How CMOs can Drive Success in Turbulent Times


Monica outlines the ways marketing can contribute to the success of an organization, including focusing on results, believing in your team, and learning fast. 


Monica is a high energy marketing leader with extensive experience building and leading teams, leading transformation, driving business success through customer-centric marketing strategies, and creating demand generation capabilities to achieve aggressive objectives in high-growth, dynamic organizations. Expert in achieving integrated retention and acquisition marketing results across traditional and digital media, for both B2B and B2C growth.



Billy Bateman 0:01   

All right, everyone. Welcome to the show today. Today I am joined by Monica Sullivan, CMO at Demand Science. Monica, thanks for joining me today. Glad to be here. I really, yeah, we’re excited. We’re going to talk about, you know, marketing marketing’s role in helping companies during times of transformation. you’ve got a lot of experience in that. But before we hop into that, I just would like you to share with everyone your career journey. what sparked your interest in marketing? and what led you to be in the CMO at Demand Science? 

Monica Sullivan 0:34   

Sounds great, happy to do it. I think, you know, it’s easy to say I always wanted to be a marketer, but I’ll be honest, and say that, you know, in undergrad, I didn’t really know what that meant. I thought it was advertising and Superbowl ads and things that were just cool and sexy, big budgets. And of course, that’s not all the reality, although that’s the fun part, for sure.  

Monica’s Background

But I certainly am thrilled to still be on the path in marketing. And I started, you know, really my journey for, you know, in earnest at Digital. I was there for 11 years, it was an amazing opportunity and foundational time for me and talking to my peers. we’re all in agreement that that was really when we grew as marketers, we actually have a reunion coming up in the fall, hopefully in person in the Boston area, so excited about that.

And, you know, there’s for sure, six degrees, six degrees of separation with my peers, it did a toss around this area and beyond. Which makes it also fun to continue to be connection engaged with people that you’ve known for a long time who are growing in their careers. many people as CMOS at this point. But you know, it’s, it’s, there’s been a lot to the journey as well and took me a lot of places to get to where I am today.  

So, I want to talk to you a little bit about that. Because I really learned a lot in in what it takes to be transformational and succeed. And it’s not really about being able to send a memo about a new marketing campaign, it takes a lot of engagement and communication, as you know. 

Billy Bateman 2:09   

You mean, you send out the message on slack teams or the email, and you’re like, hey, we’re all doing this, and people do it. 

Customer Service Example Experience

Monica Sullivan 2:18   

Nope. you know, a great example of that was at Caesars Entertainment. when I was a Digitus, one of my clients was at American Express, we did some great work together to transform the American Express call center channel actually. away from how it used to be back in the day where people are trying to get off the phone as fast as possible and just solve the need of the of the caller to you know, we have these people on the call with us. why don’t we try to engage them in other things that they could be doing with American Express and other solutions we could provide to them.  

And that customer-focused sales effort, I worked with David Norton, who phenomenal person and mentor. We that included lots of training, lots of work with change management around shifting from taking calls to actually talking to customers. he brought me to work with him at Caesars Entertainment. I shipped my family out to Las Vegas and was responsible for all advertising across 15 brands and 40 casino properties and amazing experience and opportunity, truly a 24/7 role.  

Building a Brand

You know if we put together a number of initiatives to build our brands. but that really took a lot of change. And, you know, one example of that is, you know, we had individual markets. individual casino properties with general market managers who were used to having their creative person on site. If they wanted a poster, or a backlit or Bogo sign put up, they could just go to their creative person. But over time, that became Franken brand for particularly Harrah’s. which was the biggest brand in that in the casino’s portfolio.  

And so, in order to create a new campaign, we needed to change the organization and centralized creative so that wouldn’t happen anymore. we went through a lot of effort and that took a lot of conversation. I had one-on-one conversations with those internal clients at the casino properties. I went and visited people, and there was a lot of buy-in to happen around moving toward a centralized organization.  

Market Research

We did Kaizen processes, I had to prove to them that they would get their creative in the same amount of time and it would be error free, there’d be no misspellings on a billboard. And we made a lot of process changes. I mean, it took a lot and after that heavy lift, then we were ready for a new campaign. And so, we were able to do some really interesting research around in this case. the Harris consumer, the person who would really go once a week. you know, a lot to maybe Paris, St. Louis, and they would bring enough money that it would be the same as dinner in a movie.

