Updated: May 29, 2019
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:
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.
QSR Chain PDQ
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.
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.
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.
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.
Luxury menswear J. Hilburn named Casey Shilling its first CMO, effective April. This hire follows a slew of others for the company including CCO Joe Dixon, marketing director Kimberly Jones, planning and analytics VP Steve Robertson, and chief creative officer Simon Kneen.
With no established top spending period, sellers are encouraged to reach out for dollars year round in order to remain top of mind. Spend increases are expected to support the new personnel and be sure to focus pitches on high ROI strategies. Agency and martech readers should reach out soon for potential work as well, with agency reviews likely within the next 6-9 months following the new hires.
Dutch Bros Coffee
Rick Anguilla was hired as the drive-thru coffee chain’s first CMO, effective April. Anguilla joins Joth Ricci, who was hired as president in January. These new hires were brought on board in order to assist with Dutch Bros expansion plans.
Specific plans for growth consist of Dutch Bros increasing its number of stores from 500 to 800 throughout the next five years. Dutch Bros currently operates in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado and plans to break into markets throughout Stockton, Yakima, and Tuscon.
Agency and martech readers, as you know new CMOs often present strategy shifts. Anguilla will be on the hunt for an agency to assist in expansion efforts and differentiate them from competitors such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts. The rapid growth and new personnel are likely to result in spend increases, so sellers are encouraged to reach out. Those operating in locations where Dutch Bros already exists will have the advantage. Dutch Bros spends heavily year-round through digital and social channels, as well as cause marketing and sponsorships.
E-commerce startup MightyNest hired Mandy Pekin as it’s first CMO, effective March, in an effort to increase brand awareness. Since this is the number one signal an agency review will occur, agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out for work. Center pitches around ways to promote its MightyFix subscription box and stand out from competitors such as Grove Collaborative, The Honest Box and KloverBox.
Sellers, keep an eye out for spend increases to help in efforts to improve brand awareness. Digital and earned media are the main channels of use, with spend high throughout the year.
Men’s telemedicine company Hims hired Melissa Waters as it’s first CMO, effective April. Other C-suite hires for the startup include chief product and technology officer Charles Henrich and CFO Spencer Lee. The company also made lower-level personnel shifts and plans to continue hiring.
Hims is supported by numerous rounds of funding and plans to continue expanding and capitalizing on the thriving telehealth market. Hims has already launched a sister site for women called Hers and expanded both lines with new products.
Agency and martech readers are encouraged to reach out following the new hires. Focus pitches on ways to accomplish expansion goals, and on how to differentiate them from customers such as Nurx, Pill Club and Roman. The competition will likely include Partners & Spade and Branch, who previously assisted Hims with creative work.
With no top spending period yet established, sellers are encouraged to reach out throughout the year in order to secure revenue. When pitching, keep in mind the target demographic mostly consists of millennials. With new personnel, new products, and funding to support these shifts, Hims is without a doubt one brand to keep on your radar.
Julie Cary was hired as Belk’s first chief customer officer (brand CMO function), effective August 2018. The retail chain also promoted Nir Patel to chief merchandising officer, effective June 2018. Several shifts occurred outside of the C-suite as well in an attempt to reverse declines for the struggling retailer.
Other efforts to combat declines include store renovations, mobile platforms, and e-Commerce initiatives. A new campaign is also on the horizon for next year, which will be created by mcgarrybowen, which Belek just hired as it’s creative AOR. Sellers are encouraged to reach out for dollars tied to this campaign and keep in mind the top spending period has historically been Q4. Belk primarily targets older women, but the rebrand suggests it’s shifting towards millennials.
Spend has been increasing, which will likely continue under the new personnel. Expect most increases to go toward digital and social channels. According to Adbeat, digital display over the past 12 months totaled $3 million and increased from the $1.5 million spent during the 12 months prior.
Sponsorships include Mario Addison, the Southeastern Conference and Bristol Motor Speedway according to Hookit. Agency and martech readers, with reviews likely within the next 6-9 months following new hires, we encourage you to reach out ASAP for digital and media work. Competition may include iCrossing on digital and Harmelin Media. Focus pitches on Belk’s rebrand and ways to combat current struggles.
Focus Brands, the operator of QSRs like Jamba Juice, Moe’s and Schlotzsky’s, hired Dan Gertsacov as its first global CMO. Starting in May, he will focus on disrupting marketing strategies and menu innovation.
Other hires include Robby Ayala as social and digital media manager, Yosra Saleh as Jamba Juice senior brand manager, and Pey Ing Lin as international marketing manager.
Agency and martechs going after work should focus on media and creative. Focus pitches on helping brands stay top of mind among competitors including Chipotle, Jason’s Deli, and Cold Stone Creamery. Increases in spend are likely to continue in order to increase millennial engagement. Sellers are also encouraged to reach out, and keep in mind spend is typically highest from Q2-Q4.
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