Perfecting the Art of People Marketing

With growing demands from the C-Suite, (often) low budgets, and pressure to keep up with today’s current trends, marketers constantly face the challenge of creating authentic content that builds brand awareness and inspires action. Every CMO knows how difficult it can be to recruit brand ambassadors to create compelling content that cuts through. But what if the answer could be found in the co-workers around you? A recent study showed that brand messages posted by employees achieved 561% more reach than posts made by the company itself—resulting in 8 times the engagement for those posts! You’ve probably heard of different employee advocacy programs, but Jeanniey Mullen’s concept of “people marketing,” through her role as CMO at Mercer, is a brilliant concept of building big brand awareness with no media budget at all. There is no formula and no equation to adhere to in order to get the best results. Jeanniey’s philosophy is simple: trust in your people to tell their stories.

Mullen has a deep background in advertising, start-ups, and entrepreneurship. Looking back at her career, she credits her renegade spirit to the Davos Squad initiative at Mercer—a content marketing success that created a one-of-a-kind buzz around hundreds of Mercer employees enthusiastically interacting with the brand on social media. On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Drew and Jeanniey dive into how brand ambassadors can be formed within your own company. Jeanniey also explains her top three takeaways from initiating a “people marketing” program and demonstrates how to overcome any obstacles in your way.

Listen here to learn how to market engaging content in completely new ways.

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What You’ll Learn

How can you use people marketing to create brand ambassadors?

Simply put, Jeanniey explains that “People marketing is the process of leveraging your company’s people in a way that’s so powerful, it takes your brand to new heights.” The first step in the people marketing strategy is to develop impactful content. Jeanniey created the AIR concept – content that is Authentic, Inspirational, and Relatable – in order to develop better material. Developing that content is only one part of the people marketing journey. You must then make your employees brand ambassadors. These ambassadors then share your content to reach new markets like never before.

Overcome the challenge of staying “on voice” by following these guidelines

With dozens or even hundreds of new employee brand ambassadors, how can a company stay “on voice” with the message? Jeanniey explains that the answer isn’t found in strict guidelines. If you provide authentic content to people, let them choose what to share and when, and allow their individual personalities to shine through, your people marketing strategy will be effective. If you want a brand ambassador’s post to be authentic, you can’t script their social media.

Jeanniey’s 3 key takeaways from successful people marketing campaigns

Throughout her time at Mercer, Jeanniey has learned 3 main lessons when handling people marketing campaigns. Here they are.

  1. Break the rules! Don’t be afraid to pursue new options.
  2. Don’t default to email (there are better, more creative options available)
  3. Nobody will pay attention to your content unless it’s really cool

People marketing has the power to forever change how you view marketing – be sure to learn from Jeanniey’s career.


  • [0:29] Jeanniey’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [13:01] What is people marketing?
  • [21:18] Overcoming the challenge of staying “on voice” in people marketing
  • [25:42] People marketing is not just a single moment in time
  • [31:17] Tackling hurdles while pursuing this marketing strategy
  • [34:04] 3 key takeaways from using people marketing strategies

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Interview Questions that Build Better Marketing Teams

The notion of a CMO building or rebuilding a marketing team is not an unfamiliar concept, especially on Renegade Thinkers Unite. Thinking back to the insights provided by Paige O’Neill, hiring a new team can be one of the first major tasks a CMO has to tackle in their first 100 days. When faced with this challenge, CMOs should always focus on designing a team that will align with the strategic goals of the company and that fills the current HR gaps. But one element of the process that is often overlooked is the interview—and more importantly, the interview questions. That’s where Kipp Bodnar comes in.

As a wine enthusiast, mechanical watch aficionado, and host of HubSpot’s “The Growth Show,” Kipp Bodnar, the CMO of HubSpot, loves learning from the people he interviews and encounters. Kipp’s recent article, “The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Interview Questions From HubSpot’s CMO,” made waves in the marketing community, discussing the best questions to ask in a marketing interview. On this episode, Drew turns the tables by asking Kipp to respond to the questions he wrote. Drew and Kipp also explain the best ways to hire for senior-level leadership positions and share how new professionals can prepare for the hiring process.

