In this episode, we speak to Cari Jaquet, the VP of marketing at BigPanda, and Jamie Barnett, investor and marketing advisor, about the path to the CMO office, the difference between a VP of marketing and a CMO, and they both share their advice to current and aspiring CMOs.
About Cari Jaquet
Cari, the VP of marketing at BigPanda, is a full-stack marketer with a track record of leading happy teams who build tight relationships with the field and deliver bottom line results for the business. Cari is responsible for cross-organizational strategy and development of marketing initiatives that support corporate goals and revenue targets. Prior to BigPanda, Cari has run marketing at several highly-successful tech companies including Rimini Street, Paxata, SAP, Hyperion/Oracle and Cisco.
About Jamie Barnett
Jamie Barnett is an advisor, investor, and board member for high-technology startups. She has spent most of her career as a product and marketing leader in high-technology with a focus on artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. She served as chief marketing officer for AppZen and Netskope, as well as chief customer officer at Scalyr. Jamie has a bachelors degree from U.C. Berkeley, an MBA from Stanford University, and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). She also was an adjunct lecturer at University of San Francisco, where she taught Strategic Communications in the Executive MBA program. She is a die-hard Monty Python fan with a zest for movie lines, terrible puns, and practical jokes.
Read Jamie's blog of best practices and marketing templates here: https://jamiecatherinebarnett.medium.com/
More about Plannuh here.
More about The Next CMO podcast here.
Join The Next CMO community here.
[00:00:00] Hey, Jamie and Carrie, thank you so much for being on the next CMO podcast. I'm really excited for this conversation. It sounds like it's going to get a little pugnacious along the way. And I've got the, the beeper button to try to stop any any dangerous words coming out along the way. But we're really thrilled to have you and maybe to get started Carrie Lee, why don't you start and give us a little bit of your background so we can set the stage for who we're talking.
Sure. Hi, I'm Carrie GK. Thank you so much for having me. I'm a VP of marketing at big Panda. I've come up through various routes. I, you know, I've worked at small companies, startups where I'm the first marketing person there, and I've worked at companies like SAP and McAfee where I've run solution marketing teams and integrated campaign teams.
And really my, my heart is. Well, I'm a full-stack marketer. My heart is really [00:01:00] around the intersection between sales and marketing. And that's, that's what I love doing. Excellent. I, and Jamie, why don't you give us a little bit about your back. Hi, I'm Jamie Barnett. And I am a marketing advisor and investor in high-tech companies.
I work with everything from pre-revenue you know, not even seed companies all the way through series C and beyond. So I'm really thinking about kind of the combination of. Position development and messaging at an early stage through when a company really starts to grow and potentially releases multiple products.
I also love thinking about kind of what the operation needs to look like across the company, not just marketing you know, the tech stack and the. Organization and you know, kind of really thinking about what next steps are you know, for the company. So those are my areas of interest and I work with a small portfolio of companies.
My [00:02:00] background I actually grew up in investment banking, realized that I do not want to sleep under my desk anymore in a sleeping bag. So I'm used the next few years to transition into the, into the high tech world and sort of fell into marketing. Awesome. So it was an accident that you're in marketing, but a happy accident on one of the way.
That's great. Well, we're going to try and lean on some of your your financial background as we go through the discussion here. Jamie. So we'll, we'll we'll test you. We're not going to have you develop a model or anything along the way, but maybe maybe poke into some of that experience in, in, in some of the discussion here.
And, and one of the things, Carrie let's, let's start with the, the dialogue that we were having online back a few weeks ago and Carrie is a recent. A recent new member of the NEC CMO community and actually brought in a really great topic that I wanted to ask her to expand on, which is really the, the [00:03:00] concept between the difference between a VP of marketing and a CMO.
And I know I have a lot of opinions here but but I, I love to hear your view care and maybe frame it out for me. What you think the major differences are between a VP of marketing and the seat. Sure. I'll start with the, the observation I've made, which is that a lot of times you'll hear people say CMOs, you know, it's a revolving door.
And they, they last, you know, two years at the company and then they're gone. And I started to question why that was, and it's not. Yeah, these CMOs are not competent or, you know, didn't do their jobs before that job. So, so what, what was happening? What happens. As I am on a journey as well, to be the next CMO of big Panda, I started to realize that, that it comes down to a couple of things first, not rushing into a job without [00:04:00] understanding the expectations of, of the COO of, you know, the role and.
And what that means to the board, what that means to the CEO and to the rest of the company. And you can be a great functional marketing leader. You can understand strategies, build incredible campaigns delivered, you know, all the right, you know, bottom line metrics to the. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you understand what it takes to be a CMO for that, for that organization.
