Brett Zucker is CMO at Monotype, the font and tech specialist, which also owns Olapic, a company which helps brands get more from user-generated content (UGC), short-form video and influencers in their marketing.
I caught up with him as part of our ‘day in the life’ interviews. Here’s what he had to say…
(Remember, if you want to advance your career, take a look at Econsultancy’s training offering)
1. Please describe your job: What do you do?
As CMO of Monotype, I’m responsible for building value for our customers and driving awareness and demand for that value. I also lead the product strategy for the company. I look at my role as leading the team that finds markets where problems exist. I then work with designers and engineers to build products to solve those problems and market Monotype so customers turn to us for the solution.
2. What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
I think CMOs today are at an incredible cross-road between art and science. We have a lot of data at our fingertips, but we can’t forget or discount the role that other factors play that aren’t as easily measured. Understanding the customer experience is incredibly important, and requires more in-depth analysis to get accurate and actionable data. Marketing budgets can be a big line item in an organization and the marketing teams are becoming responsible for more and more elements of the customer experience.
To be most effective in the role, and to make the best use of the company spend, CMOs need to have a solid understanding of the art and the science behind engaging with customers.
4. Tell us about a typical working day…
As you’d expect, I’m in a lot of meetings! We have a global marketing team with a wide range of responsibilities, so I spend a lot of time working with the team to tackle challenges around how we interact with our customers and better engaging with their customers.
I also work cross-functionally with other members of our leadership team to make sure that our marketing strategies are aligned with, and supportive of, our business goals – both at the corporate and the team levels.
5. What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I absolutely love the process of building products and seeing them in the hands of happy customers. I also really embrace the challenge of applying measurement and science to what’s traditionally been a creative discipline.
There isn’t much that sucks about my job, but if I had to pick something, a frustration would be the rare instance where we don’t have the data we need to make the best decision.
6. What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
Like any company, we measure KPIs like revenue, pipeline and the ratio of CAC (customer acquisition cost) to CLTV (customer lifetime value). That said, we try to have more of an “outside-in” approach when it comes to the customer journey. As a result, my favorite KPIs are mapped pretty closely to the different steps in the customer journey, which we see as awareness, consideration, acquisition, onboarding, engagement and loyalty, renewal and finally, advocacy. There are a number of different KPIs that can be measured at each of those steps, and each helps tell a different part of the customer story.
7. What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Nothing beats live conversations, whether that’s with the team internally or externally with our customers. Conversations are by far the best tool to get to know both employees and customers, to build relationships and learn about their struggles and goals. Internally, I like to just hear what people are working on to understand what those closest to our customers think is most important.
In terms of tech tools, Salesforce is our go-to solution for pipeline and sales management. I also rely heavily on roadmaps for product development, and KPI dashboards for overall team management.
8. How did you end up at Monotype, and where might you go from here?
My journey to Monotype took place over the course of a whirlwind few weeks. I was an original founder of a different company and was there for 13 years, taking it from start-up to small-cap IPO. I was living outside of New York, but had decided it was time to leave and I received a great offer with Amazon in Seattle. After consoling the kids on a big move across the country, and purchasing plane tickets for house hunting, I got a call from Scott, who was on the board of my previous company and was looking for someone to join him at Monotype.
With my plans to join Amazon firmly in place, I didn’t think anything else could have been a better fit, but I greatly admire Scott and I wanted to hear him out. After learning about the opportunity, I was intrigued so I said I’d at least come for a day to visit.
After meeting with about 10 people over eight hours, I walked out, called my wife and said that if I get the job, we have to move to Boston. Well, I got the offer, cancelled the plane tickets to Seattle, got the kids excited about moving to yet a different city and booked a moving truck. Fast forward three-plus years, and I know that joining Monotype was the greatest decision I could have made.
9. What companies do you admire for their approach to typography or user-generated content?
There are so many that I admire! Sony is a favorite because of how they are able to implement a type strategy across so many regions and languages, and across so many product categories – like cars, TVs, mobile phones, computers and more.
I also admire a brand like Domino’s not only for its use of type, but also for how it listens to its customers and works to delight them with solutions that improve how they interact with and experience the brand.
Beauty brand L’Oréal is also one that I admire, thanks to its commitment to transparency and authenticity. It does an amazing job of making customers part of the brand experience, giving them the opportunity to guide its voice and contribute to its identity.
10. Do you have any advice for marketers who don’t know where to start with more authentic social content?
Absolutely! Our best advice for those that don’t know where to start is simply to start small. If they already have a solid understanding of the type of content that is resonating with customers, that’s a solid foundation. If they don’t have that information yet, they can start by requesting UGC through a manageable campaign, and see what they get.
They should pay attention to what their customers are saying, what they are posting and what content is engaging them. Seeing how customers use products is invaluable, and marketers can use that information to help refine their marketing going forward.
Once they have permission from customers to use that UGC in their social marketing, they should then activate it and pay close attention to what works. Successfully leveraging UGC on social channels requires testing and evaluation, but once marketers see what works and what doesn’t, they can more effectively and authentically engage with customers by giving them content and messaging that aligns with their expectations.
If successful, more customers will create UGC, and the cycle will continue. If they determine that this sort of visual marketing is right for them, they can start to plan for it and scale the effort to include other visual elements, like video, interactive content and even influencer marketing to engage customers further.