Ep. 288: Des Cahill is the Chief Marketing Officer for Oracle CX Cloud Suite, an integrated set of marketing, sales, commerce and service solutions that power customer experience for thousands of leading global brands. Prior to Oracle, Des was the CMO @ Kerio Technologies marketing to over 60,000 SMB customers and 5,000 channel partners. Before Kerio, Des was the CMO @ Ensighten, where he helped grow the customer base from 10 to 100 and revenues from $2M to $14M. Des has also spent time as CEO having founded and grown Habeas Inc from 0 to 450 customers, $9M in revenue and raising 3 rounds of venture financing.

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In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

* How Des made his way into the world of startups and came to be CMO of Oracle’s CX Cloud Suite.
* Why does Des believe customers are more unpredictable now than ever before? How is their behavior fundamentally changing? What are some great examples of how Des has seen companies amend to the changing consumer demands?
* How does this change the role of the marketer today? How does this change the prioritization of customer experience for marketers? What are the challenging elements of this change? How does the role of marketing also integrate with the post-sale and customer success with much of their content being used there?
* How does Des think about the relationship between marketing and sales teams? What are Des’ biggest tips on how to reduce friction in the hand off from marketing to sales? What works? What does not work? What is the right OKR to measure marketing teams? Does it have to be tied directly to revenue?


Ep. 289: Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter, Zoom Head of Sales Ops Hilary Headlee and FireEye VP of WW Sales Christina Foley share the seven tips and tricks to getting more revenue per AE.


This episode is sponsored by Brex.


SaaStr’s Founder’s Favorites Series features one of SaaStr Annual’s best of the best sessions that you might have missed.

This podcast is an excerpt from Kyle, Hilary, and Christina’s session at SaaStr Annual 2019.


If you would like to find out more about the show and the guests presented, you can follow us on Twitter here:

Jason Lemkin
Harry Stebbings
Des Cahill
Kyle Porter

Below, we’ve shared the transcript of Harry’s interview with Des.

Harry Stebbings: This is the official SaaStr podcast with me, Harry Stebbings. It’d be awesome to see you behind the scenes on Instagram @hstebbings1996 with two Bs. However, to our episode today, and it’s no secret that I have a passion for marketing and I’m thrilled to welcome a truly special CMO today, in the form of Des Cahill. Now, Des is the chief marketing officer for Oracle Customer Experience Cloud Suite, or Oracle CX, an integrated set of marketing, sales, commerce, and service solutions, that power customer experience for thousands of leading global brands. Prior to Oracle, Des was the CMO of Kerio Technologies, marketing to over 60,000 SMB customers and 5,000 channel partners. Before Kerio, Des was the CMO at Ensighten, where he helped grow the customer base from 10 to 100 and revenues from 2 million to $14 million. Des has also, though, spent time as CEO, having founded and grown Habeas from zero to 450 customers, $9 million in revenue and raising three rounds of venture financing.

Harry Stebbings: But you’ve heard quite enough from me, so now I’m delighted to hand over to the wonderful Des Cahill, CMO at Oracle CX.

Harry Stebbings: Des, it is absolutely fantastic to have you on the show today. Huge thanks for joining me, first.

Des Cahill: Harry, it’s great to be here. I’m excited, and let’s go on with the show.

Harry Stebbings: Absolutely. I would love to start there with a little bit about you. And so for some context, how did you make your way into the world of SaaS and how did you come to be CMO at Oracle CX?

Des Cahill: Well, I made my way into the world of SaaS very early on because I’ve been in Silicon Valley quite a while and if I think back to my first days in SaaS, it was really when I was at Apple Computer way back in the dinosaur days when AOL was the king, running Apple’s relationship with AOL. Then, I was running Apple.com back in the day of 9,600 baud modems and webcasts from Shoreline, but like 100 people simultaneously. I left Apple and I worked at Netscape for a while in the early days of the browser, running marketing programs, and then all of a sudden I noticed all around the valley, there were these companies that were doing application as a service. We didn’t even know to call it SaaS back then. There wasn’t even the word, cloud, but hosted services, which go back as far as Prodigy, AOL, you can do things online without an application. That really evolved, I think, out of the online services into web 1.0 and then ever since, I’d say–I left Apple in 1997–I’ve been in the world of cloud and SaaS, but even before it was named SaaS, really.

