Born: Oak Park, Illinois, U.S.A.
Worked in: Chicago, with extended travel to the U.K., Germany, Singapore, China, India, Japan
Describe an innovative idea or business solution of which you are most proud. The key to a successful global account is effective talent management. We see better product and happier clients with accomplished people across languages, time zones and cultures. As a result, I launched a global training program for Starcom’s Oracle team. Now my clients in China get the same, proven results as my clients at HQ. This can be a challenge on any global account, but it’s especially difficult in the dynamic B2B technology category where product offerings are tough to grasp, the decision-making process for purchasing enterprise software is intricate, launch dates change by the minute, and media choices are increasingly fragmented.
Why do people see you as an innovator? In baseball, you can go to bat 10 times, and a person who is successful on three attempts but fails the other seven is considered a star. I encourage my team to consistently serve up innovations and recognize that not every one will be a home run — but that one idea that does make it out of the park will make up for all the others.
What role does innovation play in your marketing strategy today? Innovation has shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” element of our plans. It's no longer that one “sexy” hook to deliver along with the usual flowchart. Innovation is the foundation of our efforts and the lens we use to evaluate recommendations.
What is the biggest challenge you face in applying innovative thinking to international projects? Given the limitations of reliable international audience data, particularly against technology and business decision-makers, we sometimes don’t have simple access to resources on the front end to support recommendations, or on the back end to showcase effectiveness. Still, we make it work by creating or collaborating to obtain new resources where needed.
INTERNATIONALIST TRIVIA: I’m lucky to have been raised by very open-minded East Indian parents who taught us to “think globally, act locally” before that was even a phrase.