Our Interview with CMO Lisa Sullivan-Cross from Art.com on the Mobile First Podcast
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How to Make Art Accessible By Transforming the Way the World Discovers Art (Ep. 48)
As CMO at Art.com, Sullivan-Cross oversees all marketing, communications, and analytics initiatives for the company, working to position Art.com as a prominent lifestyle brand in the e-commerce space, while creating an engaging narrative to inspire consumers to make a personal connection to art.
Prior to Art.com, Sullivan-Cross was Vice President, Growth at Pandora where she strengthened the Pandora brand and developed marketing programs that contribute to the company’s active user and revenue growth, as well as its customer retention gains. With over 20 years marketing experience, she is an innovative data-driven marketer with a track record building and growing businesses at companies such as Lucasfilm, Warner Bros., Dictionary.com, Evite, Billboard and Adweek.
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Here are the highlights of our conversation with our guest:
- Lisa loves the combination of art and marketing, forging new grounds and marketing a product that she is passionate about. This is why she had worked in the movies or music because if it is not something that she can connect to or have an impact on, she will find it difficult to market.
- Lisa started out her college career in business but she shifted to communications about halfway through as she felt that a career with the latter is more in line with her passions. She then set her sights on advertising and marketing and started her career on the ad agency side for a start-up. She handled Amazon as her account for three years and learned from the company’s data-centric approach. She then moved to the client side because of her love for data.
- Lisa joined Newline and Warner Bros. then made her way to Lucasfilm by cold calling their Head of Digital for about 15 times to pitch him the idea about having an e-commerce division. She took a risk in joining as a contractor but it paid off. She then made her way to Pandora as she was attracted in starting the growth discipline from scratch as they didn’t have anyone in the company in the growth role.
- Performance marketing can also be called direct response marketing so you have strict KPIs that you are working under. In here, everything needs to be evaluated on return on ad spend and ultimately, LTV. In brand marketing, KPIs are different as you are trying to change hearts and minds. Increase in brand awareness, preference for the brand so that people will ultimately use the product. These two are both equally important and they work together.
- In Pandora, Lisa helped set up the infrastructure to help track and measure all their marketing activities. They had high level business goals so they set specific KPIs to each piece of what they did. 80% of the usage was on mobile app and, since this was 4 years ago, the biggest marketing challenge was tracking view through and click conversion all the way through to LTV.
- Art.com aims to make art accessible to everyone and they are doing this by transforming the way the world discovers art. There are lots of pain points in choosing an art piece and bringing it home so they are working on alleviating this. Help people express themselves and connect to others and as CMO, her main focus is to diversify their performance marketing channels to attract higher value customers. Their biggest constraint in this area was their lack of focus in mobile and right now, that is where they are establishing their presence as their customers are in mobile. They have been able to optimize mobile experience and inject growth mentality to the team.
Rapid Fire Questions
- What is your definition of innovation?
Innovation is embracing “fail fast” mentality as gives teams the license to take risks with more out of the box innovative ideas. Innovation is also challenging the status quo.
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
They are both important but execution, in my opinion is more important so I would give it 65%. There are a lot of ideas but far less successful execution. Ideas are important as they are part of innovation but to execute is what separates great business and entrepreneurs with just people with good ideas.
- What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
Taking risks both in business and in what you are doing in a day to day basis.
- What is your favorite business book?
Originals by Adam Grant
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
- What is your favorite digital resource?
- What are your favorite apps that you use daily?