The first-ever CMO of a young company has to do something slightly different from one stepping into the same role for a legacy brand. When DailyPay’s Jeanniey Mullen was appointed as the financial tech company’s first CMO in July 2019, she wanted to transform the payroll landscape.
As a former global CMO of human resources consulting firm Mercer and marketing lead for Nook by Barnes & Noble and JCPenney, Mullen's tenures have shaped her understanding and approach to the diverse responsibilities of a CMO. She spoke with us about what it takes to be the first person in that position at a company, the four types of CMOs, and why she considers herself a "hybrid."
What is unique about being the first CMO of a company?
The first CMO of any company has to be as good at demand generation as they are at brand. This is because they have to continue to educate and build the brand, but if they take their foot off the gas of the demand gen, then the company isn’t going to grow. The first CMO needs to come in and establish process, build a technical foundation and look at what the company’s needs are.
How did you do this at DailyPay?
My role at DailyPay is that of a hybrid CMO, because the company is focused on high growth but eventual innovation. [At just three weeks in], with the backing of my CEO and the board, I was able to identify and develop what the go-forward strategy will be over four phases in five years. I also determined the incremental changes that need to be made to seamlessly evolve the culture and keep the whole team excited, especially in this fast-paced environment.
How do you define "hybrid CMO"?
I define a CMO’s role in four ways. Either you’re a brand CMO, data-driven CMO, hybrid CMO or innovative/creative CMO. At DailyPay, I’m a hybrid CMO because I’m focused on both brand and demand gen, but each position has its own definition:
What does the future of the CMO role look like?
There is no cookie cutter for the CMO—it’s whatever role the business needs that person to play. So, a CMO is always going to have a role, but I don't know that it's ever going to be consistently defined again. Knowing that, it’s important to figure out what kind of CMO you are based on your strengths and the needs of your company.
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