And, and so in that exploration my CEO and I have been talking a lot about what it takes to be a CFO, a COO, and. That's when I reached out to you and, and said, I think there's a conversation to be had about that leap. And it is a leap, you know, it's it's one that you have to be prepared to take and understand what's waiting for you on the other side.[00:05:00]
It's really interesting because you're right. It, it is, I think a leap, if you're really are operating as a COO. And not just a CMO in name. So w one of the things I was going to ask you, Jamie, because you see across lots of these different companies and you see the, the title CMO being thrown around a lot, obviously.
So in companies where you're advising around the board, how, how, what percentage maybe I'll ask it that way of the people who call themselves CMOs, do you think are really operating as a true.
I'm not sure. You know, I'm not sure that I can really say a percentage. It's more of a. I would say kind of what Carrie said, which is it's a match between what the company is expecting and what you're bringing to the table, but I can tell you kind of what I see as, as commonalities, kind of the common threads between CMOs, who I think are really successful you know, longer [00:06:00] term in their, in their organizations.
And they kind of have four things in common. One is that they're owners of the business. Not just their marketing function. The second is that they include others. You know, they, they have a big table and they, and they bring others to their table. They collaborate. So they see themselves as members of other's tables and they will you know, do their best to in a, in a constructive way be really present for all of the other functions and customers and the.
And then the fourth thing is that they empathize. And what I mean by that is they're really good at kind of putting their selves in other themselves, in other people's shoes and understanding what, what it is that they need. When a board member asks a question that may be a little difficult. It's like, okay, well, what's the why behind that question, they sort of instinctively or intuitively understand what that meta question is, what it is they're trying to, that person is trying to understand [00:07:00] from, from the.
Yeah, I think those are, that's a great list by the way. And, and I completely agree that those are some of the factors that, that I've seen make a really big difference in as you put it, I think is the right way to think about it. What, what makes a successful CMO versus trying to parse the difference between what someone calls themselves in the, in the first one?
I don't want it. I wanted to spend a minute on, which is really. I think of sort of the business or financial IQ of a COO. And it's one of the things that is, I think, incredibly important for any functional leader and anyone, any real executive team member of a company. Once you get to a certain scale is having that that understanding.
And I see the big gap all the time is that. The inability for some marketing leaders to make that translation between marketing. And business impact. [00:08:00] So, you know, I generated this many leads. We've got, you know, we've got a great open rate on our email who knows where I talking about all sorts of, you know, marketing related things, or even talking about the not relating specifically what they've done to the.
Business outcome. And I dunno, Carrie, if you, have you seen that, have you in, in, is, is that something you try to do at is it something you try to do at big Panda is to try to communicate your, your activities, your results, your goals in the context of what's what's important for the. Absolutely. And I, I think it goes even beyond financial and can influence the product as well, or the services.
Oftentimes we'll talk about our brand and we, we stop. The places where we are directly in control of that, we don't say, [00:09:00] how would the brand then manifest itself in the product, or how does this service reflect our brand or does it, and should it be different in some way in order for us to be true to our brand?
I think often we, we feel like we have to ask permission to. Extend beyond what people expect from marketing. And as you said, the results of, you know, we drove this many leads, which got this many meetings, which got this many opportunities and into the pipeline, that's sort of where we're allowed to, you know, we're, we're where we feel like we can play safely.
And it's when we can go outside of our group and think about influencing. W, you know, we talk about the self guided demo and the fact that that accelerates the, the buyer's journey. And even though it sits with the se team, it's something that we think in marketing will really [00:10:00] help you know, reduce the friction in the front end of the sales of the prospect cycle.
So. I don't think it's just the financial connection, although that is a big one. It absolutely is the place where you, you can demonstrate greater value than just what it's doing for the marketing team or, you know, directly for the sales team and you know, talking to. Customer stickiness and, and renewals and, and things that go again beyond what people expect marketing to be thinking about.
That's when you know, you've got you're, you're influencing the business overall and you're building a vision for what marketing can be. So I completely agree, but there's an end here. So I completely agree that the marketing executive should be the. Store to the brand and should be really understanding how to deeply penetrate [00:11:00] the brand values into the product, into the customer experience, into the company experience, into the employee experience all of those things.
But at the same time, I think you need to take it to the next level and really understand why. So why are you doing this? And, and my, my thesis here is that a hundred percent of what a company is doing. Can ultimately be connected to your P and L. Now it may be not in the short term, but I mean, think about the w the balance sheet of apple includes value for the apple brand, which has massive value.
