Feb 16, 2024
39 min
Episode 57

TOP CMO: Mandy Dhaliwal, Nutanix - 'Chaos in the Cloud'

Mandy Dhaliwal  00:00

Chaos, to me is a word. If there's too much chaos in marketing, something's wrong. The fight is out there. It's not within ourselves. So how do you clean up the stuff that's messy and prepare yourself for the battle that is out in the market.

Ben Kaplan  00:11

This is the podcast where we go around the globe to interview marketing leaders from the world's biggest brands, fastest growing companies and most disruptive startups. Three ideas packaged a certain way want to spread, they want to be told to someone else simple, surprising, and significant. Data to unlocking viral creativity is to make it rapidly scalable. This is TOP CMO with me, Ben Kaplan. today I'm chatting with Mandy Dhaliwal, CMO of Nutanix, a $13 billion provider of cloud computing software and services, virtualization, storage and networking on a single platform, Mandy has close to 30 years of experience in software marketing, aside from her position at Nutanix. She's also a member of the Board of Directors at quick, an AI powered conversational platform. She has held marketing leadership roles at companies like Dell, EMC, Boomi, fuq, and blaze meter. So what do marketers need to do to maximize their influence with the rest of the C suite? And how do you maintain a challenger brand mindset, even when you're objectively big, that well established players in your industry are even bigger? Let's find out with Mandy Dhaliwal.

Ben Kaplan  01:30

Mandy, when you talk about your journey from being an outside person brought in to be CMO? And what was the challenge ahead, you have a large company 6000 People $12 billion market cap currently, but it's trying to reposition itself after a legacy as an appliance company and then a software and subscription company. So how did you assess the challenge? And how did you get started in that journey when you started as CMO?

Mandy Dhaliwal  01:59

Thanks, Ben, it's great to be here, really, you know, excited to be here to chat with you. I think, you know, that journey didn't start the day I joined the company. That journey started when I was first introduced to the company. So as a part of my own information gathering, I looked at the space obviously familiar with this space, because I come from infrastructure and you know, kind of various aspects of application and data technologies. So for me, there was an interest because I had familiarity with the company. But as I stepped back and looked at the business, for me, it became apparent as to why the business needed to transform as well as marketing, to modernize to be able to reach the next level of business success that the company was aiming, okay day

Ben Kaplan  02:48

one of the intro and you were brought in for that purpose. And as you started looking at things, how much of your focus because you have you had a large existing customer base, you need to get them to think about you differently, we've thought about you one way we think you deliver this, the trends are kind of shifting in another direction. So you want us you know, you think of us as a, I want you now to think of us as B. So how much of your efforts this is like, Let's secure and message to our existing customer base. Let's bring them on this journey with us. And how much of it was, well, we need to find other people who may not have thought of us before? Because they thought oh, you're this other solution. And now you need to think of us now and we're your new vendor, you're our new customer. How did you balance those two things?

Mandy Dhaliwal  03:31

Yeah, that's that's a fantastic question. And I think it's a conversation that many CMOS, I think thanks for when you join this stage of company, it was a formidable challenge. I will say that and really getting smart about the customer, putting yourself in the shoes of the customer was something I did, and also had lots of conversations with my peers, and also with board members and folks in the industry. So ultimately, you know, the the short answer is you got to do both, right? You can't walk away from what got you there. But you got to go build on that strength, and do it in a way where you preserve the integrity of what was built, but also lead folks into the future. And the way to go do that from a customer lead span standpoint is to speak to the challenges that they're facing and the new challenges they're about to face around data and security and privacy, control and explosions of data and applications, the sheer volume of problems that our target customers are having. So building that customer empathy is really important. It's less about us, it's about shining a light on the problems and how we help them solve those problems.

