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Read Q&As with the top B2B marketers today in Drew's Ad Age column. 

Ad Age

  • August 11, 2020 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The absence of physical events in 2020 created a void for B2B marketers, many of whom rely on them for up to 80 percent of their leads. Marketers also count on events to educate, celebrate and entertain customers, partners and employees. Budgets are lavish, and hard-core digital marketers including Adobe’s Ann Lewnes praise their effectiveness. It wasn’t a surprise when big brands, including Adobe and IBM, staged virtual events in April.

    While the brands benefited from early-mover advantage in terms of attendance, the overall experience could not compare with their stellar physical events. Looking to do better, the CMO of Skillsoft, the learning management system software and content producer, used design thinking to reimagine a virtual event experience from the ground up.

    Skillsoft CMO discusses interactive keynotes, case studies and courses across four continents. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How a Learning Tech Company Reimagined Its Global, 24-Hour Virtual Event

    Listen to the Episode: Raising the Bar with Virtual Events

  • July 31, 2020 12:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 199: Today's Resilience is Tomorrow's Excellence

    What does B2B excellence look like in a downturn? When faced with this question, the software company Coupa quickly adopted a story of resilience. The decision to change its messaging allowed Coupa to change buying committee perspectives on its offering—if the prospect’s goal was to preserve capital and mitigate risk in the long-run, Coupa had the solution to get there.

    Coupa’s strategy has proven effective, and the company’s skyrocketing stock is proof. In this week’s densely packed episode, CMO Chandar Pattabhiram uncovers how they pivoted under pressure, harmonizing their messaging and releasing it to a 100% digital world. He also shares valuable insights, like Geoffrey Moore’s concept of “provocation selling,” the 4 P’s of pivoting, and how Coupa is taking action against social injustice.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • July 22, 2020 11:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Most B2B marketers consider internal audiences important. Before a new campaign is launched, employees are gathered in a town hall in which the big news is shared by senior leadership. These are often followed by departmental sessions and the distribution of new sales materials. For many companies, indoctrination stops there.

    Not at IT service management company Boomi, a Dell Technologies business. After announcing its new corporate mission of “accelerating business outcomes,” the sales team was required to become accredited on the new brand story and the new sales pitch. Other employees were encouraged to share the story on social media. Explains Mandy Dhaliwal, Boomi’s CMO, “Our brand ambassadors are our staff. If we don’t believe in our technology, who will?” Unifying the staff behind the campaign accelerated marketing results for the brand, whose share of voice and lead flow increased.

    CMO discusses why Boomi focused on internal audiences first. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How Employee Buy-in Drove Results for a B2B Marketing Campaign

    Listen to the Episode: Why Dell Boomi is Booming

  • July 17, 2020 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 197: Rethinking Your Brand Promise...In a Hurry

    Right around mid-March 2020, every brand, B2B or B2C, had to take a cold hard look at their brand promise and consider its relevance. Was the brand promise that seemed so right in the go-go months before the pandemic suddenly tone deaf? For Jakki Geiger, CMO of Reltio, a Silicon Valley-based data management platform, the answer to that question was “yes.” Practically overnight, the idea of “winning” seemed out of step with their customers, many of whom were focused more on surviving and less on thriving. So, what’s a savvy marketer to do?

    In this remarkably frank episode, Geiger shares exactly how she and her colleagues shifted gears and found a new, more relevant message around “serving, protecting, and retaining.” It’s a story of agility, determination, customer-centricity, and fearless leadership that almost any marketer can learn from. Drew and Jakki cover a lot of ground including the role CMOs can play not just in driving leads (which she did) but also driving social change in areas like diversity.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • July 15, 2020 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When Amy Messano joined Altair as CMO in early 2019, the global tech company was in the middle of an acquisition spree that radically reshaped it. With 30 or so new companies merged into one, Messano had to make sure it became a cohesive branded house and not a chaotic house of brands. To do that, Messano and her team spent close to a year conducting research among their 3,300 employees and hundreds of customers, ultimately developing a new vision for the brand. Then the pandemic struck.

    Not wanting to appear tone deaf, Messano considered holding off on the launch. But a bit more research with employees and customers revealed that their new rallying cry, #OnlyForward, was actually a welcome message of positivity in a time of uncertainty. Messano discusses how the rebranding came into being, how the team gained employee and customer buy-in and how they knew their efforts were indeed well-timed.