Click here to learn how to add these great insights to your own interviews.

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What You’ll Learn

The best marketing interview questions achieve these goals

Hiring top talent starts with asking the right questions. Kipp is an expert in sorting out expert applicants from the general pool, and he suggests CMOs use marketing interview questions that do the following:

  • Encourage open-ended responses
  • Identify if an applicant can problem solve
  • Discover if an applicant can simplify a complex topic and notice great marketing in other brands

The best applicants will demonstrate a high level of humility, motivation to learn, and an ability to listen. Getting great answers only comes from great questions. To hear the full list of marketing interview questions, be sure to listen.

Follow this advice when considering a senior-level leadership applicant

Hiring for a senior-level position is much different than hiring for marketing team members. Kipp shares his process for hiring leaders throughout his conversation with Drew. Kipp explains that during a 2-week hiring process, he will spend 20-30 hours with the applicant in a variety of settings (dinners, presentations, panel interviews, etc.) He says that if you’re going to be working closely with this applicant for the next few years, you must understand the essence of what that person is all about.

How can new marketing professionals prepare for an interview?

Preparing for an interview doesn’t have to be stressful. Kipp shares 5 main things an applicant can do to prepare for the interview process. Here they are.

  1. Become familiar with the company’s products/services
  2. Seek out and talk with existing company employees
  3. Do content research
  4. Understand the culture
  5. Come with questions of your own

The hiring process is a “unique mix of buying and selling,” as Drew explains. These insights from Kipp on marketing interview questions can help make the process smoother and more effective.


  • [0:29] Drew explains the format for this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite
  • [2:51] The fine art of interviewing and hiring for a marketing team
  • [4:00] Use this question to know if your applicant can problem solve
  • [8:28] Use this question to see if the applicant puts the opinion of the customer first
  • [12:14] This question determines if an applicant can pull info from a set of data
  • [17:09] Is this applicant able to understand what good marketing is all about?
  • [21:04] Can this applicant seek out and absorb information on their own?
  • [28:16] Follow this advice for hiring a senior level position
  • [30:20] These traits help people make the senior-level cut
  • [34:24] Follow these tips for preparing for an interview
  • [36:46] The main relationship between marketing and sales
  • [39:20] This one question is what Kipp hopes for in every interview

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How Monster’s CMO is Revitalizing the Brand

One of the more refreshing trends in marketing is the grand “mea culpa” in which a brand apologizes for past shortcomings and offers a renewed commitment to quality/integrity. Wells Fargo’s recent “re-established in 2018” campaign is one striking example. Another comes from Domino’s a few years back when they admitted their pizza was poor and relaunched with a better tasting product. This approach takes guts but really resonates especially when the pledge to be ‘better” comes with demonstrable actions. Which brings us to this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite in which Jonathan Beamer, CMO of Monster, admits that the online jobs site had “coasted” for a while and explains how they are renewing their commitment to job-seeker success.

What is so interesting in this case is that though Monster had coasted after dominating the job search market for most of the dot-com era, the brand still enjoyed high awareness and what Beamer calls “latent favorability.” Having this strong baseline to build from, Beamer expected that the combination of product improvements and increased advertising would help revitalize the brand. And though Beamer describes Monster’s revitalization as “a work in progress,” the brand is already seeing increases in site traffic and customer activity. Not coincidentally, Monster is back on TV providing further proof that this medium is far from dead as digital pundits declared 10 years ago!

Listen here for inspiration on how you might revitalize your brand. 

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What You’ll Learn

There’s great power behind a brand that people are familiar with and trust

There’s one core truth behind Monster that has allowed their brand to survive across decades, and that is that people are always searching for fulfilling work. Since 1999 Monster has connected people and job opportunities, and Jonathan explains that it’s paying attention to small details that makes Monster stand out from the masses.

He explains the powerful concept of “latent favorability,” when people remember your brand fondly even after having not used the company’s services for a period of time. Monster has values attached to the brand that goes beyond the product it provides, and that’s where the company’s power lies.

