New CMO at ON24 on Why He Formed a 'Bromance' With Sales Counterpart

Top Marketing Exec Robinson Says Marketing and Sales Have to Get Along

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Ken Robinson
Ken Robinson

Webcasting company ON24 this week named Ken Robinson CMO, a position that has been vacant since December 2013, when former CMO Denise Persson left the company.

Mr. Robinson was previously senior VP-marketing at Navex Global, an ethics and compliance software company.

In the following interview he talks about what's important for new CMOs and how he plans to work closely with the sales organization at ON24.

Ad Age: What are some of the things a new CMO should be doing?

Mr. Robinson: In today's age, marketers have to be much more focused on driving revenue and metrics, and it's important to get a seat at the (executive) table to have a contribution to the business strategy and establish alignment with the sales leaders.

In my case, I make sure and spend time with Ben Sullivan, VP-worldwide sales, to make sure we are on the same page and share a common language. We were just at our annual sales meeting and were getting some kickback that we had formed a 'bromance.' If people see us having that kind of relationship, instead of the old adage that marketing and sales don't get along, that kind of working relationship can cascade through the whole organizational relationship between marketing and sales.

Ad Age: What are your top marketing goals as CMO?

Mr. Robinson: My top marketing goals are to continue to further ON24's position in the marketplace. We are in a fairly crowded space, with Cisco WebEx and [Citrix] GotoMeeting and GotoWebinar. We will continue to stake out a dominant position in this competitive space, and one of my first objectives is to continue to amplify this message across industry channels and our target audience.

Second, and what I am most passionate about, is demand generation and looking at the percentage of the [sales] pipeline that is influenced by marketing. We want to continue to increase the funnel for sales.

Third, I want to develop operational efficiencies for our global marketing team with our existing budget.

Ad Age: What challenges does your industry face?

Mr. Robinson: One of the bigger challenges we face in the webinar or webcasting category is that it is considered 'old-school technology' and has been around for awhile. It is not like the newer marketing automation platforms or some of the newer, next shiny objects. Most people have done a webinar or participated in one. So how do we recreate or create a new problem set in the mind of marketers, so they see us as providing different uses of the platform? To set ourselves apart from some of the established players like WebEx or GotoMeeting, we need to show that our platform is built from the ground up with the marketer in mind.

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