Chief Marketing Officers at Work – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Josh Steimle

Chief Marketing Officers at Work

Chief Marketing Officers book coverQ: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

Get empathy.

The CMOs I interviewed in my book “get” their customers in a visceral way that allows them to create marketing campaigns that could never come from a focus group, market research, or data. Not that those tools aren’t valuable, but empathy trumps all.

Q: What was the inspiration for Chief Marketing Officers?

Losing a deal when a CMO squashed it. I run a marketing agency and after a new CMO sat in on a final sales meeting where we were about to sign a deal and then told us all deals were off, I thought “We should probably understand CMOs better, they have a lot of power to make our lives better or worse.”

Q: What is the key concept behind the book?

I originally set out to write a book on digital marketing, with CMOs as the audience. While doing my research, I realized I didn’t understand the CMO role as well as I thought I did, and so I went to purchase the book CMOs at Work, because I had read Founders at Work, Venture Capitalists at Work, and knew there were 20 other books in this “At Work” series from the publisher Apress. Turns out CMOs at Work didn’t exist, so I pitched the publisher on writing it myself and got the deal.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from Chief Marketing Officers?

I want them to say “Wow, I feel like I just got a fly on the wall view of what it’s like to be a CMO.”

Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?

I’m a marketing agency founder, and I coach executives on how to become thought leaders.

Q: What books or writers inspired your work/career?

  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley – Writing has built my career, and Ann’s book is my go-to.
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss – The best book on negotiation I’ve yet read. It helps me find true understanding in all sorts of situations so that I can create win-win scenarios.
  • Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore – I’m realizing lately how much the coaching profession has to teach me about leadership, and this book is one of the best on coaching I’ve read to date.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?

My own ego.

Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

I’m a skateboarder and can still do a kick flip.

Q: Is there a piece of marketing content that you’re particularly proud of?

A lot of our work flies under the radar. For example, we do a lot of SEO work for a chain of behavioral health treatment centers. It’s not glamorous, but our client makes a big difference in the lives of many people, and our work helps our client get found by the right patients at the right time to change and save lives.

Q: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?

I love talking about personal branding—that’s how I grew my agency from almost going out of business to a multi million dollar operation with offices in five countries.

Contact information


Thanks Josh.

Bonus: Read Josh Steimle’s interview with Spotify CMO Seth Farbman.


Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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