CMOs of Silicon Valley – Ten you can’t Miss
By Jim Lundy
In the five and a half years I’ve lived back in Silicon Valley, the one thing that has jumped out at me is how demanding the role of the CMO has become. In fact, with the tech boom is moving at a furious pace, the pressure that CEOs put on their CMOs is getting worse. CMOs often don’t get recognized for the work they have done. This blog post is about the Chief Marketing Officers in Silicon Valley that are at the top of their game.
New faces are being trumpeted every week on Social Media and many of the pieces are planted by the PR firm that was hired by the VC funded start-up. Our CMOs of Silicon Valley are busy promoting their current firms and as such, the recognition for what they do often doesn’t appear.
CMO – Our Top Ten for 2013
Our ten CMOs of Silicon Valley for 2013 is a mix of men and women; in fact six of them are women. One thing is clear – they each did something that caught our attention. A few have gone further and done unique things that qualify them as immediate CMO Legends of Silicon Valley. For 2013, the CMO Legends are all women. We are happy to share with you our 2013 Edition of the CMOs of Silicon Valley.
Whitney Bouck – Box
Whitney Bouck has been in the Content Management market for years and she helped to put Documentum on the map, as CMO of the Documentum business within EMC. There were lots of choices in the Enterprise Content Management Market, but thanks to Whitney’s efforts, Documentum was at the top of the Leaderboards in just about every analyst ranking. Whitney was really one of the forces behind the success of Documentum. It was a complex product, but the marketing was some of the best and so was the execution. Jump to 2011 and Whitney joined Box – before they went big.
In her role as GM of Enterprise, Box has grown in a rapid fire manner and transformed from consumer to enterprise. Anyone who knows Whitney knows why. While there is lots of VC money that has flowed into Box, there has been lots of revenue production in the last twelve months. As we indicated recently, we expect Box to IPO in the next 12-18 months. Whitney recently took over as the CMO at Box and we expect to see even more big things as she puts together the team and the campaigns. For her second stint in driving the execution at a rapidly growing company, Whitney also makes the list of CMO Legends of Silicon Valley.
Chris Boorman – Huddle
Dr. Chris Boorman is the CMO and Chief Customer Officer of Huddle, a growing Cloud Content provider that has offices in the UK and in San Francisco. Chris honed his skills when he was CMO at Informatica and he helped to fuel a significant rise in both awareness and overall execution while he was there. Chris has one of the key traits that CEOs desire in a CMO -the ability to get Sales and Marketing working together. In fact, Chris is one of the new generation of CMOs that originated from Salesforce; he was the VP of EMEA marketing at Salesforce for several years.
Our view is that the role of marketing is that besides branding and messaging, it is to provide air cover for Sales. Marketing isn’t always viewed that way by some. Chris is a role model in this area, partially because he has been in a Sales role in the past and because of his time at Salesforce, which is all about Sales. As Chris continues to build the team and the programs at Huddle, we expect to see some big things from him.
Blair Christie – Cisco
For some reason CMOs don’t last that long at Tech Titans, partly due to the fact that they are so heavily recruited. Blair Christie has been CMO at Cisco since 2011 and at a firm that is as Sales driven as Cisco, that is no small feat. Of course, Blair held key positions at Cisco before being named as CMO and because of her execution in those roles, it wasn’t a surprise when John Chambers picked her.
Being CMO at a Tech Titan like Cisco isn’t easy. Multiple factions battle for airtime and it as much about managing the multiple brands and as it is the Corporate messaging. Blair hosted Cisco Live this year, which had 20,000 attendees in Orlando, and she rocked the house. As Networks become more software oriented and the Internet of Things (IOT) comes online, we will be watching for the next batch of creative messaging from Blair which she is clearly helping to drive.
Ben Gibson – Aruba Networks
Ben Gibson is CMO at Aruba Networks, where he has been working tirelessly and successfully to make Aruba Networks a brand that is known in Mobile and Wireless Networking circles. Like Kara and Lynn, Ben was a VP of Marketing at Cisco. He made his mark in the Mobile, Wireless and Data Center/Virtualization space and he has continued that in his role at Aruba.
Since joining Aruba, he has wasted no time putting together a great team and advancing the brand. One thing that we found pretty interesting is the Aruba Networks customer community called Airheads, which has been very successful in getting techies to participate in a Customer Community. Building a great customer community isn’t an easy thing to do and we know that one of Ben’s former team members Dayle Hall, had a lot to do with that.
Ben Kiker – SpringCM
Ben Kiker is the CMO of SpringCM, an emerging Cloud Content Management firm. I met Ben Kiker when I was still at Gartner. Ben was the guy that took a risk and joined a little company that helped power the Social Revolution – Jive Software. Ben helped get things moving at Jive and got them positioned as a Leader before the VCs brought in their team. Of course, being battle tested, Ben got his start at well known firms such as Siebel Systems and WCM provider Interwoven.
