Esther Flammer - CMO - Wrike

Ben is speaking with Esther Flammer, CMO of Wrike, the powerful work and task management platform that was acquired by Citrix for more than $2 billion back in January 2021. Esther has a strong marketing background heading up marketing teams for a wide variety of SAS, or software as a service companies that include senior marketing positions at Conga, a revenue lifecycle management platform, Convercent a provider of ethics and compliance software and return path, a well known email deliverability provider.

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Summary & Learning Points

– Prioritizing clear goals and setting out steps to achieve them: It’s important to have a clear direction in mind and to break down the steps needed to get there.

– Being decisive and standing your ground: As a leader, it’s important to be able to make tough decisions and be confident in your decisions.

– Aligning the interests of the company with those of the customer: Successful CMOs should be able to balance the needs of the business with those of the customer.

– Communicating effectively and building strong relationships: CMOs should be able to effectively communicate their vision and work well with other departments and stakeholders.

– Being a strategic thinker: CMOs should be able to identify opportunities for growth and develop plans to take advantage of them.

– Analyzing data and using it to inform decision-making: CMOs should be skilled at using data to inform their decision-making and drive business success.


The Transcript

Esther Flammer  0:00  

But being able to understand where is it that your company is at now, what’s the opportunity? What’s most important, right? If you’re thinking through ruthless priorities of what’s absolutely important for your business to be successful at this stage of growth. This is the podcast where we go around the globe, marketing leaders from the world’s biggest brands, fastest growing companies, and most disruptive startups, re ideas packaged a certain way want to spread, they want to be told to someone else’s simple, surprising, and significant data to unlocking viral creativity is to make it rapidly scalable. This is top cmo with me and Kaplan.


Ben Kaplan  0:39  

Today I’m speaking with Esther Flammer, cmo of Wrike, the powerful work and task management platform that was acquired by Citrix for more than $2 billion back in January 2021. Esther has a strong marketing background heading up marketing teams for a wide variety of SAS, or software as a service companies that include senior marketing positions at conga, a revenue lifecycle management platform, conversant a provider of ethics and compliance software and return path, a well known email deliverability provider. So what’s the difference between a brand focus CMO, or a customer’s focus cmo and a CMO like Esther, who is hunting down hockey stick growth curves? As Esther likes to say, it comes down to being ruthless?


Esther Flammer  1:28  

It’s a great question. The way that I think through how do you scale at really high growth companies is probably a couple of different ways. One is you have to wear a lot of hats, right? In my mind, it’s not necessarily specialising in just one thing. One part of marketing, we know has, marketing has lots of different facets, but making sure that you kind of know enough of each of those parts of marketing each of the functions of marketing and why they’re important and what stage that they’re important in. And so when you think about companies that scale, oftentimes, it is very kind of product heavy at first of trying to get minimum viable product out there. So how do you make sure that you’re positioning, positioning? Well, right, then it goes into fast and hard sales growth, you’re just focused on revenue. So what are things that you can do to generate leads and pipeline, then oftentimes, it’s building the foundations for customer retention, expansion, advocacy. And so making sure that you understand what part of your business, what phase that you’re in what’s most important in terms of business objectives, and then laying foundations that can scale for each of those phases and areas of growth? I think also, you just have to have a really kind of innovative, really great testing cadence, be really able to pivot very quickly be able to connect the dots look at look at the market opportunity, look at where historically where you’ve maybe been successful, look at areas where you can capitalise are gaps that you can fill. And then how do you quickly lay something down a campaign a target audience a value proposition, a use case, and then be able to actually execute, see what happens, test and iterate and optimise and then go, you know, move as quickly as you can. I think commonly in high growth companies, it’s you’re building the plane while you fly it, that’s something that we always say, because you’re moving quickly, nothing is ever going to be perfect, you’re never going to have perfect data, you’re never going to have full insight into everything. And so you just you have to move quickly, but be able to build foundations that can scale, while iterating at every point.


