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Interview

CMSWire Contributor Q&A With Lynne Capozzi: The New 'M' in CMO

10 minute read
Dom Nicastro avatar
CMSWire Managing Editor Dom Nicastro catches up with former Acquia CMO and CMSWire Contributor Lynne Capozzi on CMO leadership.

Today there’s a virtual avalanche of data and tools available to marketers. It’s easy to feel like a CMO Cinderella being forced to sort the lentils from the cinders thrown on the hearth in figuring out what to use and what to ignore. But that’s part of the CMO function — sorting through similar data and tech options and deciding what’s best and what's not. 

That’s just one of the snippets of wisdom this week’s featured CMSWire Contributor guest imparts. There's more — lots more.

Our Q&A Contributor is a CMO soothsayer of sorts. She knows of what she speaks. So if you're concerned about the future, take a listen to what she has to say about getting globally focused, selecting the right data and tools and creating and managing content. 

In this Q&A, our CMSWire Contributor Lynne Capozzi is the recently retired CMO of Acquia where she oversaw all global marketing functions. She wrote about the importance of global markets, data and content earlier this year in her CMSWire piece Why Markets Is the New 'M' in CMO

We caught up with Lynne for a video Q&A on the topic.

Note: This transcript is edited for length and clarity.

CMOs and Adopting a Global Marketing Focus

Dom Nicastro: Hey, everybody, Dom Nicastro, managing editor of CMSWire. We're here with Acquia Chief Marketing Officer Lynne Capozzi. Her latest column is up today on CMSWire. How's it going, Lynne? 

Lynne Capozzi: Good, how are you, Dom?

Nicastro: Good, it's good to be with you here. Acquia, right down the road from me, Boston-based, and offering digital experience platform software, among other things. So it's been great to follow Acquia through the years, and hey, actually, you know, before we get into the topic of your column, it's great to hear that Acquia is getting back out there on the road and doing like roadshows, and we're excited to see them out in the community in 2022. 

Capozzi: Exactly, no one's more excited than me, Dom, I think it's time for us to get back out there and try some in-person activity with our customers. And super excited about doing that. 

Nicastro: Good. I'm gonna hit you up, too, because we think we're gonna do that next year (sure enough, we are, at CMSWire Connect). So I'm gonna, you guys are gonna be the guinea pig for that. So we're gonna follow your lead there. But this column talks about, you know, CMOs focusing on a lot of things. And one of them is, you know, global issues and trends, not just that hardcore customer focus and being, you know, locked into that customer world, which is No. 1, of course, but you're seeing these CMOs meeting — and you’re a CMO, obviously yourself — needing to really focus on these larger global issues and trends.

Related Article: What's Top of Mind for Chief Marketing Officers in 2022?

The Pandemic Showed CMOs How Quickly People Can Change 

Capozzi: Yeah, absolutely. You know, I spend a lot of time in various different CMO groups and CMO huddle sessions. And I will tell you, it's top of mind for so many CMOs and should be because, you know, the pandemic has really changed all our consumer behavior, right? It's changed how people are committed and dedicated to brands and how quickly people will change. 

So I think it's even more important for the CMOs to be so focused on kind of what's happening in the market for their own product areas, but also be an empathetic and kind of knowing what's going on in the larger market, you know. I think a great example is kind of what we're all facing on the supply-chain side. And if people aren't sensitive to that, you're not aware of that. And you're not kind of building that into potentially, the messages that you have as a CMO, you're probably missing something, you know, and you’ll probably be looked at as well as they're not really paying attention to what's happening in the world. 

Nicastro: Yeah, great points. And also you talk about CMOs needing to really double down on understanding technology and talent that's out there. So I want to ask you, you know, from your own perch, your own perspective as a CMO, you know, what understanding of martech — you’re a martech provider, of course, you need to know martech — but from a seat like actually being in the trenches, like how close are you to your technology in the way your team uses software, your marketing team? And then the kind of Part B of that question is, what kind of talent trends are you watching out there in building your marketing team? What kind of skill sets are you looking for when you hire? 

Related Article: How CMOs Can Master Their New Job: Leading Customer Experience 

Time for CMOs to Get in Touch With the Data-Driven World

Capozzi: Right? Well as a CMO, and as you said, we are a tech provider. So I tend to, I have a mantra of drinking our own champagne. So my martech stack is full of my own products, which is great. So I have the benefit of that. But just in terms of all CMOs, I think we need to be very much in tune to, you know, this new data-driven world and being able to know, how do I get the right data? How much do I need? What tools? Do I need to access that? How often do I switch my tools out of my stack? I think that's really critical for CMOs. 

