The marketing career path: CMO spotlight

Marketing directors working on client marketing plans
Marketing directors working on client marketing plans

How do you land a role as a leader in marketing? We spoke with Prashant Mohan, the CMO of Sharesight and Laura Clemesha, the director of A La Mode Marketing, to find out.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at Sharesight - Prashant Mohan
CMO of Sharesight

What are the top three marketing skills that helped you reach your career goals?

  1. Unlike a lot of marketers, I didn’t come from a creative background, but my data skills helped me to break into marketing.
  2. At Google, I helped the marketing team with selling strategies, where I also developed skills in paid search.
  3. I have the ability to give things a go. Since I didn't come from a traditional marketing or agency background, I was more willing to try different things. In my first marketing role, I onboarded a marketing automation system, building scrappy landing pages by myself and eventually improving the web design.

What are your biggest achievements in your position as CMO?

Building an incredible team has been my biggest achievement. Our talented team of marketers have a gamut of skills, which has resulted in running a successful marketing organisation. We constantly challenge and encourage each other to give our best. 

The other achievement is being fully aligned to our business goals. Being a self-directed Software as a Service (SaaS) product, marketing is at the top of the funnel and helps with converting and engaging our users, along with customer success and product functions. So, commercial alignment is of supreme importance.

At what stage in your career did you feel ready to step up into a CMO position?

You are not ready until somebody recognises that you are capable of delivering, and they’re willing to take a chance on you. I have been fortunate to work for leaders who have believed in me at different stages of my career. Having a postgraduate degree also helped in my case. I was a software engineer prior to completing my master’s, so my exposure to anything commercial was limited.

What advice would you give to someone looking to progress in their marketing career?

One of the most important roles marketing plays is to create change. My advice is to create a movement that will benefit both your organisation internally, and the wider world externally.

I'd also say, utilise the university environment as an opportunity to practise pitching ideas, driving change, and engaging in active debates with your colleagues.

Managing Director (MD) at A La Mode Marketing - Laura Clemesha

Can you tell us a bit about your career journey to date?

I left school not knowing what I wanted to pursue as a career. I completed a Diploma in Business Administration and landed an administration role within Chanel. I loved the company, but administration wasn’t my passion. However, it did provide me with exposure to various departments within the company, and it was the Communications department that I was drawn to.

I went on to study a Bachelor of Communication online, relocated to London and worked as a marketing assistant for a luxury menswear brand. This provided me with a diverse range of experience, from coordinating events and dealing with media enquiries to budget management and reporting. 

After two years in London, I returned to Sydney and landed a marketing manager role with an international marketing agency. The role had more of a digital focus, where I gained skills in social media and website management, and running pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaigns.

I then moved into a brand management role for Schwarzkopf. While I enjoyed the diversity of work that came with overseeing a portfolio of brands, I realised that digital was where my true passion lies. So I decided to pursue a Master of Digital Marketing.

My experience working both for an agency and in-house (as a client) highlighted the limitations of what the existing agency model provided. Agencies tend to only specialise in specific areas at a significant cost. I noticed a niche for comprehensive marketing management services with packages that are completely customisable, flexible and affordable to business of all sizes, so I started A La Mode Marketing.

What do you think are the top two digital marketing-related skills that helped you reach your career goals?

  1. Website management: Most digital marketing strategies incorporate a website, so learning how to build a website, and understanding user experience and how to optimise pages for search engines, has been invaluable.  
  2. Google Analytics: I have always relied on Google Analytics to provide me with actionable insights to inform my marketing strategies. It provides real time data so I can make quick decisions and continuously optimise campaigns to achieve the most effective results. The data can also be used to report on campaign effectiveness, which helps demonstrate our value to clients, ultimately retaining their business.

At what stage in your career did you feel ready to step up into an MD position?

I felt ready when I started my business. At this point, I had gained a diverse skillset through working in various marketing roles across different industries. The practical skills I learned from industry experts was incredibly reassuring because I knew I was following industry best practices. 

My master’s degree provided me with the knowledge to better serve clients. This is particularly important in the area of digital marketing, where many people with no experience or qualifications claim to be experts. A master's degree gives you validation that you are a specialist in your field.

What advice would you give to someone looking to progress in their marketing career?

Digital marketing skills are in constant demand, and as organisations continue to prioritise digital strategies, this is only expected to increase. It’s a field that’s constantly evolving, so my advice is to stay informed and never stop learning.

Ready to advance your digital marketing career? Learn about the online Master of Digital Marketing and get in touch with our Enrolment Advisors on 1300 477 423 to discuss your study options.