Harry Stebbings: Can I ask, you mentioned Apple and Netscape, two of the most transformational companies, many would argue of our age. What were some of your biggest takeaways from your time there and really being in the trenches and on the front lines at such kind of transformative companies?

Des Cahill: Well, for Apple, it was very early in my career, so I was probably more impressionable and more of a sponge soaking up the atmosphere around me, and I really learned the importance of execution and integration of messaging, design and product and putting the user at the center. So I joined Apple about a year after Steve Jobs had first left, and the last thing I did at Apple on December 23rd, 1996 was cover press conference when we acquired NeXT Computer and brought back Steve as a quote unquote “consultant,” little did Gil Amelio know. By then, I had accepted a job to go work at a startup, but my point is that even though I was there at Apple for nine years when Steve wasn’t there, the impact that he had in terms of his maniacal focus on, again, this intersection of design, message, and product execution, all centered around customer needs, was something that really baked into my DNA.

Des Cahill: At Netscape, I think what I took away was the incredible power of the internet for hypergrowth. I mean, when you were buying a Macintosh, that was a considered purchase. You’re spending $2,500 or whatever. You probably bought one every three years. At Netscape, I was running marketing programs for browser downloads and when we put out a new version of the browser, we would have five million downloads in 24 hours. So that was an incredible opportunity to see the power of the internet, to reach many people very quickly.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah. I mean, wow, what incredible experiences [inaudible 00:07:00]. I do want to start, though. You said there about the maniacal focus on customer and customer experience that you really saw firsthand at Apple. And I’ve seen you speak before at conferences and one thing you said that really shocked me was customers’ expectations are more unpredictable than ever today. If we start with an element of causation, why do you think customers today are more unpredictable than they maybe were before?

Des Cahill: I think it goes back to that old Silicon Valley standby of Moore’s Law. So Gordon Moore was one of the founders of Fairchild Semiconductor, which was like a Seminole Valley company, and then he later laughed to co-found Intel. He was a chief executive or leader at Intel for many years. And Moore’s Law simply stated is that the amount of computing power on a transistor will double every 18 months and the cost of that computing power will drop in half, and he made that prediction 52 years ago, and it’s held true. It’s never stopped.

Des Cahill: So what I’m saying is that the transformation … I’m the parent of three children age 22 to 18, and their experience growing up, their technology environment and the choices they’ve been able to make and the experiences that they’ve been able to have in their formative years in terms of digital channels and buying opportunities and learning discovery opportunities about products and services is radically different than the experience that I had or even that millennials have had.

Des Cahill: So I think it’s really technology and the pervasiveness of cloud technology, of SaaS technology, of mobile technology, the pervasiveness of technology in all of our lives is fundamentally changing us as human beings in terms of our behaviors and expectations. And I think that Moore’s Law continues to roll on the power that’s going to be in our pockets with our iPhones and Android devices is just going to continue to increase. Imaginative entrepreneurs are just going to continue to figure out new and better ways to utilize that power. And I think if I look forward to my grandchildren, their upbringing and their expectations are going to be radically different than my children’s expectations and experiences they expect.

Harry Stebbings: When we think about the expectations of the consumer today, if that’s like the why they’ve changed, in terms of what they’ve changed to, in terms of your observations, how is that behavior maybe fundamentally different or changed from the previous generations?