These 4 tips will help you refresh a stagnant brand

Jonathan’s marketing team at Monster has been faced with the challenge of refreshing a company message that has existed for nearly 20 years. In his conversation with Drew, Jonathan explains 4 main tips that have helped guide his team through the process of refreshing a stagnant brand. Here they are.

  1. Be the voice of the customer (in Monster’s case, understanding both an employee on the hunt for a new job and a recruiter looking for top talent)
  2. Have a close partnership with the product/service development team
  3. Understand the simple decisions made throughout a customer’s purchase journey
  4. Be consistent with the tools you choose to use

Learn how to track brand awareness for greater marketing success

Having data on your brand, its level of awareness within your target market, and your digital followers is essential, but you have to know how to aggregate and analyze that data. Jonathan explains that you should not get hung up on the questions to ask when conducting brand awareness surveys or sending out evaluation tools. At the end of the day, the tools you use to track brand awareness matter less than the overall feedback it provides to you and your team. Jonathan also recommends that you also utilize your historical data and keep the big picture in mind when doing brand tracking. For even more insights on how to track brand awareness effectively, be sure to listen.


  • [0:28] Drew introduces Jonathan to the Renegade Thinkers Unite show
  • [3:38] Jonathan’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [17:06] The importance of factfullness in the world around you
  • [19:50] What Jonathan’s excited about as the CMO of Monster
  • [24:07] This is what happened when Monster stopped investing in marketing
  • [30:14] Fixing fundamental aspects of the Monster brand
  • [35:37] Keep these ideas in mind when doing brand tracking
  • [40:51] There’s a strong bond between quality products and justifying marketing efforts
  • [43:32] Content is huge in Monster’s marketing strategy
  • [48:15] Jonathan’s top 3 pieces of advice for new CMOs

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Advice for CMOs in Their First 100 Days

Joining a company as the new chief marketing officer can be an intimidating affair. There are new team members to meet, historical strategies to digest, and an overwhelming pressure to make an impact early in your tenure. With the rest of the C-Suite reminding you of the needs to generate demand and to calculate ROI on every expenditure, it is easy to find yourself being pulled in multiple directions and forced into “ready, fire, aim” mode. Luckily, Paige O’Neill is here to help on this special episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite.

As the new CMO of Sitecore, an integrated CMS, and e-commerce solution, Paige is an expert at handling new roles in marketing departments, having been through the process on multiple occasions. Dubbing herself as the chief marketing “synthesizer,” Paige has a knack for synthesizing all the information that is thrown her way and gaining a quick understanding of the company’s goals and priorities. Having worked as a CMO for large companies as well as start-ups she continues to add to her extensive toolkit, taking away something new from each experience. Listen carefully as Paige details the critical steps every new CMO should take to ensure they too get off to a successful start.

Click here to listen and learn how to navigate your first 100 days.

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What You’ll Learn

Don’t be afraid to ask big questions during your first 30 days

When Paige stepped into her new role as CMO, she understood the importance of asking the right questions within the first 30 days. Recognizing the key stakeholders within the company is one of the biggest objectives you should have as a new chief marketing officer.

You also have to “become a synthesizer” of all of the information being thrown your way. Understanding the company’s current priorities, current team roles, and workflow processes are all important to understand soon after joining the company. The sooner you ask these big questions and understand the answers, the faster you’ll be able to start actually marketing and leading your team.

Here’s how to approach your new marketing team

Being hired as a new CMO means being paired with a brand new team of marketing employees. Or, you’ll be tasked with hiring your own new team. Paige outlines a few key questions that can help you navigate this complex process:

  • What are the strategic goals of the company?
  • How is the marketing team going to contribute to that growth?
  • What’s holding the company back from the current objectives?
  • What vacancies and gaps are there in the current team?

She encourages new CMOs to “be your own best case scenario” and to not let distractions get in the way of securing a great team. If you take the time to build solid relationships with your coworkers early on, the rest of your first 100 days will go much smoother.