Ben Kaplan  3:38  

And I’ve heard even described one level more, which is not even just building the plane while you’re flying it. But like building your parachute, why your skydiving meeting is good. If you don’t build fast enough, there’s gonna be not as an outcome. What you’re saying. And it’s interesting to think about a growth oriented cmo in terms of these phases. And you articulated well, in terms of these phases, where there’s different parts in the lifecycle of a company, where there’s different things you’re focused on, particularly if you’re a company that raised funding, and there’s different things expected of you, when you’re at seed funding are a Series A or Series B or Series C. And as the company becomes from a product to a full company, what has to, in your experience, what has to change and evolve in a CMO to do that are CMOS that are good. At one stage. They’re good at a certain type of marketing, not good at another stage, much like it’s a challenge for CEOs for startups where you have a Mark Zuckerberg who you know, is at one stage of Facebook, when Facebook still a kind of a plucky startup and a totally different phase when you’re a target and you’re there for the whole ride. What about for the CMO and skills? Is it a challenge to be good at all of these phases in the same way?


Esther Flammer  4:49  

I think it can be absolutely but I think absolutely there’s ways for you to adapt right and to grow. And again, I think if you have the core skill sets where you have rolled up you sleeves. I’ve been able to build out operational infrastructure for organisations at both small scale and then at large scale, I’ve been able to build out digital campaigns and demand gen strategies, again, for various businesses at various phases of growth, but being able to understand where is it that your company is at now? What’s the opportunity? What’s most important, right? If you’re thinking through ruthless priorities of what’s absolutely important for your business to be successful at this stage of growth? Are you focused on various, you know, like, like I had mentioned earlier, right? Are you trying to differentiate your product? Are you trying to drive leads pipeline revenue? Are you trying to focus on making sure that you’re retaining customers and reducing churn? You know, there’s, there’s all sorts of components that you need to dig into in terms of overall business strategy. And then, depending on your phase, right, being able to understand, here’s, here’s what that looks like, at a small scale. And then here’s how we can scale it. And like I said, there’s a lot about the foundations that can scale and understanding that mentality of hey, this is minimum viable product, or we have very limited resources, how do we get something up quickly, so that we can, you know, test them, see if that works, and then move forward in terms of that market, but then being able to rinse and repeat and create processes and create infrastructure that allows for you to move very quickly. And then if you have a team of 10, versus a team of 100, right, the same foundation and infrastructure. And some of those concepts can prevail, if you’ve laid those foundations in place first, and then understanding Okay, now I have 100 people, now I have 500 people now I have 1000 people, right? It does take very different, I would say different management styles, where you’re starting to get farther and farther away from maybe the details, but creating, again, the processes, the components where you can do the check ins and understand we have the right strategy in place where we need to pivot in the certain ways. You’re communicating that top down vision of here’s the market opportunity, here’s how we’re going after it. And then being able to do that either with a large sized team or a small team. Right? It is, it’s thinking through each situation a little bit differently, depending on kind of, again, what phase you’re at what type of company you’re at, and what’s most important for that company’s growth.


Ben Kaplan  7:19  

So, Esther, how ruthless Are you? Saying that half jokingly, but you referenced ruthless priorities is what you said. And so that’s actually what I mean, how ruthless Are you? Because being a CMO is a big job. In some ways, you can make it as big as you want. Because if you’re growth oriented, any marketing channel that contributes to growth, it’s fair game, right? It’s a you know, the kind of the world’s your oyster that so how do you focus? How do you ruthlessly prioritise and what does that mean? That’s different than just okay, yeah, I’ve got some priorities that my quarterly objectives, what does it mean to be ruthless?


Esther Flammer  7:59  

Yeah, it’s a great question for marketers in general, because I think, as marketers know, there is a never ending list of things to do and things to fix. And everyone considers themselves a marketer, everyone is sending you, hey, well, look what the competitors doing or the website needs to change, or you need better brand or the positioning, you know, a messaging isn’t working. I mean, there’s just a never ending list, no matter how much you fix, and no matter how much you know, you can be successful, there’s always more. And so oftentimes, I’ve seen myself or my teams get stuck in this, always saying, Yes, right? Or really kind of trying to figure out how do we determine what we should do and what we shouldn’t do? Because there will always be more asks sales is always going to ask for more, more tools more, you know, enablement, components, better leads, you’re gonna have product that’s coming to you around launches, and differentiation and competitive analysis, you’re gonna have, you know, their CEO coming down. So there’s always more requests for me it is about actually looking at, there’s only so much we can do, right as an organisation. And when I say ruthless priorities, it really is like, where will we aren’t we as a business will fail, if we do not do X, Y, and Z. And I always try and bring it down to about three major initiatives, kind of like a three by five, right, three major and a big rocks that we need to as a company achieve, and be able to move forward and then kind of, you know, five initiatives or five big components of that, that we can potentially actually move the needle on in order for us to move those those big rocks. And so I really think through it in that way, and then, you know, even and I’ve coached my teams on this as well, because even at an individual contributor level, oftentimes you feel overwhelmed with the amount of asks that are being put on you. And so again, it’s saying, Hey, here’s how much here’s what we’re doing. If you want us to do take on this fire drill or doo doo You know, another campaign or another initiative? What do we need to move off of these top priorities that we already have? What do we need to replace in order for us to do that? And then what will that actually do? What will the outcome be or the end result be for the for the business? So I think it is always asking yourselves that question. And understanding what truly is a priority? What do we have to do in order for us to be successful as a business? And I do bring it down up to that level, which is not just me, myself personally, or my job, or my team or even marketing itself? But how do we make the business successful and be able to answer those questions specifically?


