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The $221 billion advertising industry is facing an onslaught of challenges, but a new crop of marketers is rising to the occasion.
With this inaugural list, which is separate from our annual compilation of the 25 most innovative CMOs in the world, Business Insider is recognizing the up-and-comers rethinking the status quo and reshaping marketing.
They’re rising stars who have not gotten widespread recognition for their work, whether it’s pioneering ways of melding data and marketing or creatively reaching consumers.
They’re first-time marketing chiefs. They’re CMOs who’ve had the top marketing role at their companies for a handful of months. They’re the executives behind a challenger brand’s ascent. They don’t necessarily hold the CMO title but are the senior marketing execs effecting change in their companies and industry.
Scroll on to see the 20 people, listed in alphabetical order, who are the CMOs to watch in 2019.
We relied on a mix of our own reporting, nominations from readers, and industry experts to narrow down the finalists. We chose them based on the breadth of their roles and responsibilities, the scope of the changes they’ve introduced, and their influence on company performance and their industry.
The list is diverse in a variety of ways. It represents a cross-section of industries from beauty to social media and established companies such as MillerCoors and Shake Shack as well as challenger brands like Curaleaf and Carbon. Sixty percent of the executives on the list are women. Thirty percent are people of color.
Karyn Abrahamson, chief marketing officer, Essentia Water
When Abrahamson joined Essentia Water in 2015, sales were exploding, but it had no marketing infrastructure. She spearheaded consumer research and came up with a lifestyle identity for the ionized alkaline water brand, leading to her promotion to CMO in April 2018.
Since then, she’s built an integrated agency team and led the brand’s first national marketing campaign with Accenture Interactive shop Droga5 in April called “It Might as Well be You,” celebrating people who follow their dreams.
Since the campaign kicked off, the company has reported its highest retail sales ever, cementing its position as a leader in the premium water category.
Lara Hood Balazs, chief marketing officer, Intuit
A veteran Visa marketer, Hood Balazs spent a year at Amazon before taking on her first CMO role at Mint and TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit.
At Intuit she repositioned its cornerstone brands, QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Mint, as a financial platform, breaking down silos to forge a cohesive marketing and communications strategy.
She also led Intuit’s first major brand campaign a year ago that centered on powering prosperity around the world. Hood Balazs is reinforcing that message with Intuit’s first corporate citizenship campaign, due to launch this month.
Deirdre Findlay, chief marketing officer, StitchFix
A former executive at an ad agency, eBay, and Google, Findlay became the first CMO of personal shopping and styling e-commerce service Stitch Fix last June. Since then, she has elevated its brand by rolling out its first integrated brand-marketing campaign.
She’s also made Stitch Fix’s marketing emails more personalized and unified its media, content, and experiences.
Eric Hirschhorn, chief marketing officer, Frida
The global baby-products market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2025, and Frida, a maker of babycare products, has taken advantage of that growth with its Fridababy products like booger-suckers, butt-washers, and gas-relievers.
Under CMO and part owner Hirschhorn — the former North America CMO of Burger King — the startup has made a mark with its bold marketing efforts, like asking Meghan Markle to ditch royal tradition to get people talking about women’s physical recovery after labor.
He has also helped expand its retail footprint to 35,000 stores, driving growth by sevenfold over the past three years, according to the company. It has most recently set its sights on new mothers with the launch of Frida Mom, a line of postpartum recovery products.
Soyoung Kang, chief marketing officer, Eos
As the marketing chief of lipcare company Eos, Kang runs the brand strategy, planning, and operations for global and regional marketing.
Since joining the company a year ago, Kang has focused on innovation, rebooted the brand’s identity and creative vision, quadrupled its media spend year over year, and overhauled its packaging as the company seeks to roll out at least 40 products.
She has led two experimental initiatives, including flavored lip balms, #eosflavorlab, sold exclusively at Target, which have driven more than 20% growth for the company, and Microbatch, a line of minimum viable products designed to compete with direct-to-consumer products. The first Microbatch product, a cannabis lip balm, launched April 20 and sold out in less than 12 hours.
Brad Kay, chief brand officer, Convene
Kay’s experience launching startups like Jet.com and repositioning established brands like GM as head of ad agency SS+K came in handy when Convene, the meetings, event, and workspaces spaces company, came looking for a chief brand officer.
Over the past year, Kay rolled out a new brand and PR strategy and web redesign. He also oversaw a new advertising campaign for the company called “The Business Class of Coworking,” which positioned Convene as a cut above its competitors.
