Title: Chief Marketing Officer

Challenges 2 with Tricia Melton

Challenges 2 with Tricia Melton


Tricia Melton: One of the marketing challenges that I’ve had over the years was to bring a different type of show to a network that is already very well-known for one thing.  TNT, it’s a network for drama but it was a network that was really well-known for crime procedurals. Things like The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, very high-rated but they draw very specific audience of women who like those types of shows and a little bit of the older side of the demo.

Tricia Melton: The network really needed to diversify the audience, interchange the perception that that’s not the only kind of drama that TNT provided. This is not a landscape where you have got a golden age of drama variety like Breaking Bad, you’ve got Game of Thrones you got really amazing dramas.

Tricia Melton: TNT which was branded, “We know drama,” was sort of losing the perception game. We went and partnered with Frank Darabont, the creator of The Walking Dead. We went to production for this amazing show called Mob City.

Tricia Melton: It was war, it had John Bernthal from The Walking dead in it. It had all the right ingredients. It was beautifully shot. It did an amazing marketing campaign for this show. It was beautiful, still to this day, it was one that I am personally proud of what a great campaign this was.

Tricia Melton: Premiere of the show, to crickets, crickets. It did not do well at all. In the television landscape, it was pretty much fail. The learning there was— and it was definitely learning, you can’t just flip the switch. You can’t just create a show and put it on a network that has an audience of women who like a very specific type of light and frothy crime procedurals, where there is a beginning a middle and an end. Bad guys get caught, the story closes up nicely and it is called episodic. Closes up very nicely every week and then create this very, very different war, gritty period drama and expect that they are just going to change their taste.

Tricia Melton: The learning was, we had research that was telling us this. We were obviously using a lot of consumer research, digitally, focused groups and dial testing. We had research that we knew this was not appealing to the audience that we had.

Tricia Melton: The belief was we will be able to get them then. The learning in that was, listen to your gut. Listen to the research when it is telling you what you do not want to hear. You cannot fit a square peg in a round hole. I do not care how good the packaging on the square peg is.

Success 2 with Tricia Melton

Success 2 with Tricia Melton


@oxygen was founded by @glaybourne, Marcy Carsey & @Oprah #Insights [Click to Tweet]

From @FoodNetwork to @lifetimetv to @TBSNetwork. Tricia Melton has had a broad experience in her media based career [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton’s role was to reshape @TBSNetwork from a general entertainment network into a true comedy brand [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: I left Food Network to go to another start-up. I went and launched Oxygen with Gerry Laybourne, Marcy Carsey from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach and Oprah. They were the three initial founders of that and that was— It was a start-up on steroids. It had huge profile in the cable world, in the media world.

Tricia Melton: It was wildly chaotic and incredibly creative and maddening and fascinating and everything that a big media start-up is. I learned a ton of both what to do and what not to do during that saga.

Tricia Melton: Then I decided that I had worked on developing brand start-ups, young brands and I wanted to move a more established brand. Lifetime approached me. Because I got a lot of experience marketing to women and younger women, a very different audience.

Tricia Melton: I went to Lifetime, it was really a brief window because I was then recruited to come down and head up marketing for TBS in Atlanta. TBS was undergoing a major rebrand. They were moving from a general entertainment, TBS superstation, where they were known for Brave Spaceball and the Andy Griffith show to becoming a true branded comedy brand.

Tricia Melton: I was part of that relaunch TBS as a comedy brand. Launched Sex and the City as a virtual original on TBS, which that wasn’t right. And continue to grow that brand and then over the course of about ten years, I added TNT to my portfolio of responsibility and Tender Classic movies. I became responsible for all the branding, all of marketing, the media, the social media, digital marketing strategy for all those brands.

Tricia Melton: My definition of success is professionally— when I’m with a company, when I’m working in an environment, where I am challenged, my curiosity is constantly being peaked, where I am operating with energy and passion and conviction across the board. And that is working and that were winning and there’s amount of actual success against the goals and against the visions of the company that were actually moving the ball forward.

Tricia Melton: But were doing it in a way that is deeply creative and that is innovative and that we’re doing things that haven’t been done before. That’s what I am professionally, I think that most fulfilled.