They were pretty frugal and practical, and not. you know, gaming or really gambling. I should say they were just there to have fun. And then they would potentially go once a year to Las Vegas. and really have a good time at the Harris property there. But what we learned out through that whole process. and we did some really interesting ethnography is in research, which spends a day in the life with somebody. And we really came to as a tagline, “come out and play” as the tag for Harris. And that’s still that was 2009. That’s still the tagline today.  

Brand Consistency

But I don’t think that would have been possible in that brand consistency across the whole organization. And getting that buy in from people if we hadn’t done. I would say a year of transformational work to shift how we were doing business to get that buy in, in that made it all worthwhile to really feel like it was something that everyone believed in once we launched that campaign. Yeah, that’s one. Yeah. 

And then Canet you know, very different kind of business, I spent over four years, I can add almost five, that’s a couple of organizations came together there. This this is a newspaper business, traditional newspaper, business, hundreds of local newspaper, companies, and brands. And USA Today, as part of your net, what we needed to do was help bring on a new brand for the b2b sales organization called local IQ.  

Campaigns to help drive Lead Generation

Because as you know, certainly, as part of the reality of less people reading the physical newspaper, and more online, we needed to get the sales organization to think about themselves as employees that look like you and not identify so much with the local Gazette. you know, the local paper. And that took some time, and we did videos and having them introduce and try on the local IQ brand and talk about themselves in that way.

That had to happen before we could really roll out the new website rollout. the campaigns that would help drive lead generation and I had an amazing partner, and the president of sales, Kathy jack Romero, and we were tied together on helping the sales organization succeed. I think, you know, one other thing I would say about my journey is that relationship between me and our organization and marketing and the sales organization makes all the difference in the world for b2b marketing. You know? I, 

Relationship between Marketing and Sales

Billy Bateman 7:30   

I agree, like if you don’t have that relationship between marketing and sales, especially b2b, I think you’re destined to fail. 100%? So, let me let me pause you just a little bit and like. what have you done in your career to foster a good relationship between marketing and sales? 

Unknown Speaker 7:49   

Marketing Responsible for Results

Yeah, it’s a great question. And it’s hard work, right. I mean, it’s constant communication. But one of the things that I work on with my team. and you know, with the sales team is really that mutual respect. and, and showing that this, that our organization that the marketing team is 100% competitive, committed to sales success, accountable for results.

 we’re not just doing brand campaigns. but we are looking at the numbers and showing how much contribution we’re making with direct leads to sales, how much we’re helping the sales organization with inbound lead revenue. And that helps a lot just to get everyone on the same page to show that we’re also accountable for real results.  

Commitment to each other

Unknown Speaker 8:35   

And, you know, I think that that matters as much as anything else to show that we have a commitment to each other. and that it’s not just us, you know, doing campaigns that, that don’t help them. There’s a little bit of that. I’ve had, you know, the fortunate opportunity, even here at Demand Science with Chris Rock, as the CFO. And we’re working on that together now to just make sure we build that machine that engine. But that’s a big part of it, transparency of the results. 

There’s a little bit of internal PR, we have to do. but I work hard with our team to make sure that they’re, you know, all sharing with the sales organization. not just what we’ve done, but what we’re going to do for them in terms of testing that we have planned. what kind of messaging are out there and getting their input? You know, they’re on the phone with customers all day long. they’re the experts on what words are being used and what messages can make sense. And so also make sure making sure that they’re feeling heard. And it’s there’s a two-way communication is critical. 

Make sure there’s a Relationship

Billy Bateman 9:36   

Yeah, I think the fundamental thing, just like what you said, is communication. making sure there’s a relationship because as soon as there’s no relationship, it is going to go south quick. 

Monica Sullivan 9:48   

Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because it is still hard and I get it when you talk about lead generation and attribution is. you know, do you get to count all the revenue from just the first lead. you know, or the for the first 90 days of revenue. And those conversations are also important how you’re defining whether or not you would have had that revenue anyway. You know, really how much you count. And, you know, aligning all that together and building those reports together. 