Ben Kaplan  04:39

And how do you think about bringing along I know when we've chatted about this in the past, you've mentioned that you have to bring along other stakeholders with you. They might not be in marketing, and you use the term that, you know they might just think of it as another marketing campaign. Even though You're trying to do something deeper in sort of repositioning what the company is and how the company messages. So so first of all, what's the difference in your mind between just another campaign? And something that has more lasting impact? And then how do you bring others on for that? Just say, like, oh, yeah, or this is, you know, these are the ads we're doing now. That's great. Actually, no, no, this is a more fundamental change. And here's why we're,

Mandy Dhaliwal  05:22

well, first off, there's nothing wrong with campaigns, right campaigns have a place. But when you're doing a big transformation for a business, you kind of have to go back and understand what you stand for. Right and bringing others along, I think, you know, one of the key things that was probably the best thing that we could have done as a marketing organization, was to bring key stakeholders to the table and have a conversation. So everybody from members of the C suite representing different functions to folks that were customer facing from a sales perspective, as well as a product building perspective, and bring them into the room and talk about what we stand for and what we are, and then be able to go test that against the market perception of that, right. So to understand kind of where the divides are, because we always think of ourselves in one way. But we also understand, right, when you're data driven, you've got to go listen to the customer, and the partners that are selling your stuff, to be able to understand what value you deliver. So that was incredibly enlightening. And bringing those folks to the table and having that conversation. And then sharing the results was when we got the Lean In moment.

Ben Kaplan  06:27

So you're like, Okay, if we can base this on something, as opposed to just saying like, this is my opinion, or this is the opinion of the marketing division or department? If we can base it on? Something's good. So and how did you go about that? Was that like you personally, talking to people? Was it like a formal, you know, market research project that you hired an outside firm or agency to do? Was that having team members assigned to do this? How to what would the details of that,

Mandy Dhaliwal  06:50

yeah, combination thereof, there was a lot of internal selling, right, and team alignment building that I did, and members of my organization did. But we also brought in a third party that was very well equipped to have this conversation, facilitate with us and also in a very data driven way be able to get us back the information that we were seeking from directly from the mouths of the customers and partners. And what was an

Ben Kaplan  07:14

insight from that process when, you know, some of these people engage in these types of endeavors? And you know, it kind of like, I guess, the data 10 will be confirmation bias, right? You kind of go in with like, this is what we think we are and yep, we confirm that is what what indeed we are, is there something that surprised you from that process that that impacted the direction of the company that you just didn't? Didn't see?

Mandy Dhaliwal  07:37

Yeah, it was it was really a breakthrough moment. But then thank you for asking that question. And, for me, it was particularly interesting to watch, especially, you know, we're a technical company, we're very engineering oriented company, to watch these folks that are very left brain really be able to grok some new data, right, we're a hybrid multi cloud company, we have a platform that helps solve infrastructure. And, you know, I refer to ourselves as the underpinning of how modern businesses run right, in the most non technical terms that I can describe it. And when it came back, that really what we were known for was our data capabilities, our data management or data handling capabilities, right? And obviously, in this day, and age data is critically important. We already know that, but to have that kind of hit us, right between the eyes and and really also kind of hone in on the fact that this was our demonstrable product advantage that we had, and competitive advantage in the market. That was a breakthrough. Lots of eyes wide, and a lot of Oh, yeah, absolutely, we should go lead with that message. If

Tom Cain  08:41

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Ben Kaplan  08:46

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Ben Kaplan  09:08

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Ben Kaplan  09:28

Mandy, take us through the process then of you have that insight. You've done some listening, you've brought on more stakeholders because you base it on something they can kind of hold their hands on. So it's not like it's, you know, made up by marketers. What was the process after that to bring it to life where it actually starts being maybe internally facing and then alternately facing some type of output from this exercise?

