Q&A with Jay Gaines, CMO at Forrester
Jay Gaines, CMO at Forrester has over 20 years of experience in organizational design and leadership, marketing strategy and planning, marketing budget and operations management, demand creation, sales and marketing alignment, and digital strategy in a variety of b-to-b industries.
In this Q&A, Jay shares insightful thoughts about the audience-centric approach at SiriusDecisions and what marketing means to him.
MEDIA 7: How old were you when you had your first paying job?
JAY GAINES: I was 10 years old! I delivered newspapers in my neighborhood on my bike five days a week after school.
M7: You have been recognized as one of the top 10 CMOs in 2019 by The Silicon Review. What skills have enabled you to become a marketing industry leader?
JG: In my time at SiriusDecisions, I’ve had the good fortune to work closely with many amazing CMOs. That work provided me great insight into what makes for a highly effective and successful marketing leader. There are three primary skills that I think have helped me the most; first, to be a business leader and then a marketing leader. This means focusing on, being accountable for, and consistently reporting on marketing’s contribution to the same business goals that the CEO, CFO, board of directors and head of sales care about most. It also means always speaking the language of business, and avoiding marketing jargon when communicating with my colleagues outside of marketing. Second, is just being a good leader for my team by providing structure and clear goals, defending their focus, and promoting a culture of experimentation and rigor. Third, is constantly staying curious. Marketing is evolving so rapidly in terms of strategies, approaches, technologies, and measurement that part of any leader's job must be keeping up what’s new without chasing every new shiny object.
"Marketing is evolving so rapidly in terms of strategies, approaches, technologies and measurement that part of any leader's job must be keeping up what’s new without chasing every new shiny object."
M7: How impactful are the leadership summits from a marketing outreach perspective, and how significantly have they enabled SiriusDecisions to push towards the forefront as an industry leader?
JG: Our summits are a key driver of growth for us. We put a huge amount of effort into them and they have become a primary brand experience for our customers and other audiences. We attract thousands of B2B marketing, sales and product leaders to these events and use them to release our latest research, data and insights. Especially as SiriusDecisions has expanded into new geographies (Europe and Asia) and new verticals (healthcare, financial services, etc.) our events have enabled us to quickly establish presence, acquire audiences and build positive perception.
M7: You have been leading marketing initiatives for SiriusDecisions across various geographies including North America, EMEA and APAC. In your experience, how does the approach to marketing strategy vary based on different regions?
JG: At SiriusDecisions we take a very audience-centric approach in how we go to market through the use of audience frameworks and personas. We typically create personas centrally and then adapt them for geos and vertical industries. Most of the important differences we see are in persona preferences, in how they want to be contacted and engaged, how they consume information, and what their trusted sources of information are. So, while our campaign and program themes remain largely consistent globally the assets, tactics, and channels we utilize vary widely across geographies. For example, in Asia we’ve had great success and lean more heavily on mobile-specific strategies as well as a higher volume of smaller local events.
"Most of the important differences we see are in persona preferences, in how they want to be contacted and engaged, how they consume information, and what their trusted sources of information are."
M7: From a little cottage in Southport, Connecticut to a global leader in B2B marketing solutions, what has been the main force behind the overwhelming success of SiriusDecisions?
JG: By far the main driving force for SiriusDecisions has been our relationships with our clients and our commitment to their success. We have a deep culture of customer-centricity and helpfulness that permeates everything we do. For example, every piece of research we produce must pass the test of being supported by data and evidence, and also must include details about how to actually do whatever it is we’re recommending. Unlike many other firms similar to us, we also consider our work with clients to be collaborative. All of our research is based on our work with our clients and our ability to observe and measure what actually works and what doesn’t. This means we learn as much from them as they do from us and their success is our success.
"All of our research is based on our work with our clients and our ability to observe and measure what actually works and what doesn’t."
M7: What is Marketing to you?
JG: To me marketing is the art and science of engaging target audiences through the delivery of value in order to achieve specific business outcomes. Value can be delivered in any number of ways including information, entertainment and purpose, and business outcomes can span everything from customer acquisition to retention to advocacy.
SiriusDecisions® is the leading global b-to-b research and advisory firm. We deliver actionable intelligence, strategic and operational frameworks, and personal guidance from experienced practitioners.
Sales, marketing and product executives rely on SiriusDecisions® to contextualize problems and bring to light opportunities to drive sustainable growth. Our holistic solutions are founded on proprietary research, a deep understanding of b-to-b complexities, and the tenet that organizational alignment brings better outcomes.
SiriusDecisions was acquired by Forrester (NASD: FORR) in January of 2019.