Of course. So why are you doing that? You know, w why are you creating a positive brand experience? And you do that. Lots of different reasons. Some of it may be, well, I want to improve reputation so that if someone has a choice between one it ops platform and another one [00:12:00] as an example, they're going to choose big Panda, or I might want to focus on awareness so that, Hey, if someone realizes they have a problem, but don't, you know, are thinking about a category that.
Now I big Panda is something that can solve my problem. And, and again, the goal is to ultimately create business value. And I think understanding the connectedness there is, is a really important sort of advanced class, because that's how you're going to figure out how to get funding. When. Try to present to the board.
This is why I want to, you know, invest in other, you know, $5 million in the expansion of the big Panda brand. As an example, it's it's for a business purpose, it's following the connection all the way through. Absolutely. And I, and I think that comes back to one of the things I think Jamie, you talked about under, you know, being very data-driven understanding, you know, having the right tools in place, by the way.
I think one of the things that's really [00:13:00] tricky, especially if you're in a startup company and you don't have a tech stack that has, you know, all the right tools in it to help you get that visibility, you can put dollars towards. Thought leadership influence remarketing you know, that, that top level and not necessarily see how it translates to that P and L to the, to the bottom line.
So I do think there's a, there's a reliance we have on, on the beta and making sure that we, we have access to it and we are able to, you know, put it together in a, in a story that makes. Yeah. So an interesting thing that I see all the time is that the so I, I agree that it's often really difficult to, to measure some of the things that we're talking about relative to what's the brand impact of the company.
How's that going to change the value of the company over time, et cetera, that doesn't, [00:14:00] it doesn't mean one that you have to measure all of it. But you do need to have a core thesis. For why you're doing things and, and you should be able to make some assumptions. You should be able to say as an example that, well, we believe that.
We're being considered less than half the time. When someone is considering a platform for that, my, my company is, is going to surface. And we think by improving the brand awareness, we're going to, we're going to have more opportunities. We're gonna have more ad bats that, and if we can. Improved by a third, as an example, I can do the math there and figure out well, if I improve it by a third, you know a third participating in organic opportunities, growing that by a third can ultimately be connected to, to a business outcome that you can say, well, that's going to show up on my.
Am I [00:15:00] crazy. Jamie, tell me no, no, you're not at all. And you know, it's, it's interesting as, as you were talking about some of the ways to measure, you know, I would just encourage the audience to, to be creative in the way, you know, really think through kind of what am I trying to achieve and what's the best way to measure it because I think a lot of people kind of.
Locked into you know, number of opportunities or you know, percentage conversion rates. And, you know, if you're trying to think about, gosh, you know, am I getting through on awareness? Maybe the right measure is, gee, are we getting more RFPs than we did that include the type of messages that we're putting out into the.
Or G of the number of mentions from analysts and press, are they including these messages that we're trying to put out there? So those are the kinds of things that can you, you know, you can kind of put in place to say, cause it doesn't need to be perfect. Right? You [00:16:00] don't need to like be it doesn't need to be like.
Scientific or some academic paper, it's just, you know, directionally, am I making double the impact by really putting forth this type of message or are we really being recognized as this type of vendor from a positioning standpoint, peer reviews or yeah, on the, I think even branded search is a great way to measure your impact on the market as it increases.
Yeah, I'd consider that a it's a great, great recommendation. And I consider that what we'd call a proxy metric. So it may not be the direct measure of outcome, but it's going to be something that trends along the same curve as the ultimate outcome that you want. That may be really difficult to measure.
So for instance, brand awareness, am I going to invest in. The scale of the company that you happen to be at in a brand [00:17:00] awareness study in, in do it longitudinally? Probably not, but we'll we'll organic search traffic trend in the right direction for some of my branded keywords. Yeah, absolutely.
That, that would be a good proxy for, for measuring that. So I th I think that makes a lot of sense. So it's interesting that the discussion of brand a and I'm going to pivot here is going to reminds me, I need to ask the story of big Panda. So tell me, tell me where big Panda came from in, in, in what it means.
Our founders. Well, first of all, who doesn't love a cuddly Panda. And so I think, I think it's a great brand. It's one of the best brands I've ever worked on because people. The idea of it. And even our customers will say things like, oh yeah, we've, we've found some more monitoring tools and we've got to feed that data to the Panda.
Like [00:18:00] that's, you know, they, they talk about it in that way. We've got to feed the Panda, but you know, the Panda is interesting because they don't hibernate. They. Stay through the winter. They hunt, they eat, they, they are there. They never rest. And I think our founders really thought that it was a great metaphor for the fact that we think about digital services every day, all the time.