Learnings 2 with Chris Hummel

Learnings 2 with Chris Hummel


Life is a mosaic of experiences that zig-zag all over the place #Insights [Click to Tweet]

A career doesn’t always have to be linear. Build up a “portfolio of competencies” #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“How you treat people demonstrates far more about you than it does about those people.” @Hummel_Chris #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Chris Hummel: So when I look at how I impart knowledge to particularly a much younger generation, I start with my daughter. The oldest of my three children is seven years old. I wish she would listen to my advice more. I wish I had better advice to give her.

Chris Hummel: But I really sit down with her and I say, “How you treat other people doesn’t mean you always have to give in; doesn’t mean you always have to listen to peer pressure.” Obviously, as a parent I’m very conscious of peer pressure. But I say, “How you treat people demonstrates far more about you than it does about those people.”

Chris Hummel: And that’s even when you don’t like people. That’s when they do something wrong to you. She’s a great microcosm. She’s just at that age as she’s gone beyond the infantile emotional reaction to everything and she’s now slowly starting to build relationships and look at the way the world goes.

Chris Hummel: And then the second thing I’m trying to do to her is I say, “Build a portfolio.” I don’t quite use these terms to her obviously. But, “Build a portfolio of competencies. Don’t worry so much about your career or that linear progression of what you do. Think about it as a mosaic.”

Chris Hummel: And so a great example is she sings. She sings all the time. She’s singing whether it’s Taylor Swift or whoever. She’s singing all the time.

Chris Hummel: But then she comes and says, “I don’t want to learn the piano anymore.” And I said, “Well, if you want to be a singer, it’s not just about your voice. Are you able to act, to perform? Are you able to understand music so you could play the piano or the guitar? Are you social enough so that you can understand the feedback and feed off that?”

Chris Hummel: And if you take that little microcosm of my little daughter, I guess she can’t be on the American Idol anymore but who wants to grow up and be a singer, how she does that isn’t a linear path. It’s going to be this mosaic of things that zig and zag all over the place. And hopefully as a parent, I can guide her through that.

Chris Hummel: And as a leader, as a friend, I try and do the same thing with my friends, my employees, my peers, bosses to say that same thing, that linear is great. And yes, there’s a part of life that has to be like that. But revel in, marinade in the joy of this mosaic of experience that’s just completely unique.

Chris Hummel: We talked at the beginning Irish-Italian kid from Boston, speaks fluent Russian, with German last name or what not, who else can go and say that? I’m sure there’s somebody out there. I didn’t plan it that way but it just sort of came that way and I’m very happy that it’s taking me to this point. Hopefully, I can help others do the same thing.

Learnings 1 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale

Learnings 1 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale


After stumbling upon the @USIEF, Aditi Javeri Gokhale applied to the top US universities #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Aiming high and applying to top schools could land you a world of new opportunities #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Over 5 years, Aditi was the only Indian accepted to @MIT on a 4 year scholarship #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: My mom worked right beside the United States Education Foundation and my mom’s office used to have amazing food in the cafeteria. So anytime I had a holiday I would try to go to her office just to eat the free food, that’s what happened.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: As I was passing by I saw the U.S. flag and I saw this United States Education Foundation and I said, okay let me check what this is. I walk in and there’s a guidance counselor there and I kept talking to her and I talked to her about what I’ve done, and what I want to do, and my grades. She said, “You know what you got a really good shot at some of the top universities.”

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: We looked at about five schools I asked for the application, I didn’t want my parents to spend because they didn’t know about it so I actually asked for a fee waiver so that my entire application was for free, and that’s how I applied to MIT. Took my first flight to Boston so I hadn’t actually taken an international flight ever in my life. But the whole application process with MIT as you probably know you’re required to do an interview.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: Your grades have to be stellar of course, but the fact that I aimed high so to speak was the only Indian after five years to get admitted on a four year scholarship. I think that was one of the biggest achievements at that point. I came to this country with 200 bucks in my pocket and you know did my undergrad in three instead of four years I think was probably something that I’m really proud of.