And the CMOs, I mean, I see that are being successful are the ones that know enough about data and know enough about tech and surround themselves with some really good martech folks. So that they do have access to the greatest tools, and the best ROI possible without getting flooded with too many other pieces of technology. 

From a martech standpoint, I think from a staffing perspective, I think it's important that you know, how you make sure you have the right talent. So you have the right balance between, you know, creativity, right brain and left brain, right? So creativity, and yet data-driven. And that, and I think having a team of people that have that mixture, I think is even more important, and people that can analyze data. So it's not just a matter of, you know, getting the data. Now it's like analyze it, like, what does it mean? Where are the trends that we're seeing? What changes should I make in my go-to market plans because we're seeing this kind of, like change in technology.

One of the big things I see is like we, for instance, use our customer data platform, and I see a lot, a lot of CMOS, smart CMOS, starting to use a customer data platform that they're integrating in their stack, so that they can actually help make the best decisions possible for what's the next best action to take or what should my plans be, what should my campaigns be? What should my — anything that has to do with that go-to market? So I'm seeing a lot of people who are looking at that customer data platform, you know, as an underlying platform, it's kind of key for the future, I think.

Learning Opportunities

Related Article: Chief Marketing Officers Share Priorities Amid Economic Stress 

The Emerging Importance of the Martech Stack Role for CMOs 

Nicastro: Yeah, I mean, we're talking to so many folks about new titles emerging like digital operations leader, chief martech champion, you know, things like that. These are full-time jobs. You know, people managing that martech stack in their organizations. It's no longer a piecemeal thing. You know, IT has a say, customer experience has a say, everyone knows, someone leads that. And actually in your column today, you have a great stat about a survey you guys did with 800 marketers that found the CMO is the person most likely to lead digital customer journeys today. So and that's above chief digital officers and chief information officers, as you point out, so that CMO, they’re rarely leaning on technology chops there. 

Capozzi: Yeah, absolutely. And more and more, more reasons why it's important that the CMO and you know, CIO, CTO stay totally connected. So again, it’s that mixture between marketing and IT that has to come together, and the successful CMOs find a way to bring that together, I think.

Related Article: Should the CMO and CIO Be Best Friends? 

CMOs Looking for the Sweet Spot of Personalization and Privacy

Nicastro: Yeah, lastly, Lynn, thank you for joining us today, by the way, again, you know, being a contributor for CMSWire is so great for us to have people like you in the trenches, listening to customers doing the work yourself. So thank you for that. And I want to end with things we can expect from Lynne going forward and future CMSWire articles, are there any sort of trends you're watching for the rest of 2022? 

Capozzi: Yeah, probably a couple of probably the biggest one is, you know, the biggest trend is kind of the evolution and in the way that content is created and managed and delivered across, you know, all devices and channels that we've been talking about for so long. So kind of that sweet spot combination of personalization and privacy but really being able to find ways to build and develop and execute that content across multiple channels. We have multiple products, of course that help you do that. But I think that's an important trend. I think that's going to continue and being kind of first to the content game, I think is really, really, really important. And I think something that's going to grow even more. 

So you know, as we go into, I don't know next year or the year after and a metaverse becomes a thing. I think we'll all be like faced with well, how do we do 3D content and a bunch of other kinds of new challenges. But I think in the meantime, you know, those marketers that can focus on the right content at the right channel at the right time, is probably the best investment you can make, especially for the future. 

Nicastro: And, Lynne, we can't end without having to have the rest of the sports world roll their eyes to the fact that you and I are in the Boston area. So you know, we're used to championships and all that, you know, but what 10 or 12 in the last 20 years. So who's gonna win the next title in Boston? 

Capozzi: Well, I'm deciding right now am I gonna put my bets on the Bruins or the Celtics when it comes to the playoffs? So, but I'm feeling pretty good about both actually. 

Nicastro: I know. 

Capozzi: Yeah. I may take both of those bets.

Nicastro: It's been a while, you know, we're kind of craving a championship here in 2019 with the Patriots and now we're suffering over here, Lynne, so someone's going to bring us a title and fast. Lynne Capozzi Acquia CMO, thanks for being a CMSWire contributor and catching up with us today. 

Capozzi:T hanks so much, Dom. Take care. 

Nicastro: All right, you too.

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