For those of us who have a real passion for marketing, there’s nothing else like it. You can’t wait to dive into the next book or blogpost on the latestwisdom. You constantly seek out new technologies that can change the marketing landscape. For me, this passion started as a Psychology major while attending Swarthmore College. The teachings of Professor Barry Schwartz, now a widely recognized thought leader in the marketing field, sparked my interest in understanding human behavior and its effects in the business world.
1995 – 2000
Real world experience
Combining this behavioral interest with my entrepreneurial DNA, it was only natural for me to gravitate toward marketing. And after Swarthmore, I dove right in as the co-founder of Keyline International Hong Kong, Ltd. – an international trading company for decorative glass products with offices in Hong Kong and the USA. Heading up the sales and marketing effort for 6 years, I developed a worldwide network of customers and partners while growing a vibrant enterprise. The process of building Keyline was a real-world business education you couldn’t get in a classroom setting. At a young age I saw firsthand the vital role marketing played in the ultimate success or failure of an enterprise. Most importantly, I learned by doing.
2001 – 2003
Back to School
With this practicum of real-world experience to draw on, it was time to bring my knowledge to a new level. Earning an MBA at the Yale School of Management was the ideal vehicle. The curriculum there was heavy on analytical rigor: including regression analysis, seg-mentation modeling, and conjoint analysis. For two intensive years I ate, slept and breathed marketing. While the coursework was de-manding, I loved it and excelled in the process. My Yale tenure also included a stint as a Summer Associate at Goldman Sachs. Being introduced to Goldman’s ‘open product.
2003 – 2009
Taking it to the Bank
Upon graduation from Yale, I returned to my roots in Rhode Island as the Chief Marketing Officer at a National Federal Savings Bank. Armed with a sizable $15M M annual marketing budget, the chal-lenge was to craft a marketing strategy that would best put these funds to use. During my 5-year tenure at the Bank I spearheaded all customer acquisition and retention efforts, rebranded the Bank’s commercial lending division, and helped create a long-term strategic plan that quadrupled the division’s revenues and net income within a three-year period. In 2008, the Bank became the 5th largest USDA lender and the 26th largest SBA 7(a) lender in the country with $100MM+ in annual lending volume. Looking back on this valuable work experience, I’m most proud of transforming a product-centric, single-channel-dependent, qualita-tive marketing department into a customer-centric, quantitative, ROI-driven team that worked closely with a network of trusted best-of-breed partners.
2010 – Present
During my tenure at the Bank, I perceived the need for a marketing solution that truly placed the client’s interests first. Like most CMOs, I was constantly pitched by ad agencies and marketing consulting firms who all were hoping to win a slice of my sizable marketing budget. Unfortunately, I was continually let down by the same-old powerpoint presentations, which were seldom backed by bottom-line results and accountability. After every pitch, I felt as if these ‘partners’ were more interested in pushing me their product or service – as opposed to providing an unbiased solution that directly impacted my bottom line.
Thinking back to my experience at Goldman Sachs, and drawing from my quantitative grounding at Yale, I decided to strike out on my own and build a more objective company that was more closely aligned with the lead generation needs of a business owner. With the founding of TribalVision — an outsourced marketing department for hire – organizations now can access a level of in-depthstrategic thinking and detailed execution they didn’t think they could afford. Unlike a traditional ad agency or marketing firm, TribalVision’s compensation is fee-based with no commissions or markups. For what it would cost to hire a mid-level marketing person with general knowledge, we provide our clients with a cutting-edge team with decades of combined and specialized experience.
Just as it would be for an in-house Chief Marketing Officer, TribalVision’s focus is to identify the most cost-effective strategies, channels and solutions to meet an organization’s marketing and growth objectives. This takes form with the writing of a robust, strategic plan that establishes a solid foundation for future business development efforts. Upon completion of the upfront strategy, TribalVision then executes on that strategy. This means we work side-by-side with our clients onsite and on location, to work through the details. We hold intensive bi-weekly meetings to keep everyone on the same page. We also follow up with detailed monthly executive summaries to ensure goals are being met and priorities are being kept in view.
This effective meshing of strategy and tactics is what enables us to function as an organization’s virtual CMO. Just as an in-house head of marketing would do, we assume responsibility and accountability for a cohesive program — as opposed to solely providing strategy recommendations (i.e. as a consultant) or solely implementing individual projects which are often loosely connected or unrelated (i.e. as a marketing firm or ad agency).
As TribalVision has taken shape, we are increasingly enlisted by organizations with existing in-house departments as well. In many cases, we’re called on for specific expertise to supplement internal capabilities — or to pick up the slack when a company simply needs more resources or extra help. Our interests-aligned outsourced marketing model is revolutionizing the way all companies approach their marketing effort — and raising the bar for what they should expect from their marketing partner.
My quest to help forward-thinking companies market smarter in an objective way is just beginning. A bona fide marketing revolution is in full force. The tools to drive this process are becoming more numerous, robust and sophisticated with each passing day. And for the first time, organizations not found in the Fortune 500 can take part and play in the game. If you’re a business owner or someone respon-sible for the future growth of your organization with a desire to be-come a leader in your category, we should talk. And soon.