Challenges 1 with Tricia Melton

Challenges 1 with Tricia Melton


Tricia Melton helped launch the first ad targeted to women to run during the Superbowl #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Oxygen was ahead of its time; launching its website before the TV Channel #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“You gotta know that your product is ready.” – Tricia Melton #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: When we were launching Oxygen, it was an incredibly interesting experience because we were launching that network right before the dot.com. Bubble burst, the first one. The company itself was built on this idea of convergence but most people do not remember was that Oxygen launched Oxygen.com before it launched the Linear Network.

Tricia Melton: It was a company that was ahead of its time, really. Social media did not really exist as we know it today. If it had, I think Oxygen’s trajectory would have been a little different. It truly was a company that was ahead of its time. We launched the websites first.

Tricia Melton: Then we had a big launch of the Linear Network, very high profile launched with an ad in the Super bowl. It was the first ad targeted to women, specifically targeted women that ever ran in the Super bowl. Very high profile, very big media, a lot of press attention around that, which strategically and creatively was a smart thing to do.

Tricia Melton: The challenge was the Network was not ready. The premise of Oxygen was that we were going to create twenty-four hours of original programming for women and that it was going to be very different from Lifetime, who really sort of owned the women’s TV and the landscape.

Tricia Melton: The challenge with that is it takes an enormous amount of production, content and operational facilitation to program a twenty-four hour of completely original network. The Network wasn’t ready. The product wasn’t there. You had the front-end, it looked really good but the back-end, not so good.

Tricia Melton: That was a real moment of pivot and for me, the interesting thing in that story was you got to know that your product is ready. I was very focused on the consumer market side of making sure we have a brand vision articulated, that we had the best possible strategy and creative execution of that brand and we did.

Tricia Melton: The creative campaign that we put together won awards. It was incredibly popular from a consumer perspective. The problem was I did not have a product to feed it to. That became a process. That became, as many start-ups have that became a scramble of, “What’s the product? How do we get product that actually fulfills on the mission?” Because the interesting thing was the mission was a good mission, the vision was a good mission, the position was a good position but the product just was not there.

Success with Steve Johnson

Success with Steve Johnson


0 to 56,000{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} revenue growth at Hootsuite in the first 5 years #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Success can go hand in hand with great company culture #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Hootsuite went from 27 to 900 employees in 5 years with 55{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} revenue outside the US #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Steve Johnson: Hi, my name is Steve Johnson and up until December of this year, I was the CRO of Hootsuite. I had a super ride with them for almost five years so it was an awesome time.

Steve Johnson: So essentially, there was no revenue when I started. I was employed 27. I had a team of six when we started and really, it was not pre-revenue. We just started monetizing and we grew 56,000 percent revenue over a period of five years.

Steve Johnson: And it’s so private so I can’t say what those numbers are but it went from 27 employees to just over 900 by the end of December. It’s around the world with 55{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of the revenue from outside the US.

Steve Johnson: You can have success, really good success and not have it be a culture that’s just awful. We really achieved that.

Steve Johnson: Hootsuite was a great place to work, great balance, all of that. I think that’s probably from a professional perspective. It’s what I’m most proud of.

Learnings 1 with Chris Hummel

Learnings 1 with Chris Hummel


Toolset & credibility help when starting a #career. Experience and managing complexity help to solidify it #Insights [Click to Tweet]

No graduate degree from @HarvardHBS? No problem. #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Being trained from many different angles helps to create a rounded #management mindset @Hummel_Chris #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Chris Hummel: And I remember very early in my career actually when I was just less than a year out of graduate school. I was doing a consulting job off in Kiev, Ukraine with AT&T in one of their joint ventures over there and I met a boss who said to me, she looked at my profile.  And as I mentioned earlier, I came from an academic, State Department, diplomatic background and I was really worried. I said, “Look. If I try and get in to this business arena, this terrible cut-throat gladiatorial warfare, I didn’t go to Harvard Business School. I didn’t go to Wharton, I didn’t go to Tuck. Am I going to be okay?”

Chris Hummel: And she gave me a great piece of advice that helped me both early in my career and later. And she said, “You will really struggle for the first couple of jobs because you won’t have the tool set. You might have the intellect but you won’t have the actual tool set on how to tackle a lot of these problems you’re going to confront or these challenges or opportunities.”