They don't go away. They don't shut down. And by the way, this was before COVID when digital services weren't, you know, or were good to have. And companies had three to five-year transformation plans and, and now, you know, overnight digital services are the way we expect to to shop, to go to school, to meet.
And and so, you know, being, being relentless, never sleeping. That's sort of the Genesis of the name. Oh, that's great. And is it always, is that from the beginning, it's always been called. [00:19:00] Big Panda. That's been it. And what's funny is the logos black and white. And, you know, we always talk about the fact that an it ops in the, in the world, we, you know, the community we serve, there's, there's rarely black and white.
You know, it's still a lot of gray, a lot of you know, a lot of an uncertainty about who, you know, who caused the change that caused the outage. And and so we're sort of the, the black and white answer to, to Well, that's it. It's amazing. And, and you can tell that the, the brand personality really comes from that.
And you can tell just in going through your digital properties, but here's the other thing I think that even seen some, some on, on social, as, as an example, employees seem to really. Excited and proud to be part of. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. And, you know, we started, it's funny. Like I loved the logo when I first got here and [00:20:00] we started a contest for sort of putting, putting costumes on the Panda.
And if you go to our website and go to the Panda gala, I see, you know, lots and lots of different versions of the Panda, which, you know, maybe a no-no to some, to some brands, but for us, it makes it very accessible. People love putting the stickers on their laptops. Their kids love getting the coloring book.
And so if anybody's hearing this and they want one of those stickers, reach out to me on LinkedIn and I'll, I'll send you a packet, but. I think that's part of it too, is recognizing how to turn your, and this is something I wouldn't have necessarily thought about as, you know, just doing my job as a functional marketing leader is how to turn your company and, and your, your brand into.
Something people want to interact with and want to love. And I think I evolved into that. Just, you know, being [00:21:00] transparent, I would say that's not something five or six years ago. I would have thought about, I definitely was thinking about category building and, and, you know, building out a machine to drive sales leads and things like that.
And, and really now I think more about how do I get the company excited about where we're going and how do I make sure that. Our brand feels as authentic as our sales experience is an an as all the other parts of our business are. So, you know, I think that's, that's another part of the CMO journey I'm on, you know, learning how to, how to be that.
It's interesting. A lot of people think about the idea of trying to. A personification of the brand, or I guess pontification in your case as a burden. Right. But you need something. How do you create something that's relatable? And, and I think that's, that's what you've done in, in. It's interesting because you, you, you actually highlighted.[00:22:00]
In your discussion there, just some of the business value around having a having an engaging brand. Some of it is your, your customers think about it. Your customers think about feeding the Panda in, in, in literally the idea of how do I, how do I. You know, provide data, provide value to this thing, to keep it healthy and thriving and get the data.
I mean, it's an amazing thing in keeping employees engaged. So you can really connect connect the value to, again, again, a positive business outcome, which is, which is pretty exciting. So now you've both worked for a pretty broad. Spectrum of, of companies and brands work for and with. And I, how, how do you think it's, it's different for a a smaller, earlier stage, more nimble company versus, you know, an SAP or something like that?
Is it possible for a big company to [00:23:00] have a relatable Really personable brand in.
I mean, I, oh, go ahead, Jamie. Sorry. Bragging. You actually go ahead. And then by all means, yeah, no, I was just thinking, you know one of the things, first of all, about the big Panda in the fact that you have make the Panda available so that people can, you know, dress them up and, and, you know, sort of relate to him You are not only creating, you're not only making your brand approachable, but you're creating a shared experience, which is really valuable.
It's sort of an inside joke shared between you know, you and your, and your, and your prospects and your community. And it's really powerful. They feel like they're part of something. And I can remember when you did something, you and I worked together a billion years ago at McAfee. And, you know, that's a big company and sort of like, oh, how do you, you know, sorta create intimacy.
One of the things that you did that I recall was [00:24:00] just brilliant is you were trying to reach out and sort of message to the SMB audience at one point and sort of, you know, bring to market a solution that would be really relevant to them. And you reached into some data. From a survey to kind of come up with, well, what is it that is really their issue.
And the issue is that they spend 15 minutes a day thinking about security. Wow. That's not very much, you know, they're, they're sort of it leaders. And so. And so you had this kind of wonderful way of just acknowledging that you created this program called secure in 15. And you know, it was a set of kind of a tool set or a playbook for how they could, you know, with the existing time that they had to be a security person, that they could actually run a program that would increase their security posture.