What to do about Attribution Modeling

Billy Bateman 10:18   

Yeah, yeah, we actually, you know. we were doing a panel with Latane from 6sense, Jon Miller from Demandbase, and Dave Elkington, founder of Inside Sales. And, you know, we were talking about ABM (Account Based Marketing) and what’s next. But attribution came up. And the consensus from all three of them was attribution is a mess, and we have to do it. but we probably spent way too much time worrying about it, then we should, if we’re really looking at the big picture of the business, 

Monica Sullivan 10:46   

yeah. 100%. And it’s, you know, it’s never possible to have it. Perfect. you’re right, you can really spend and waste a lot of time. But if you can agree, like we have on. you know, what, we’re going to count the first 90 days. And that’s where we’re drawing the line, we’re good. You know, as long as you have that agreement upfront, it saves a lot of pain. Yeah, 

No way is Perfect

Billy Bateman 11:08   

I think it’s a smart way to do it just pick like, here’s what we’re doing. And like, we’re just going to deal with it. You know, yeah, none of them are perfect. 

Monica Sullivan 11:17   

Right. But I think the other part of that is, if you’re an organization, and I think all of us are, you’ve just named some peers in our industry. you know, the leadership team has to buy into branding. you know, it’s not just all about the bottom of the funnel, right? You have to understand the importance of building a brand in every category. 

How Monica got to Demand Science

Billy Bateman 11:36   

For sure, I agree. I agree. hate to derail where you were gone. Let’s pick it back up and talk about how you got to demand science. 

Monica Sullivan 11:46   

No, it’s all good. You know, this is all part of the journey. But we, I was again at, and Peter Cannone had been there for a while as well, we worked, we worked at a company called thrive five. which was a subsidiary of, of Guenette, really an SMB agency. And when Pete came over to demand science, he and I were talking and he was talking about this opportunity, and it just seemed like a really special one.  

So I’d worked with him. you know, enough to know that he’s just such, he’s such high energy and supportive and, you know, has great vision. and I was just excited to be on this journey with him. we’re really working to disrupt this category and create something that’s special for both marketing and sales pros who are struggling still with all of the different vendors out there to. to supply the goods that we need to drive efficiently generation and revenue generation, right? It’s, uh, you know, there’s a new digital economy. you know, the value of data and clean data is so critical.  

Complexity of Intent Vendors

But marketers don’t want to deal with the complexity of so many different intent vendors and how to know. you know, before you have to sign on the dotted line. how to know which kind of intent will really drive your outcomes, we’re trying to make that simpler with a single platform. You know, we know we have some advantages and amea. With our data, we’re doing so much more, and there’ll be more coming on that. But I think, you know, for me, it’s been also a lot of change. because we’ve been, we’ve done six acquisitions since I started a year ago. And yeah, and so bring all that together, which is great. because it does so much more for the platform and our clients.  

Standing Apart in your Messaging

But we, you know, we’re doing some real hard branding work right now. Because in our category, I’m sure you’ve seen there’s a sea of sameness, everyone’s talking about the same things. And so, you know, we’ll need to really stand apart in our messaging we’re working on. you know, a new website design, and you know, like others, you see. you know, others out there changing their websites all the time, there’s just the industry, the categories moving so fast, which is exciting. But you know, of course, always a challenge. And that means communication for our teams, too. Because when you start to have a number of acquisitions, and there’s a lot of change going on, if you’re not communicating a lot, people get worried. And so, you want to make sure you’re putting your arms around your team and letting them know where we’re going together. And that’s been an important part of our journey. It’s been science for sure. 

About Demand Science

Billy Bateman 14:22   

Yeah. for anyone who hasn’t heard of Demand Science. like you guys are growing pretty quickly, what you know, what kind of businesses use the product, what’s the core functionality of it? Like, just give us the two minute here’s demand science, here’s what we do. 

Monica Sullivan 14:38   

Yeah, great. Demand Science really is a one-stop shop platform for sales and marketing professionals who are trying to use data and intelligence to improve their lead gen. we’re, we’re talking next week with you about ABI. We call it an ABI because it copies intelligence ABE (Account Based Engagement) copies and gating engagement. which you have to have the intelligence for the engagement. we’re in the same game, right? How do we help to make sure that it’s not just intent but more predictive so that sales can save time and get to the right leads faster. that marketing can create those ABM lists more quickly to focus on the right customers, but also expand our TAM (Total Addressable Market)?  