Des Cahill: Yeah, I would say in general it would be I want what I want when I want it and I want it now. So I think there’s a level of fragmented attention span that we all have in our work lives and in our personal lives. I mean, the plus side is that the internet and the mobile applications and mobile devices give us access to perfect information, but we’re used to getting that perfect information. We seek that perfect information. We want that perfect information and we tend to move toward companies that can provide us that perfect information very quickly. So we tend to buy devices from Apple. We tend to go on Facebook to get information about our friends. We tend to go onto platforms like Amazon to do our shopping, even though it’s not necessarily the lowest cost provider because of the convenience of a large assortment of goods and the ease of getting it delivered.

Des Cahill: So price, where in my parents’ generation, the driver around decision of what brands to associate with may have been driven more by price and value, today it’s really driven by the composition of the experience of interacting with that brand. I’d rather buy something through Amazon and pay more for it and have the assurance of my charge card being on there for a single click, my ability to return products, my ability to get a product in the next day or two versus go to buy it from someone else for 20% less.

Harry Stebbings: So I totally get you in terms of that evolution, but it does bring marketing to the forefront because marketing in many ways manages and controls that first customer interaction and a lot of the customer experience journey. So I guess with the changing consumer demands, how do you evaluate the changing role of marketing today and the responsibilities now placed on it?

Des Cahill: That’s a great question, Harry. So before I dive into the market or I’d say at a higher level, it’s a wonderful time to be a CX professional. It’s definitely a growth industry. And the reason I say that is as you’ve astutely observed, these changing customers, changing buyers, because it’s both B2B and B2C, they are driving changes in brands, in organizations, and that change is, CX is no longer a good customer experience. Delivery is no longer a luxury. It’s a necessity. It’s the core strategy at a CEO level and a board level. Investment in customer experience software and services is at an all time high and is growing extremely rapidly.

Des Cahill: Now, to take that down to the functional areas of a company and marketing more specifically, I think the key thing that companies are looking to do is they are looking to centralize their customer experience strategy and treat the customer cohesively throughout the customer journey. And when I say customer journey, what I mean is that I research a product, I receive ads about that product, my journey begins, I buy the product. That’s another part of my customer journey.

Des Cahill: I try to learn about the product from your website or third party websites, by talking to my friends. That’s another part of my customer journey. I have a problem with a product. I want to return the product or get a replacement or get the latest version of it or upgrade the software. I decide to buy another product from your company. So that’s a customer journey and it takes place across digitally from ads and third party communities, first party communities. It takes place in stores. It takes part in my real life and physical life with conversations with other people.

Des Cahill: So organizations are struggling to try to provide a contextual experience across that whole journey. And what I mean by that is if I’m working with a bank and I go into a branch, I expect the teller to know that I’m a very loyal customer. I’ve been with the company for 30 years, I’ve got a lot of money with that bank, and I expect them to treat me appropriately. I don’t want to be treated as a separate person as I interact with each part of your company. I want your phone, your contact center, your person in the bank, and the mobile app all to understand me and know me and know that I’m trying to refinance my house with you and to treat me accordingly and to make my journey frictionless.

Des Cahill: So the burden on marketers is that, Harry, as you have observed, they are essentially acquiring customers and welcoming them into the fold, welcoming them into the household. So marketers are acquiring that customer and they want to make sure that that customer has a good experience in sales, service and on the website and commerce, not just through ads and the website. So increasingly, the marketer is becoming in many organizations the de facto owner of customer experience and playing this role of ensuring there’s a contextual journey for the customer in their entire life cycle with a brand.

Harry Stebbings: I’m totally with you. I mean, the big question, though, that then I kind of ponder on and ask myself is, okay, so if they own that kind of entry acquisition funnel, there is a moment when you have to hand off in more traditional kind of enterprise SaaS to a sales team or if you have specialization within your team, which is another question, but there is a moment when you traditionally hand off to the sales team. That can cause a lot of friction within the customer journey. They may not know the customer as well obviously because they don’t have the relationship. They may not have the context. How do you think about removing friction in the handoff between marketing and sales?