Mandy Dhaliwal  09:50

Yeah. And it was done in a way that was highly complementary to the creative side of the house. Right? So we have the narrative and the strategic positioning of where we thought we had to go, right. And that positioning was one platform to run your apps and data anywhere. Nutanix, hybrid, multi cloud simplified, that was the codification of the work and the research that we had done. And then the next challenge was, how do you show up in the market and change your stripes, right, because we were known for expertise in HCI, hyper converged infrastructure, we'd IPO and we'd gone through all sorts of fanfare. So we have that strength. And now we're about to build on that strength. So as a part of it, we did an engagement with our agency of record. And we started to look at our competitive set in our ecosystem, to look at how they talked about themselves, and how they showed up visually, right what the brand stood for. So there was a lot of work done in parallel with this research. So it was a complete transformation of the marketing message to the market, as well as the positioning of the company. And so ultimately, what we found was our colors were blue, and green. And so was everybody else in our competitive set. So we lovingly coined that term as the sea of sameness. And so as a challenger brand, you know, you don't want to be in the sea of sameness. So you want to stand out for something. And also, as you're repositioning yourselves, you want to tell the market, that there's something new here, we're different now, come look at us again, right, understand the new Nutanix. And so as a part of that, we went through a study of the color wheel, like the fun side of marketing, the things we get to go do, you know, and we went through and looked at a few different color options. And so we came up with a library of things that we could go do. We tested internally, that was the fun part, we tested across stakeholders within marketing, as well as outside of marketing, I got to present at our sales leadership meeting and put together a highlight reel of what we could potentially look like kind of the old versus the new. And lo and behold, by April of the following year, I joined in April. And so a year later, we were relaunching ourselves as this one platform to run apps and data anywhere with a whole brand new look and feel with an ex that was modernized, because they X has been a cornerstone of our go to market message, and a new color palette and very much more modern. And so I'll parlay it a little further for you. Now that we're past the six month mark of the brand being activated, we know that we've got a lift by north of 25%. In terms of traffic to the website, we know within our target account base, we have over half of our target accounts have engaged with us in the last six months. So not only did we build the right message, we got the right execution on creative look and feel pushed it out into the market. And we're starting to get the spikes that we wanted as far as resonance of the message as well as the engagement that we're looking for within our target accounts. So very gratifying project to lead and also to bring our bring our teammates along on the journey. This is an entire company effort.

Ben Kaplan  12:58

And how do you think about that type of sort of rebranding repositioning effort in the context of a engineering first company? What I mean by that is, you know, there's different, you know, there's different types of companies that and obviously, there's some companies that really lead with marketing, typically an engineering company, you know, marketing can be like, especially at a large company, it can be like, yeah, we've got to do it. But it's kind of like, you know, it's a little bit like, yes, it's important, but like, you know, there's the kids table and the adults table and the adults are like the technical, you know, that's where we eat the meal and the kids table like, yeah, you do, right? You get invited over to the adults table once a while, but then like, go back to your kids table, because that's not where about, right, other companies are different. But that's typical approach to engineering led company, did you encounter that? How do you kind of change that, especially when a company has to transform and suddenly be maybe more like an unknown marketing? Come over? Eat with us? We got to do this, right, you have to change it. So how did you approach the whole thing?

Mandy Dhaliwal  13:53

I love this question, Ben, I've, you know, I've made a career of this, right? I've worked at some deeply technical companies. And I enjoy that, taking that value prop and turning it into plain English and also showing the power of marketing. It's something I'm fiercely passionate about, because I think marketing can add value, particularly in b2b Tech, in a way that's demonstrable and scalable. So yes, very much kids table. Yes, marketing is an afterthought. Don't you guys just write press releases and throw parties, right? And put your name, put her name on mugs and socks, right? That's generally the perception of marketing, which, you know, we as marketers have more work to do. I think there's there's a lot of work underway to now dispel some of that. So I find myself educating a lot and getting buy in, in a very nurturing and friendly, loving way. So that was incredibly important. I think, you know, for me, the reason I took the role and took the challenge on was because because there was resonance within the folks that I spoke to as a part of my onboarding journey, that we could go there, right. So having a business conversation when the context to preserving the technology and not dumbing it down too much, right, but also speaking in the voice of the customer, these are all the different puts and takes that you have to consider as a marketer, you have to be really aware and preserve the integrity of the technology. Because at the end of the day, the reason I'm here and the reason this organization is here is because of what was founded in this company as the IP. Right. And so I think understand is it's a two way street. So understanding that as a marketer, and understanding the responsibility, we have to take this technology to market and also from the technical side, showing them that we're partnering with them to be able to extend and drive growth for the business. So it's a handshake that has to happen. And there needs to be a lot of conversation and communication to be able to go, well, we're not doing that we're not doing this for the sake, I'll give you an example. I'm at sales kickoff, and we are showcasing what we've launched, we are enabling our sales organization to be able to sell now against this new positioning and the new narrative in the market. And I got on stage. And I explained why we shifted, because there were a lot of folks that had been in the company for many years. And, you know, the chatter was new CMO comes in, of course, she's going to change our color. So that's what they do. And I'm like, Well, hold on. Right, here's why we did it, folks. So taking the time not being offended by that comment, embracing it, and educating and sharing that we had to do this because it was a fast path for us to be able to drive resonance in the market. But it came with a very data driven story that we had confidence in that we knew was going to resonate. So when you piece it all together, and you have that conversation with someone that's technical, of course, they understand why we're doing what we're doing. And then you come back in and show them the results, the data is shared with you and say it's moving in the right direction. And then you get other subjective proof in terms of people responding back to you and giving you the story. You know, you've succeeded, right? So it's a journey. It's not for the faint of heart. As marketers, right? We tend to have we take a lot of flack. But at the same time, we can rise up and be able to share why we're doing what we're doing to get the seat at the adults table.