Chris Hummel: And she said, “And the people from those prestigious business schools, they will have a foundation of tools that they will be able to bring to any situation and they’ll have that credibility of having come from a business school where you will struggle for the first couple of jobs. But once you get to that third job or that fourth job, in particular when you get to management, then you’ll start to wipe the floor with them.” She said, “Because, and not that they’re bad people or your intellect is better but you’ve been trained to think from so many different angles.”

Chris Hummel: So my education was one where we had to look at history, economics, anthropology, finance, law. We had to look at it altogether where it wasn’t down only one discipline and there’s a struggle to be functionally competent which is important. You have to be functionally competent.  But if you can bring all those perspectives together and analyze from a comprehensive point of view, then that’s when particularly you get in this world of ambiguous business problems and challenges and you’re managing people and their personal agendas, and all those kinds of things.

Chris Hummel: That’s when she advised me, I would start to really understand. And she was absolutely right because boy, I struggled at the beginning.  But once I got to the point where there was so much complexity going around, I was actually comfortable with that complexity and understood how to manage all the different pieces of it.

Leadership 2 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale

Leadership 2 with Aditi Javeri Gokhale


#Leadership = “This fire in your belly to succeed!” – Aditi Javeri Gokhale #Insights [Click to Tweet]

#Leadership comes from trust, vision, empathy & drive #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Whether it’s for personal reasons or business; success comes from your team. #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I’m a big believer of having failures in life all throughout your career journey. I think it’s a very humbling experience, I think it’s something that really helps you learn and push your thinking. I’ve had quite a few failures and I’m not going to lie about it. I’ve had failures around product launches but what you do is you learn, you test, you refine, you iterate.  That’s sort of what you go about it.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: But I think the one that comes to mind early on has been around talent and hiring the wrong talent.  Early on in my career especially when I was getting into the sort of GM roles which you know, they hired me to sort of turn businesses around and I was very impatient to hire people very quickly. That probably has been my biggest learning is to take your time, do the job yourself but hire the right talent because your team is what makes you successful.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: I think a few mis-hires have helped me sort of take a step back as I think about every role of mine and what my team needs to be.  That hiring the right talent makes a huge difference in the team success, and the business success, and your personal success.  I think when it comes to good leaders and I’m always constantly trying to make myself a better person in the same way, the first big aspect of a good leader is trust and building trust.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: When you have trust you allow your team to start thinking creatively, to start thinking out of the box, to start taking risks. Making sure your team feels like you have their back I think building that trust is a big thing.  I think a good leader articulates a vision, even if it’s the initial vision very clearly.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: So somebody who has a very good vision of where the business needs to be I think a good leader has great empathy, again you need empathy because it’s not just about business results and succeeding in steamrolling people- it’s about doing it as a team. I think empathy is a big deal that I look at in leaders.

Aditi Javeri Gokhale: This fire in your belly to succeed, I think I’m looking for that in a leader and most good leaders have that.

Success 1 with Tricia Melton

Success 1 with Tricia Melton


#TriciaMelton helped build up @FoodNetwork from an early #stir&simmer stage #Insights [Click to Tweet]

[email protected] got his start, fact checking on @ChannelOneNews #Insights [Click to Tweet]

[email protected] delivers to 7.2M kids in 12k high schools & middle schools #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Tricia Melton: I was born in Birmingham, which compared to New York, seems like a small town. It’s not that small. It’s a real city. I grew up there. I left immediately after college and went to Knoxville Tennessee, which is a smaller town than Birmingham. I ended up going to work for a really interesting media entrepreneur, a really innovated guy called Chris Whittle.

Tricia Melton: Chris Whittle was in the place based media business. Back in the day, he was he was doing crazy things like creating these campus posters, newsletters, and colleges and getting advertising for them.

Tricia Melton: He was creating like comics that went in Laundromats and getting PNG to advertise for them. His whole vision was advertising can live anywhere. Content can live anywhere. He was ahead of his time but it was all very physically placed. I went to work for him to do something that was very innovative and very controversial.

