We sat down with Elizabeth Clor, CMO of Contegix, to get a glimpse into her journey to CMO, what marketing skills she considers must-haves, and much more. We learned not only about her marketing know-how, but also how her love of running played a role in her marketing career journey. What an amazing and inspiring story.
These are the highlights from our conversation with Elizabeth.
CT: What are the three top things you think contributed most to your rise to CMO?
Elizabeth Clor, CMO of Contegix
EC: First and foremost, the ability to align marketing strategy with business goals and objectives. This includes understanding marketplace drivers. It’s not about just being a marketer who executes campaigns and programs. There needs to be a clear understanding of the business objectives and strategic thought about what marketing needs to accomplish to be aligned with the business.
The next area is being data-driven. To succeed as a marketing leader, it’s important to understand the data inside and out. This
understanding goes beyond surface-level metrics you might find on an operations report, including the number of leads, opportunities, etc. It’s important to dig in and understand the story behind the data, even for leaders who are more brand or communication-oriented and may shy away from being hands-on with marketing data.
Lastly, sales and marketing alignment is extremely important. I never want to be marketing just for the sake of marketing. After a campaign is complete and leads have been generated, getting feedback from the sales team is crucial. Sales and marketing need to have an amicable relationship where both sides are consistently working towards the same goals.
In addition to these factors, I’ve also applied lessons from running to my career. Most importantly, to focus on the process, and the outcome will follow naturally. As marketers, we tend to be results-driven, but we must not allow our desire for results to distract us from the process and the journey of getting to those results. Marketing involves trial-and-error, and things often don’t go as planned. It’s been crucial for me to have the patience to plan, monitor, and analyze different strategies and tactics. Additionally, running has given me the confidence to be bold and try new things.
CT: If you were building a marketing team from scratch, what positions would be your first three hires?
EC: For me, my focus is less on specific roles and more on the skills and mindset of the person. My hiring philosophy is to find smart, strategic thinkers who can execute and get things done. These people also need to be able to work together to make the marketing magic happen.
While my ideal team members do ultimately fit into a defined role, in many ways, they’re jack-of-all-trades types of people who can cross over into different areas of marketing.
If I had to choose three roles, I would say:
- Marketing operations- Automation, integration with a CRM, analytics and reporting, managing databases and systems
- Content marketer- Creative, ability to design high-quality graphics, write content/manage an outsourced agency, branding
- Advertising/digital campaign specialist- SEO, paid campaigns (social, display), website management, generating paid ROI
CT: What is one skill that you want every marketer on your team to have?
EC: Everyone needs to be able to think analytically and measure their efforts against lead generation and awareness goals. I think this skill is extremely valuable and outweighs any hard skill like coding or design.
CT: Do you have a “one day we’ll laugh about this” marketing disaster story?
EC: I do, and I feel like a lot of marketers can relate to it. At a previous company, we were in the process of implementing Marketo and were participating in a virtual training. During the training, one of my team members needed to send out a test message through the system. Unfortunately, the test message went out to a database of approximately 80,000 individuals.
We were so embarrassed and had to issue a retraction to disregard the previous email. Thankfully, there wasn’t any spend attached to the mistake, which probably helps in being able to laugh about it now!
CT: When you are interviewing candidates for your team, what is your go-to interview question?
EC: I love asking how they measure success because it helps me understand what motivates them. Is it data that shows success after a campaign, product/service delivery, something else? Ultimately, there’s no right answer, but it gives me valuable insight into what drives them to perform.
CT: What business/corporate buzzword would you like to eliminate forever?
EC: There are so many to choose from, but the first one that comes to mind is “leverage”. In marketing, it feels like everyone is saying, “Let’s leverage this” or “We need to leverage that”, and it’s just overused at this point. Sure, it’s simpler to use than saying “take advantage of”, but to me, leverage is more of a noun than a verb.
The other buzzword that I would pick is “digital transformation.” I hear it a lot in the tech space. It does have a valuable meaning, but I think it has been overused and has lost its power. When used correctly, digital transformation describes the process of moving from a manual, paper-based system to a more streamlined, digital version. Some brands and individuals are applying the term to a more prominent focus on digital marketing, which is likely a positive change, but not necessarily a “digital transformation.”
CT: If you weren’t in marketing, what would your dream job be?
EC: I have quite a few, but if I had to choose one, I think I would be on Broadway as a singer/dancer/actress. I absolutely love the intersection of dance, music, and acting and consider myself a musical theater buff. I enjoy watching Broadway shows, and I also love performing on stage. While my dancing days are long behind me, I can still dream about Broadway!
Elizabeth Clor brings over 20 years of experience in demand generation, content marketing, multi-channel communication, and sales enablement to Contegix as their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). As a recognized marketing leader, Elizabeth has had thought leadership pieces published in AdWeek, Content Marketing Institute, and CustomerThink. Also an avid runner, Elizabeth manages her blog Racing Stripes, a fitness-focused Instagram account and has even published a book, Boston Bound, which details her journey of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.