Demand Science Example Use Case

So, one of the things that our platform allows is that let’s say you are a cybersecurity company. and you are looking to figure out who’s in market for your products. you can search for those intent words, but you can also see maybe a competitive installation of another technology that you can host with your product. you do that work, but you can also then figure out what other industries might be searching for your product and expand your channel.

By finding you know, ideal customer profile, that’s maybe not the one you’ve been only looking at. but somebody else who’s got all those same signals. we’re helping in all those ways. and you know, ultimately, trying to help companies improve their go to market strategies, do it in a less complicated way, improve their ROI. So that’s where we’re about and just, um, you know. there’s a lot of opportunity. I think we all see in this category to help sales and marketing even more as we go forward and globally, as well. 

Intelligently Engaging the Customer

Billy Bateman 16:22   

I love it. I love it. Okay. if you haven’t checked out demand science, go their website, check it out. You guys are doing a lot of really interesting things we’re excited to have you speak at. have you guys as part of our Account-Based Engagement summit. Because I really think that’s where all of this is going. you know, like, started out with ABM where, you know, we’re just picking the list. We’re trying to get them we’re targeting them. But really, the next step is how do we intelligently engage the customers we should be? And a lot of that is the intelligence just like you’re talking about? So, let me ask you this, Monica, how in your view, how important is the CMO’s role within any organization? 

Unknown Speaker 17:06   

The World of a CMO

It’s critical, but I also think, in the world of b2b in some ways, it may be a little undervalued compared to all that is really needed for the CMO. And I think that maybe it hasn’t even hit its prime yet. I’m excited to continue to, to help to work with my peers to make sure that changes. Because, you know, we it’s really about doing all the right things the right way at the right time. There are so many channels, right? They weren’t podcasts to the degree there are now, you know, not that long ago, right? video is so important.  

Unknown Speaker 17:36   

Reaching out to Prospective Customers

And after COVID, you know, we have to find new ways to reach our client. our customers prospective customers as well, because you can’t just call someone’s office phone anymore, they’re not there. So just constantly being creative, helping the business that you’re in, you know, or the whole marketing team helping to continue to build market leadership. which means constant change, and constant testing and constantly doing things differently, to be ahead of the competition. It’s a great challenge. But it’s definitely a tough one.  

Unknown Speaker 18:10   

High School Example

And I was talking to a colleague recently about, you know, what does that feel like? What’s the CMOS real, real job and my son is a heading into a senior high school. He’s a captain, one of the co-captains, of the football team. And so, I’ve been on the sidelines a lot in the last few years. And I was explaining that it’s kind of like the offensive coordinator who’s in the box. calling the plays and talking to everybody on the field, the quarterback, the wide receiver, the coach, you know, the coaches, the CEO. like they’re, they’re out there as the person in the field who’s clearly the leader. But the guy in the box is trying to talk with everybody to make it all happen. And it’s a little bit like that. 

Billy Bateman 18:53   

CMO as an Agent of Change

Yeah, no, you’re kind of a change agent. And you’re actually trying to make it happen, CEOs got the vision. You got to go out and make that happen for him. do you have any examples of like VP (Vice President) of Marketing, CMO, really being that agent of change and transformation in your career? 

Monica Sullivan 19:14   

Yeah, I mean, I think we talked a little bit about Caesars and the work again. at you know, I think that where I’m heading with Demand Science is going to be the one that that really shows my potential as a CMO the most. 

Being a CMO During Times of Transformation

you know, it’s really an exciting opportunity, because there’s so much competition. And I can leverage kind of the different kinds of transformation that I’ve seen. But, you know, the important thing I think, is that the CMO embraces their team, and there’s trust in the organization to deliver as a team. You know, it’s, it’s not it’s certainly about success in the in the ads and what I like to talk about is failing fast, right? You want to be part of a culture. and I, you know, certainly try to work on this, you know, all the time with our team.