Ben Kaplan  10:39  

So to use our skydiving metaphor, if you’re building the parachute while in the air, you’ve got to figure out the critical things you need to do before everything else? Do you start assembling the harness the container? Or do you get to building the canopy slider and stabilisers? What parts of the parachute are absolutely critical? And what parts can we afford to get wrong? Should you invest early on in a functioning altimeter, so you can know how much time until you hit the ground? For marketing campaigns, I found that the most critical parts are usually having a solid process for a blueprint to execute all of the little details at the right moment in the right sequence, a standard operating procedure for the campaign that makes sure everyone on your team and your partner’s team knows what they are supposed to be doing when one more complication competitors might be trying to do the same thing.


Esther Flammer  11:37  

It’s marketing, right. And so we also, we also know that everything is changing very quickly, right? The way the competitors are also getting themselves out there, the way the market is changing, which means you have to be really agile. So you can’t wait until everything is perfect. Can’t wait until you know, well, it’s going to take us six months to build out kind of this full fledged, perfectly built funnel with all of the lifecycle components. And so it’s like, okay, what can we do now, let’s absolutely keep that long term vision in mind. Because again, foundations that can scale, which means you have to be thinking for the next year and beyond, which is, this is our end goal, we need to get to this place, right? With that infrastructure with data management or with, you know, leads and campaigns etc, we need to make sure that we have that in mind. But what do we need to do right now? What can we get out the door right now and test and iterate and see if that works, and then continue to add on to it. One of


Ben Kaplan  12:31  

the things about growth marketing and tell me if you agree or not, but sort of the field of growth, marketing, how it differs from just generally marketing, let’s say if we weren’t a high growth company, if we were to run a mill, run mill companies that run mill company, you generally have to be mostly correct. What I mean by that is, you have an annual marketing budget, it’s gonna go on these channels, you’re not, you’re expected to like drive, sort of everything you’re spending should have a result as worthwhile that drives ROI. That’s kind of general marketing, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, right? We want we want to be successful. However, growth marketing tends to have this other flavour to it, which is, we’re gonna try some experiments, we’re gonna try some things we’ve never done before. And 19 of those 20 things we try may fail, we’ll do it in a smart way. But that 20 of thing, that’s the game changer, that’s just gonna cause us to 10x up, and we’re gonna find it, because we’re willing to fail on some other things and kind of fail fast to get to the thing that matters. So agree or disagree that you have to be comfortable as a marketer and a growth marketer was some type of uncertainty, which might be some type of failure along the way.


Esther Flammer  13:44  

A great, right, I think, like I said, there’s always some level of failure when you’re testing and iterating. But in my mind, to your point, it’s not risking the business, you need to have the infrastructure, that foundation that is solid, where you can prove out ROI that you can make really clear business decisions based off of data based off of performance based off of, you know, we’ve done an analysis of this market, here’s the target audience to go after what we’re going to test and iterate on is, is this messaging and value proposition? Or do we take maybe a different tactic? Or is there a better way that we can get in front of them, right? Or is there a better channel, right, you know, MCs that we can potentially test and so for me, it is not just you know, playing fast and loose with your testing and just putting yourself out there in a number of different ways and then just seeing what sticks. That’s that’s not that’s not at all I think what I’m what I’m trying to say is you have to have a clear process, in terms of we’ve done the analysis, we understand our business, we understand where, you know, we’ve we’ve done research, we’ve done interviews, we’ve talked to our customers, we’ve talked to our prospects, we understand who it is that we’re selling to and here’s where we’ve seen this success. With the customers that we have, then start to look at, okay, how do we hone this to get incremental improvement across your channel mix across your content, your messaging, you know, kind of your audience do we go into a new market, there’s all of those components that needs to happen. But to me it is, it’s a path towards that success and not just go and put 20 things out there and see if it sticks and you’re gonna fail and you know, 19 ways. It’s, you know, make iterative iterative improvements,


