Interview with Angelo Ponzi, Fractional CMO at The Ponzi Group
Angelo has 25+ years of client-side, agency and consulting experience in diverse industries – semiconductors to financial to ice cream. He focuses on three strategic pillars for success: Insights, Brand, and Plan to develop effective and efficient programs for building enduring brands and sustainable and profitable business growth. Examples: helped reverse sagging sales for a leading wine industry brand, creating demand that increased sales 200% in first 3 months and 33.3%, with 88.1% new to the brand within two years. Initiated and managed local store marketing/brand ambassador program for a $500 million ice cream chain that helped to participate stores gain a 27% increase AUV. As Chief Strategy Officer, he helped manage overall sales, marketing, and HR operations for a rapidly growing financial services organization that grew to over $100 million in less than two years.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.
My journey began on the advertising agency side of the business, working for a small agency as an account executive. With that experience, I was able to leverage it into an account executive position at one of the largest global agencies at the time, Bozell. However, my curiosity regarding what it was like on the client side, led me to take a position with one of my clients as their advertising manager. From there I worked my way up to international product manager, which afforded me the opportunity to travel the world.
This journey of agency to client side to agency and back to client-side again has been my pattern most of my career. My longest time at an agency was my own, which I built over a 13-year period. When my agency was purchased by a much larger firm, I took on an EVP position in the newly formed agency. Eight years later, I was back the client side once again.
Four years ago, I leveraged my experience, including that of a CMO, VP Marketing, CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) and my business experience to begin my consulting firm as a Fractional CMO. Since then, I have worked with a variety of clients on developing long-term marketing and sales strategies to help them grow their business.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked with? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
I’m a big believer in integrated marketing and perhaps even more importantly, integrated thinking. I don’t believe there’s one solution. If you look at your tactical options, it’s important to understand how your target audiences consume media and how they use particular vehicles for gathering specific types of information. After all, the message you can deliver in social media is very different from the message you deliver in a TV spot, which is different from radio, different from print, etc. You get the idea!
How do you make sure all these elements or channels are working together?
There’s not one single communication that can dominate a program. That’s my own personal view.
So think about your target audience. Not only about how they consume media, but also their experience with your brand or your competitors’ brand.
It’s important to understand that ultimately when you develop your strategy, you need a clear idea on what you want to achieve. Is it about building awareness? About changing attitudes? Influencing behaviors? Or motivating your customers to do something? That is what drives your messaging and ultimately, your channels of communication.
The specific tactics are dependent on the audience. I have used traditional media…radio, TV, direct mail, event/trade shows, etc., to digital…web, social posts, and advertising, video, blogs, retargeting, PPC, etc. In my opinion, you have to understand the audience in order to select the right communication channels.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
I am a Microsoft user, so the Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Outlook are essential to my work. I am also a market research professional, so I use SurveyGizmo to conduct my surveys and SPSS for analysis.
I use Wix for most of my website work and their integrated tools…analytics, email, video, blogging; Get Response for an integrated program including marketing automation, but now do most of the same on Wix. Trying a new integrated program called Bound Hound, which just launched this week and shows promise as a sophisticated marketing tool that also integrates potential leads and marketing automation tools, as well as social posting like HootSuite.
Loom for adding video instructions or education; Doodly for whiteboarding; Cyberlink’s PowerDirector for video editing; Zoom for video conferencing and audio conferencing; Lunem5 for making videos using content from my blog posts; LinkedIN.
Would you like to share a few words about any marketing software that you absolutely love and always recommend it to others?
I always recommend WIXs. It is easy to use, but also offers sophisticated tools if you prefer to do your own programming. Plus it is self-contained or with add-on 3rd party apps, I can pretty much do everything from one program when it comes to my marketing or campaigns for my clients.
Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.
Find what you are passionate about, good at and enjoy doing. Then become great at it. Strive every day to learn something about your craft to keep you relevant and valuable to your clients.
Angelo is also the host of a business radio show and podcast, Business Growth Café, which can be found on all major podcasting platforms or at www.businessgrowthcafe.com.
The focus of the show is:
While we tend to think of sales and marketing as the drivers of growth, the reality is, there are multiple factors that can impact the growth of a business. Internal factors such as operations, finances, HR, along with external pressures from competition, the economy, technology, politics, and the environment can all take their toll on growth strategies.
Join us every week at the Business Growth Café, where we select from a menu of topics that can impact business growth. We’ll explore influences, barriers, challenges, and opportunities with experts from a wide variety of disciplines that can, directly and indirectly, impact your growth strategies and offer insights and actionable steps you can incorporate into your business.