    Altair's CMO discusses how the launch became a message of positivity in a time of uncertainty. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: Why the Pandemic Didn’t Stop a Global Tech Company’s Rebrand

    Listen to the Episode: Decoding Your Company’s True Brand Purpose

  • July 10, 2020 1:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 196: Raising the Bar with Virtual Events

    If you’re looking for an example of a high-quality virtual event, you’ve got to check out Skillsoft’s Perspectives 2020. Drew did, and he was absolutely blown away by the online summit. In fact, it was so engaging that he just had to interview their CMO, Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek (Michelle BB for short) to learn more about the work that went on behind the scenes to create a global experience that rivals pre-COVID physical events.

    In this episode, Michelle generously shares the details behind the making of the event, as well as other tips, like how they’re measuring its success and how they plan to use the momentum to generate demand. We’ve also got a special Q&A session with a live audience of CMOs: Gabi Zijderveld from Affectiva, Ian Howells from Sage Intacct, Holly Rollo from RSA Security, and Mark Floisand from Coveo. Check it out!

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • July 07, 2020 11:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just months ago, B2B marketers had lofty growth plans focused on driving a large quantity of leads into their sales funnels. Today, with so many businesses struggling and lead-generating events off the table, those plans have been torn up. Many marketers are now making customer retention their top priority, which is a victory even if it means making contract concessions.

    Couchbase, an open-source database software company, has found success with this approach. Because "customer-centricity" is part of the company’s core values, Chief Marketing Officer Peter Finter said it is easier to demonstrate increased empathy for customers—which translated into “we’re in this together” messaging, making training courses free and flexibility on terms. “We want to take pressure off our customers,” says Finter.

    Couchbase CMO discusses how 'customer-centricity' is helping the B2B marketer stay connected. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How Customer Retention Is Replacing Acquisition during the Coronavirus

    Listen to the Episode: B2B Values to Solve Any Marketing Challenge

  • June 26, 2020 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 194: Collaborating Creatively in the Zoom Economy

    “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” may seem like the title of a children’s song, but for many of us, it’s the reality of the workday—a string of Zoom meetings that take up the brunt of one’s time. And while virtual meetings have been a great way to stay connected to colleagues and hold brainstorming sessions, they can be a real hindrance to productivity.

    It’s important for CMOs and other leaders to help their teams Zoom smarter, not harder. In this week’s episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Smartsheet CMO Anna Griffin shares tips and tricks for facilitating effective brainstorming sessions, like starting meetings with a frame break and assigning ownership. The process passed the test, as the Smartsheet team pulled together and published their recent global survey within a week of their initial Zoom ideation session. Be sure to tune in, you won’t want to miss it.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • June 12, 2020 12:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Listen Here | From Renegade Thinkers Unite, Episode 192: Decoding Your Company's True Brand Purpose

    Brands must be handled with care. They are emotional, enduring, and convey everything a business stands for, so it behooves CMOs to ensure that their company’s brand purpose and the messaging around it are not tone-deaf, but accessible—so accessible that they become a rallying cry for employees and customers alike and speak to any challenge that may come your way.

    Now, how can you achieve this? At Renegade, we suggest finding a common story and articulating it in six words or less, which is exactly what Altair did when the software engineering firm launched its “Only Forward” campaign. As CMO Amy Messano explains, they knew that their decision to rebrand during COVID was the right one; firstly, because they had previously put in nearly a year of hard work to find their brand story, and secondly, because their purpose gave employees hope in an otherwise unpredictable moment—the true acid test for a successful brand refresh.

    In this week’s episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Amy shares the story behind Altair’s mid-COVID rebrand, including how she used her “engineering pocket translator” to discover their purpose-driven story statement, how they activated their employees with the new message, and how they’ve measured its success thus far.

    For full show notes and transcripts, visit

  • June 11, 2020 11:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Acquisitions are relentless in tech. Even in the middle of the pandemic, brands including Cisco, Microsoft, Facebook, VMware, Atlassian, Zoom, Intel, NVIDIA, Verizon, Docusign, BMC Software and Accenture acquired one or more companies. With each acquisition comes a series of branding questions. What to do with acquired names? How does the overall brand story change, if at all? For example, after SAP paid $8 billion for Qualtrics in 2019, it shifted much of its messaging to improving customer experiences, a promise enabled by Qualtrics technology.

    For Isabelle Papoulias, CMO of Mediafly—a sales-enablement and content management software company—the answer to these questions changed after back-to-back acquisitions over a six-month period. The first acquisition was business as usual. But two weeks before announcing the second acquisition, Papoulias received a “stop the presses” call from her CEO. He wanted a new campaign. She took this as an opportunity to rethink everything, leading to a complete overhaul of the brand, go-to-market messaging and tactics.

    CMO discusses Mediafly's integrated approach in support of new campaign on Ad Age. 

    Read the full Q&A on Ad Age: How Back-To-Back Acquisitions Led to a Tech Brand Overhaul

    Listen to the Episode: Keep Calm and Acquisition On

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