's gonna elevate the business or have some sort of a needle-moving effect.

For us, working with specific agencies, especially on the creative front really allowed us to push our boundaries. When you're so close, you think you just know what's going to work.

But I think when you work with partners or hire people internally that just think differently, you can accelerate that and you can get some perspectives that you don't even know you're missing out on. So something I'm still experiencing and trying to improve on myself through the recruiting process and how we're structuring it.

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The value of "outsider" perspectives on marketing

That outsider point of view, you mentioned being too close to something can put blinders on, could apply to marketing as a whole. For marketers, particularly people who have learned marketing at college, they've gone through a marketing internship, they've climbed the ladder that incremental way, there are these certain processes and approaches to marketing that they get taught along the way that might be inefficient, but they're just too close to.

Did you recognize anything when you moved into the marketing space, coming from a completely different background? Were there any processes or frameworks that we as marketers are doing that are just inefficient or wrong that can be replaced by a more engineering approach, so to speak?

Yeah, it's hard for me to say because obviously, I have a lot of connections and friends and I kind of have a sense of how some operate but coming into this field back in 2015/2016, I had no reference points for what was normal or traditional, in the sense of, how other marketers or marketing teams are operating.

So we just figured it out ourselves through books and whatnot. I'd say if I had to pick one I find through conversation a lot of marketers operate by gut feel in terms of how they make decisions, even big ones. For us, one of the most effective things we did was, for example, we're very big on the EOS system and the tools that they have.

And we're very disciplined around how we follow and use that system. We built our own modifications and variations of dashboards and whatnot, but if we're making bets, we try to make sure those are based on as much data and insights and outside reference points as possible. Whereas I find people make decisions, sometimes good ones and sometimes bad ones based on gut and minimal input, in a sense.

I have a lot of people that I connect with that have very robust frameworks for how they make decisions and whatnot, but from my experience, even some big companies, when you ask, "Why did you do that?", they'll say "Oh just that gut feel". Whereas on our end, and maybe we shoot ourselves in the foot but at least I feel it's a protection mechanism for the most part.

A very robust framework for the tools we have in place to be able to make better, faster decisions. Obviously, data is sort of the hot topic over the past couple of years, and it's really easy to get sucked in by the noise. So I understand where and why, or why marketers are coming from that point, it's really challenging to pinpoint the signals from all the noise.

You really have to know what you're looking for, and what you're looking at, to be able to make decisions based on data. Anyway, I don't know if that perfectly answers the question, but we feel like our approach has been helpful in the decisions we've made to get us to where we are today. And I don't know if all marketers are reliant on data as much.

Obviously, there are different parts of the business I'm sure we can lean on and rely on data even more so or insights. But yeah, that would be what I'd say it's sort of like the one thing we approached a little bit differently than what I saw from some of my conversations.

You absolutely can't rely on gut feel when it comes to engineering, can you? You can't say "this is where a screw needs to go" based on gut feel because you put a screw in the wrong place and a bridge can fall down.

You have to know exactly where it's going based on data, based on scientific approach. Which is where marketing has been heading too. Gone are the days of Don Draper, Mad Men sitting around smoking reefer and drinking whisky and trying to come up with this cool, fancy idea. You need to have that data-driven approach now.

It's funny you mentioned those because I feel like those will more and more make a comeback in a way, not obviously to the full extent but as data becomes more and more ubiquitous but less and less reliable I think, as marketers, we'll be forced to get back to the creative, brand building, gut feel type of place.

Where it's all about having the relevant experience and inputs to have a high enough level of confidence that something will work. Even with data, there's no decision we make that we're 100% certain this is how it's gonna play out.

I think when you're thinking in bets, you want to have as many inputs that are going to increase your confidence level on things. Sometimes it might mean going with something that you only have a 50% confidence level because the upside is just much larger than the downside.

But if there's a campaign that I'm going to spend $100,000 on, but based on inputs I'm getting I feel like the upside is in millions, even if I have a 50% confidence level I might still go for it. I think that type of thinking just takes practice and it's never perfect, and you have to feel comfortable, and you have to be able to assess risk a little bit more effectively.

But I feel like we're all going to have to move further and further down that stream where even paid social right now, most brands or all brands are really operating on a pressing the "I believe button" that the campaigns are actually materializing some returns because the data points that we used to have, aren't there anymore.

That part is very different than some of the engineering things that we worked on, like you said that you can't necessarily operate on gut feel.

But you do learn how to sift through data, through literature, and collect the information you need whether to design something properly or something of that nature. It's all interesting how it blends and differs and where everything is going, I guess, with marketing in general.

So it is a philosophy you're trying to impart to your team, this data-driven approach, this engineering methodology of sifting through data, are you training your team to do that, or are you looking for people who have that ability already?

There's definitely training involved. The training is more coming around the mindset we can spend all week looking at data, there's enough of it there for us to sift through all day long. The challenge is how to do that quickly, efficiently, in order to pull the right insights to make the right next decisions, or next actions.

