Peloton’s new CMO brings her passion for fitness to work at the in-home exercise brand
Get to Know: Peloton CMO Lori Tauber Marcus
Last month, the in-home fitness cycle brand Peloton named Lori Tauber Marcus its chief marketing officer. In her new role, Marcus will drive Peloton’s global marketing organization and build the company’s global brand.
One of Marcus’s first initiatives as CMO is the launch of a new ad campaign that will span TV, print and digital channels.
“Because we are a disruptive innovation, we have to explain to consumers what the Peloton Fitness proposition is,” says Marcus, “My hope is that the campaign continues to elevate the brand while educating consumers about this transformational in-home exercise phenomenon.”
Prior to Peloton, Marcus served as the chief global brand and product officer for Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. and the chief marketing officer for The Children’s Place retail stores.
“I’m super excited to join a smaller, early stage company where I feel like I can have a major impact — not just on driving the brand and the business, but also continuing to build on the great culture to build one of the greatest companies out there,” says Marcus in a post from the company’s blog announcing Marcus as its CMO.
Today, Marcus gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of her new role, and life as a CMO.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My iPhone. (I know; it’s trite, but true!)
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Facebook — We have such an active group of home riders on Facebook. I like to check in often and see what the vibe is.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
When I’m not at work, I use Twitter to catch up on news and Facebook to see what’s going on with all my friends. I also love LinkedIn to keep up with all my professional contacts.
I’m a bit obsessive about keeping in touch with people, and both LinkedIn and Facebook make that much easier to do.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
My texts on my phone. I have two daughters in college, and they usually text me after I’ve gone to bed. (You can imagine how early I go to sleep so that I can get up at 5:00 a.m. to work out!)
Take me through your typical workday.
I like to get to the office before the others get in. We outgrew our HQ office space, so the marketing team is at a WeWorks space.
Once everyone gets in, I find it hard to do “my” work, so I like to jump-start the day while it’s quiet. Many of my business partners are over at the HQ building, so I’m back and forth at least once a day.
I love the energy of this communal work space, and I’m finding there are less formal/organized meetings and many more impromptu moments of people connecting in real time.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
After leaving Keurig Green Mountain, and prior to joining Peloton, I started a keynote speaking practice. I talk to professionals of all ages and life stages.
My signature talk — “Train for the Career and Life you Desire” — stresses the importance of:
- Integrated work/life planning
- The importance of health/wellness/fitness to perform at the highest levels
- How to use your power in corporate America to works of charitable good in the outside world
I get amazing satisfaction from this work. I also joined another board — a private equity-backed company in the healthcare space. It’s a perfect blend of my retail and branding experience and my broad experience with healthcare (from my days on the MMRF board).
What does your office look like?
I have two pictures of my family. One is a recent beautiful picture from a family event. The other is a picture from the first MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation) 5K race in New Canaan.
It combines many of the things I care deeply about — my husband and two amazing daughters, running and fitness, and my deep passion to use my power in corporate America to raise my social impact in the world.
I’ve been on the MMRF board for 13 years (now vice-chair of the board) and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done trying to accelerate a cure for this rare form of blood cancer.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
Too many miles to keep track. I live in the NY area and commuted to Boston for two years with frequent trips to Vermont.
When not driving to New England, I was fortunate to visit both China and Japan as part of the international strategy work we were doing for Keurig Green Mountain.
I particularly loved Japan. I loved the respectful, clean, quiet, orderly nature of the country. I loved that no one eats on the train or talks loudly on their phone while walking down the street. No garbage on the street either. Very peaceful. And great sushi, too!
I sit on the CMO advisory board of VentureBeat, so I’ve loved the opportunity to visit San Fransisco multiple times. It’s such a thriving area with so much innovation.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
I’m a terrible sleeper, so this is a loaded question! I’m just getting started at Peloton, but I can already see that we have so many wonderful growth opportunities ahead of us.
I want to make sure I’m keeping myself and my team focused on the important work that will drive the growth of the company.
It’s easy to get distracted with smaller “bright shiny penny” ideas, and I want to make sure we are doing the most important work and doing it really well.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
I’m too new at Peloton to have hindsight, but I have thought long and hard about work we did at Keurig.
When we launched the Keurig 2.0 system last year, I think we got overly clever with our campaign. We used a lot of humor in our spots to try to signal variety, but at the end of the day, we could have been more clear with consumers about our value proposition (500+ varieties of coffee across 50+ brands. A single-cup brewer that now also brews a carafe of coffee).
Sometimes as marketers, we get overly clever and creative, and we end up missing an opportunity to tell our story. I’m thrilled that our new campaign at Peloton is more of a beautiful brand film — high-quality, aspirational, full of emotion, but one that explains clearly the Peloton proposition.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
There are too many to talk about, but I’ll name two.
The first was my first boss out of college. Dave House taught me the most important thing I needed to learn as a young college graduate in Atlanta, GA, working for Nielsen Marketing Research. We were headed off to UGA for a recruiting trip, and I confessed I had no idea how to recruit.
He told me to focus on hiring people who were smarter, more clever, more creative, more talented and harder working that we were. He assured me if I did that and used my talents to help those people grow, then we would all do well and we’d make some money along the way.
Years later, I had the opportunity to meet Kathy Giusti, the founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Kathy taught me that anything is possible. She was diagnosed at 37 with a rare and incurable form of blood cancer. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she started a foundation that has raised over $300 million and funded dozens of clinical trials and aided drug discovery.
I watched Kathy deal with her cancer with grace and determination. Years later, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she served as a role model for me to fight with grit and determination. Seven-plus years later, I continue to feel healthy and strong, thanks in large part to her guidance.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
As an individual, it’s helpful to be analytical and strategic, and also creative.
As a leader of a marketing organization, it’s absolutely critical to have strong leadership skills. A CMO must set the strategy and plans and then motivate and compel the team to execute that plan with excellence.
As Brenda Barnes (former Pepsi president and Sara Lee CEO) once told me, “You can’t be a leader unless people want to follow you.”
I take that to heart every day, and work hard to be a great leader who develops talent and drives the culture.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
While I’m a crazy health and fitness nut, I start every morning with a handful of M&M’s. It’s usually how I end the day as well.
Why did you go into marketing?
I love understanding consumer behavior and the art and science of why people buy. I’m also not a theoretical person; I like tangible things like products, packaging, advertising.
Finally, I’m the biggest extrovert I know. I grew up in consumer products where marketing is at the center of everything. I love working cross-functionally across the whole organization to make things happen.
Nothing is worse than sitting in my office by myself. I’m at my best when I’m with my team and with my colleagues and partners.
What other career would you like to try, and why?
In addition to the obvious things I’ll do in my next chapter (more board director work and more keynote speaking), I’ve always dreamed about being a fitness and nutrition-driven executive coach.
I’m passionate about the notion of looking at life in an integrated way and maximizing your effectiveness through the right blend of business skills, combined with the right nutritional plan for each person combined with the right exercise routine and rituals.
What’s the last business book you read, and what did you think of it?
“Winning” by Jack Welch — I always need a reminder of good, foundational principles. This is a good one.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
I love the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels.” I’m a big believer in being open-minded and not judging others who don’t look like we look or act just like we act.
Similarly, I love the work that Badger & Winters has done in trying to bring attention to the awful objectification of women in the media. I encourage everyone to look at the #WomenNotObjects work they’ve done. As you can tell, I’m a big believer in using your voice for good.