• Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of TripActions Q&A
  • Meagen Eisenberg, CMO of TripActions Q&A

    Meagen Eisenberg CMO of TripActions takes the TechMarketers Q&A

    Meagen Eisenberg leads marketing for corporate management technology provider and answers the Q&A. 

    Which company do you work for?

    TripActions

    What is your role?

    Chief Marketing Officer

    Where are you based?

    Palo Alto, California

    Where were you born and raised and where do you live now?

    I was born in Texas and currently live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    How did you enter the technology sector?

    When I was an undergraduate I studied MIS and Computer Science, this led me into a career as an IT engineer at Cisco. After a few years I decided to go back to school to get my MBA at Yale School of Management. Since then my career has spanned from being VP of Demand Generation and Customer Acquisition at DocuSign where we grew from 150 employees to more than 1,300, and from a platform serving 13 million users, to 50 million. After this, I was CMO of MongoDB for four years and took them public. I've been in technology for the last 20 years, in product marketing and demand generation, and luckily it was at a time when MarTech was really starting to boom. 

    How did you begin a career in marketing?

    I'd say the ‘ah-ha' moment for me was when I was attending business school at Yale School of Management. I discovered that marketing is a mix of creativity and science. It's economics and statistics, with elements of pricing and understanding the fundamentals of your business, your competitors and your product. With my background in tech, I believed I could help tech companies better market themselves because I understood the product and the buyer, but I also had a sense of creativity.

    What aspect of marketing doesn't get enough attention?

    I think all aspects of marketing need to be evaluated on an ongoing basis. As the majority of my experience is in MarTech, though, my speciality is using technology to power all aspects of marketing. I believe in, for instance, making sure we stay on top of the most effective technologies available. The right technologies simplify processes and make it easier to build relationships, whether that's with customers or internal sales and customer success teams. In order for this to work, tech has to work hand-in-hand with people. 

    What would you say is your greatest strength?

    I think it would have to be hiring. I look for problem solvers — whether it's product, comms, demand gen or web development, there will inevitably be roadblocks along the way and I look for folk that are adaptable to change. I also believe in networking. I'm an advisor for boards of startups and innovative technologies — you have to stay connected. 

    What would you say is your biggest weakness?

    Saying ‘no' is definitely my biggest weakness. I'm always eager to find ways to help our customers and my internal peers, partners and stakeholders.

    Which marketing technology or other tools do you rely on in your job?

    In terms of my day-to-day it's definitely marketing automation tools. At any given time I have 30+ technologies running. These can be anything from Eloqua and Marketo to Salesforce, Hootsuite, Drift or LeanData. Other tools — TripActions and DocuSign. 

    Will AI and ML become key technologies for you in your role? 

    I think AI and ML are key components of a lot of major technologies that are out now and that are on the horizon. I can see them becoming key in my role as long as they provide insights to deliver a better customer experience, make better decisions, or help facilitate people to be more productive.

    Is building a good team one of the most important aspects of your role? 

    Absolutely. You need to hire for problem solvers and people who can remove roadblocks. Key traits of a good team are people who work hard, find creative solutions to problems and are collaborative. 

    Is it hard to balance work and your personal life? 

    In a word, yes. I have three young girls and three French bulldogs, and an amazing husband. It is a constant effort, but totally worth it.

    What is the most frustrating aspect of working in marketing in the tech sector?

    What I find frustrating is trying to constantly ensure your people, technology and processes are working harmoniously together. You also need to focus on evolving your marketing mix, and understanding what your sales team's priorities are — there's always something new to learn from talking to your teams. 

    Is there an over-reliance on metrics and KPIs in the job today?

    No, I think metrics and data are key to understanding what's working and not. You measure what matters and work on fixing what's not working. Insights are key to this. 

    What do you find is the most successful way to measure ROI of marketing? 

    I think it's down to a mixture of things. For instance, looking at how much of a sales pipeline are you creating and influencing, how many high-quality leads you drive, how well are you working with your sales team and making sure you're driving a closed-loop process with sales. 

    Are regulations such as GDPR making the role more challenging? 

    I personally think it is making the role better. We only want to deliver relevant, targeted messages to the audience it makes the most sense for.

    What do you think of Gartner's notion that CMOs and CDOs are often outspending CIOs on IT? 

    It's true.

    What is the most exciting aspect of the role?

    The changing landscape and the way people discover companies and products. We have so many channels to reach people on now and they're all getting noisier. It's forcing us to get more creative to get people's attention, which can only be a good thing. 

    As a marketing leader are you focused on customer retention as well as winning new customers? 

    Always

    How has the job changed in your time?

    We have so much more technology at our fingertips now, which of course means more data. Both of which is supporting everyone in the industry. 

    On a scale of 1 (very negative) to 10 (very positive) how would you rate the relationship between sales and marketing in the technology sector?

    10

    On a scale of 1 (very negative) to 10 (very positive) how would you rate the relationship between the CFO and marketing in the technology sector?

    9

    On a scale of 1 (very negative) to 10 (very positive) how would you rate the relationship between the CEO and marketing in the technology sector?

    10

    How much time do you spend in your company's offices and where do you work when not there?

    I tend to split my time between the office and working elsewhere when I'm on the road visiting customers, partners and employees. When I'm not in the office you can find me at home, in coffee shops or in a WeWork. 

    How do you occupy your time outside work?

    My husband and my three kids. 

    On average how many times a year do you travel outside of your own country? 

    I'd say around 5. 

    How do you stay in touch with both new ideas and experience? 

    I do this through networking with my peers, on social media, attending conferences and reading. 

    Why do you think the average tenure of CMOs in the tech sector is so short?

    Being a CMO is a balance of product marketing, demand gen and brand, and not one person can do it all.  So, they need to be able to hire their weakness.  Also, companies go through different stages where these pillars rotate on what is most important at that given time. 

    What should be the next career steps after the CMO role?

    Whatever you want — another CMO role, CEO, board seat, vacation...

    The hard thing about hard things book

    What is your favourite book?

    The Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.

    What is your favourite song? 

    Thank you, next - Ariana Grande

    What is your favourite movie or TV show? 

    I don't watch TV.

    What is your favourite sports and sports team?

    Volleyball and soccer, and of course my kids' sports teams — Strikers for Soccer. 

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    About Mark Chillingworth

    Mark Chillingworth is Contributing Editor to Tech Marketers and one of Europe's leading CIO Editors

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