ON24’s CMO says creativity, patience & never resting on your laurels are key to success
Get to Know: ON24 CMO Joe Hyland
In May of last year, Joe Hyland was named CMO for ON24, leading global marketing, communication and brand strategy for the webinar-based marketing platform.
“I’ve been in marketing for about 15 years, focusing primarily on marketing in the B2B and SaaS space,” says Hyland.
Prior to joining ON24, Hyland served as CMO for Taulia Inc. and held marketing leadership positions at a variety of tech companies, including Stratus Technologies, Bottomline Technologies and Kronos.
The CMO recently oversaw the launch of ON24’s “Where’s Your ROI?” campaign, built on challenging marketers’ assumptions around the way they use data.
“All of us marketers, in the past three or four years, have said that we want to take a global, data-driven approach to marketing,” says Hyland, “But, whether it’s a digital campaign or a billboard, there’s so much data, and very few ways to know how to decipher it and learn how it drives tangible results.”
Hyland says the campaign aims to make marketers reconsider how they measure and evaluate ROI.
“We want people to rethink what ROI means to them and their business — and how data can help inform what’s truly making a difference for their companies.”
In today’s “Get to Know” column, Hyland gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his role as ON24’s CMO — sharing everything from the mobile device he can’t live without to the work challenges keeping him up at night.
What mobile device can you not live without?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
I think email, I’m not very exciting. Besides email, our team uses Slack pretty widely so I’m on that throughout the day. We use Asana for a lot of project management that’s really helpful as well.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Strava — it actually is a social network. I love running and I raced in college. Strava is a great way to keep track of friends and old teammates and what they’re up to for running.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
The New York Times app. When I’m particularly lazy, the ESPN app.
Take me through your typical workday.
Usually, the first thing I do is open up Salesforce and look at our dashboard and our marketing KPIs. I’m always looking at our pipeline, and am always talking to customers to stay close to what they want and need from our solution, and hear what they are seeing in the market.
Internally, I love collaborating with our team members and making sure we’re on track with all of our existing initiatives.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
I’d have to say building out a great team, working with our world class customers, and getting the chance to work with our product team to ensure we’re delivering real, tangible value to marketers.
I just love working in this space, so being a part of solving marketers’ day-to-day challenges is what I love most.
What does your office look like — any sentimental objects you can share?
Probably, the most sentimental item I have is a gift I got from my wife — it’s a “FatHead” life-size decal of my 95-pound Labradoodle, Zealand.
I’m a very tactile person, I work better with hard copies and on whiteboards, so there are tons of papers scattered around, and a lot of things written on several whiteboards in my office.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
I’d say probably 40,000 miles. We have offices in Charlotte and London, so I travel there occasionally. We’re opening an office in Sydney, so I imagine that will be the most interesting place I go to next year for work.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
I’m always worried that we’re not constantly innovating — any company can stumble if they’re not staying ahead of the curve.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
We ran a campaign called “Epic Webinar Fails” where we wanted to have people talk about the difficulties they’ve had with webinars. We were trying to buy people out of their webinar programs, when it really should have been more of an educational piece. I think it ended up being a bit too aggressive.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
The CMO at my first job out of school, at Stratus Technologies, had a big impact on my career in marketing. He told me there’s many different types of marketers: those tied to revenue and those who are not — and to always be the former.
There’s nothing wrong with building a brand and creating beautiful things, but they should be done with the goal of impacting your top-line growth. I’ve really applied that to every part of my career in marketing.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
You need to be creative. You need to be patient. And you can’t ever rest on your laurels, it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” working world that we live in.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I was born and raised on a farm in rural New Hampshire. Growing up shoveling manure every morning at 5:30 a.m. before school taught me some of my best life lessons.
Why did you go into marketing?
I was on a path to be in banking, finance or consulting and I found it to be unfulfilling.
I had minored in psychology and was fascinated with why people make certain decisions. I am inspired by what motivates people and their decisions — the best business outlet I found for that field was marketing.
What other career would you like to try, and why?
I always assumed I’d be a professional athlete, and I’m still surprised that somehow that hasn’t worked out.
What’s the last business book you read, and what did you think of it?
“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign caught your eye recently?
Geico — I’ve always loved how they run so many different campaigns. They run multiple campaigns that resonate with consumers, and they use humor effectively.