Ben Kaplan  15:29  

our name as an agency, which is which is top also the name of the podcast. Top cmo refers to the top the best, of course, but it’s actually an acronym, which stands for I think, actually what you’re describing, which is test optimised and perform. So start with testing things, try to find smart ways to figure out how do we get our ladder up against the right wall, then optimise make small, incremental improvements, we can climb that ladder faster, and then perform and then let’s scale performance once we’ve tested once we’ve optimised now let’s scale it now it’s, you know, it’s time to take over the market the world, take it as far as we can go. So that’s kind of the top process test optimise performance, a simpler way, my simpler version of that, that I like that we sometimes talk with our team in our clients is if it ain’t broke, optimise it, we can always get better, we can always improve. And that’s where some of the magic happens in marketing.


Esther Flammer  16:22  

Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That’s a good one. I completely agree, right? Because if you stay stagnant, if you just stay with, well, this has worked. And so we’re just going to assume this will always work. Right? At some point it won’t, because everyone around you will find a different way right or things will change, the market will change, buyer behaviour will change. So you always have to be on your A game, you always have to be looking at what’s next,


Ben Kaplan  16:46  

let’s delve a little bit more into specifically Reich. And for those who aren’t familiar, I mean, Wrike, it’s project management software, you can manage a number of tasks to dues to become more efficient, more effective. And whatever you do, as a result, it’s a platform, which means it can do a lot of things for a lot of different people for a lot of different use cases. So back on the theme of ruthless priorities. When you have a product like Wrike, how do you prioritise markets or customers or personas, when you have a tool that can do a lot for a lot of folks, but in terms of your marketing, you can’t boil the ocean?


Esther Flammer  17:26  

Absolutely. And again, this is what is typical with a high growth company is oftentimes there’s so much opportunity, you don’t know where to focus. And that causes a lot of that high growth in the beginning phases and in the early phases, and you can kind of just stumble by a little bit by just capitalising on all of the opportunity. But at some point, you do have to focus. And to me it is you know, with Wrikes, specifically, we are very horizontal and to your point we sell to literally anyone I mean, if you think about anyone who’s working, they manage tasks, they manage work, they manage projects, programmes, people. And so there is a level of a need for our platform.


Ben Kaplan  18:03  

What are some surprising customers? Are there any customers that would like I don’t know that the wide range of customers you have that that are like, Oh, wow, they’re they’re a Project Manager user? What is the range of customers like,


Esther Flammer  18:15  

I mean, literally anyone I mean, and that that’s the beauty of right is that we can play in every single industry. We’re really industry agnostic. So healthcare fin serve, like media, entertainment, marketing, retail, I mean, literally, if you think about anyone who’s on a team, and who’s trying to get something done, that’s who we sell to. And that’s who can utilise our product. And so, you know, we absolutely can, can go wide. And we have and we have 20,000 customers across literally every single industry and every single size of company. But again, we’re at the place where we’re thinking through our differentiation, and our differentiation. And if you think about our market overall, it’s really saturated. There’s a lot of competitors out there who do project management, or work management or task management, or even collaborative work. And so if you think about Reich and our specific differentiation, it really is the most powerful work management solution. We have built our platform for the last 16 years to help companies scale. And so you know, when you think about what that looks like, we’re not just for a single team, a single use case, like one one team of maybe five creatives that are trying to get campaigns out the door, which we absolutely can do. But really the beauty of the right platform is that we can go not only across a whole team, but also departmental wide, and then also across a full organisation and enterprise organisation, wall to wall and we do have, you know, really amazing customers that utilise us and all of those different facets, all of these different use cases for us, as we think through where do we focus and how do we go, you know, how do we actually create a go to market strategy where we can be really successful and we Really fuel that growth. And again, we’re kind of where we start is really sometimes with that single team. And we have pinpointed certain buying centres. So we’re actually not industry focused, like I said, because we’re really industry agnostic. So we actually focus on buying centres and departments. And so specific teams that have repeatable workflows that needs to be automated, that have, you know, cross functional alignment across various teams that need to kind of get together on a single platform and be able to produce work and improve productivity. And so that looks like marketing teams. For example, our own marketing team uses it at my last company, I was actually all right, he’s there, I was a right customer. That’s how I knew about right, because we used marketing wide across digital demand operations, creative production, all of these teams working together, trying to build campaigns, trying to produce events, trying to push programmes at the door, we really needed a platform that could allow for us to be able to scale effectively, so that we could get alignment so that we could prioritise resources so that we could prioritise campaign management and be able to actually generate generate those campaigns and programmes that would drive revenue for the business.