During his tenure, Convene has also raised $152 million, for a total of over $250 million, doubled its revenue, added eight locations and 250 employees, announced plans to expand to London, opened a members-only club, and launched a WorkPlace product, its first foray into coworking.
Dan Kimball, SVP of marketing, Yelp
Yelp built its brand with scant marketing leadership and measurement. That’s changed under Kimball, who laid the groundwork for the company’s marketing structure and vision and unified a decentralized team.
In nine months, he has grown the product, content, and growth marketing teams and helped build Yelp’s self-service customer-acquisition channel for business owners. Two resulting products, Verified License and Business Highlights, attracted more than 25,000 active paying locations by the end of June.
He helped reaccelerate Yelp’s year-over-year revenue growth by spending more on better-performing marketing channels and making the marketing more targeted.
Jenna Lebel, chief marketing officer, Liberty Mutual
Over the past few years, Liberty Mutual has built its own digital-media planning and buying, consumer insights, and data-analytics teams. Much of that effort was spearheaded by Lebel, who was recently promoted to the CMO role.
Lebel oversees the day-to-day functioning of Copper Giants, Liberty Mutual’s in-house creative agency, which produces 80% of the brand’s creative work and has cut its agency costs by 30%.
Lebel also was key to the insurance company’s ongoing “LiMu Emu” campaign, an ode to the classic buddy-cop TV series. A month after the campaign launched in February, testing showed that 25% of US consumers recognized LiMu and his human counterpart, Doug, as Liberty Mutual mascots, signaling that the campaign was working.
Liberty Mutual’s unaided brand-awareness rankings have shot up 30% since the campaign — the biggest jump in the company’s or category’s recent history, according to the company.
Julie Liegl, chief marketing officer, Slack
Salesforce vet Liegl leads product marketing, customer acquisition, demand generation, brand, event, and content marketing at the workplace-productivity app. Her mandate is to grow the app’s marketing as the company expands globally while facing increasing competition from Facebook’s Workplace and other platforms.
Liegl is helping launch Shared Channels after a beta, a product the company claims is its most important addition since it launched. Channels has already had a major American sports league using it to communicate with its franchises, a network made up of the league, the teams and their partners.
Jay Livingston, chief marketing officer, Shake Shack
Livingston took an unconventional path to the CMO role at Shake Shack. After more than 20 years in marketing roles at Bank of America, he turned to angel investing, followed by a stint at DTC startup Bark.
That background has served him well as he looks to grow Shake Shack with a focus on social media, partnerships, word-of-mouth and data-driven marketing, most of which the company does in-house.
In March, a promotion for HBO’s last season of “Game of Thrones” featured Shake Shack menu items such as a Dragonglass Shake and Dracarys burger. The promotion drove record sales, positive guest feedback, and new users across all digital platforms, according to Shake Shack.
Shake Shack is rapidly expanding and its shares have soared 37% this year. As the company grows, Livingston sees pick-up and delivery driving the business.
Chelsea Maclin, VP of marketing, Bumble
Maclin, who leads marketing strategy for Bumble, is a believer in melding brand marketing with data, and her team takes a cross-functional approach to testing, developing, and implementing marketing strategies for the brand.
She spearheaded the dating app’s first Super Bowl commercial and launched a new vertical, Bumble Bizz, and Moves Making Impact, an initiative where every time someone makes contact with a new match, the company makes a donation to a woman doing good in her community.
Most recently, she helped Bumble make inroads into esports by partnering with Gen.G, a global esports team founded in South Korea.
Andréa Mallard, chief marketing officer, Pinterest
Mallard jumped ship from sports retailer Athleta to Pinterest just as the nine-year-old visual-discovery platform was gearing up to go public late last year.
She helped ensure that the company’s well-oiled marketing machinery kept going during the IPO process. In April, her team organized A Day of Inspiration, where Pinterest gave its first 250 visitors free admission to inspirational locations around the world.
Mallard also worked with brand consultancy TwentyFirstCenturyBrand to associate Pinterest with inspiration for life. She also centralized Pinterest’s marketing functions into one unit.
Since she joined Pinterest, the company has grown to 300 million monthly active users, with a rapidly growing global audience.
Kenny Mitchell, chief marketing officer, Snap
CEO Evan Spiegel has installed a team of seasoned execs to help the company through its next phase. One is Mitchell, who became the company’s first chief marketing officer this summer.
Mitchell, who brought a reputation for innovative marketing at Gatorade and McDonald’s, led the launch of Snap’s first global advertising campaign that promoted Snapchat as a place that fosters close friendships.
