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Even the best leaders can benefit from surrounding themselves with other leaders – diverse perspectives are essential for growth! In May of 2022, the MTM Visionaries podcast was released on all platforms. Since then, 60+ of the world’s top marketing leaders across varying industries – who are pioneering the future of marketing, sharing real-time experiences, and solving current challenges – have joined us for insightful conversations. Many of them shared unforgettable and inspiring insights, and when we put them all together, we uncovered a concentrated resource of gainful leadership advice straight from the C-Suite. 

Find the MTM Visionaries Podcast On AppleSpotify, and Amazon, or check out the recaps in the following links.

Resilient Leadership During Crisis 

Customer engagement and service have gone from essential to existential. And the degree to which you underdeliver is the degree to which you put your product, your company, your culture, and your brand in jeopardy. And when you have economic headwinds, [you have to understand] how you bring these in line with rest of the business without undercutting the very fundamentals that drive it.”

Jeffrey Katzenberg, Founding Partner at WndrCo and former CEO of DreamWorks 

How to Listen and Lead 

“While experience and titles are a blessing, they can turn into something that keeps your ears from listening if not managed appropriately. As I lead, I not only listen to my team but invite them to listen to what is going on with our fans, encourage them to ask open-ended questions, and understand how things are different today compared to ten years ago.   

As a leader, you want to take in everything and want everyone to feel empowered; as I said, every voice matters, irrespective of tenure or title. But at the end of the day, you cannot confuse listening with consensus. You still have to be comfortable making decisions based on your findings.” 

Julian Duncan, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at the Houston Rockets 

Heidi Browning

“Being vulnerable is challenging as a woman, especially if you’re the only woman at the table. Society teaches us to be tough and strong, but it’s okay not to be okay, make mistakes, and not have the answer to everything. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect that it makes it difficult to show our vulnerabilities.  

It is liberating when you get the courage to ask questions and receive feedback about your leadership style, performance, or what others say about the problems you solve. Great ideas come from everywhere. Listening to your employees, fans, tough feedback, and the question behind the question allows you to see the world differently and only makes you better.” 

Heidi Browning, CMO at the National Hockey League 

“Ironically, so much of what leads to success on the other side of promotion, communication, and brand development starts with listening.   As a brand, we want loyalty from frequent flyers, but we have to ask the counter-question: Is Delta loyal to you?

Before you ask for customer loyalty, you must demonstrate loyalty to them; it’s earned over time. There are countless products, planes, facilities, and technology in our space, but the warmth, care, and hospitality delivered to human beings make brands genuinely come to life.” 

Tim Mapes, SVP, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Delta Air Lines 

The Positive Impact of DE&I on Business 

Jason Brown, Consulting CMO of NTWRK

“Diversity and inclusion are good for society and business. Look at the entire ecosystem internally and externally to ensure that diversity exists so that your message remains authentic and credible because of your proper representation. 

Internally, NTWRK’s foundation is the creative community; they are creating all these exclusive coveted products, and they all come from various backgrounds, whether from a geographical standpoint or ethnicity. One of my favorite components of leading a team is that I get to celebrate who they are, and how their differences are what make them valuable. 

Jason Brown, CMO at NTWRK 

Character Traits of a Strong Marketing Leader 

Deirdre Findlay

“The most important trait for any strong marketer or leader of consumer revenue is curiosity. The role has changed so much, and you need to be naturally curious and constantly hunting out the next new trend or consumer behavior to succeed, especially if you want to drive transformation.  

The second most important trait is leaning into “experimentation orientation,” which means trying new things and failing fast. When driving transformation, fear can get in the way, but when you celebrate experimentation and even the things that don’t go as planned, it fosters an environment where people are willing to take risks.” 

Deirdre Findlay, (former Global CMO and Head of Consumer Revenue, Condé Nast) CMO, McAfee 

Inspiring the Next Generation to Lead 

Kalen Thornton

“When I was growing up, the brands I connected with the most and that inspired me to be a better version of myself were those related to my passion for sports, like Nike and Gatorade. I didn’t watch their commercials from the perspective of admiring their products; I watched them because they gave me the confidence to believe I could achieve anything.  

When I got to the point in my football career where my knees gave out, and I could no longer compete, I still wanted to be connected to sports. What better way to do so than storytelling with brands that effectively inspire the next generation with leadership values, opportunities, and confidence? 

My greatest moments as a marketer are seeing consumers start to believe they can do something that they didn’t think they could do before. That’s why marketing, particularly through the lens of sports, is so important to me.” 

Kalen Thornton, CMO at Gatorade   

Top-Down Leadership that Makes a Difference 

“With an older brand, I often think about what the future of our brand will stand for. The way people perceive our brands today is changing, and every touchpoint in the process can affect how someone feels. In their eyes, we used to be a hotel company and experience, and now we are an end-to-end digital and physical experience.  

At any given point, we could either delight or disappoint our consumers. Much of the work we’ve been doing is laying out the entire customer experience and helping the organization figure out the moments that matter and how we are making people feel – which is quite different than how we approached it in the past. 

That’s the hard work – changing the organization and how we work and designing things to affect how the customer feels about our brand.” 

Peggy Roe, Global Officer, Customer Experience, Loyalty & New Ventures at Marriott Bonvoy 

Nikki Neuburger, CBO of Lululemon

“Personal development has always been a part of lululemon’s DNA. From the beginning, we have encouraged every employee to set their own personal goals; not only as it relates to their career.  

Having patience, confidence, and clarity to know who you are, what type of team you want to be a part of, and what you want to build goes a long way to ensure you feel fulfilled every day. How we know our business will succeed is if our people are fulfilled. For any individual to be fulfilled, they need to be clear on their purpose and personal goals.” 

Nikki Neuburger, Chief Brand Officer of lululemon 

More Insights You May Enjoy…

For more insights from our 2022 MTM Visionaries Replay, click here to see what other common themes surfaced. 

2022 Visionaries in Review: Everything We Learned about Marketing This Year

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Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.     

Marketers That Matter® Is A Community of Top Marketing Executives Coming Together to Pioneer the Future of Marketing, Sharing Real-Time Experiences, And Solving Current Challenges. 
Our Parent Company, 24 Seven, Specializes In Helping You Find Exceptional Marketing And Creative Talent For Your Teams.