Ben Kaplan  21:11  

What are the marketing strategies for going enterprise wide? Let’s say that you’re in a company, you’ve signed up there, you mentioned marketing, buying centres marketing it, or if they have a formal product, project management division, you sign them up, they’re happy, their customers, they’re like, Yay, right? But then, you know, that’s 100 people. And that company has 1000 people, how do you go after the other 900? People? What are the strategies for that, as from a marketing perspective,


Esther Flammer  21:39  

some of the beauty of right as well is that our customers love us, and they’re such stickiness with our product where they do see immediate value, you know, once they’ve implemented it, once they’ve started to roll this out across the organisation, they see so much value in terms of the improvement to productivity to levels of collaboration and alignment across the organisation. But oftentimes, right, they will come to us asking, Hey, we need we need some additional usage, or hey, you know, marketing, we work with sales, or we will we work with product on product releases, and we have a product launch that’s happening, where we have different fields, events, and we need our salespeople to actually be involved so that they can help us right as we as we start to manage these events in their territories. And so oftentimes, that is customer lead, and largely because we have such great customers, and we have such stickiness in our product, where they see the value, that we’re able to go enterprise wide in terms of marketing specifically, and how we can also build out different plays to be able to expand enterprise wide, we have to align with sales, we have to align with product, we have to align with customer success. And this is, you know, some of that beauty of that intersect between all of these departments working together, and really focusing on you know, areas of kind of the customer database, figuring out, you know, where are there specific segments of the customers, where we think it’s a perfect, perfect area for us to either go in and, and potentially start to go broader and expand those use cases out across that organisation. Maybe they’re showing some some predictability within just their usage, where they’ve maxed out their licences, they’re utilising it, there’s huge product adoption, and we are seeing that there’s another department that works very closely with that team that we can then expand into, or other indicators, right of, we believe that they would actually benefit from some more of the premium feature. So it’s absolutely a cross functional kind of alignment that needs to happen between marketing, sales, CS, and making sure that we have plays the enablement, you know, the decks, the use cases, the demos, all of those components in play, so that we can be able to basically give give our frontline teams the tools that they need to have the right conversations with those customers. At the same time marketing can provide air cover through advertising, digital email, events, all of those components to make sure that again, we’re providing the same kind of narrative and messaging that maybe their sales rep or their aim is also working with them on. So to me, it is absolutely kind of a multi touch, fully integrated type of approach.


Ben Kaplan  24:27  

So how should you upsell and cross sell once your product or service has been adopted? The key is to find anything that is distinct from your current offering that enhances your current offering, and yet has value on its own. At top, we got our start in 2012 as the world’s most data driven PR agency, but we quickly discovered that our clients needed more than just the pulse data survey to generate PR and thought leadership. They needed full market research capabilities, and plenty of white papers and reports, which became our very next offer. And once you had those pillar data reports, you can generate hundreds of inbound links at scale, which is great for SEO. Incidentally, our third offering, we became a full service data driven marketing agency simply by adding capabilities that made our existing offerings more valuable. I’d love to see Reich become the voice of getting things done. And the future of work, perhaps with four quarterly data reports, one on task efficiency, one on task effectiveness, another on how team members collaborate, and a final on what to do about incomplete or unfinished tasks. The key would be to base each report in part on internal platform data with an augmented with a survey of knowledge workers, plus link each report to a different pillar of Reich’s core messaging. So here’s a question for Esther, had this key messaging changed before, during or after the pandemic?