Ben Kaplan  17:18

Colors can become an important aspect of any brand. You think red and white. That's Coca Cola, brown, UPS, green, Starbucks, orange and purple. FedEx. Want to show you're challenging the convention, pick alternate versions of frequently used shades. Most important, try out the color not on its own. But in a visual menu of your industry is competitive sets. The goal for most businesses fit in get standout. Mandy, how do you think about we call an our agency that competitor Battlefield, he talked about the sort of sea of sameness in terms of like the look, or the look and feel, which tends to be in certain industries like a, you know, kind of a safe approach, right that people people tend to do. But in terms of the messaging, I know, in technical fields where it can be difficult, particularly ones and fields where there's not a clear, you know, technical winner aspects are being commoditized, where there's always this challenge of We are the most advanced, but they say they're the most advanced. And we you know, they say they're using the new hotness, like AI and machine learning, but they're not really we're the ones who are really doing it. And this jargon, you know, gets sort of passed around. And they say that they're, you know, user centric or customer centric, but we know they're not, and they just say it, but there's, there's this kind of tendency that to have, it's very convoluted and things lose meaning because everyone sort of says the same thing. And it's hard for the end customer to tell the difference. So how did you tackle that sea of sameness? With your competitors?

Mandy Dhaliwal  19:01

Yeah, I think fantastic question. And, again, right, something that we battle constantly. And my perspective on it, is when you lead with the customer pain and the customer problem, right? That's a conversation that happens later in the context of their specific problem. So let me elaborate, right, there's strategic initiatives that any technology decision maker is looking at at any given time, right? And so, modernization is something that's coming up over and over, right, we kind of walked away from digital transformation that was that was a buzzword, you know, up until a few years ago, I think COVID kind of change that accelerated it. It's you know, who knows what that really means right now, but at the end of the day, if you align with the customer to solve their need to drive their business, some of the the tit for tat marketing goes away, because you become more strategic and you become a partner to your customer. Right? You still have to have that conversation in the context of TCO, and ROI, and each show product benefit over, you know, competing technology. So you still have to put your best face forward. But if you lead with that, you're getting to the sugar eye of marketing, versus getting to the impact of marketing. So I'm a firm believer in leading with a solutions oriented approach. And that's what we've done. That's a company well, and

Ben Kaplan  20:24

I love it too. And we've worked on things for clients, solutions oriented approach customer pain points, but also extending it to usually like a certain example, or a certain anecdote, that sort of crystallizes the whole thing of the value we bring. So So we call them defining moments, and maybe there's one for you with your customers. But I think when we we did some, you know, we're a market research agency, we did some work our client of ours, and they were providing third party enterprise database support, right kind of a commoditized industry, and they try to differentiate on on their customer service and things like that. It was difficult. We did all this research, we actually talked to the customers, what was interesting was, the customer said, you know, hey, I signed up with you. And my support ticket queue went from what it used to be have like a six months backlog, and we went to ticket queue zero, like the backlog went away. And it's like, it's like having your you know, if you think about it, like your email inbox, which is probably at least mine is long. And suddenly zero, were up to date. And people said, it was like, and so we heard these in customer interviews. And so they became what their defining moment, which was very customer centric, is we're the company that gets you to ticket Q zero. All the other stuff we do, yeah, we surprise support services, we provide better customer service, these are all features of what we do. But by getting you to ticket Q zero, people said, Oh, you're the company that finally breaks through all of that. And we changed all the messaging around that. So to me, that solutions oriented approach customer centric, but then if you can find that, that moment, where Oh, I get it, it's different. You're selling something different than I thought, and that has great value to

