In an interview with Insights Success, the Chief Marketing Officer of Zscaler, Inc. Micheline Nijmeh sheds light on her journey as an influential marketing aspirant. She has also broadly discussed her background as a marketer, overall experiences and achievements along with the company’s core competencies and its future. Considering these influential and inspirational aspects, Insights Success recognizes Micheline Nijmeh as one of the influential marketing leaders to watch in 2019.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Micheline and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background as an influential marketing leader.
I have been in the tech industry for more than 20 years. I have been lucky to have worked in start-ups and large enterprises, taken companies public (and private), as well as been part of large growing organizations such as Salesforce.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
As a marketer, it’s important to understand your buyer and their buying journey. Diversification of your offering is an important strategy, especially if you have penetrated the market. Your audience is always looking for ways to optimize their organization and processes while saving costs. Therefore, adjacent markets that compliment your existing solutions not only help with providing your customers with new offerings but, also reach new potential customers.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey?
I have been fortunate to work for incredible managers. They have always provided me with opportunities to learn and grow. Every opportunity or role I have taken, even ones that I may not have thoroughly enjoyed, has helped me learn and grow to where I am today — specifically, in demand generation. I recall being asked to be part of a demand gen team early in my career. I had not had the experience nor the interest, at the time. However, if it were not for that opportunity, I would not be running a marketing organization at a public company today.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
First, you have to know your competition inside and out. Understand their marketing and selling tactics just as much as their technology, and then put together a product and marketing SWOT analysis. Make sure your value proposition is differentiated and ensure your marketing (messaging, creative, tactics) stands out above them. Also, be sure your sales team is enabled and can articulate your message concisely, as well as be able to handle any “landmines” from the competitors. Sales and Marketing need to have a unified strategy and approach.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as a marketing leader?
It’s been amazing to see the evolution of Marketing from being known as an event and advertising organization to a revenue/pipeline generating, valued organization. The ability to show the real benefit of Marketing amongst my executive peers was difficult when I didn’t have the data to support it. Therefore, influencing company strategy was not always easy. With the onset of new marketing tools, this now has changed, and it’s inspiring to see Marketing “at the table,” helping shape strategy.
What inspires you to become an influential marketing leader?
The people! I love creating and building strategies and being able to do that alongside my team inspires me to come into work every day. I enjoy seeing how team members can grow within their career. As a leader of a global organization, I always focus on cross-regional collaboration. As noted by Ken Blanchard, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” Therefore, being able to see an organization work together to build great marketing programs and grow together is inspiring.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
I see myself continuing to lead global organizations whether it’s in marketing or within a product business unit.
What is your advice for budding and emerging marketing leaders?
Besides executing on your strategies, I always advise emerging leaders to identify what their personal brand is and then live up to it and make it known within your company. People will remember what you are good at and may offer you additional opportunities that fit your strength. My second advice is sometimes lateral career moves can be a great stepping stone to large upward moves. The more you learn and experience, the more value you can provide at your next opportunity.
About the Leader
Micheline Nijmeh is the Chief Marketing Officer at Zscaler, Inc. and mainly known for her innovative and proven marketing approach who possesses a balance of strategic thinking, data-driven decision making with proven results. She has also recognized for transforming marketing programs that creates demand, delivers customer value, and increases company revenues.
Micheline have extensive experience in marketing to the enterprise with solid accomplishments in all aspects of global marketing, all delivered with creativity and focused on execution and results. She has also been recognized for her unique blend of driving change and of building brand and demand generation strategies, creating successful lead generation and adoption programs, and the ability to communicate effectively, complemented by a “go get ’em” attitude.
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