But if you can fail fast. meaning test things. but identify quickly what’s not working, so you don’t waste a lot of time, and, you know, constantly have someone else ready to go to be to put yourself out there, you know, examples like this, I love talking with you about this. And I think that the role of the CMO is also to make sure there’s thought leadership that really continues to evolve. you know, what my brand is. you know, I need to think about that. Show that to the people who are on my team. that I’m putting myself out there, maybe in uncomfortable ways, sometimes to help to promote the brand and where we’re going and set the tone for what we want our brand to be. And that’s, that’s exciting. But it’s also, you know, sometimes uncomfortable, right? 

Engaging with your Customers

Billy Bateman 20:55   

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I agree. when you’re, you know, you’re putting yourself out there, you’re engaging with people. how, how critical is engaging with the customers and the stakeholders to get them engaged in your in your efforts? 

Unknown Speaker 21:12   

That’s a great question. And we just, you know, we’ve been talking a lot about who we are as a company, and what you have to do in terms of engagement with customers. In the context of the event, you guys are planning next week, it’s really important that that word engagement. and for us, it’s being human. you know, part of what we need to do with our brand. and what I want us to continue to focus on is how to have conversations with customers that are real.


And that are, you know, I don’t even want to say personalize. because that almost sounds like it’s cookie cutter. because it you know, it’s not something that’s a machine. I really mean that you’re having a conversation about what the customer’s needs are and helping them in ways that help their business and matter.  

Unknown Speaker 22:01   

And sometimes it will be one on one, and sometimes those will be just about providing relevant information about what they didn’t know. And that may help them. But I do feel like, people maybe are a little tired of the same jargon. And, and just to speak, like, I want us to be that company that’s accessible. and really talking to them, like human beings that are trying to get a job done that we know is really hard.  

Unknown Speaker 22:28   

Working in Competitive Spaces

And we I don’t think I mentioned this, but you know, our clients are often sales and marketing professionals that big tech companies. you know, they’re working hard in their own competitive, very competitive spaces. you know, they’re often the enterprise level, or even kind of a larger mid-sized company. They’re trying to break through and they’re trying to succeed with their toolkit. And it’s tough. you know, that they’re struggling with the same things that, that we all just talked about. you know, attribution and how to get more leads. how to get more leads at every stage of the funnel. you know, I want to, I want to make sure that they feel like we’re talking to them, like, peers, colleagues, people that we work with, and play with and enjoy their company. And, you know, it’s definitely more of a relationship than a vendor. 

Billy Bateman 23:19   

Advice for someone Looking to be a Marketing Leader

Yeah, I love it. I think, for us, we try to do the same thing, all of our customers like. you know, we started out as a consulting company, so it’s kind of in our blood that we’re going to get in and try to help our customers find the best way to do things. And I love it. one last question. Before we before we kind of wind this down. What advice do you have for anyone that’s looking to be a marketing leader? Maybe I’m just, you know, like, running demand gen or content or SEO for somebody. but someday I want to be a CMO. What advice do you have for that? 

Monica Sullivan 23:55   

Monica’s Advice

Yeah, it’s a great question. And I would say, part of it is set big goals, like bigger goals than you think you can meet. And be really scrappy about trying to get them done. you know, be willing to be in the weeds as well as the strategist, you know, nobody has too many resources today. There’s no such thing as too much budget. you have to be able to show like, really mirror the behaviors you want people to, to also deliver on.

you know, it’s have some fun, but also understands that it’s, you know, hard work and, you know, I would break through walls for Pete and I want to be that leader that people would do that for me. And that takes me really modeling the right behavior as well. it’s definitely not just a top-down effort. you know, by any stretch. You also want to show you also want to have trust in your team. Make them feel like you, you have their back but you’re also really trusting of their skill set. To get things done, you know, it’s we’re about getting things done like you said before. 

Billy Bateman 25:04   


Yep. I love it. I love it, Monica. thank you so much for joining us. And then if anyone wants to get a hold of you continue this conversation or learn more about demand science, what is the best way for them to reach out? 

Unknown Speaker 25:18   

Yeah, I mean, they can always email me I’m on LinkedIn. you know, happy to connect. you know, expand my network as well and learn from others. it’s been a real pleasure to be here with you, Billy, and I’m excited about next week’s event. 

Unknown Speaker 25:35   

Yeah, me too. Me to thank you again, Monica, and we’ll chat later. Sounds good.