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With over twenty years of experience in marketing for iconic brands, including HBO, Netflix, Showtime, and Smashbox Cosmetics, Caroline Giergerich has been infusing innovation at every step. She brings a scrappy entrepreneurial mindset, a hunger for all emerging tech, and fresh ideas to tackle no-blueprint challenges and grow loyal consumers for every brand. As the VP and Head of Innovation for Warner Music Experience (WMX), her mission is to revolutionize how fans connect with artists. She helps envision and execute inventive fan experiences leveraging gaming and other immersive platforms, AR, VR, emerging e-commerce technologies, connected merchandise opportunities, digital collectibles, and other emerging technologies meant to immerse fans and provide incremental revenue opportunities for artists. This is why she is recognized as an MTM Marketer To Watch. Here’s her story. 

Picture of white woman with shoulder length wavy hair and blue eyes. She is smiling and wearing a black shirt with puffer sleeves.

What gives me joy outside of work

Biking (i.e., active meditation) and spending time with friends and family.

Every marketer should listen to

For any marketing leader looking to stay on the cutting edge, I’d recommend tuning into ‘Pivot’ with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway. It dives into the intersection of business and technology, offering insights that are both broad and deeply relevant to the shifting landscapes we navigate.   

Future of Marketing

Q: What is one thing coming down the pike for marketing you are most excited about?

The convergence of augmented reality (AR) and AI in marketing truly excites me. This fusion is set to create hyper-personalized experiences that not only engage consumers in real time but also adapt to their preferences, behaviors, and even emotions. We’re looking at a future where marketing can create immersive narratives that are tailored on-the-fly to each individual, transforming how they connect with brands and artists. This technology not only promises to revolutionize customer experience but also provides an innovative canvas for storytelling, bringing us closer to a world where the line between digital and physical is beautifully blurred. 

Q: What widely accepted “marketing truth” or concept do you wish the industry would do away with or evolve? 

The concept that I believe is ripe for reevaluation is the traditional marketing funnel. While it’s been a cornerstone for understanding customer journeys, the digital age has transformed how consumers interact with brands. The journey is no longer linear but a complex web of touchpoints that can vary greatly from one consumer to another.

I advocate for a more dynamic, multi-dimensional model that reflects the real-world messiness of consumer behavior—one that captures the recursive nature of how people discover, interact with, and become loyal to brands. This shift would encourage marketers to think beyond driving conversions to create holistic experiences that resonate at every stage of the customer’s continually evolving journey. 

Marketing Warner Music Experience

Q: What’s something exciting you’re currently working on?  

Recently, I spearheaded a project with WMX and Warner Records embedding NFC technology into artist merchandise. Imagine a T-shirt that serves as a portal to exclusive content: just purchase the shirt, and you unlock a series of intimate artist experiences. The T-shirt comes with a behind-the-scenes look at a photoshoot, followed by personal artist videos and peaks with exclusive tour footage. Each new video drop turns the T-shirt into an interactive event, deepening fan engagement and turning a simple piece of merchandise into a key to the artist’s world. This isn’t just merch; it’s a ticket to a super fan community. 

Q: What’s the most pressing business challenge you’ve faced within the last year, and how have you tried to solve it?  

Staying ahead of the rapid advancements in various technologies, from haptic feedback technology, digital collectibles, and gaming to the exponential growth in AI.

To address this, I’ve implemented a ‘learning in sprints’ approach, dedicating short, intense periods to emerging tech topics, utilizing a mix of structured learning, expert workshops, and hands-on experimentation. Additionally, I’ve fostered partnerships with tech startups and created a beta-testing culture that encourages embracing new tools. This strategy not only keeps us agile and informed but also ready to leverage the latest tech to enhance our marketing strategies and fan experiences. 

Career and Leadership Advice

Q: What leadership muscle is most important for marketers to exercise?

The ability to adapt quickly is the leadership muscle that stands out as most crucial. The rapid pace of change in consumer behavior, technology, and data analytics requires marketers to be agile as they learn and unlearn at an unprecedented rate. This agility goes beyond strategic pivots; it’s about fostering a culture that embraces change, values continuous learning, and encourages experimentation. Leaders who exercise this muscle build teams that can anticipate trends, innovate proactively, and remain resilient in the face of uncertainty, ensuring that their brands not only survive but thrive in the dynamic market. 

Q: What’s the most game-changing career advice youve received?

“Well, you’re not dead yet,” my Granny would say, wrapped in her southern drawl. This advice is simple, maybe, but it’s about resilience. It’s a reminder that setbacks aren’t the end—they’re just a signal to get back up, dust off, and keep pushing forward. This nugget of wisdom has been a north star throughout my career, teaching me that perseverance is just as important as any skill on your resume. 

Marketers to Watch is a recognition series to spotlight highly innovative and forward-thinking marketing leaders in the community. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for the series, apply here.