Tricia Melton: I launched a news program for high school kids called Channel One News. It was a 12,000 high school and middles schools across the country to 7.2 million kids every day. It was 10 minutes of news and 2minutes of advertising and it was completely free to the school, along with the satellite dish in the roof, the head unit and TVs for every classroom. It was paid with two minutes of commercials, think Nike, think Levis and think Pepsi because it was delivering an audience, a huge audience of teens.

Tricia Melton: This became very, very controversial because it’s in schools. Teachers unions came out swimming and it was became this very interesting debate should there be advertising in schools. It didn’t stop Whittle forged ahead. It was a tremendously a successful program.

Tricia Melton: As a matter of face, a little fun fact, Anderson Cooper got his start on Channel One. Anderson Cooper was a fact checker on Channel One, when he was twenty-two years old and then became a reporter. That was his first reporting journalistic assignment because he went to Myanmar for Channel One.  Lisa Lane, also by the way got her start on Channel One.

Tricia Melton: That’s how I get my start in the media business. I was fascinated and Chris was in an incredibly dynamic media and entrepreneur that’s where I began in this crazy media world.

Tricia Melton: From there, I moved to New York, I moved to New York with Channel One. As that business continue to grow, it was eventually sold to Prime Media. At that point that I moved I branched into Cable.

Tricia Melton: Cable was in the apex of its growth. I went to Food Network when it was still a relatively young network and it had grown big enough to move from that instructional cooking channel to a network and a brand that was much more entertainment focuses, it was much more about building a brand around celebrity chefs and about the entertainment value. We moved it away from what I call, “Stir and simmer,” branding. That was also incredibly dynamic very big growth period for cable at that time.

Success with Chris Hummel

Success with Chris Hummel


Irish Italian from Boston, speaks Russian, German last name, lived 7 years in Singapore #Insights @Hummel_Chris [Click to Tweet]

From diplomat to business #leader #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Finding fax paper in Kazakhstan at 3am #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Chris Hummel: Hi. My name is Chris Hummel. I am an Irish-Italian from Boston who speaks fluent Russian with a German last name, and lived seven years in Singapore. So go figure where that comes from.

Chris Hummel: But I guess that probably other than starting in a small town outside Boston, with relatively modest means and growing up, playing sports, doing all those kinds of things, I think from a career perspective, the most interesting part is I really started out wanting to be a diplomat. So I was going through the State Department process of how to become a diplomat to ultimately stamp visas and grow up and hopefully someday become an Ambassador.

Chris Hummel: Along the way, I tripped up and fell into this business thing where I started working with some of the biggest tech companies in the world – Apple, AT&T, and then ultimately, Oracle where I landed, my first job was actually in Kazakhstan. So I opened the office in Kazakhstan and literally had to worry about how do I get my email dial up at 3 o’clock in the morning and where do I get fax paper and open an office in a very entrepreneurial environment.  Yet, within a company that, at the time, was only about two-three billion dollars, not the Oracle we know today.

Chris Hummel: But grew that up, expanded that career oracle ASAP for a company that’s now called Unify, actually, just been bought by Atos, and ultimately with Schneider Electric, 30 billion dollar conglomerate, have held a number of sales, marketing, business development, channel operations, those kinds of roles.

Chris Hummel: So I’ve had the fortune of working with businesses that are going up and the fortune, I’d say fortune, of working with businesses that were going down as well. But if you really want to capture it in just a few key numbers, from a marketing perspective or business development perspective, I’ve personally generated programs and executed programs worth several tens of billions of dollars so probably somewhere around 25, 30 billion dollars worth of hard, cold sales opportunities I’ve actually created.

Chris Hummel: Now, from the sales point of view, I’ve probably sold one and a half to two billion in terms of personally, the sales teams that I was leading to kinda generate that. But if you really want to take an interesting look at the numbers from where I go or where I’ve come from, I look at the legacy that I left behind in terms of people.

Chris Hummel: So one of the numbers I like best is I think there are seven chief marketing officers who grew up learning from me. Now, I’m still a relatively young guy but I think that’s a great achievement to have that coaching tree, you would call it in sports, that I’ve been able to generate.