It was very effective. And just really goes to show, I think the way that you can sort of empathize with your audience, And, [00:25:00] and have something that they can just absolutely. I thank you so much. And I'll send you that 10 bucks later, but I would say, you know, I was influenced by Nancy Duarte a long time ago.
It was, you know, a book about how to do great presentations and it, and it was all about storytelling really. And I, I hadn't expected that when I started reading the book. I, what I took away from it was that there's always a hero and there's always a protagonist there's and the hero is your prospect, your customer, your future employee, and or your employees.
And if you. Figure out how to tell the story and it's about them and how they become, you know, how they rise. Then I, I do think that it sticks. It has, it becomes more about the empathy and the, and the passion for what they're going through. And we're feeling that now that you know, the it ops community that [00:26:00] you used to not even know.
Existed. They worked in the dark and you would only call them if something went down during COVID suddenly, you know, the pandemic put them at the, at the front of everything because where would we have been if all of our services were going down and who are these magical people that are keeping, keeping it all running.
And so I, I think that there is a lot to be said for thinking about. The ultimate person that is that you are. Yeah, for sure. It's back to the P and L you're trying to sell to, but if you know what their pains are and you can, you can tap into how you can help them or how to make them heroes. I think it's, it's a, it's a win for everybody.
Yeah, absolutely. And it's really, it's really interesting that, that the same concepts really apply to. Really big companies, small companies and everything in between. [00:27:00] It's really about empathy that we talked about before and in, in Jamie, one of the key things that you talked about is, is empathy. And if, if you can find that way to really connect with.
With a user. And I love the idea of of making making them the hero in the story obviously is a really exciting way to to think. And, and, and you can feel the companies where that isn't the case. We're where the user is not the user or the beneficiary is it's not the customer. It's, it's really about the center.
It's not at the center of every decision. It tends to be painfully obvious. Well, believe it or not, I we're, we're wrapping up toward the end of our scheduled time that you two have both been very generous with in, I, I was going to ask just one quick, last question of both of you. Which is our favorite question that we ask everyone, which is about what kind of advice you would give to current or aspiring [00:28:00] CEOs.
And I think, especially given the craziness that we're in the world right now with a lot of change and a lot of turbulence, it would be really helpful for you to share your thoughts. And maybe Jamie we'll start with. Great. So if I had to give a piece of advice that I would say, be the chief curiosity officer really put yourself into a learning mode and never take yourself out of it.
And it's it's for a couple of reasons. First of all, it's, it's just it's setting a great example in the company about being in a learning mindset, helping others learn. Always asking questions, always trying to understand the why, and you'll have to excuse Walter, because Walter, Walter has many things to say about that.
A lot of advice. Well, he's an influencer, of course, you know, so. And, but it also helps to teach others what questions they should be thinking about. So it's, it's kind of going beyond just the learning and helping others learn and [00:29:00] demystifying learning, but it's also helping, you know, if you ask kind of the same question about why the customer.
Bought or didn't buy or what they saw about this feature or what have you, it sort of trains everybody to be looking for that information, that sort of peeling of the onion of information that will make you so much more insightful as a vendor and make our whole company insightful, not just a few handful of people.
So highly recommend being the chief curiosity officer. Awesome. I love it. And then Carrie, what, what would you. What would you offer as advice? Well, I love that and by the way, I also think it shows it demonstrates and gives others permission to be curious too. Doesn't it. If they see you, you know, asking the CEO, asking the board, asking your, your peers to learn more, to understand more than.
It just, yeah, it paves the way for everyone to have that, that permission mine [00:30:00] is back to the original topic and it is don't rush in don't rush in and, and feel that you have to race to the CMO role. I think that, you know, it may be more financially. It may be lucrative to do so. But that's a short term game and Take your time, really give yourself permission to understand what it, what it's going to mean for you, for the things that you want to do and what you're going to do for the company.
And, and then eyes wide open. Take that role. And then that's, that's what I would say. Well, I think, I think those are both great pieces of advice curious and strategic and take your time are, I think I'd summarize, those are really great pieces of advice. I really appreciate. Both of you, Jamie and Carrie sharing your, your time, your advice.
I wanted to thank you for [00:31:00] being on the next CMO podcast. And I wanted to remind others that if you're a, if you're have ideas for guests, you'd like to hear on the podcast drop us a firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on all those social things. We'll add links to the show notes, make sure you join the next CMO community that.
Yeah, they carry joined in, has been a member of in started that conversation. And now we continued and I really appreciate the time and hope you all have a great rest of the day. So thanks everyone. Thanks for having us. Thank you. Thank you.