In an interview with Insights Success, the CMO of Culture Trip, Mike Fox, sheds light on the company’s cutting-edge solutions which are boosting the startup operating in travel, media and entertainment. Here he shares the company’s core competencies and his overall journey as a unique marketing leader. Considering these influential and inspirational aspects, Insights Success recognizes Mike Fox as one of the influential marketing leaders to watch in 2019.
Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Mike and Insights Success:
Give a brief overview of your background as an influential marketing leader.
I’ve built and managed both iconic and new brands from Sony, CNN, and Snapple to Facebook and my current role at Culture Trip. One of the early architects of social marketing through the work done at Facebook, I’ve become passionate about building and scaling startups through a blend of brand, growth, and product marketing. I was on the marketing, sales and monetization team at Facebook and the big question was how we were going to make money on all these users. That remains a key question for all marketers. At Culture Trip, I have worked to build a hard-hitting marketing team for an emerging brand, starting from scratch in 2018. The team now comprises leaders from tech and the travel industry.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
As primarily an online/mobile brand, our marketing is built to blend offline and online experiences for the audience to discover or participate in. Since our company is about getting people to travel and experience cultures around the world, diversifying across both spaces leads to inspiration and ultimately action.
What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey?
Work as a brand planner at ad agencies gave me sharp consumer focus and the ability to find a key insight to drive the work. Work as Director of Marketing at Snapple gave me the experience of managing a business. Work at CNN immersed me in cross-platform marketing and content marketing. Facebook gave me the passion to work for startups, an expertise in scaling businesses, and understanding of how to build/manage high-performing teams. In particular Facebook gave me the experience to manage high growth and to build marketing strategies that can scale and work internationally. Culture Trip is giving me the opportunity to build a new brand in the minds of consumers as we are a travel and media company with relatively low brand recognition but huge potential in English speaking markets and globally.
How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
The principle that matters most is to create a “difference that makes a difference.” If your strategy does not accomplish this, it will not be meaningful or useful to consumers.
What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as a marketing leader?
The challenge was to figure out how to solve problems without being within a traditional training program. For example, being in brand management at P&G is an amazing training ground, it creates incredible skills and experience. I was trying to figure it out as I went and at times could feel like I was “punching in the dark.” Although, that challenge has helped me enormously later on my career as it gave me a very strong muscle for solving ambiguous problems. Often marketing can be the forcing function for the other teams and also the most visible connector that gives a company internal coherence and momentum. That has been almost invaluable in the startup world.
What inspires you to become an influential marketing leader?
I love marketing. I’m a complete nerd about it. So, the inspiration at this point comes from building teams that build brands and help great talent reach their potential.
Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
I see myself bringing Culture Trip to a global audience and disrupting the travel-media-tech space that we sit in the middle of. My goal is to create a new category of business from the work we do here.
What is the future of technology and marketing?
My answer is that right now the most interesting thing is augmented reality. People talk about virtual reality but for Culture Trip we really want people to do things in the real world, to book and to travel, and augmented reality is how eventually you can seamlessly integrate online and offline at the same time. If you can imagine someone walking down the street, and looking over at a building and augmented reality is able to tell them the history of the building. All that is related back to the content and the data that they are interacting with. That is going to become a major enhancement and a major opportunity for marketers – presenting a more seamless and much more interesting way to communicate with consumers and users.
About the Leader
Mike Fox is the CMO at Culture Trip, a travel, media and technology company with offices in New York, London, and Tel Aviv. He has also worked as Senior Level Marketing Executive with over 20 years’ experience in both consumer and business-to-business markets. In Mike’s early career he started working at advertising agencies, before moving client-side to Sony Electronics and Snapple Beverages. Next he joined CNN’s Strategic Integration Group, where he created multi-media content platforms for some of the world’s largest brands. Next he worked in CNN’s Strategic Integration Group before, in 2009, he joined Facebook’s monetization team and helped build the teams that grew Facebook’s annual advertising business to $12 Billion in five years. Since leaving Facebook in 2014, Mike has worked as CMO and CRO on early stage startups before —Mike Fox joining Culture Trip.