Des Cahill: Excellent question. I’ve been CMO here for Oracle CX, but I’ve been a CMO in many companies in the valley, and my two most important partnerships are with the VP of sales and with the engineering leader and sales leader. So that marketing to sales handoff is always a tricky one. Marketing wants to produce a high quantity of leads and sales would prefer to be getting … they want a quantity of leads, but they want high quality leads, so that qualification process. We can talk at length, and I’m sure you’ve covered this in many of your podcasts, about the integration between marketing automation systems and sales automation systems and making that handoff seamless from a technology perspective.

Des Cahill: But I think more importantly, what is going to best inform that handoff from marketing to sales is the data around the customer or around that lead, around that prospect. What do we in marketing know about that customer before we hand them off to sales? What’s the right time to hand them off to sales? Who in sales should we hand them off to and how should we represent this handoff? Are we handing off a customer to sales immediately after that person logs into our website and download the white paper? Because we know that this person works for a national account and we know that this national account has been to the website 50 times recently. We already do $2 million in business with them a year and this person’s in that buying part of that organization. If that’s the case, that person should be directly handed off to our national accounts sales team without stopping. Do not pass, go, just go get routed directly, because that’s a high value target that already is in a buying pattern.

Des Cahill: On the other hand, if we have someone coming to our website and we have their IP address and we think they’re associated with a certain brand, we don’t really know much about them, it’s probably not appropriate to push that over to sales. That’s more of a nurturing opportunity and someone for us to monitor, and they may be in an unknown state. We don’t know that customer’s name. They haven’t logged in, but how can we personalize the website for that person based on an understanding of the kind of content they’ve been looking on at our website or in our mobile application.

Des Cahill: And the next time they come to the site, even though they’re anonymous, how can we continue the conversation we started having with them about routers or about the particular technology they were looking at. So I think context is key. What do you hand off to where in sales and with what message? Call immediately. Nurture longer. And all of that is based on having as deep … From a marketing perspective, you need to have as deep an understanding about that particular lead or prospect as soon as possible, and that really boils down to data and data about that customer.

Harry Stebbings: Totally with you in terms of kind of being data rich around the customer. I am super interested, because you mentioned the interplay there between sales and marketing, and one area where people often struggle with marketing when they don’t with sales is kind of the measurement of success. With sales, they often think dollars closed per quarter, and then with marketing it’s like how do we measure that and the success of marketing? Now, this obviously depends on brand marketing versus alternative forms, but how do you think about it, and does it have to be tied to a number directly allocated to revenue or is it something else?

Des Cahill: Well, attribution is an age old marketing dilemma. At Oracle or in any enterprise company, we are going to touch an account 60 to 80 times before we get them in our pipeline, in our forecast as a qualified opportunity. And those touches can be on websites. Those can be from events. Those can be downloading white papers. Those can be sales conversations, right? So the question becomes, well, which was it? We sold a $50 million deal to Acme Widgets. Acme Widgets went to 20 different Oracle conferences. We’ve had seven meetings with them. They’ve been on the website 15 times. They responded to six different campaigns, so which one of those things drove the conversion? The answer is yes, all of them. So you have a lot of attribution models, which are LIFO, last in, first out, “Ah, it must’ve been that one event we did because they closed the deal. They attended that one event and we spent $1 million on that event. We got a $50 million deal. Therefore, we had a 50X return on that event.”

Des Cahill: So that’s a bit of a simplistic way to look at it. I think the way marketing should measure itself is on how well marketing is helping sales fill the pipeline and achieve its revenue numbers. Ultimately, marketing and sales are partnered together to achieve revenue targets. So that’s the ultimate measure. Now, of course, within marketing, there are tons of KPIs that can help you look at how healthy all of your multiple touch points are driving toward supporting that pipeline and that revenue. Yo can look at PR and you can say, “How many impressions did I drive?” You can look at social and say, “How many follows and retweets do I have?” You can look at your AdWords and say, “What are my conversion rates and what’s my effective cost per lead?” So there’s many different KPIs, but marketing is ultimately a marketing mix where you have to use many, many different channels, especially in enterprise. It might be a little bit different in CPG or direct to consumer. But in enterprise, it’s definitely a multi-touch environment.

