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How did you become so passionate about everything to do with Marketing?

James M

My degree was in Engineering, but I worked out very early in my career that I loved using my knowledge of technology and translating that into language that others would be inspired by.  

It turns out that I love psychology and how people think, and I love creating communications that educate and challenge people’s perceptions.  Add the many possibilities brought about by technology, and there’s no more exciting way to do that than with a career in marketing!

Please tell us about your current role as CMO of Exonar, a provider of data discovery software. 
James M

As a love of technology and innovation, it’s hard not to wonder at the vast potential of data.  At Exonar, we have a world-leading software solution for organizations to understand and look after their data, so they can protect it and use it to help the customers they serve.  

It’s a worthy mission and one that’s great to lead as a marketer. I’m lucky enough to build our brand and message, lead the development of our product strategy to help customers even more while running a team of excellent marketers who make our message simpler and guide our customers to solve their data challenges.

As businesses worldwide are finally coming out of the lockdown-phase, how is your company armed to deal with what is to come next?
James M

We were fortunate to have already had a flexible and remote-working culture before the impact of coronavirus, so we could close our offices and carry on.  It’s been tough for everyone in so many ways, but we’ve now been through a lot together, and I believe our company will have a more robust culture when we emerge (hopefully soon!).  We do miss face-to-face contact, though, so we can’t wait to get some quality office time in when the time comes – we’ve hired several new starters since lockdown, so we haven’t even met all of our team yet!

In your extensive career in global marketing roles, what have been the two significant highlights that shaped you professionally? 
James M

Great question! I think each of my roles and employers has taught me a considerable amount.  One of the first highlights was introducing new game-changing mobile technology back at Vodafone and seeing the marvel in customer’s eyes as they were able to do game-changing new things.  

The second highlight has been the many amazing, inspiring, and talented people I’ve met along the way, who’ve been my role models and have challenged me to grow as a marketer, a manager, and to be able to be the leader I am today.  

There’s a lot to be said for the diversity of experience and roles in any career, but certainly in marketing.  It’s such a broad discipline that it helps to become an all-rounder and learn a bit of everything along the way – it’s those different experiences shape what I do in my current role.

Recently, Exonar became one of the 33 UK start-ups to join Tech Nation’s flagship, midscale growth program, Upscale. What other milestone awaits Exonar in the coming five years?
James M

I can’t tell you how proud I am to work for a company that’s now officially “one to watch” for the future and is treading the same pathway as the latest household names such as Monzo, Deliveroo, Revolut, Depop, and others.  

That’s just the start, though; we have more fantastic technology to bring to market that we’re bursting to tell people about, then to fuel our growth, we’ll be looking to raise more investment in the future.

I’m not a morning person, but even I don’t have trouble getting out of bed to continue working on our mission!

How has been your interaction with other CMOs in the IT industry? What do they sound like, and has there been any exciting lesson you learned during these conversations?
James M

Marketing is changing and evolving very fast, driven by the information revolution, the ‘democratisation of knowledge’, the impact of influencer marketing, the online shopping movement.  Meanwhile, the explosion in consumer-empowering technology has led to new online threats and privacy concerns, which has led to ad-blockers, email filters, and other technologies designed to protect individuals’ privacy, but make authentic marketing in a digital world far more complex.  This is a real challenge, but of course, an opportunity for brands that respect and understand their customers and are committed to creating valuable and trusted relationships. 

The lesson I see the CMOs learn is that disruptive brands’ success is based on delivering more robust and customer-centric product/service experiences.   This will demand a more ’rounded’ CMO in the future – one that spends as much time leading in product and customer experience, driven by data, as they do in building and overseeing campaigns and brand activities.

What advice would you give to future marketers?
James M

When getting experience in marketing, it’s vital to seek out as much variety as possible. Firstly, there are so many more touchpoints and approaches to engage customers these days, each of which has various merits and can be powerfully integrated to create fantastic customer experiences.  

There are also many ‘types’ of a marketer with different skills, so it’s essential to consider how your talents and strengths can be best used to make you successful.  From proposition development to creative or public relations to copywriting and campaign management, there’s something for everyone.  I love that all marketers are united in gaining pleasure from moving audiences and changing perceptions – we all appreciate great marketing when we see it.

Marketing has never been a more broad and diverse discipline that will continue to be essential and relevant whatever happens in the future, with the power to do good when attached to not-for-profit activities or promoting significant issues such as the green economy and climate change.

I may have got into marketing by mistake, but I couldn’t be happier to call it my profession!

Disha Bhattacharya is a seasoned content writer prolific in engaging the customer with her content in any given realm of writing. With 6 years of Freelance Content Writing and 3 years of Marketing Management experience up her sleeve, she believes in transforming businesses with her well-researched, SEO-based, innovative content. A story-teller at heart and a perfectionist by nature, she rolls out informative content with a personal touch that provides an entertaining read to the audience.

Posted in Interviews By Disha Bhattacharya   Date February 23, 2021

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