Maximizing Professional Growth: The Power of Marketing Communities
Smarter GTM 06.08.2023

Maximizing Professional Growth: The Power of Marketing Communities

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In this episode of Sunny Side Up, host Rory Costello interviews Michael McCunney, VP of Marketing at Revenue Analytics and winner of the 2022 CMO Club Marketing Award for Creativity and Storytelling. He shares his experience of applying to the CMO Club and getting rejected before reapplying with a larger company. He discusses the importance of investing in communities to build relationships, gain knowledge, and strengthen self-confidence. He encourages junior marketers to speak in terms of revenue, sales, and costs to earn respect from C-Suite peers. Michael also talks about his upcoming book, Marketer One, aimed at marketers who are a team of one or entrepreneurs who need to do their marketing. The book will offer practical advice on how to build and scale a MarTech stack, build a W2 team, and avoid landmines along the way.

About the Guest

Michael McCunney is Vice President of Marketing at Revenue Analytics and is responsible for the company’s marketing and brand strategy, communications, and global campaigns. Before joining Revenue Analytics, Michael led Marketing for SmartBIM Technologies and held marketing leadership roles at INAP and Republic Services.

Connect with Michael McCunney

Key Takeaways

  • Joining communities provides an opportunity to connect with peers and learn from their experiences.
  • Communities offer a supportive environment where individuals can discuss challenges and seek advice.
  • Investing in communities leads to faster career advancement and access to valuable knowledge.
  • Junior marketers may struggle with imposter syndrome, feeling inadequate to contribute to communities.
  • Personal investment and active participation are crucial for deriving value from communities.
  • Speaking the language of the business earns respect and demonstrates an understanding of its functions.
  • Junior marketers should focus on understanding the business impact of their marketing efforts.
  • Connecting marketing metrics to revenue and acquisition costs is crucial for gaining respect from the C-suite.
  • Starting a community can be challenging and may not be the right fit for everyone.
  • Building leadership and trust among peers is crucial for success as a marketer.
  • Marketers should understand the importance of negotiation and strategy in purchasing marketing tools.
  • Getting buy-in from stakeholders early and taking a measured approach can lead to better outcomes.
  • Success is not solely determined by results; the process and planning matter as well.
  • Marketers should focus on developing processes, frameworks, and prioritization strategies.


The number one thing is building that leadership and trust among your peers and investing in that, is making sure that sales know that you have their back. It’s not you versus them, but you and them versus the world.” – Michael McCunney

Highlights from the Episode

How did your passion for communities, particularly in marketing, develop, and why do you consider them to be significant to you?

Michael’s passion for communities, especially in marketing, developed through his experiences and realization of their significance. Initially, he struggled to find fulfillment in various groups until he joined a larger company and got accepted into the CMO club. Engaging with peers who understood his challenges proved cathartic and allowed for knowledge-sharing and collaboration. Michael believes that investing in communities accelerates growth and provides invaluable support from like-minded individuals.

Why didn’t you find much value in the initial communities you were part of, which is often the case for young marketing professionals who neglect the support and knowledge available?

Michael recognized that his lack of value in the initial communities he joined was primarily due to his passive approach. Rather than actively engaging and offering help, he waited for others to educate and assist him. In hindsight, he understood the importance of taking initiative, acknowledging his abilities, and actively participating in the community.

What did it look like when you started to get value out of these communities at first, considering the importance of the initiative in all aspects of life?

Michael described his initial experiences with these communities as a significant boost to his self-confidence. Engaging in discussions with esteemed individuals from Atlanta and beyond, who he greatly admired, allowed him to realize that he belonged among them as a peer. Participating in these intelligent conversations led to an enlightening moment where he recognized his worth and rightful place within the community.

Moreover, the expansion of these groups resulted in the formation of numerous relationships, fostering a sense of camaraderie and providing valuable support. As a marketer who had faced challenges throughout his career, Michael witnessed a genuine desire among community members to give back and help others. By actively participating in these communities, he found opportunities to mentor and guide others, assisting them in their pursuit of career advancement. The interconnectedness within the community facilitated these connections and promoted a culture of mutual assistance.

For young marketing professionals, what steps and communities do you recommend to find and engage in for support and overcoming imposter syndrome?

Michael suggests that young marketing professionals start by identifying individuals they admire and seek their recommendations for supportive communities. He advises joining both advanced professionals and peers to learn, gain camaraderie, and receive mentorship.

What was your inspiration and which communities stood out to you when you initially embarked on the journey of establishing peer-led communities?

Michael shared that his inspiration for establishing peer-led communities stemmed from his knowledge of the CMO Club and the amusing experience of winning the Heisman award. Additionally, a business relationship turned into a friendship with Sangram Vajre and Judd Borakove led to the creation of Peer Community, which has grown from a small group to a thriving community of thousands. Michael expressed his excitement about being part of this journey.

Have you gathered invaluable knowledge from your time in these communities, and can you share some standout pieces of advice that have shaped your career?

Michael emphasizes the need for junior marketers to shift their focus from solely discussing marketing to speaking in terms that resonate with the C-suite. He advises them to prioritize revenue, sales, and costs and demonstrate an understanding of how the business operates. Building a strong relationship with the CFO is crucial, as aligning with their goals and priorities is important for generating revenue. Michael also stresses the significance of staying within the budget and leaving 10% unspent each year. Overall, his advice highlights the importance of business-centric language, financial understanding, CFO alignment, and fiscal responsibility for junior marketers.

What lies ahead in your career, considering your extensive experience in various communities, both positive and negative?

Michael discussed the evolving landscape in his career, considering his diverse community experiences. He mentioned the recent decision by Salesforce to drop the CMO Club, leading to ongoing changes. He acknowledged the emergence of other CMO groups but expressed concerns about their long-term viability. Michael highlighted the need to select a few groups to actively engage with, emphasizing the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships.

Have you ever thought about starting your community?

Michael categorically declined the idea of starting his community, citing his experience running a solo marketing consulting business as the basis for his decision. He expressed doubts about his suitability for the role and highlighted the challenges of differentiating in the saturated marketing community market. Regardless of any potential offer, Michael firmly rejected the idea, stating it was a definite “hard pass.”

Do you have any insights you’d like to share about your upcoming book?

Michael shared insights about his upcoming book, “Marketer One,” during the interview. He humorously mentioned that he gathered insights from the podcast and emphasized that the book is aimed at solo marketers and entrepreneurs. It covers topics like building a MarTech stack and assembling teams. Michael aims to offer practical advice and help readers avoid mistakes. The release date, originally planned for summer, is now around Christmas.

What would you tell yourself if the ideal audience is you 10 years ago and our team sends over some analytics to assist with the writing on that end?

Build leadership and trust with peers, collaborate with the sales team, and prioritize strategic procurement. Gain early buy-in, take a measured approach, and demonstrate a well-considered approach. Focus on processes, frameworks, and prioritization techniques for optimal performance.

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

A book


April DunfordFounder at Ambient Strategy

Darryl Praill Chief Marketing Officer at Agorapulse

Zach Messler Product Marketing Advisor and Mentor at

Judd Borakove – Chief Growth and Community Officer at GTM Partners

Sangram Vajre – Co-founder and CEO at GTM Partners

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