Esther Flammer  25:58  

macro economic, you know, trends changes 100% impact buying behaviour and impact the way that you need to again, as a marketer, be able to position your company or your solution. And with the pandemic, I think this was something that I think all marketers kind of had to actually all businesses across the world had to pivot very, very quickly without a lot of planning, where all of a sudden, we became 100% remote, and there was a leg up in certain industries, absolutely, where people were already very much working remotely, or at least a hybrid. But for for many companies out there, there was a very quick pivot. And I would say Reich is uniquely positioned and was uniquely positioned in that actual time period, because we’re a perfect platform for remote and for hybrid, which was kind of the next trend, which was the first 100% remote then going to hybrid, because again, all of a sudden, people had to start to figure out a new structure where everyone was working from home be how are we able to create the same level of output that we had before when everyone was maybe in person or in office. And so absolutely, that increased in terms of the number of apps and the number of, you know, collaborative platforms that everyone started to invest in. But then we started to see a different trend beyond that, which was almost too much, right? Too much collaboration that was happening. When you have then a hybrid work environment where you have some people who are in person, some people are who are fully remote, and then having to work together across platforms. And we saw a huge spike in just the amount of tools that people had to navigate, you saw the burnout and the fatigue, where I have the zoom fatigue of being on video calls every single day, all day, every day, you know, some of the issue with not being able to just sit in a room and brainstorm or just even have that human element of getting to know your your colleagues, and then be able to see some of the bursts of productivity that you see in some of those hallway conversations or just, you know, brainstorming conversations because everything was reduced to to zoom. And so you just see a lot of that complexity that’s happening in a very short amount of time, and people having to navigate all of that complexity when it came to work. And what we actually saw in terms of some of those macro trends is obviously growth projections. During the pandemic, they’re kind of up and down. There were certain industries that absolutely grew certain industries that pulled back, but what you did see was overall productivity actually went down. And we had, you know, we we’ve done a tonne of research on this on kind of what has happened over the last few years that has caused productivity to go down. Meanwhile, what we’re seeing is working working hours actually went up. And so people are working more, they’re working longer hours, there’s a harder time to be able to kind of put a boundary between work and home life, because you’re basically working from home, that productivity has decreased significantly. And then, you know, that has led to a lot of the conversations that we’ve heard around employee engagement, some of the disconnect that people are feeling because they’ve never met their colleagues in person. And then, you know, the great resignation, which we went through last year, where we saw a huge amount of people switching jobs and moving into new companies, which then you’re onboarding people, again, remotely new teams never having worked together. And then now we’re facing kind of the next trend, which is a slowdown, which is everyone pulling back growth, decreasing even more potentially going into a recession. We’re seeing layoffs, we’re seeing budget cuts, we’re seeing a lot of those components. And so you’re coupling all of this complexity of work with employee burnout, of having to do more with less and then going into a new year and having to navigate again, how has that even shifted buying behaviour? How has that shifted how companies and teams work together? And so Right, absolutely. To your question, right? We’ve had to pivot in terms of our messaging at every single state Ah, and again, the good news is that we’ve been doing a lot of research, we’ve really figured, you know, we’re really passionate about figuring out where complexity and simplifying it for teams. And so then we’ve been focused on how do we position that for each of those trends. And so with the pandemic 100% remote, it was maintained that productivity regardless of where you are, same with hybrid very similarly, even even more. So in some ways, it’s even more complex, because you have some teams in person, some teams that aren’t. And then now that we’re dealing with, you know, this overarching pressure of do more with less and budget cuts, you know, what does that look like? So you absolutely have to maximise every single resource that you have, you have to understand how to prioritise and how to align and so that some of the shifts and messaging that Reich has has had to go through.


Ben Kaplan  30:48  

And maybe an highly valued yet slightly underrated skill in times of great change is being able to simplify things when there’s a lot of moving pieces, when there’s a lot going on. When tomorrow could be different than today, the ability to simplify has great value. So I want to end on Esther, a lightning round is something that we often do on the podcast, just kind of quick questions, quick responses, but I actually want to do it a little bit differently for you. Because I want to do a ruthless lightning round. I’m going to ask you some questions and just sort of tongue in cheek use of ruthless because I like your use of the term. First question is, as a ruthless CMO, how do you prioritise your personal time and personal time and like your your your actual work time for yourself in the context of the company, you know, you’ve got to inspire a team, you’ve got to be a sounding board for key leaders, you’ve got to develop marketing plans, you actually have to maybe review things, how do you figure out what to do? How are you ruthless with your time,


Esther Flammer  31:55  

I specifically make sure that I’m carving out time to be able to connect the dots and be able to communicate the vision appropriately. So condensing all of the things that are happening, and being able to very quickly make quick decisions on this, this aligns to our ruthless priorities and our core objectives or this doesn’t, this is the right decision, right? Or we’re going to have to give this up in order for us to be able to prioritise something else.