So it's more around that mindset, knowing what to look for, where to look for it, and how to make decisions based on it, even if you don't have all the data that you need to make a decision. That's really stuff we try to emphasize when we have our meetings, and we're going through data, I ask a lot of whys. Why did this happen? Because this happened. Why did that happen?

And you keep going down this funnel of whys until hopefully, you come away with a good insight or resolution or whatever it might be. Obviously, when I'm recruiting, it's nice when there's depending on role, some experience and data analysis side because every marketer, and I said depending on the role but it just feels like every marketer, in a way has to rely on data in some form or fashion.

So, the more effective you are, and this is where for me, coming into the marketing world in 2015, I feel like I already had because I was so deep into Google Analytics while building my blog, and YouTube. I was all about SEO and learning that channel that I was in Google Analytics all time and still am to a degree.

I feel like that's where the curiosity comes from, I want to know, why did this happen? Let me see if I can sift through some data to pull the insights. As frustrating as it can be sometimes to try to really find the culprit for some things I think it's a helpful, useful skill for marketers to have.

Sometimes you've just got to take that gut feeling to realize what the culprit is, you can ask why so many times, and eventually someone's gonna get to the point "I don't actually know".

Sometimes you've just got to make some educated guess on what the reasoning was behind why a certain campaign didn't work, why a certain piece of copy isn't getting the click-throughs that you were hoping to get. Sometimes you do have to just take that educated guess.


So are you looking for people who can make those educated guesses? Or are you trying to train people to make those educated guesses, when it comes to recruitment?

At least from my experience on the training side, I find that's a difficult thing to assess properly in the recruiting process. It's more so training I'd say in our way of doing it. It's definitely more on the training for us.

I haven't had much success, outside of some basic questions and working through some past examples and stuff like that, where you get a little bit of a taste of how they would approach the data side of things, or how they use data to make certain decisions and insights.

So you can kind of do it through that sort of question, but you're not going to really get a proper taste of it until you're in it with them and you're seeing how they operate. There's definitely a lot of training involved on that front but I think it's one of those things that just require repetitions, the more you do it, the better you get at it.

It depends on the person, the amount of training it requires, because a lot of CMOs and a lot of companies are moving away from the idea of having a strict, one size fits all, in terms of learning and development and progression. They're moving more to a bespoke way of doing it, talking directly to employees, to new recruits, and trying to work out what they're trying to get from the role. What are they trying to develop in terms of skills? What are they trying to achieve within that role?

How important is it that a person has that ultimate mindset of problem-solving, of going through data to find the problem as their ultimate goal when it comes to being a marketer? Should that be the end goal for all marketers? Or is that just a particular type of people within the marketing space?

I don't want to say that sifting through data, pulling the right insights is the end goal, we have an objective that we're looking to achieve. I think my goal would be for everyone on the team to be effective, to be autonomous in the way that they figure out how to achieve that objective.

Whether it's sifting through data to find insights from historical campaigns we've done, or to assess what is happening in the ecosystem right now to lean on. It's really about building a team of problem solvers. One of our core values is around problem-solving just because it's what we do every single day. Data is only a component of that, sometimes a larger component, and sometimes plays a lesser part.

For me, when we go through onboarding, go through how we collect data, why we collect data, what we use data for, it's definitely something that requires a periodic pause, why are we doing this? Why are we spending that? Is it helping us achieve or is it helping me achieve the objective? And if it's not, then you're not following that simplest, most effective path to achieving the objective.

So definitely, as the team has grown, as the organization has grown, and more opportunities and more channels and more problems, more challenges, every individual just has to be really effective at knowing what they're optimizing for, knowing the objective that they're looking to achieve, and taking really the simplest and most effective path that they can. I think often, what I see is we make the mistake of thinking that the hardest path is always the right path. Often it's not.

So part of conversations we have internally is what would this look like if it was simple? If you had to do this from scratch, as you came into this role, and this is how we've been doing it when you came in, would you do it the exact same way? Or would you take a different approach? Exercises like that try to put people in a position where they're forced to think about the end goal and not process.

And so however that ties into the data component, I mean, data is sometimes a key part if we're going to map out a campaign, it's useful to be able to look back at the data from a similar campaign we've run and make sure we're using and leaning on the things that worked really well and cutting out the stuff that didn't.

That would be my take on the whole training and onboarding development part. It's like how do you teach individuals to solve problems, focus on the end objective, know what to look for, who to ask, etc. My role is really just providing the support, resources, and guidance they need to move more quickly to their desired objective.

I feel like I've, over the years, developed the experience and this historical data set in my own head of "Oh, I remember we did this, this way, or we did that, that way", or "Oh, we used this tool, this might be effective if you want to try it". So I'm really trying to resolve roadblocks for individuals.

I feel like I went off tangent there a little bit. But hopefully, that gives you a sense of at least what I've been looking for, from people that I work with. To just really be autonomous problem solvers that know how to identify and achieve the objective in the simplest and most effective way.