Harry Stebbings: I have to say, I couldn’t be more excited about the change in marketing, because we spoke there about kind of the integration that they have with sales. But then, if we actually kind of dig a little bit deeper, so much of the content that marketing now produces and provides is used post-sale to retain customers and engage them, as I said, post that transaction. How do you think about this transition then also of marketing from pre-sale to post sale and almost is part of the customer success team in many ways?

Des Cahill: Right. Great point, Harry. It’s like endemic to the success of any SaaS model is the notion of a recurring customer, ideally customer for life, but in more finer terms, a minimal churn rate, right, a high renewal rate. You want to be operating 85%, 90% renewal rate, and not just for financial reasons, the direct financial calculation to discounted cashflow, lifetime customer value calculation of that single customer. Obviously, you want that because it’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to pay the marketing costs to get a new customer, but you want happy customers. You want that discipline of creating happy customers because it says your business is healthy, and then word of mouth marketing.

Des Cahill: So in terms of marketing’s role in that, Harry, I think of a lot of it, what we practice here at Oracle is around strong community. So part of my marketing organization is a customer advocacy group and we drive a lot of customer advocacy activities like online community. We drive customer advisory boards, user groups, forums. We drive content on best practices on how to use our software and we tell a lot of stories about how their peers have succeeded with our software. At our conferences, we try to program our conferences and have our customers speaking and telling their stories so that our other customers can relate to that and understand how our customers, their fellow customers, have been successful with Oracle and in our ecosystem of partners and solutions, and that inspires them. So I think a lot of that ability to retain customers and fire their imaginations about the art of the possible and what they can do with Oracle CX is by allowing our successful customers to tell their stories to the rest of our customers, or most of our customers.

Harry Stebbings: Totally agree. I think it’s really key to have your customers kind of front and center and let them do the talking for you. I do want to touch on another item. We talked about the change in there, the consumer demands. We spoke about the change in marketing as a role. I do want to speak about the kind of the change in you as a marketing leader. So thinking of your leadership and being slightly self-reflective, almost, how have you seen your style of marketing leadership evolve and adapt over the years?

Des Cahill: Well, again, very good question, Harry. Apple was sort of my formative years, nine years, and then I went into the wild and wooly world of startups for 17 years as a CMO. And at Apple, I was sort of a sponge learning all these different functions within marketing, because the wonderful thing about Apple is it reorganized every 15 months, which was kind of chaotic, but for me it was wonderful because I got to do a different role, work in different markets, work in finance, work in HR, work in product, work on Apple.com, so I had all these different roles.

Des Cahill: In my startup phase, it was definitely learning how to bootstrap and learning a lot of guerrilla tactics, learning how to be hands on and build things up from the ground up. I would say I’ve been at Oracle now four years and the wonderful thing about Oracle is it’s a fantastic brand and platform from which you implement 30 years of marketing practice and experience. I would say what I’ve had to learn here at Oracle is, and it’s been great, is how to, as I’ve a much larger team and a much larger global responsibility than I’ve ever had in the past, is how to sort of let go and empower my teams and to trust my teams to drive the day to day and how it’s less important for me now to be hands on and drive and sort of quote unquote “control everything” and more to let go and inspire.

Des Cahill: So it’s definitely moving from hands-on to more laying out a framework and then hiring really great people and just more empowering them, but giving them directional guidance as opposed to specific guidance, and then sitting back watching great things happen, and then as those great things happen, encouraging those things, linking them together with other great things and then helping my people get unstuck on things. So it’s kind of a different role, more of a inspirational guided leadership as opposed to a hands on specific direction leadership.

Harry Stebbings: Kind of speaking of that elevation to the guided leadership element, how do you determine today what to delegate versus what not to and what to stay within your remit? Are there certain characteristics or traits of a role where you’re like, “Actually, I’m good with doing that still,” and other other elements where you’re like, “Not worth the time, respectfully”?

