Tom Doran, CMO of Innovia Consulting, talks to The Ortus Club’s Francisco Baraquel about the role of the CMO as a driver of sales growth through brand management, marketing communications and market research.
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Can you give us a brief description of your company?
Innovia Consulting has been in business for 35 years, and we specialise in the Microsoft Dynamics ERP solution.
What words best describe the role of a CMO? Why?
Driving sales. It’s to help companies grow and make sure we have the revenue we need to succeed.
What challenges are CMOs facing right now? Can you identify any solutions?
I think that noise in the marketing channel is a big challenge. So getting through to decision-makers with a message that causes them to take a moment is the old marketing action axiom, right? Attention, interest, desire, action. We have to get their attention first and then hold their interest. I think that’s a big challenge with all of the electronic marketing taking place these days.
How do you explain the success you’ve had in your career?
Some good fortune and others’ good training. As a graduate of Indiana University, I felt like I had a great foundation there. Moreover, I’ve had mentors who guided me and helped me focus on the most meaningful things to customers. Unfortunately, as marketers, we get caught up in our message and lose sight of the idea that none of it matters if it doesn’t matter to the customer.
“Be a continuous reader and interact with your peers, especially those outside your industry. You can get great ideas from people that are from an entirely different industry.”
Can you tell us about a time you took a major risk in your career?
I had owned a frozen food manufacturing company for nine years. Then we sold that company, leaving me looking for the next thing to do. So I shifted into the computer industry, where I had minimal experience. The job was a significant risk, getting into the ERP business.
How can you see your role evolving in the next two to three years?
There’s tremendous growth in more companies in the next two to three years. So I’m looking for more capable systems to help them compete in a global marketplace. Helping those firms transition from a small QuickBooks-type system to something more robust is a big hurdle for change, making management important. We help those folks go through that journey which is our biggest challenge.
What marketing or business trends are you taking advantage of right now?
We’re certainly trying to watch global trends and Microsoft’s investments to help serve their customers. So artificial intelligence, machine learning, more advanced eCommerce are all tools coming to play. They’re table stakes; you’ve got to have them if you’re competing effectively.
What career advice would you like to share with other CMOs?
If you’re early in your career, I would suggest making sure that you’re continuing to read. Be a voracious reader and interact with your peers, especially those outside your industry. Sometimes, we get a little myopic in our focus. So we think that the industry we’re in is the only message, and sometimes you get great ideas from people in an entirely different industry.