My arrival in marketing was doomed from birth. I was born into a family of artists, immigrants, and entrepreneurs. Frankly, it’s lucky I didn’t end up as a circus performer. I’m sure I would have fallen off the tightrope by now. My father was an advertising creative director. One grandfather manufactured the first disposable coffee filters in pre-Castro Cuba. Another grandfather invented the bazooka. Yet another invented Neapolitan ice cream (really!) I was destined to advertise the first disposable ice cream grenade launcher, but the ice cream just kept melting!
I took bizarre ideas like those into the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. It should surprise no one that they are all embarrassed to have let me in.
These days, instead of trying to invent novelty snack dispensers, I have dedicated my career to finding marketing’s north star, refocusing it on building healthy relationships between consumers and businesses, between patients and clinicians, and between citizens and organizations. That’s a tall order in a data-driven world. But it’s crucial, and here’s why: As technology advances, it becomes ordinary and expected. As relationships and trust expand, they become stronger and more resilient. Our next great leaps forward are just as likely to come from advances in humanity as they are advances in technology.
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About the Marketer In Chief Project
Marketer In Chief is a 44-week collaborative research project exploring the role of each U.S. President as a “Chief Marketing Officer” for the United States.
A president is, first and foremost, the Chief Marketing Officer for the United States of America. This individual refines and expands the vision for the country, helps to align the value citizens receive with the taxes they pay, negotiates relationships with other countries, and communicates a message that (hopefully) moves millions of people to think and act in new ways. But most people don’t think about a president as a CMO. Yes, this person is an executive manager, a politician, and a historical figure, but when we examine the broad scope of the role, it’s more marketer than any of these other things. The Marketer in Chief project relates lesser-known, but still telling anecdotes about each of the 44 US presidents* with modern consumer-marketing situations, both successes and failures. In addition to my own perspectives, I am engaging the top presidential historians to bring their excellent analysis to a new audience with a fresh approach. You’ll see that presidents and organizations face the same challenges, solving them—and failing to solve them—in bizarre and surprising ways. You will never look at the president the same way again.