Des Cahill: Well, I think of things in terms of concentric circles and I think at the center of the circle is, if I reflect on my marketing philosophy, definitely as a Silicon Valley CMO, I definitely start with the product and I think about getting the story about the product right, and there’s a lot involved there. What’s the persona? What’s their pain point? What is engineering building? Are we building something that’s relevant to the pain points? What’s going on with the competition? What are the technology waves in the market space? What’s our message that’s going to get out there? But my point is is that you’ve got to get that product to customer interlock down right. That goes all the way back to Apple and Steve Jobs or Netscape, right? You’ve got to get that interlock right.

Des Cahill: That’s the first core, and so when I came to Oracle first, what I really worked on a lot was for these fantastic products that we have in our marketing cloud, sales cloud, service cloud and commerce cloud, and we do have amazing products, but I had to work really hard to help the teams tell the stories better. But now I’ve got great leaders in all of those areas and I can back away from the story and the next concentric ring was like, “Okay, if we have this great story, how do I work with our great analyst relations team and our PR team and our events team and our influencers team? How do I get that story told out to more people in the world so people know our story? And then also, how do I tell that story internally to our own sellers around the world?” So that was kind of like a phase two.

Des Cahill: Now phase three is, “Well, gee, what new products?” And again, that’s running and that’s up and running. So then phase three is, “Okay, if we’ve got the story, if we’ve got the content around the story, we’ve got our sellers telling the story, we’ve got our analysts, influencers, events, PR and social telling the story, then now the cycle starts again. What’s the new story? And then what’s a new area where I need to invest in?”

Des Cahill: So I’m spending a lot of my time today in two areas. One is customer intelligence and we have a new product called CX Unity, and I’m very hands on on that product because that’s our new customer intelligence platform and it is our core strategy of enabling customers to bring together disparate customer data from across their entire organization and unify that and have a single view of the customer to power marketing experiences, sales experiences, commerce and service experiences.

Des Cahill: And that’s a very hot space right now, and I think that … I’ll make a bold statement … I think that for the CRM or CX space for front office enterprise software for the next 10 years, the battle isn’t going to be about applications. Transformation for our customers isn’t going to be driven around applications. I’ll be the first to say we’ve got the best applications, but I don’t think it’s about application so much anymore. It’s about the customer data and the intelligence underneath those applications that is going to make the difference, and that’s a great thing because at Oracle, we’re a data company and we’re excited to have the world of enterprise software shift to a data discussion.

Des Cahill: The second thing I’m spending a lot of time on is the intersection of adtech and martech. And again, this is driven by data and this is really where this customer intelligence battle, if you will, is first being fought. And I’m really excited about this area because not only am I working on Oracle CX, but we also have a division called Oracle Data Cloud, which is this amazing collection of business to consumer data assets, offline purchase data, cross device identity resolution, contextual advertising tools, advertising measurement tools. So this ability to understand the customer, Harry, your question before, from the first time they click on an ad, all the way to converting to a customer, all the way to service, marketing plays a key role in that. And we’re seeing this intersection of adtech and martech. So I’m spending a ton of time in those two areas. And again, a year from now I’ll have grown those areas up, hired a team and I’ll be onto the next thing that’ll be popping up. There’s never a dull moment in the world of CX and adtech and martech.

Harry Stebbings: I’m sure. And I have to say, I think it’s one of the most exciting times in marketing in a long, long time so I can–

Des Cahill: Absolutely, absolutely. I was in Dallas yesterday and meeting with a major customer, met with their CMO of a $40 billion company down there and we were talking about this intersection of adtech and martech and the role of the marketer and just brilliant conversation. It’s super exciting. When we talked about our customer intelligence strategy, their question was not why, their question was, “How can we go faster?” We can’t get to this transformation fast enough.

Harry Stebbings: Yeah, I totally understand it and I see it too, so I’m not surprised but exciting all the same. I do, though, Des, want to move into my favorite, which is the 60 Second SaaStr. So essentially it’s a quick fire round where I say a short statement and then you give me your immediate thoughts. Are you ready to dive in?

