RetailMeNot New CMO Hits The Ground Running, Taking Over As The Holiday Retail Season Begins
Get to Know: Marissa Tarleton, CMO for RetailMeNot, Inc. in North America
In October, RetailMeNot Inc. named Marissa Tarleton chief marketing officer. In her new role, Tarleton covers it all, from consumer brand advertising and customer acquisition and retention to search engine marketing, public relations, internal communications, business-to-business marketing and customer relationship management.
“Being in retail, the holiday season is our most important time of year,” says Tarleton, “Our marketing efforts have already begun, and it’s my job to make sure that we are top of mind with consumers as the destination for people looking for great deals.”
Tarleton says RetailMeNot has an integrated marketing approach to reach consumers, using email, search engine marketing, social media, public relations and brand advertising that includes TV and mall promotions. According to Tarleton, RetailMeNot’s focus goes beyond consumers during the holiday season, giving attention to its retail partners, as well.
“We’ve integrated them into our marketing efforts including TV advertising, email and mobile push notifications via the RetailMeNot mobile app. This helps retailers reach new audiences and stay top-of-mind with consumers who are ready to shop.”
Before joining RetailMeNot, Tarleton led marketing for Dell Inc.’s North America Consumer and Small Business organization, driving new customer acquisition through marketing communications, media, partner programs, loyalty and CRM for both the Dell direct and retail businesses. With more than 13 years at Dell, she also worked with major brands while on the agency side at Ogilvy & Mather and Foote, Cone & Belding in New York City.
Tarleton earned her Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My smartphone — it’s the main one I care about.
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
To stay organized during a busy day of meetings, I constantly use my iOS email, calendar and messaging apps. It’s important for me to stay connected and have instant gratification of constant access.
I also spend a lot of time with the RetailMeNot app to make sure it is meeting customer needs and retailer needs.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Instagram is my favorite because it is visual, and I use it to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
I check email first, then social media (Facebook and Instagram), and then the weather.
Take me through your typical workday.
I like to get to the office early to read emails and catch up on anything I may not have gotten to the day before. After that, my day is comprised of a combination of meetings and one-on-one conversations.
I’m rarely able to take breaks, because I’m focused on ensuring that I’m very productive. This is so I can maximize time spent with my family in the evenings. Once the kids go to bed, it’s back to email.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Hands down, making the move to RetailMeNot is an extremely exciting opportunity because I get to help with the transformation of an already great brand. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to drive growth, to work with the existing marketing team, and to market to what I believe is an amazing customer base.
What does your desk look like?
In general, I like having elements of my personal life around me at work. Mainly things I care about like inspiring books, magazines, work that I’m most proud of, framed art of brand advertising, and photos my children and my travels.
I also feel strongly about having living plants in my space. New employees who join RetailMeNot receive a $400 stipend to spend on art or decoration. I’m using mine to create a relaxed living room area for my team to play games, listen to music, collaborate, or work away from their own desks.
This new area will fit well into our multi-floor offices that are characterized by open seating plans and lots of perks like a juice bar, a coffee bar and a keg-a-rator, to name a few.
What’s your travel schedule like as CMO?
One of the most valuable things I travel for is time spent visiting customers. After the holiday season ends, and I’m a little more settled into my new role, I’m really looking forward to meeting with our retail partners.
Having come from the brand and retailer side before joining RetailMeNot, I’m excited to have discussions with our retail partners on how we can help them achieve their marketing goals and optimize their spend and strategy.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
I’m starting a new job during the company’s busiest season of the year, while simultaneously establishing 2016 priorities. I’m learning the business and developing next year’s strategy that includes all facets of marketing with a focus on brand, customer acquisition and growth. I’m kept up at night by an innate characteristic of mine to get things done really fast while adjusting to a new environment.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
Several years ago, I was responsible for the redesign of Dell.com, the consumer core website. In the beginning, we weren’t focused on the customer. I’m a firm believer that when the customer doesn’t win, neither does the business.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
My father, a former GE executive, taught me the importance of work ethic, work/life balance, drive, taking risks, and, above all, family. He was instrumental in laying the foundation of why I’ve excelled in my career and why I place such a strong focus on my family. I wouldn’t be here without his wisdom.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
I’ve succeeded in my career because I’m adept at strategically building relationships, being collaborative, exerting influence, and inspiring my teams.
In addition, I have a sense of humor, I’m direct, I’m data-driven, and above all, I’m customer-focused.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I have a very sensitive side. My children laugh at me for crying at their TV shows.
Why did you go into marketing?
Marketing is a great balance of creativity, analytics and being super-close to the customer. I started my career in advertising at an agency in New York, and eventually began running marketing in house. I love that marketing is super-collaborative and a people-oriented function.
What other career would you like to try and why?
I would love to be the CEO of a fashion retailer. I’m passionate about brands, fashion and design.
What’s the last business book you read?
I recently read StrengthsFinder by Tom Rath. I read it with my whole team to better leverage their personalities in the organization.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
GE just came out with a new ad that has given me pause lately. The reason I like it is because this brand continues to reinvent itself to stay current with customers and potential prospects.
They clearly identified one group of people they wanted to attract, and they built a high-profile series of ads to appeal to them that break through because it is so unexpected from this brand. Given it is my father’s company, it also hit home for me.