The Cloud and Mobile Content Management market is crowded and at times overwhelming. At Spring CM, Ben is helping to position the brand and the offering, including positioning SpringCM as a key part of the Salesforce.com AppExchange offerings. Given his experience at Jive Software, Ben is a sought after CMO and knowing Ben, we are sure we will be hearing more about SpringCM going forward.
Jim Kruger – Polycom
Jim Kruger is the CMO at Polycom. Jim has done it the traditional way that it gets done at many large firms – he earned it. Jim became the CMO of Polycom after spending more than 12 years there doing multiple jobs that included managing the product families that have led to Polycom’s growth. I have gotten to know Jim over the last several years and he is the kind of person you want on your team when the going gets tough.
Video today is all about Solutions and Jim ran the Solutions Marketing group, which helped to pioneer some interesting offerings in markets such as Healthcare. More recently, as markets have shifted, Jim has been helping to lead Polycom into the Cloud Era with the launch of its Real Presence Cloud Offerings.
Lynn Lucas – Good Technology
Lynn Lucas is the CMO at Good Technology, one of the leading providers of Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) software and services. If there is anyone that understands the creative part of Marketing, it is Lynn Lucas. Lynn made her mark at several firms, including HP, Proxim and most recently Cisco. She helped to get Cisco positioned in Collaboration and Communications and her teams there put together some of the best events we’ve seen.
After serving as a VP of Marketing at Cisco, Lynn Lucas became CMO at Good Technology in April of 2013. She has wasted no time in putting together a crack team (Mover and Shaker Julie O’Brien is on her team) and has already made an impact at Good. The timing could not be better, since the Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) is exploding. With wearable computing poised to make a splash in 2014 and with security being the number one technology issue facing IT, the prospects for Good are better than ever.
Heidi Melin – Plex Systems
Heidi Melin is the CMO at Plex Systems. Heidi will probably be remembered as the CMO that was in the right place at the right time when mergers happened. She has been at the helm as CMO when Hyperion, Taleo, and Eloqua were all acquired. Of course, she is probably one of the key reasons those mergers happened in the first place.
Like Kara Wilson, Heidi got her start at Peoplesoft. She did some great things at Hyperion, and as a result Oracle bought them in 2007. She did it two more times, since both Taleo and Eloqa were both acquired by Oracle. While acquisitions are a standard part of the menu in Silicon Valley, getting the story out there enough so that someone wants to acquire your firm is no easy task. Heidi has done that multiple times. For that, Heidi too is one of the new CMO Legends of Silicon Valley.
Julie Norquist Roy – Kyriba
I have known Julie Norquist Roy for years and there are few who work as tirelessly as she does. Julie is the currently the CMO at Kyriba, a SaaS focused Treasury Management firm based in San Diego. We are including her mainly because she is in California and deserves to be on this list.
Julie is better known as the CMO that helped build Cornerstone OnDemand into one of the leading Talent Management providers. While most that think about Cornerstone think of Founder and CEO Adam Miller, Julie is the one that did a majority of the massive pipeline building that helped Cornerstone grow 15x over five years and led to their successful IPO in 2011. Julie should be at the top of any CMO recruiting list.
Kara Wilson – FireEye
Kara Wilson is the CMO at FireEye, an emerging Security firm that provides real-time threat protection (note, they just IPO’d). I have known Kara Wilson for years at the multiple enterprises she has worked at including Cisco and Successfactors. While she grew up in Southern California, she has been in Silicon Valley since the early days of PeopleSoft, which is where she got her start in Marketing. Cara brings zeal, drive and an energy level that is hard to top. One thing that Kara is becoming known for is her development of her staff. Lynn Lucas worked for Kara at Cisco and Dee Anna McPherson, VP of Marketing at HootSuite worked for her at PeopleSoft.
Whether it was the pioneering work at PeopleSoft, the work to launch Cisco into Collaboration or her recent gigs at SuccessFactors and now FireEye (which just IPO’d), Kara gets the job done. She isn’t afraid of the camera either and is very comfortable doing a live broadcast or a video recording. Going forward more CMOs will need the on-camera video skill set. For her work and the fact that she has been able to develop numerous Marketing Executives, she is one of the CMO legends of Silicon Valley.
So while this isn’t the entire list of CMOs in Silicon Valley and we know many, these are the ones to watch. There is lots more to talk about in 2014, including our focus on CEOs, CLOs and many other key business areas. Clearly, the demand business executives is rising and the CMO is one of the most sought after resumes and besides the CEO, it is one of the most discussed positions.