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Marketing Mix Podcast with Jackson Jeyanayagam

Jackson Jeyanayagam describes the evolving role of the CMO

July 2, 2019

Joining us on the Marketing Mix Podcast is Jackson Jeyanayagam, VP & GM DTC at The Clorox Company. Jackson discusses what makes a great marketer, the rising demand for unicorn marketers, and how the role of the CMO is evolving. Having extensive experience in both the agency and brand side of marketing, Jackson shares his top tips for transitioning within the industry.

Listen to "Jackson Jeyanayagam, VP & GM DTC, The Clorox Company" on Spreaker.
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Jeff Ragovin: With your history in the brand world with Chipotle and marketing agencies, what are you doing as the GM of Clorox?

Jackson Jeyanayagam: My role at Clorox is running DTC for their newly acquired Nutranext brand, a vitamin supplements company. Part of my role is to rejuvenate growth in Nutranext’s retail direct to consumer (DTC) brands that haven’t been growing fast enough. Ultimately, I hope this serves as a center of excellence for all direct to consumer at Clorox to support best in class DTC. It’s really exciting for me to go from a marketing role to running the P&L and getting trained to be a CEO.

Jeff Ragovin: Do you think the transition from CMO to CEO is an exception to the rule or do you see this as an emerging trend for CMO’s?

Jackson Jeyanayagam: I think it is an emerging trend because of the accountability in marketing, especially during recessions when advertising costs must show a return and not just a boost in awareness. Also, e-commerce by nature is performance marketing and forces CMO’s to think differently. If you know the numbers and can understand the impact on revenue as a marketer, that transitions into running a business as a CEO. We are seeing more marketers from large Fortune 500 companies taking on more expansive roles with startup companies. 

Jeff Ragovin: What do you think is that elite quality that makes a CMO a great leader?

Jackson Jeyanayagam: I try to surround myself with people who are better than me in their functions. As a CMO, you have to be okay with not knowing everything and trying to learn from others who are smarter in their fields. I believe your CMO has to exude empathy, curiosity, and versatility. 

Jeff Ragovin: Given your viewpoint from the brand and agency side, are there any specific learnings from your past that you would like to bring over to Clorox?

Jackson Jeyanayagam: My boss is a complete disruptor who wants to challenge the status quo, believes in the start-up mentality, and wants to focus on direct to consumer. When I first got there I realized the opportunity to help everyone think about the importance of first party data for e-commerce, especially DTC, at Clorox. First party data allows us to predict what people are doing online, track events, target certain people, and we can optimize against that knowledge.

Jeff Ragovin: Any tips when transitioning from one company that’s completely different to another company in the marketing realm?

Jackson Jeyanayagam:  When entering any new world, go in open minded, ask a lot of questions, and sit down with as many people as possible to learn new perspectives. Listening and adapting while taking feedback from others might change the way you do something.

Jeff Ragovin: Thank you for joining the Marketing Mix Podcast.

Please note, the above has been paraphrased for editorial purposes