Our Interview with VMware CMO Robin Matlock and on the M1 Podcast
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Digital Transformation starts with a customer-first mindset. (Ep. 44)
Robin Matlock joined VMware in July 2009 and serves as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Bringing more than 25 years of marketing experience in the enterprise software and services sector, Matlock is playing a leadership role in positioning VMware as a market leader in Mobile Cloud. As CMO, Matlock is a key member of VMware’s Executive Leadership team responsible for leading all aspects of the Global Marketing organization, which includes Corporate Marketing, Partner, Segment and Field Marketing.
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Key Insights from our Conversation
- As a marketer, Robin believes that it’s all about your personal brand. At an early age, she had already figured out that you have to differentiate yourself. Case at hand was the time when she ran for student council despite the fact that nobody knew her because she was new. She broke out from the rest by doing a skit, which nobody ever did during those days, and she ended up winning. If you want to stand out from the crowd, she learned that you have to be courageous and do something a little different. All these braveness came from her mom as she loved the stage and encouraged her to be bold and creative.
- In her heart of hearts, Robin is a business person. She loves the dimensions and complexities of growing a business and she finds marketing as a culmination of all the input and how you formulate a strategy basing on these. If you are not grounded in the business, you can be creative and cool but you will not be relevant.
- Robin started with Sales but segued into business development. From there, she went on to product management and then into the traditional broad-based marketing.
- VMware is an enterprise software company focused on large companies deliver IT services extremely efficiently. There are three big themes that they are focused on: cloud computing; mobility; and risk, reputation and security. VMware empowers IT organizations to help cause digital transformations by severing complexities of physical hardware, software and application environments and make it almost push-button simple.
- Digital transformation is not just a marketing ploy. It is very real and is happening right underneath our feet. Take Uber and Airbnb, for example – the concept of building a completely new industry using software is disrupting entire industries by thinking experience through software. This is digital transformation and in order to make this happen, you have to have the thirst and curiosity to transform, in general. Waiting for another person to figure it out is a sure way for you to be obsolete five years from now. You must think about how technologies change your business model as we are all impacted.
- Bringing about digital transformation in your business, you need to start from the outside in. It starts with your customer then with your strengths. Think about these two, listen and open your mind so you can find opportunities and think about new ways on how to go about this.
Rapid Fire Questions
- What is your definition of innovation?
Innovation is creativity, solving important customer problems and moving at the speed of business demand.
- Would you put more emphasis on the idea or the execution? How would you weigh each of them and why?
You can have a brilliant idea but if you do not execute its worthless. You can have incredible execution but have a bad idea. But if I have to choose, I’d go with execution over idea. With great execution, great teamwork, great collaboration – you can morph the idea over time. 70% – 30%.
What is your biggest learning lesson on your journey so far?
Lean in. You have to have the confidence and the courage but also have to be willing to dress up and make a fool of yourself and be clear about your value and your differentiation.
- What is your favorite business book?
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
- What is your favorite digital resource?
- What is your favorite app and why?
VMware Workspace ONE