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CMO Roundtable – an Excellent Opportunity to Share Challenges and Successes

Earlier this month, AdvantageCS hosted a CMO Roundtable for our clients in sunny Orlando, Florida. The 11 marketing executives who participated represented different kinds of organizations – B2B and B2C publishers of magazines and newsletters, an academic journals publisher, 2 scholarly membership organizations with their flagship publications, and 2 special interest publishers of religious books and curricula:

Daryl Berver, Chief Operating officer, The Agora
Grace Epperson, Vice President of Marketing Intelligence, The Agora
Elizabeth Solaro, Director of Marketing, American Medical Association
Jennifer Mosley, Group Director, Audience Development, Crain Communications
Bonnie Roche, Managing Director – Audience, Marketing, Product, Crain Communications
Cason Lynley, Director of Marketing and Sales, Duke University Press
Lorraine Caulton, Director of Creative & Customer Engagement, InterVarsity Press
Elaine Spencer, Director of Circulation and Marketing/Audience Development, Massachusetts Medical Society/New England Journal of Medicine
Cherilyn Olmsted, Circulation & Marketing Director, Ogden Publications
Terry Poplava, Executive Director of Marketing & Sales, Our Sunday Visitor
Sarah Hess, Senior Director Shared Services, Farm Progress Companies, Penton/Informa

Prior to leading such a roundtable, I wonder how the group dynamics will work and whether everyone around the table will find the topics relevant, helpful, or just interesting. Having different types of organizations can lead to conversations which some participants may find irrelevant, but mostly the cross-pollination of ideas is surprisingly useful to the attendees.

Each participant was given 15-20 minutes to describe their goals and priorities for the next year, challenges they are facing, and what keeps them awake at night. The conversation then opened up for questions and comments on what was described. As each participant provided their viewpoint, a handful of common priorities emerged, such as needing KPIs for customer performance, the need for community building, product development, and the challenges of changing the mindset of internal stakeholders in order to introduce new technologies, revenue streams, marketing techniques, and engagement strategies.

A number of tools were mentioned for solving these challenges, some of which had been tested successfully by various participants. Behavioral and predictive tools are excellent for helping an organization to aim the right promotions to the right audience at the right moment (think paywalls), for example, but these can come at a cost which may be prohibitive to a smaller organization.

A networking dinner between the Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning sessions provided more casual time to make connections, get clarifications, and, of course, enjoy fine food and wine! Chatting outside over a glass of wine in February is many a northerner’s dream.

Pictured below, L to R: 1. Terry Poplava, Philippe van Mastrigt. 2. Elaine Spencer, Cason Lynley,  Phil Montgomery. 3. Bonnie Roch, Cherilyn Olmsted.

After the following morning session, at the end of the roundtable, I quickly polled the participants about whether they’d found the meeting and conversation useful. Everyone chimed in that they had found it incredibly relevant and were glad they’d made the trip. Of course, Orlando in February is not such a difficult trip to make…

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