Ben Kaplan  32:24  

What is your advice to a future ruthless CMO? Who’s not a CMO, yet they’re coming up in terms of their future career, how to be ruthless in the decisions they make to get to where they’re going a little bit faster, have the right experiences to do well, when they get that new role or that promotion that position? What is your what is your, you know, the next generation of ruthless CMOS? What is your advice to them?


Esther Flammer  32:48  

So one is really figure out what is most important for the business and connect everything that you do to that business strategy. The second is be able to say no, right and understand that at some point, you know, you are going to probably make make people upset by saying no to certain things, but being able to hold your ground and being able to provide the business case and reason on why you’re saying no, and what you’re going to do for them kind of in replacement of what they they’ve asked, and being able to do that politely and respectfully. And be able to maintain kind of partnerships and relationships through work.


Ben Kaplan  33:25  

You have the backbone of a common Iron Fist to be put that iron fist in a velvet glove. If we’re in a period of downturn, budgets are being cut, how are you ruthless about your budget? What do you cut? What do you absolutely don’t cut? What do you even expand invest? We have a lot of CMOS that were investing in things as we were going into the big camp pandemic. So they saw opportunity, how are you ruthless with your budget


Esther Flammer  33:51  

for me, and I tell my team this, it’s about ROI. Right. And that’s the magic word that I know everyone everyone puts out there. But for me, it’s you know, we have to absolutely be generating revenue for the business through trials through leads through demo requests. What are the most important channels that drive that for things that you know, we believe work and that are important for us to do in terms of awareness in terms of getting in front of the right buyers? For me, it’s about cut that down to the bare minimum, show me you know, that you can build a strategy that can work again that test, optimise, iterate and pivot, right? It’s rather than spending 100,000, spend 20,000 to a pilot showcase that it works tested, improve, and then we’ll give you more type of thing, right? So kind of, it’s almost a bottoms up approach of proves that you can do right by the money that we give you showcase that you can produce results, and then we’ll we’ll invest more. And then


Ben Kaplan  34:51  

finally, as you look forward to the future, right, what’s something now that you hope or wish Right could do a market right could go into something else that would be great for right to accomplish that you aren’t doing now that is aspirational for you what is kind of like the sort of the ruthless aspiration of where you think, you know, right, and it’s marketing can head


Esther Flammer  35:14  

to good question. So I guess as I think through the future of right, there’s so much more that can happen from a work management standpoint, and we’ve already invested a lot in AI to be able to predict, right, so based off of various tasks and various workflows that you’ve done, here’s kind of the next thing to get even greater productivity. For us. It’s more so around workflow automation of how do we utilise that data to provide insights into better managing work? And then how do we automate that, right, that, to me is a huge component of our kind of the future of Reigen product roadmap and where we’re focused on next. And to me, that brings so much more value to literally every single business and every single industry out there that you can actually start to really see those phenomenal growth patterns in terms of productivity and in terms of better resource management. So I guess that’s kind of where I see the future of Reich and kind of the next kind of land for us to go into. And it’s actually even a different category, right that that allows for us to start to march into new territory there.


Ben Kaplan  36:22  

Esther Flammer is a ruthless CMO. in the best sense of the term, she’s hyper focused on finding the bottom line priorities within a company and honing in on ways to optimise and scale. Esther says, if you’re looking to grow rapidly, remember to prioritise your top three goals than lay out five steps to achieve each one. That’s a three by five matrix to me. But then you’ve got to be utterly ruthless when deciding what those priorities are. Also be able to say no, and stand your ground. Be ready to provide your case as to why you have made that decision. You have to be ruthless of play nice, too. For Esther, it’s all about making return on investment for the customer intersect with return on investment for the company. As a CMO, you need to figure out how this mental Venn diagram works in your sector, and then ruthlessly connect the dots with everything that you do. So do you have what it takes to be a ruthless CMO? Esther says yes, and I do too. For top CMO, I’m Ben Kaplan.