His next task is to build a marketing organization that helps other teams and contributes to business growth and brand loyalty.
Minjae Ormes, head of marketing, Visible
Ormes brought a content and community-centric approach to launching and marketing digital wireless carrier brand Visible in May 2018.
The veteran YouTube marketer built a digital-focused marketing mix and began testing media quickly across channels including connected TV, podcasts and platforms like Soundcloud and Tinder. She used real-time A/B testing to measure and swap out creative that wasn’t working.
Ormes has helped roll out other features, such as a mobile hotspot, a new e-commerce platform, and an uncapped speed experience. She launched an accelerator program called Visible Connect, which selects startups that are using mobile technology to address community issues.
John Schoolcraft, global chief creative officer, Oatly
Oatly’s meteoric rise in the US was fueled not by conventional marketing but grassroots and word-of-mouth tactics. Credit for the strategy goes to Schoolcraft, who has been the Swedish brand’s global chief creative officer for seven years.
He leads a small team where members can push their creative boundaries in everything from package design to product development. They generated an out-of-home campaign that’s running in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago and includes 387 pieces of original creative. The oat drink’s site has an Oatfinder tool that points people to coffee shops and grocery stores that carry Oatly products.
Schoolcraft helped the company launch frozen desserts in the US this summer.
Michelle St. Jacques, chief marketing officer, MillerCoors
St. Jacques has been CMO role at MillerCoors for just nine months, and in that time she oversaw not only the company’s high-profile response to Bud Light’s Super Bowl ads but a brand refresh for Coors Light.
St. Jacques’ CPG career has included stints at Kraft-Heinz, Unilever, and SC Johnson, and she understands what makes brands relevant in culture. To that end, she has prioritized team partnerships with major US sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.
Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer, Carbon
Treseder, a former GE marketing exec, helped propel 3D printing and manufacturing company Carbon from obscurity into the mainstream with the Super Bowl campaign #ProtectItAll this year.
Carbon worked with sports manufacturer Riddell to address the issue of concussions in football, showcasing a 3D-printed helmet liner that it said protects players, demonstrating a real-life use case for its technology and helping increase Carbon’s social-media following.
Under Treseder, Carbon has taken a public stance on cultural issues including gender equality, gun control, and sustainability. Carbon hosted Karlie Kloss’ Kode with Klossy camp at its Silicon Valley headquarters and led an event to make the case against 3D-printed guns.
Carbon has raised $260 million in its Series E funding round, which corresponds to a market cap of $2.4 billion.
Jeff Weiser, chief marketing officer, Shopify
Shopify’s business is booming on the rise of direct-to-consumer companies like Allbirds, Outdoor Voices, and Bombas that want to avoid Amazon’s grip on data, and Weiser became chief marketing officer in 2018 to ensure that Shopify cashes in on the momentum.
Earlier this year, he led Shopify’s first integrated brand campaign in the US and Canada to inspire future entrepreneurs. It used TV, digital video, radio, and social, and out-of-home by turning vacant storefronts into ad surfaces.
Weiser has pushed Shopify beyond performance marketing, creating teams for brand marketing, data, operations, and international marketing. He helped launch Shopify Studios, a production studio that entrepreneurs can use to make their ads, and helped drive Shopify’s adoption up 50% year over year, to 820,000 merchants in 2018.
Shopify is set to grow 59% year over year, to about $1.5 billion in 2019, according to the company.
Alexandra Weiss, SVP of marketing, Glossier
Weiss joined Glossier in 2015, when the direct-to-consumer beauty company was less than a year old, and has led its marketing since.
Glossier is known for its community-first approach to commerce. Under her stewardship, Glossier has amassed a cult following across social channels and continuously rolled out new products, helping it surpass $100 million in annual revenue and reach 1 million new customers in 2018, according to the company.
Under Weiss, Glossier in 2018 opened a flagship store in New York that draws an average of 50,000 visitors a month, the company said. It recently rolled out its most wide-ranging campaign to date, Feeling Like Glossier.
Jason White, chief marketing officer, Curaleaf
Legal cannabis has spawned a burgeoning industry. One such company is Cura, which poached White — formerly the global head of marketing for Apple’s Beats by Dre — as its chief marketing officer in early 2019.
White developed the branding for Select, a line of cannabis and CBD oils, and created new packaging, a new website, and a social-media relaunch for the brand.
With Select being acquired by Curaleaf in May, White’s scope is poised to grow as he is set to be the CMO of the new entity, which it billed as the largest cannabis company in the US, once the deal is closed.