Modern Marketing: Why We Must Learn To Innovate

May 2, 2014

Recently, our fearless marketing leader, Nick Besbeas, kicked off a new series of internal fireside chats with marketing visionaries to help us grow, learn, and evolve into the best marketers in the Valley, and let’s face it, eventually in the world. The insights I gleaned from the first session were just too good not to share -- so I have decided to radiate these learnings outward to you, our readers. Use them to empower your teams and yourself to think bigger, celebrate success when it happens, and embrace every opportunity to delight.

KarinTimponeLinkedIn400This Month’s Featured Guest: 

Karin Timpone, Global Marketing Officer, Marriott International

Karin Timpone currently leads the integrated global marketing and consumer relationship management strategy for Marriott’s portfolio of brands. She comes from an illustrious background: spending her time heading Product Strategy & Marketing for Disney ABC Digital Media; leading Marketing for Yahoo! Media Group; and guiding strategy for brands at the Seagram Company; amongst other things.

It was a delight to have Karin join us at LinkedIn’s Mountain View HQ, and while she shared a full hour worth of experience with us, there were three main takeaways I synthesized from her talk.

What Modern Marketers Can Learn From Marriott's New Marketing Maven

THINK BIGGER. One of the takeaways I most enjoyed from Karin’s refreshing conversation with Nick was her relentless approach to innovation. So often in companies today, we hear about how “the way of doing things” has worked for a while so why change? It’s the classic “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality. The reality is, if you peek under the hood, chances are you’re ignoring a part or two that aren’t allowing the engine to reach its full potential. To stay ahead and move at the speed of demand at which consumers operate today, brands must not only embrace change and constant improvement; they must fight for it or risk extinction. Karin infused innovation into the organization she led at Disney, bringing a quarterly Marketing Council together over an innovation agenda; and she is doing the same now at Marriott, leveraging her talent to spot opportunity and rally the troops to do the same.

CELEBRATE SUCCESS. Every day, the Ritz Carlton team, which is part of the Marriott portfolio of brands, starts out their morning by sharing stories of success – a guest experience gone incredibly right, what going the extra mile in service really looks like. These stories are used to inspire continued success; it’s a perfectly designed ripple effect. Imagine how powerful this repeatable model can be when applied to your business. How can you spotlight those who are doing it well – whether it be through a case study, a video, or just spoken word – and use these testimonials to empower people and companies to deliver the best outcomes they never imagined?

DELIGHT ALWAYS. Throughout the discussion, I picked up on one common thread that established Karin’s framework for the successful work she has led in her career, and that is a deep routed understanding of the consumer. As marketers, we think about the end-to-end consumer journey – often putting ourselves in a customer’s shoes to identify touch points where we might further influence a perception or trigger a desired response. Driven to innovate, Karin shared insights into how we should break our mind molds of the traditional consumer journey and architect a more modern customer experience. In today’s noisy world, we must delight at every relevant moment of connection in order to build the relationships we so longingly desire with consumers. It is up to us to put ourselves in their shoes and think about the possibilities to enhance, not detract, from the life they lead through technology.


Karin was nice to enough to answer a few additional questions for me after the fireside chat. Find out what she had to say in this quick-fire Q&A:

What brands do you think are doing it right?

  • Global Marketing: Disney’s Frozen released a music video of its hit song “Let It Go” edited beautifully to include 25 languages as a way of sharing the message around the world.
  • Social Media: Arby’s, for the Grammys social engagement over Pharrell’s hat that is STILL being talked about and for good reason. It’s a perfect example of a brand without a seemingly relevant moment in the event MAKING a relevant moment for itself and completely owning it.

It’s 2040, what’s the latest trend we are talking about? Innovation in education and environment.

What’s your secret to success? Staying curious and following my passions and interests.

How has LinkedIn helped you in your career? LinkedIn has helped me maintain long-standing relationships that I enjoy. I’ve worked with colleagues all over the world and LinkedIn provides an ongoing connection that I find vitally important.

LinkedIn also helps me build new relationships. Marriott International reached out to me via LinkedIn about the Global Marketing job opportunity, not as a ‘cold call’, but with a very well-crafted, personal message that reflects the wonderful culture within Marriott International and the unique role I am fortunate to perform today.

Any last piece of advice for marketers? If you are an artist, learn science. If you are a scientist, cultivate art.

Hear from more modern marketers driving innovation within their organizations: