Just before the ball dropped, launching us into 2020, we here at Oracle CX Marketing got on the phone with Randy Frisch, CMO at Uberflip. We wanted to talk marketing, but we ended up talking about a whole lot more than that—from content to job hopping to how he got his start.
1: What did you go to school for?
RF: In university, as we call it here in Canada, I went to McGill in Montreal for my undergrad in commerce, then did a little time in Australia at the University of New South Wales. After that, I got my MBA at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto.
2. Tell us about your first job.
RF: I went to summer camp for way too long, like, way too long, but I loved it. So that was technically my first job. But later, I had a job through my family, which was technically the first time I was getting paid not to look after kids in the summer. The first day on the job, I went into the office dressed in nice pants and a nice shirt, the whole deal, and when I got there, my dad said to me, “What are you doing?!” It ended up I was going to work in the warehouse doing returns, so he told me, “Go home, change, and come back ready to do actual work.” I remember being confused, and then him saying, “You’re not going to understand the front office until you understand what’s happening on the ground level. That lesson always stuck with me.
3: Why did you want to become a CMO?
RF: To be honest, I didn’t always have a desire to be a CMO. I had the entrepreneurial bug. My father and grandfather started a successful business, but it wasn’t something I wanted to go into, yet I wanted to take that entrepreneurial path for myself. For me, helping create a solution that helps marketers was the draw for me. Being a CMO is kind of just gravy.
4: What’s your biggest challenge as a CMO?
RF: I’d say my biggest challenge is about realizing being a CMO is not just about attracting revenue, it’s also about retaining revenue. I’m sure you’ve gotten the answer “aligning with sales,” as a top CMO challenge, but that answer is obvious. If that’s your biggest challenge and you’re still dealing with that then you’re in trouble. It’s realizing that the CMO has their hand everywhere—including customer experience—which goes beyond the stage of awareness and MQL. If you don’t retain the customers you have it doesn’t matter how much revenue you bring in. Understanding you need the right people in place to do that, and helping build and maintain employer brand, all comes back to the CMO in one way or another.
5: Why do you feel the average tenure of a modern CMO is under two years?
RF: I would say many CMOs are struggling to adapt to the new responsibilities of their role, and the ones who are really good at it are in high demand. We’re seeing a lot of strong CMOs being brought in to handle organizational change management. On my podcast, The Marketer’s Journey, I spoke with a CMO who actually embraces job hopping and encourages his team to do it. His mindset around it was that you learn more by moving around, helping you quickly jump in and assess future situations because you’ve seen so many things. Personally, I’m kind of a traditionalist—I love people who have grown with companies.
6: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other CMOs?
RF: Speak to other CMOs. We get so obsessed with how to be better at what we do, and one way to do it is to build your own peer network. Getting other perspectives, understanding how other CMOs are organizing their teams, hearing what their methodologies are is a huge value.
7: What’s one thing you wish CEOs understood about marketing?
RF: I’ll go in an area that I speak about a lot in the market—the content topic. There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to content. A lot of people think content marketing is all about hiring writers and creating blog posts, but what we’re starting to realize is that content isn’t something we go to market with. It’s something we lead to. Whether it be through direct mail or retargeting ads, the channels we use to communicate come and go, but there’s always a need for a destination to lead to. It kind of goes back to that CX point that we talked about earlier. It’s not about the individual assets, it’s about thinking of the assets as collections of content experiences, like those offered by Netflix and Spotify. The channel is just distribution, but where we link to is content.
8: What do you think marketing will look like in 2050?
RF: The idea of looking forward and being to deliver marketing campaigns that are in tune with what people are looking for is huge…where we can lead buyers on a journey and they arrive once. On an ongoing basis, marketers have to go back to get a buyer’s attention. We spend money to email you, we spend money to engage on social with you, but every time we do that, it increases our customer acquisition cost. What I think we should we able to expect in 30 years is that we’ll be able to spend more efficiently to get in front of someone and lock them in, no different than what Netflix does when we sit down on a Saturday afternoon and binge watch season three of Stranger Things—I think we’ll be able to binge through a buyer journey. To me, that’s the future.
9: What job would you never want to do?
RF: I could never be a lawyer. I can’t read that much detail or worry about that much detail—I want to get stuff done.
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Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.