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Testing your tools and resources

Some of the ways you were talking about that process is similar to that engineering mindset, the idea of questioning why you're using certain tools, trying to find the simplest method to do something, trying to be efficient in the way you do things. That sounds like something that's an engineer's job when you get right down to it.

Do you think that is something that's been instilled in you by your engineering background? That idea of taking ownership of the resources that you're using to reach a goal, taking ownership of the tools you're using, the materials you're using, that sounds like an engineering mindset to me.

Yeah, even just going back to that example of creating these wall panels, at the end of the day, the objective is to create a really cool-looking wall panel that's easy to assemble. That's the objective, what's the simplest, most effective way for me to achieve that? Who do I need to speak to? Obviously, okay, let me talk to the installers.

Let me say "What are some pain points for you, when you're installing, so I make sure I'm thinking through that when I'm designing how they're stacking together". Obviously, someone's gonna be operating a machine, how do I minimize the steps that they need to take in order to have to knock out whatever volume of these is necessary.

And then obviously, whatever is involved in the actual manufacturing of the panel itself, the machine has got to follow the steps that you give it to follow. So I have to really think through, what's the simplest way to get this profile of the edge of the panel that you need? I could take five steps, 15 steps, whatever it might be. Pros and cons.

You're really taking in all these different data points, inputs, reference points, whatever you want to call it, to try to achieve this end objective of having a cool, easy to assemble panel. So yeah, I'm referencing a lot of different data points but a lot of also inputs from other individuals.

Definitely, that sort of style of working has translated into marketing, talking to people, collaborating, pulling the right insights. But always keeping that end objective in mind. It's really easy these days to complicate things.

I find that's a really big roadblock because we're all trying to make everything so complicated and flashy, and sometimes it's fine but I just find it just bogs down departments and individuals. I feel like we can just revisit that question of "If I was to do this from scratch, how would I do this?"

I think Tim Ferriss had this good question around, "If you had only two hours a day to do your job, what would you do?"

It really forces you to think, I just lost six hours a day, my objective doesn't change, how am I going to achieve that? It really forces you to think about the path that you need to take. Suddenly you start finding all sorts of fluff that you can strip away just to get to that core object.

That's obviously an extreme example but it's the same mindset to really streamline and that just takes practice and knowing, and I find keeping that end objective in mind is always going to serve you well.

You can have all these flashy bells and whistles on your campaign but if you're not hitting your end objectives then you need to get rid of those bells and whistles because they're clearly not working.

That's right. Yeah. It's been definitely a journey for me, coming from engineering to marketing. I still feel like and I say this all the time to new recruits when they ask me, "what's it like at Crossrope?" Honestly, it still feels like day one to me, where I'm still figuring out things as I go, there are always new problems, new challenges.

Nothing's changed. That's what's kept it exciting, what's kept it really interesting. And it's only going to continue getting more and more complex. It's what I guess makes it a little fun for us engineers, who are always looking for that next problem to solve.

Making your own experience

Always looking for the next problem to solve. Definitely. On a final note, what are some good resources where people can learn these processes, these direct approaches that you've discussed?

Are there any particular good engineering resources that CMOs should be listening to? Or is it just finding the right podcasts, the right blogs, the right people to follow online?

I don't have any specific engineering resources. For me, the most effective ways or resource have just been like you said books and podcasts have served me very well. We're talking really smart, really experienced people spilling all their knowledge in text and audio right there for you to absorb.

I spend a lot of time listening and reading and not everything is always something I'm gonna act on immediately but it stays with me, similar to how some of the engineering stuff has. It stays with me and when I'm ready, and I need to deploy something, I can think "Oh I remember that book has the exact things or answers to these questions", or "This podcast gives me new insights and things to explore and dig into".

So definitely that front and I'd say, what I mentioned earlier, the best way and this is something that when I speak sometimes or people ask me around career advice, "I just got out of school, I can't get an interview because I don't have the experience".

I say "Make your own experience, go build something or do something, it doesn't have to be this complicated side project but go launch a podcast, go write a blog, go do something with no code, build something, have something show, talk about it, put yourself out there."

Through the process, you'll learn a tremendous amount and it's going to serve you very well, at least from my perspective, if you're looking for that next level in your marketing career. Those are the things that separate you because they show the right characteristics and traits that I find are just necessary if you want to be successful in any marketing role.

'Make your own experience' applies whether you're entry-level or if you're the CMO of the biggest company in the world, you've always got to be able to make your own experience.

I'm still tinkering, I still do have my own little side projects just to continue working on my writing, writing is sort of like this forced function that requires you to learn something before you can effectively write about it.

Even though I have a million things to do with Crossrope, I try to carve out some time a little bit every week just to work on these little things, I learn something new.

You're right, it doesn't matter what level you're at, it's one of those things you can do that can really make a big difference because you can learn the skills and make the necessary connections that are gonna take you, your business, whatever it might be to that next level.

How has your professional background influenced your approach to the CMO role? Has it given you a fresh perspective that's worth sharing with others? Share your experiences with the CMO Alliance Community!