Des Cahill: Yes. Can one of my answers be 42?

Harry Stebbings: It can, indeed. I’ll give you a trick and see which one you can do it for. The biggest breakdown in the workings in the efficient funnel, what is it?

Des Cahill: The biggest breakdown is there is no closed loop, typically, back to marketing to tell marketing what were the best leads that were passed to sales and what happened to that customer. Did the opportunity close? Did the customer have a good onboarding experience? Did the customer renew? Did the customer upsell? So you can hand off leads to sales, feel good about them, but having that close loop to get feedback back to marketing to improve the efficiency of the marketing channels is key.

Harry Stebbings: Tell me a moment in your life that has changed the way you think.

Des Cahill: There’s several moments. Without getting too heavy, I’ll say probably the birth of my first child and realizing the responsibility that I had to my child and therefore being tied more tightly to society and community and the world about my responsibility to raise good citizens that have good values, that will contribute to the ongoing success of society in our world. I think that’s probably the biggest responsibility I have in world, for sure, for myself and my life.

Harry Stebbings: That’s always my favorite answer to this question. It must be a very special moment. Tell me though, moving away from the personal and moving from such a special loving moment, who’s killing it in SaaS marketing today and why do you think so?

Des Cahill: From a brand perspective, I have spent some time in Singapore with a company called Grab, and they are a conglomeration of Uber and DoorDash and Lime and Bird Scooters all in one application. They’re doing a really great job of cross selling services through their mobile app. And when I was in Singapore, I could grab a taxi, I could grab a scooter, I can make a restaurant reservation, and I was doing it all from one app that was following me and making my experience contextual.

Harry Stebbings: What makes a truly special CMO? As you said, you’ve been CMO at multiple different fantastic companies. What makes the truly special CMOs?

Des Cahill: Yeah, it’s a hard blend. I think it’s a blend of having that brand orientation, the power of a brand, but increasingly these days, a CMO has to be technology-aware and data-driven. It’s impossible to get away from the importance of digital marketing. And increasingly, many companies are becoming a blend of physical and digital services, so technology savvy. And then to your question from earlier on, Harry, the ability to hire great people, set the vision and let them go and let them accomplish because there’s no way to accomplish it all by yourself.

Harry Stebbings: And then the final one, what do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning? Now you can choose the beginning timeline. It can be the beginning of your career, it can be at the beginning of your time with Oracle, but what do you know now that you wish you’d known at the beginning of dot, dot, dot?

Des Cahill: As much as I say that you’ve got to be data-driven and you’ve got to be technically savvy, so much of business at the end of the day relates to people and the way people interact with each other. And I would say the thing that I wish … Over the years, I’ve learned to really trust my own instincts in judging situations, and I wish that I had learned to trust my own intuition sooner and that would be what I’d say. I do trust it a lot. I always have, but I think over the years I’ve learned to be able to judge candidates pretty quickly, understand customers’ needs pretty quickly, understand my team and whether they need encouragement or support or guidance. So I think it’s important as much as, again, we need to be data-driven, I think it’s important for people to trust their instincts because there are many situations where there is no Harvard business case on it. There is no data to drive the decision and you’ve got to trust your instincts and make a decision and drive forward.

Harry Stebbings: Des, I feel like I found a kindred spirit, especially in terms of the excitement around the future of marketing. But thank you so much for joining me today, and I absolutely loved having you on the show.

Des Cahill: Thanks, Harry. It’s been my pleasure as well and I look forward to doing it again in the near future.

Harry Stebbings: Now, as I said at the beginning, such a huge fan of Des and all he’s achieved with Oracle CX. And if you’d like to see more from Des, you can on Twitter. Likewise, it’d be great to welcome you behind the scenes on Instagram. You can do that @hstebbings1996 with two Bs. It would be great to see you there.

Harry Stebbings: As always, I cannot thank you enough for your support and I can’t wait to bring you another fantastic episode next week.


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