First Timers: 5 Brands Adding Their First CMO

First Timers: 5 Brands Adding Their First CMO

As you know, it’s crucial to track decision-maker shifts in order to beat competitors to the pitch. First-time CMOs are one of the top new business triggers for agency changes, media shifts, and new marketing technology investments. These new hires begin to evaluate current systems in place and make changes within 3-12 months following their hire.

First-time CMO hires signal that a company is making moves to bolster their marketing efforts, and also indicates a probable increase in spend in order to support these initiatives. A first-time CMO hire is typically followed by additional hires within the marketing team, proving a company is ready to drive impact.

Our research team has identified five brands making heavy investments in marketing by tapping a first CMO, meaning potential opportunities for you. Check out the details:

Stryve Biltong

In order to drive education and awareness of its products, Stryve Biltong closed a $10 million private equity investment round with intentions to step up their marketing game. This goal has required numerous personnel hires including Jaxie Alt as the brand’s first CMO, effective March.

Alt’s previous experience includes CEO of Altitude Growth Advisors, with heavy experience in Dr. Pepper Snapple Group as well. With other personnel hires throughout lower level positions and manager level positions, agency relationships will likely be affected.

Agency and martech readers are encouraged to pursue work, particularly those with heavy PR capabilities since Stryve’s main goal is to increase brand awareness. Digital, media and creative opps may be available as well.

When pitching, focus on differentiating the brand from competitors such as Kalahari Bitlong, Brooklyn Bitlong and Bull & Cleaver. Channels of investment currently consist of digital, earned media, experiential, influencers, and social media. While use of these will likely continue, keep an eye out for a media mix up with new personnel on board.

Marketing is expected to increase, and therefore spend will likely do the same. Sellers are encouraged to reach out in order to secure revenue and keep in mind their target demographic includes millennials focused on healthy food.

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Frank Rappa was selected as the fast-casual restaurant chain’s first CMO, effective January. Rappa will lead brand activation and marketing in his new role at PDQ, with agency reviews likely in the next 9-12 months.  

As you know, an outside CMO hire is a flashing green light for agencies to reach out for opportunity. Those with restaurant experience specifically are encouraged to reach out. Previous ads for the chain call out competitors like Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, El Pollo Loco, and Churches, so stick to this strategy when pitching.

PDQ relies primarily on local marketing surrounding it’s 66 locations, majority of which are in Florida. Marketing and spend are expected to rise with the new CMO hire, so sellers should reach out as well. Highest spending period is typically Q2, with a millennial demographic interested in quality ingredients.

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GameWorks Entertainment named Michael Sadowski it’s first CMO, effective January. Prior experience includes marketing leadership positions at companies like Kelley Blue Cook and General Electric. His main focuses at GameWorks will include eSports and video games.

After being acquired by Oomba, the company named Philip Kaplan it’s CEO last year and then proceeded to make several manager and director-level hires as well. Recent progress includes a partnership with SCCG Management in an effort to enhance its eSports options. The company also expanded it’s menu and operates in Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Minnesota, Kentucky, Illinois and Washington.

With no top spending period established, sellers are encouraged to reach out year round for revenue. The target demographic is made up of millennials and parents, with a slight male skew.

Social media is the primary channel of use, but some work is done through digital and broadcast as well. Under new leadership, media spend is expected to rise as well. Agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out following the new hire with an agency review likely in 6-9 months.

Request a Trial for Michael Sadowski Contact Info


Duke Stump was named electric scooter company Lime’s first-ever CMO, effective February. Past experience includes brand and community EVP at Lululemon, and additional marketing experience from Nike and Seventh Generation also.

Following the hire of Stump were several other management-level hires as the company attempts to bolster their marketing team. Agency reviews are likely within the next 6-9 months.

With no top spending period, sellers are encouraged to reach out throughout the year in order to secure dollars. Keep in mind their target demographic is a combination of Gen-Z and millennials. Focus will likely be on experiential channels, considering those typically have high ROI for startups. Social media, outdoor and search channels will be of importance as well.

Recent company advancements include a new scooter line specifically for New York and a “Respect the Ride” campaign in order to promote scooter safety. While budgets are small at the moment, expect spend to rise as Lime attempts to raise $400 million in funding.

Agency and martech readers, especially those with startup backgrounds, are encouraged to reach out as soon as possible in order to remain top-of-mind. Typically, emerging companies such as Lime commit to PR work first in order to build brand awareness. However, eventually creative and media agencies will be necessary for competing with companies such as Lyft, Spin, Bird, and Uber.

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Kopari Cosmetics

Jeremy Lowenstein was named coconut oil-based cosmetic company Kopari’s first CMO. His former position was global marketing VP at Coty, Lowenstein along with previous work at Aveda. He will be working alongside a quickly growing team, with several manager hires in the past year.

Kopari’s most recent campaign promoted it’s natural deodorant to millennial and Gen-Z women. Late in 2018, the brand launched a  toothpaste line that will likely need ad support soon. Keep in mind the company has increased its focus on AI-based personalization, increasing its average per-user revenue by 60% and customer conversion 30%. Products are available in various retailers such as Ulta and Free People as well.

Sellers should keep national TV and digital channels on their radar in order to target Koparis’s younger audience. According to Adbeat, Kopari has spent $29,300 on digital display ads mostly through Youtube, an increase from $24,300 the previous year. Agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out for potential work with agency reviews likely taking place within the next 6-9 months.

Request a Trial for Jeremy Lowenstein Contact Info

Interested in receiving ten more prospecting opportunities with emerging brands who just hired their first-ever CMOs? You’re in luck! Download our latest eBook, 10 CMO-Timers for martech, agency and media opportunities with Tom’s Urban, JUUL, Snap and more- plus each CMOs verified contact info!

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