Mandy Dhaliwal  22:05

me. Yeah, I love that example. In India, we're on a very similar journey, right? You think about what's happening out there in the landscape and tech apps are exploding, right the race to build apps and to be able to deploy them anywhere, whether that's in the data center in the cloud, or at the edge, right, there's a race to get that done, data is exploding at all three of those locations. And what's happening is there's chaos. That's a word we use very deliberately as a part of our positioning. We're the one company that can help you manage all that chaos. So you don't have silos of teams running your infrastructure. And each of those layers, we deliver a single platform for you to be able to manage all of that. So you can get back to running your business. So we have cases and examples and all sorts of stories around how customers were able to save time, save money, get more efficient, also manage the skills gap, there's an active conversation in the market today, around not having enough technical skills to be able to do what we used to do, right? The modern it employee grew up in the age of the iPhone, right? They don't know how to go in and go operate at the disparate levels that used to happen back in the day. So you've got to provide that kind of UI, if you will, for customers to be able to go run these big IT shops and big organizations effectively. And so that's what we deliver. And that's part of the architecture of the company, that that we've taken to market that simplicity and that elegance and that time to value. And so there's a lot there for, for me to, you know, to I could go on because I'm obviously very passionate about this. But the end of the day, it's controlled chaos. Why are you wasting your time managing all these things just really well,

Ben Kaplan  23:55

and and how do you what are the biggest blockers that you encounter that impede your message? Like what feature? What are the things that it could be? industry wide blockers? It could be specific to the company, it could be more like macro economic trends that affect your customers? What are the what are the challenges that you have to overcome, typically, from a messaging point of view?

Mandy Dhaliwal  24:17

Yeah, I think, you know, there's multiple challenges. The biggest one I've got today, and I think we have as a company is getting our message to market fast enough, right, sharing the capability, driving general awareness. We're gonna we're up against some competitors that have very deep pockets. We're not that right. We're we're a scrappy growth company. And so how do I efficiently go drive that message into the market, but also anchor it to demonstrable ROI? It's

Ben Kaplan  24:49

always interesting because a lot of people would say in certain industries that you know, 6000 people and $12 billion market cap is not a scrappy company. That's a pretty big company, but In the context of your industry, you have a lot of players. So how do you become a challenger brand become scrappy or do some things, but you still got, you know, a pretty big ship that you can't immediately turn 6000 people in a one ad and go another direction, it's still it's still a bunch of people to manage. So what are the ways that you kind of are more maybe more bold, more aggressive, more of a challenger brand, with really big players, and you still got a pretty big company of your own?

Mandy Dhaliwal  25:26

Right? To be clear, 20 months ago, we were a $4 billion market cap company. So what we've done and the market dynamics have given us the $12 billion valuation today, right, that market cap. So that's something that's earned. And it's earned every day. And I think, you know, to peel back the layers of the onion, right, some of the work that we've done across every facet of the organization, to get us to go rise to meet the challenge that our customers are facing around managing their hybrid multi cloud environments. It's led to that success and our ability to compete effectively. But we still think of ourselves as that challenger brand, right? We always remember where we came from. We're up against, you know, all sorts of behemoths in the industry. And so for us, the mindset is, how do we grow responsibly? And how do we go solve the customer problems that we know we're really good at. And then also the ecosystem comes into play, we partner with the who's who of, of tech Titans, right. So for example, we just launched or announced a partnership with Cisco, they have an HCI technology that they've end of life, and they're using ours as the gold standard, right? So we're earning proof and delivering these proof points into the market every day, we partner with Microsoft on their Azure platform, we can help customers get to the cloud faster, we also partner with AWS. So we've got technology there, we partner with HPE, we partner with Dell, we partner with Citrix with Red Hat. So we've really built this heft of an ecosystem around us. And then we go to market with each of those players in our own way. So there's that piece of it in terms of driving force multiplication. So that's one element, we're not going at it alone. So how do you go do that in a way that can drive scale and unlock growth for you? How do you go direct to customer with a message, and then we transact all of our business to our channel partners? So how do you make the channel partners become advocates for you? So when they've got the relationship with the customer, the customer is a asking about us and be the partner is pushing our technology as the best solution. So it's a very complicated ecosystem listening to

Ben Kaplan  27:35

you talk about the partner set. I heard names in there, and maybe maybe you can clarify this. That, to me sounded like competitors, also. So how do you think about, you know, the dynamic of marketing where competitors, they can be competitors in one dimension and their partners in a new dimension? And it's sort of classic? Like, I guess it's appropriate, because there's a new, I'm gonna take a totally different reference. There's a new Mean Girls movie out. So this idea of frenemies, right. It's like there's opponents, their friends, their partners, their competitors, how do you think of that? And how do you leverage that for your market? Like, who are your competitors? Who are your partners? And is it a little bit blurry?