Consider Paige’s best advice for your first 100 days as a new Chief Marketing Officer

During your first 100 days as a new CMO, Paige explains that you will have to embrace and lean into the difficult conversations. On this episode, she shares a list of things that are important to work on during the first 3 months in a new role:

  • Build key relationships
  • Learn the business
  • Shore up the team and prioritize hiring
  • Figure out the quick wins that buy you time for longer-term projects
  • Prioritization goal alignment
  • Articulate a vision
  • Be mindful of how you’re spending your time – don’t be afraid to say no

By keeping these areas in mind as you work in a new company, your first 100 days as a new chief marketing officer are sure to be successful.


  • [0:28] Paige is here to help CMOs understand steps to take in their first 100 days
  • [2:54] Paige’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [13:33] Don’t be afraid to ask big questions in your first 30 days
  • [17:55] How do you ensure your observations are true?
  • [19:40] How long should you take to make your first sets of decisions?
  • [25:37] Here’s how Paige approaches a new marketing team
  • [34:09] This advice is key for the first 100 days in a new CMO role

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Simplicity + Side Hustle = CMO Success

Let’s face it – simple is hard, especially in B2B marketing. It’s so easy to get caught up in flashy features, complicated jargon, and complex campaign strategies that we forget what marketing is all about – making buying easier. Faced with this challenge of persuading people, many CMOs are struggling to keep things simple. Margaret Molloy is not one of those CMOs.

As the Global Chief Marketing Officer of Siegel+Gale, Margaret has mastered the art of persuading people with simple, but powerful messaging. She points her success to two key foundations: having permission to fail and the effectiveness of fact-based storytelling. The lessons she has to share are not only coming from her experience at Siegel+Gale, but also from what she learned by exploring her own passion project, the #WearingIrish initiative.

In this episode, Drew and Margaret talk about how to keep things simple in B2B marketing and explain the four main traits of successful CMOs. Margaret describes her experience with her passion project, the #WearingIrish initiative, and how CMOs could be growing and learning from their own side hustle.

Margaret is a bundle of B2B wisdom, click here to listen to her story.

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What You’ll Learn

Marketing Made Simple: The 2 Foundations You Need to Know

B2B marketing is all about making a buying decision easier for a customer. Even though there are thousands of experts and opinions in the industry, Drew and Margaret both believe in the idea of simple marketing – a Renegade approach to marketing that makes everything approachable and easy to understand.

Simple marketing focuses on encouraging and persuading people to act, but a CMO cannot pursue this path without these 2 foundations: internal company support and a solid fact base. Without these tools to lean on, a CMO is more likely to get distracted and lose sight of the true company goal. Artful, courageous simple marketing follows after these foundations have been laid.

Successful CMOs exhibit these 4 behaviors that lead to better simple marketing campaigns

Great CMOs are fundamentally simplifiers. They’re always working towards boiling down ideas into easy-to-digest pieces of information. Margaret explains that throughout her career as a marketer and creator, the best CMOs consistently exhibit these 4 behaviors.

  1. They’re purpose-driven
  2. They’re fact-based, but they have an imagination
  3. They are bold and brave in prioritization (they say no often)
  4. They execute on company and brand promises

These behaviors allow a CMO to focus on what truly matters in their marketing campaign.

Margaret uses her passion project #WearingIrish to help her role as a CMO – and you can too

Margaret’s native country is Ireland and even while working as a top CMO she knew she wanted to bring global exposure to Irish creators. That’s why she created the #WearingIrish initiative. She is telling the untold story of Irish fashion design and learning skills that are transferable to her CMO role as well.

Margaret explains that this passion project has given her an opportunity to have an “experimentation lab” that is separate from the risks and responsibilities associated with Siegel+Gale. It also allowed her to develop a higher sense of empathy for other companies and her CMO clients. No matter where your personal interests may lie, the stories shared on this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite show that they can always be used to benefit your company and your own professional work.


  • [0:30] Margaret Molloy, CMO, and creator is featured on this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite
  • [2:07] Margaret’s Renegade Rapid Fire segment
  • [11:35] The story behind Margaret’s #WearingIrish passion project
  • [19:04] Tying together your personal brand with your company’s brand and mission
  • [22:20] These are the top 4 behaviors of successful CMOs
  • [32:00] Actionable steps make simple marketing tangible

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