In an interview with Insights Success, the CMO of Identified Technologies, Barry Rabkin shares the key insights powering his transformative results as the Chief Marketing Officer. Learn the innovative marketing strategies that this recognized industry leader has used to create coast-to-coast demand for his company’s offerings.
Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Barry and Insights Success when he was selected as one of the “The 10 Most Influential CMOs to Watch, 2018.”
Can you brief us about your background?
I have always loved technology, creativity, people, and the fusion of the three. I am a computer programmer, turned psychology major, turned breakdancing entrepreneur, turned product and marketing strategist. I’ve always followed my passions, and however random my path may seem, every step has helped prepare me for the challenges that followed.
I started CypherStyles out of my college dorm room and grew it to be the world’s largest online street dance store. We reached 17 million YouTube views, nearly 2 million in sales, and offered over 1,000 different products, 60 of which I developed, before bringing the company to acquisition.
After discovering my love of product management and marketing, I took night classes to earn my MBA from the Carnegie Mellon University – Tepper School of Business. After graduating from CMU, I managed new product development for Heinz’s largest brand, Ore-Ida. There, I led my cross-functional innovation team in creating and implementing the strategic re-branding of the entire portfolio and the most successful new product launch in a decade.
When I first met Dick Zhang, the Founder of Identified Technologies, I knew nothing about drones, enterprise SaaS, or the commercial construction industry, but I was blown away by the innovative autonomous technology the team had developed, and they appreciated my product and marketing experience, and ravenous hunger to learn more.
What are the most critical characteristics that every CMO should possess?
To be a successful marketer you need the 3 Cs. You have to be curious, collaborative, and creative. Curious, because in a fast-evolving industry, yesterday’s fact is tomorrow’s fiction. You have to accurately predict what will be true in the months and years ahead and position your products and company accordingly.
Collaborative, because anything worth doing is worth doing well and anything worth doing well is worth doing big and scaling up with a team, and also because complex problems require complex solutions. By communicating our centralized vision and goals, our shared perspectives create a better outcome than any one person could create individually.
Creative, because we live in an age of modern miracles and the interplay between new technology, new competition, and new customer trends mean that amazing new breakthroughs are happening daily. If we have the creativity to ask ‘What if?’ every new invention is an opportunity to combine with everything that has come before for a nearly infinite range of world changing possibilities.
What are the most daunting challenges for CMOs today?
Modern marketers are blessed and cursed with a churning ocean of new marketing tactics, strategies, and tools available to us daily. With so many opportunities for distraction, it has never been more essential to focus on timeless principles, and avoid getting sucked into the churning undercurrent of short-term trends.
Instead of analyzing rapidly changing new solutions, what can you learn about the timeless problem to be solved? Instead of writing about the fast forgotten news of the day, what ‘evergreen’ content can you create that will still be relevant in a year, or better yet, in a decade?
How did you arrive at your unique approach to marketing leadership?
Playing drums in bands throughout my teens was the perfect training to become a CMO. What happens if the marketer’s customer insights are off or the drummer goes off beat? They drive the whole group in the wrong direction. What happens if the marketer stops generating interest from new prospects or the drummer stops playing? Either the entire group stops, or each member goes off in their own separate direction without a single driving force keeping them together.
Drummers and marketers aren’t usually in the spotlight doing solos, but if you take them out of the mix, no one else in the group can do their job. I’m amazed every day by my co-workers’ skills, and it gives me immense satisfaction to provide a foundation for their work and bring in new prospects for us to serve.
What advice would you give to the aspiring marketers?
Strategy is defined by hard choices, prioritization, and laser focus. If you are responsible for scaling a company, ask yourself what few things have the potential to rapidly 10x the business? Decide what is likely to have a transformative impact on your business, and go after it single-mindedly.
This approach means that some lower impact work won’t get done. Some blog posts and social media updates won’t get written. That’s okay. There are only so many hours in the day, and the best way you can serve your stakeholders is by focusing all your resources on the top priority opportunities that can help fuel the company’s exponential growth.
Where do you see yourself in coming years, and how do you see yourself catalyzing that progress?
I proudly specialize in being a generalist. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Everything connects to everything else.” I love studying fields that may at first seem unrelated. I know that every new insight that I gain can be combined with my other experiences to create something unique.
I live at the intersection of people, technology, and creativity. Whether I’m leading product management at Fortune 500 companies or marketing at VC backed startups, you will find me doing what I love to do, solving problems by bringing great people and great products together.
About the CMO
Barry Rabkin has over a decade of strategic and operational success ranging from Fortune 500 B2C companies to venture-backed B2B startups. He is passionate about identifying, communicating and solving problems, using new technologies such as big data analytics, cloud computing, machine learning, IoT, and robotics.
CareerMetis, CMU Today, Going Deep, and the Pittsburgh City Paper have featured Barry’s work leading development on over 100 successful physical and digital products that have sold millions of units.
About the Company
Industrial leaders use Identified Technologies’ managed drone mapping solutions to improve project tracking and team productivity. Founded in 2013, based out of Pittsburgh, PA, the company’s integrated hardware, software, and services take care of everything from FAA compliance and flight planning to advanced analytics.
Identified provides clear insights to make fast, accurate project management decisions at the push of a button.
Connect with Barry @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/brabkin/
Learn more about Identified Technologies @ https://www.identifiedtech.com