The Modern CMO’s Guide to Success
Smarter GTM 06.13.2023

The Modern CMO’s Guide to Success

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Katharine Noonan interviews Cristy Garcia, Chief Marketing Officer at Cristy explores the skills and qualities a modern CMO needs to be successful in their business and career. She discusses the importance of being data-driven, understanding digital marketing channels, and having a creative mindset. She also explains why it’s important to invest in relationships and stay up-to-date with trends in the rapidly evolving marketing industry. Cristy then touches on advice for leveraging partnerships as a more efficient way to drive growth and revenue in challenging times. Finally, she talks about how CMOs can stay ahead by understanding Gen Z and the latest technologies.

About the Guest

As Chief Marketing Officer, Cristy Ebert Garcia spearheads’s global marketing strategy, named by Business Insider as one of “The Most Important Marketing-Tech Executives of 2021,” and a “Top 40 Changemaker in the Performance Marketing industry” this year, Cristy leads an award-winning team of marketers. She is part of the Forbes Communications Council, regularly contributing articles about the expanding power of partnerships to drive revenue and growth. She is also a member of Chief, a network designed to highlight and mentor women in executive leadership positions.

Connect with Cristy Garcia

Key Takeaways

  • A modern CMO needs to rely on data to define strategies, understand target audiences, and make informed decisions.
  • Understanding and leveraging various digital marketing channels, including organic, paid, earned, and partnerships, is essential for reaching consumers effectively.
  • CMOs should maintain a creative mindset and focus on appealing to customers as humans, not just metrics and targets.
  • Data-driven decision-making and creative thinking are not mutually exclusive; CMOs can use data to enhance their creative efforts.
  • It’s impossible for a CMO to keep up with all the changes alone, so they must rely on their team members’ expertise and establish strong partnerships within the business.
  • Staying updated with trends, news, and industry newsletters is crucial for keeping pace with the fast-paced marketing industry.
  • CMOs should invest in training and growth opportunities for their team to ensure continuous learning and development.
  • Seeking external expertise can help fill knowledge gaps and stay informed about the latest trends and technologies.
  • CMOs should empower their team members to make strategic decisions independently, allowing them to excel and grow in their roles.
  • Prioritizing internal candidates for senior positions helps build a strong and motivated team while providing growth opportunities for existing members.
  • CMOs should help marketers grow and excel in their careers, even if they eventually move on to other roles or organizations.
  • Providing team members with the chance to explore different areas of marketing or other business roles fosters personal and professional growth.
  • Partnerships allow CMOs to accomplish objectives while only paying for desired outcomes.
  • Allocating resources from underperforming channels to partnerships is essential.
  • Partnerships offer a common desire to pay for outcomes, unlike traditional marketing channels.


It’s impossible to keep up with everything, and that’s why it’s really important to invest in building strong relationships and partnerships with others in the business.” – Cristy Garcia

Highlights from the Episode

What qualities does today’s modern CMOs need to have to see success in their business and careers?

Cristy believes that today’s modern CMOs need three key qualities for success: being data-driven, embracing digital marketing expertise, and maintaining a creative mindset. CMOs should use data to define strategies, understand target audiences, and make informed decisions. They should possess holistic digital marketing knowledge and stay updated on trends and technologies. Additionally, CMOs should value creativity and appeal to customers on a human level. By balancing data, digital expertise, and creativity, CMOs can thrive in their business and careers.

How do you keep up with the changes in this fast-paced, evolving marketing industry?

Cristy stays updated in the fast-paced, evolving marketing industry by relying on her team and building strong partnerships. She studies trends, reads news and newsletters, and prioritizes training and personal growth. By investing in her team’s development, she has valuable partners who fill any knowledge gaps. This collaborative approach enables her to be a player-coach and leverage the expertise of other leaders on the team.

Why is it important to you to support marketers in their career growth, both on your team and beyond? How do you contribute to the development of your internal marketing team?

Cristy is passionate about supporting marketers in their career growth both within and beyond her team. As a leader, she believes in empowering her team members to make strategic decisions independently. Witnessing their success and seeing their eyes light up when sharing ideas brings her immense satisfaction. Cristy prioritizes internal growth, avoiding external hires for senior positions unless necessary. She also encourages her team to explore different areas within marketing or other roles in the business. For Cristy, supporting marketers is not only the right thing to do, but it also brings her fulfillment as a leader.

How does transform the way businesses manage and optimize various partnerships, and can you tell us more about it? transforms the way businesses manage partnerships by providing a comprehensive platform. It serves as a marketplace where brands, creators, and partners connect to meet various business needs, such as customer growth, revenue generation, and campaign support. The platform facilitates communication, contract management, and centralized tracking and reporting. With, businesses gain the necessary technology to efficiently track and optimize partnerships, regardless of their size or maturity level. Notable clients include Uber, and the platform enables businesses to grow efficiently, particularly during challenging economic times, by offering a results-based payment model.

How can broader, more modern partnerships help CMOs support their brand for growth and drive revenue in this age of partnership-led growth?

Cristy highlights the significance of broader, modern partnerships for CMOs in supporting brand growth and driving revenue amidst the partnership-led growth era. With technology aligning with consumer behavior, traditional advertising is less effective and expensive, resulting in consumer disengagement. CMOs need alternative customer acquisition strategies to showcase ROI and value. Partnerships, comprising various entities like influencers, publishers, and affiliates, contribute 25 to 30% of business revenue, offering efficient scalability. By authentically reaching target customers through research-driven placements, partnerships provide a vital channel for every CMO.

How can CMOs prioritize partnerships with limited resources, considering authenticity, digital fatigue, and ROI in the current age?

Cristy suggests prioritizing partnerships as a way for CMOs to navigate limited resources while addressing authenticity, digital fatigue, and ROI. By working with partners who deliver desired outcomes, CMOs can pay only for results, offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional marketing channels. Cristy emphasizes the need for continuous evolution and an open mind in marketing strategies and highlights the success of well-known brands leveraging partnerships. Ultimately, paying for outcomes through partnerships is a common desire that can be easily prioritized.

What advice would you give to an up-and-coming or early CMO considering your evolution into a highly accomplished CMO over the years?

Cristy shared advice for up-and-coming CMOs. Her advice included staying updated on industry trends, especially in B2B, and embracing modern perspectives. She highlighted the importance of considering the entire organization, not just the marketing team, and focusing on what’s best for the business. Additionally, Cristy emphasized understanding the CFO’s language, aligning marketing goals with financial objectives, and bridging any knowledge gaps in the C-suite.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?

A podcast:


Latané ConantCMO at 6sense

Kala WilkinsVice President at J.P Morgan

Amanda MalkoAdvisor & Executive Advisory Board Member at G2




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