Mandy Dhaliwal  28:14

It's coopetition, all day, every day, right? And that's been happening ever since the, you know, the inception of technology companies, as soon as you get a couple in the room, the end of the day, there's piece parts of our technologies coexisting amongst, you know, every major Fortune brand out there, right. And so, where we focus, and I think this is the answer for tech at large, its customer lead. Right? What is the customer's preference? What hardware do they want to work on? What are they looking to deploy? What do they already have existing within their ecosystem that tends to drive a lot of these conversations, our job is to be open and to be able to address any of those opportunities as they come along. So it's less about the competition, it's more about the customer need is how we think about it. Because if you get caught up in looking at all the nuance of, well, I can't possibly go partner with them because we have you know, this edge corner solution that can be it's, you're never gonna get anywhere. And the reality is, I think as a tech community, we all realize that we need each other.

Ben Kaplan  29:22

Picture your company and its competition as rival tennis players. You might battle each other fiercely in a singles match. On a doubles match comes up, teaming up might be the best choice to secure the winner. This doesn't mean you're not rivals anymore. It just means you're smart enough to know what each situation requires. Apple and Samsung do it. Sony and Panasonic have done it. Do you have competitors who might also become partners? The answer may surprise you Mandy moving forward. I mean, you've had remarkable growth. What do you think about to continue the growth? I mean, you've talked about, you know, having to the company has to like position itself for an IPO one way and then reinvent its whole self again, and then position in a different way. What's new? What's coming? What how do you get to be a $20 billion company or let's double a 24 $25 billion

Mandy Dhaliwal  30:20

cup? I think it's something that we think about all the time. And it's really the answer is with the technology and the innovation. Right? How do we continually innovate to ensure that we're staying ahead of the curve in terms of anticipating what our customers might need? Right? That's why I'm in tech. Are you

Ben Kaplan  30:36

given the sense of hey, Mandy, you know, we're just doing this rebranding, this repositioning? Now, this is where our company's at, but this is where we want to be in five or 10 years. So can you future proof our marketing? Can you make it so it still applies? And we don't have to do this all over again, five years from now, do you have some sense of that is, is that a factor in all of this? Where you have to go? Or you're like, No, if I do my job, right, I make our existing marketing obsolete in five years, so that we have to do it all again, because we've grown and we've changed so much. Yeah.

Mandy Dhaliwal  31:06

I don't even think it's five years. Ben, I think it's constant evolution, right? We put out positioning last April, right, we're hitting the one year anniversary of it, we're evolving it already because the market shifting, right. And so it's keeping pace, it's very dynamic. And I think, if you look across, I look across the my peer sets, or companies that I admire, right, they're always have their they always have their finger on the pulse of the customer in the market dynamic. And I think that's where good marketing comes from. You have to be agile enough, and also dynamic enough to embrace what's happening in the market, and be able to position yourself for the opportunity, right, I go back to generative AI, right, we didn't know at the beginning of last year that that was going to become as big as it has become. But ultimately, we launched product last August, we have a whole strategy. We want to be the destination for these AI workloads. We are the modern platform that can help organizations get started and run those AI workloads securely and with control. And so how do you get that message out? All right. And so that's an adaptation of our story, right? We started with an app explosion, right? And all sorts of data exploding, but there's an AI frenzy out there as well. And so you have to continually pivot otherwise, you're done. You're a dinosaur. And

Ben Kaplan  32:33

what I want to end on is, you mentioned that part of your marketing messages is around chaos, you use the word choice fully manage the chaos. How do you back to your role as CMO, manage the chaos of of sort of modern marketing? A lot of channels, a lot of platforms, a lot of partners, a lot of competitors? How do you manage that chaos? Where do you spend your time each week? How do you get more out of I'm pretty sure you have the same 24 hours in the day that I do seven days a week, unless you've figured out how to hack that which case please share. But how do you how do you get the most from that and manage the chaos, just as a CMO and the role of a CMO?

