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From his early career years at American Express, broadening his skillsets across disciplines, Chris Marino gained a strong foundation and a passion for digital marketing. This passion led him to his current role as Global Head of Media & Marketing Technology at Bloomberg Media where he drives audience and revenue growth across the company. But the foundation that truly led him to where he is today is credited to his parents, who taught him the value of a strong work ethic and being kind. Read on for Chris’ predictions on the evolving media landscape and a practical philosophy to dispel the “brand vs. performance” debate.

Listen to Chris’s recent episode on the Visionaries Podcast: “The New Muscles of Leadership

Favorite podcast… “Adweek’s CMO Moves

A must-read for marketing leaders… “Raja Rajamannar’s Quantum Marketing: Mastering the New Marketing Mindset for Tomorrow’s Consumers”

Top 5 Favorite things:

  1. Spending time with my family
  2. My fiance and our rescue dogs
  3. Cooking Italian cuisine
  4. Traveling
  5. Learning tennis

Q: What personal life experience has made you better at your job and why?

I grew up in Astoria, Queens, and was fortunate enough to be raised by an incredible family. My parents never went to college or worked in corporate America, so from an early age, they instilled values I still live by today: hard work, respect, kindness, and curiosity. I started working from a young age as a cabana boy, lifeguard, and doorman on Park Avenue before I eventually got an internship at American Express.

Through these experiences, I learned the value of hard work, the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, that no job was ever too small, and to never forget where you come from. It’s these values that have shaped me into the leader and person I am today.

Future of Marketing

Q: What’s something you see evolving in Media Marketing within the next five years? 

I’d love to see the industry push to evolve the marketing structure so that it has more oversight over functions that I believe are critical to delivering on the expanding remit and expectations. As technology and analytics become increasingly important enablers to deliver on customer experience and business objectives, how can CMOs unify these functions and align their efforts to best deliver on the bottom line?

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

Two applications of AI that stand out are creative intelligence platforms and dynamic creative/asset optimization. The former fascinates me because seemingly minute changes to your creative (think color, text placement, etc.) can significantly impact responsiveness and engagement. The latter is already making waves across the industry as marketers take advantage of media platforms that can create ads based on the user’s location, device type, and browsing activity on the fly.

I’m excited to continue to watch AI evolve and shift the perception of creativity as something that has historically been perceived as a qualitative to a quantitative driver of business performance.

Q: What’s a widely accepted “marketing truth” you wish marketers could do away with?

A myth that I’d love to come together as an industry to dispel is shifting the perception of brand not being a driver of performance based on “last click” attribution methodologies established by platforms many years ago.

I’m a big believer in Les Binet’s 60/40 investment strategy; balancing investments in brand, product consideration (the missing middle), and acquisition is critical to driving sustainable and incremental business growth. Through a layered approach to measurement leveraging MMM, Incrementality/Match Marketing Testing, and Platform data, you can start to demonstrate the power of different types of messaging and formats working together to drive the best customer experience. This results in consumers making decisions based on value vs. price, which leads to improvements in retention and LTV.

Marketing at Bloomberg Media

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

Amidst a difficult macroeconomic environment, it’s been justifying ongoing investments in marketing. Marketing is often incorrectly perceived as a cost center vs. a profit center, and I’ve been focused on shifting that mindset through a holistic, data-driven approach.

We have been on a journey to implement and operationalize media mix modeling at Bloomberg Media over the past year and a half. It’s been an exciting experience educating leadership on the importance of 1) thinking about marketing measurement through the lens of commercial analytics and 2) measuring success through incrementality rather than last-click attribution.

Commercial analytics extends beyond just paid media and evaluates the impact of all factors that influence business performance – competition, promotions, consumer sentiment, news cycle, and more. With the ability to quantify marketing’s incremental contribution and the impact of increased or reduced budgets, conversations with leadership become more effective.

Ultimately, advancing our measurement stack has helped us bridge the gap between marketing and finance, speak the same language with the C-Suite, and unlock more strategic conversations focused on balancing growth and profitability. 

Career and Leadership Advice

Q: What’s the most game-changing piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

In one of our mentoring sessions, Steve Squeri, Chairman and CEO of American Express, told me to “Find the jobs that are one of one, so whether you do a good job or a bad job, you stand out.”

Based on this advice, I specialized in digital marketing, building deep expertise in paid media, marketing technology, and marketing analytics, which has enabled me to be a subject matter expert in companies that did not have proficiency in these areas. As a result, I’ve been able to shape this function at companies like AmEx and Bloomberg and, more broadly, through my involvement in the industry.

Q: What’s one new leadership muscle you see as the most important for marketers to exercise?

I’m a big believer in servant leadership and surrounding yourself with people who are better than you are. With that said, I also believe in the power of leading from the front and being a part of the solution to a difficult problem. I’ve found that when you can establish a clear vision for what you are trying to solve, create a safe space for differing perspectives along the way, and roll up your sleeves, it builds a strong sense of camaraderie and culture across the team. (Listen to more from Chris and three other leaders on leadership muscles on the Visionaries podcast).

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, click here.