In this series of articles we go backstage with a marketing rock star. We sit at their feet while they share with us what made them a rock star, what excites them and what we might learn on our journey to marketing rock stardom. 

John Andrews is the head honcho at Photofy – a content creation app that enables users to transform ordinary photos into slick, professional images that can be easily shared on social platforms. With over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing, Ian Truscott sat down with the Raleigh, North Carolina-based CEO to discuss brand relevancy, the power of word of mouth, and why you should never, ever, stop learning.   

What would be top of your rider for your next marketing gig?

I’ve been a CEO for the past nine years but always a marketer. The best marketing gigs are ones that integrate the role into management and leadership functions, not strand it out on some island. You can spot the companies that include marketing holistically as all the pieces fit together. People, process, product and THEN promotion. Be like Apple.

What or who are your marketing influencers?

Sam Walton was one of my earliest influencers, specifically Made in America – the book he wrote about building a great business. Sam’s marketing genius was that his customers became the primary marketing tool for his business. They simply told others about the great prices and selection at Walmart and it became the leader in retail. Word of mouth works, especially if you deliver on your promises.

If I was Spotify, what would I play for you first thing Monday morning to get you going?

‘I Just Want to Celebrate’ by Rare Earth.

The curtain pulls back, you step out on the stage of your new marketing gig – what do you open with?

A story about brand relevancy. In ten short years, a new retailer has dispatched all others in terms of stores sales and profitability per square foot. Apple, which doesn’t show up on most ‘largest retailers in the world’ reports, is a killer retailer. Lesson: in an omni-channel world, you never know where your competition is going to come from.

The audience is dancing in the aisles, it loves that track. What keeps the house jumping?

ABL! Always be learning. The landscape is always changing. It’s changing right now! Learn, use the tools, experience your brand like your customers do.

You’re playing a huge stadium; how do you know the audience can hear your tune?

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is, and always will be, the ultimate measure of brand health. If others recommend your brand to their friends and family, you win.

If there was a billboard chart for marketing trends, what would be your Number 1?

The accessibility of feedback data. There is an instant scorecard available to all marketers. Building a simple dashboard out of various data points creates a composite and actionable view of the brand. Don’t just use marketing analytics tools, build your own collection of measurements. 

What would you throw from your hotel window into the Rockstar CMO pool?

Push marketing. It’s dead, dead, dead. Unwanted messaging is simply spam, in any format. Stop it.

What’s got you rocking today?

Unlocking personal influence. The true beauty of social media is that everyone influences someone. Combine that with virtually unlimited access via digital channels and any brand has the opportunity to become great by building an army of net promoters.

If there was a marketing hall of fame, who would you induct?

Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton and Phil Knight.

Any final words before you drop the mic?

Great marketing is what others say about you, not what you say about yourself. If no one is talking about your brand except you, it isn’t relevant.

Find out more about Photofy, and follow John on Twitter.

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