Mandy Dhaliwal  33:17

Yeah, fantastic question. And I think if any one of us were to crack that code, we wouldn't be on TOP CMO podcasts anymore.

Ben Kaplan  33:25

You just be part of the ethos just part of Mandy is everywhere. She's not even on a pocket is omnipresent. However, that is. Yeah. Until then how do you do it?

Mandy Dhaliwal  33:35

I think it starts with the team, right even need to build a team of leaders and partnerships across the organization that understand the strategy and where you're headed. And I think that, you know, I often refer to marketing being a team sport. And so for me, that's critical success factor. Number one, surround yourself with the right people that are on the mission that you're on, right, have the buy in. And so people understand. And it's not chaos for chaos sake, because if there's too much chaos in marketing, something's wrong. Candidly, right, you need to be a well oiled machine. My philosophy is I'm a proponent of machining marketing, where you can write there's left brain and right brain on marketing. And it frees us up to be able to go do the creative stuff, and to go do the punch throughs and breakthroughs into the market. So really codifying go to markets, getting messaging, right building, discipline, building consistency, all of that has to happen. That was your one. All right. Now it's how do you build upon the success of it? And how are you embracing the change that's coming your way and harnessing the power of your team to be able to go deliver on that and meet the market where it is all at the same time, right, working very closely with our code constituents, if you will, or colleagues within product and within sales, so they understand the strategy and you built the trust, so they all know that you're in their corner. That minute that minimizes chaos. I'm not waking up to bombs in my email. Right, I'm waking up to hey, we just thought of this, how about we do this? And how do we align as an organization to be able to go help meet that need and go deliver that message into the market? The fight is out there. It's not within ourselves. So chaos to me is a word. You know, me, I like to, to use Marie Kondo references once in a while. And so for me, within our marketing, how do we go do things that actually bring joy within our organization and to our customers? So how do you clean up the stuff that's messy, right, and prepare yourself for the battle that is out in the market? That's how I think about it. And

Ben Kaplan  35:34

final point to end on? What is your superpower as CMO and which superpower do you wish you had more of moving forward? What has made you successful? And you know, very technical companies, technology companies, as the top marketer, what's your superpower? And what other superpower would you do you wish you have? Or you want to, you know, accumulate in the next five years? Yeah.

Mandy Dhaliwal  35:59

Wow. That's, that's a really deep question, Ben, I hadn't prepared for this one at all. Not that I prepared for this conversation at all. I think, you know, superpower, I think there's things that organizations value. And if I look back on my 20 plus year career, I think, you know, a couple of things that teaming, right mindset, I think the ability to jointly solve, I think is really important. bringing people along on the journey. being easy to work with is something I tremendously value and being collaborative. I think that's, that's critically important. Important. That's one bucket, being agile, being able to get results, get points on the board, right, show progress, sometimes perfection gets in the way. So that's important. That's been the strength. And the third kind of the bonus on that is intuition. Right, I've got this keen sense of, of marketing and spidey sense, I'd like to refer to it as I've been, in many marketing works throughout my career, different shapes and sizes of companies all the way from startups to to enterprise organizations, I've done virtually every function as as a responsibility at one point or another in my career. So I deeply understand what my teams are going through and can help them navigate and look around corners, where they may not necessarily look to help prevent them from, from making mistakes, and also delivering agility. So I think that's, you know, that's what gets us into the CMO roles, to be able to have that depth of experience and really be, you know, really good at our domain. But ultimately, I think, being in tech, that partnership is really important. As far as a skill that I wish I had, or what I'm working on is to make more time to be engaging with customers. You know, that's something that as I grow my career is really being a you know, trusted advisor and being a sounding board for customers. I think that there's a lot of unlocking the value there in terms of really delivering empathy and being able to understand what they need and making sure that we're getting them not only the right message but the right product at the right time. So becoming you know, honing in building out my my skill set as an executive beyond being a marketer.

Ben Kaplan  38:18

According to Mandy Dhaliwal, good marketing means having a finger on the pulse of the customer. That means knowing your audience, identify specific customer centric moments that differentiate what your company offers to the rest, and use this to help define the true value you out. According to Mandy's definition, CMOs are managers of chaos, so embrace the chaos, thrive in the uncertainty the TOP CMO, I’m Ben Kaplan.

Tom Cain  38:56

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