MarTech Interview with Brooke Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer at inriver

MarTech Interview

In this interview, you’ll have the opportunity to gain valuable insights from Brooke about how to effectively leverage technology to drive marketing success.

Are you struggling to keep up with the latest martech trends and innovations? Do you find it challenging to effectively leverage technology to drive your marketing strategy and achieve your goals?
You’re not alone. The martech landscape is constantly evolving, and it can be overwhelming to navigate without the right guidance and expertise. But fear not, because we have just the person to enlighten you.
Meet Brooke Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer at inRiver, a leading product information management (PIM) company. With decades of experience in marketing and technology, Brooke is a true martech guru and has helped numerous organizations transform their marketing operations for success.
In this interview, Brooke will share her insights and expertise on a wide range of martech topics and also share her greatest learnings so far including wise words for budding entrepreneurs.
Scroll through to read it all!

Brooke, please introduce yourself to our audience. Give us a brief overview of your career trajectory so far.
As inriver expands our presence globally and, in particular, the US market, I’m thrilled to join the company as CMO.
I’ve dedicated my career to driving business growth for data-related software companies. Before inriver, I was most recently Chief Marketing Officer of Datto, a security and IT vendor for MSPs to service SMBs that was successfully acquired for $6.2B. Before that, I held senior leadership positions at top software vendors, including Splunk, Qlik, and SAP.
At Splunk, I helped grow the company’s revenue from $650M to more than $2.5B by maximizing the value of partner ecosystems. I look forward to applying my experience in building for scale across the entire go-to-market, and specifically, in building integrated marketing models that leverage the value of partner ecosystems to fuel inriver’s growth.

Tell us about inriver and its solutions that are transforming businesses.
inriver is a software company that powers the entire product journey with revenue-driving product information management (PIM) across every customer touchpoint. Our configurable PIM solution, with built-in digital shelf analytics and integration capabilities, connects to an organization’s digital ecosystem with flexibility and ease so it grows as the company grows.
For digital commerce brands, product information is like an organization’s front door. Our customers need to manage ever-changing requirements and deliver essential product information, such as SKUs, product descriptions, multimedia, reviews, and more. And there are more demands to have accurate product data than ever before. inriver provides B2B and B2C enterprises with much-needed PIM solutions that support the entire product cycle, from sourcing to decommissioning and every stage in between.
The company recently marked 125% growth in existing customer accounts and notably added 12 new logos in companies with over $1B in revenue across industrial manufacturing, branded manufacturing, and retail. I’m excited to join inriver at such a pivotal time.

How is your extensive experience in the industry driving the growth of inriver? What plans do you have for the company’s future?
In past lives, I’ve helped companies drive growth by unlocking their business opportunities through data. This new opportunity I have with inriver is no different. I’m looking forward to helping raise awareness for the product information management category overall, and a new breed of PIM that inriver delivers to our customers, at the center of the product journey. By bringing customer and partner stories to life that help show what’s possible, we aim to inspire more companies to leverage their product data via PIM.

As a woman leader, how prevalent do you think is the wage gap? Tell us a bit about Chief, a women’s professional network, and how is it working toward closing the gap.
Pay equity is something I’m passionate about and I believe all leaders (regardless of gender) have a responsibility to create equitable career frameworks, mapped to compensation levels, within our organizations to ensure consistent pay for like roles.
Chief is a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to its mission to help women succeed in the workplace, which is so important for today’s business culture. It’s so exciting and inspiring to see what’s been accomplished within the network since I joined and I’m proud to be an example of its growing impact.

How would you describe your leadership style?
I strive to be an authentic leader. To me, that means bringing a genuine and empathic style to how I show up each day for my team and with my peers. I aim to be open and direct in my communication, sharing as much data and context as I can to help my team operate with as much fuel as possible.
I believe in frequent, real-time feedback to allow us all to learn, iterate, and improve our work collectively. Marketing is certainly a team sport, so collaboration and shared accountability is also a component of how I strive to create an empowered culture for the team.
As a marketer, I also encourage a growth mindset that makes room to try new approaches, stretch, test, iterate, ideate, try, fail fast, adjust, and ultimately succeed! And, of course, have some fun while we do it. My leadership values are very aligned with inriver’s fantastic culture, which makes for a great fit.

Tell us about the expansion that’s happening at inriver. Can you give us a sneak peek of the new projects that are underway at inriver?
In addition to myself, inriver has appointed Brad Habansky as Chief Sales Officer. Together, fueled by our established set of North American customers, we’re driving the company’s expansion in this area under Niels Stenfeldt’s leadership. There is such a huge opportunity in this space, and we look forward to rolling out some key new developments soon.
What I can mention now – we have exciting new product packaging to meet the needs of inriver’s growing customer base; continued delivery of exciting roadmap features, including advanced workflows and user management, enhanced syndication and digital shelf capabilities, and increased enterprise performance and scaling.
We’ll have lots more to share at our PIMpoint user conference on April 27th in Chicago.

What expert advice would you give budding aspirants and entrepreneurs looking to venture into the industry?
There’s a ton of opportunity in this space and the demand for product information is evolving. It’s a great opportunity for those that are passionate about marketing, delivering consumers highly engaging product experiences and eCommerce.

Being a seasoned leader, what trends do you see dominating the Martech space in the future?
Data, data, and more data! Harnessing customer data across B2B software generally and how we can better address it across the Martech space is really the continued name of the game. The demand for even more personalized product experiences is exactly what inriver PIM can help provide.
We also see the increasing demand for businesses to manage product content at scale, more efficiently, and with more prominent AI-based Martech solutions.

How do you plan to align your offerings with the changing customer needs and preferences?
The need for product data is growing and it has more uses, expectations, and audiences than ever before. We see this in our customer base across brands like
Michelin, Victorinox, Ethan Allen, and Vestas. Inriver powers the entire product journey for so many brands like these, and we are focused on helping more businesses leverage PIM. We are currently aligning our offerings to support the needs of our growing customers that have sophisticated global businesses, to leverage capabilities across our PIM, syndication, and Digital Shelf Analytics solutions. And, we’re expanding our offering to provide packages sized to support new customers to get started with an initial inriver PIM solution and grow with the scope and size of their business.

Who has been your greatest inspiration in the professional space? What qualities have you adopted from them?
I take inspiration from so many leaders that I’ve had the privilege of working with – and for – over my career. Specifically, those that lead authentically, have the courage to make tough business decisions to reinvent a category or a company and lead teams through disruptive change and transformation.
I specifically had the opportunity to be a part of leading through disruptive change during my time at Splunk under the leadership of Doug Merritt, (then) CEO. In addition to learning a ton, I had some banner career experiences – notably being part of the company going from 2,000 to >10,000 employees and the transition from on-premises licensing to recurring models for SaaS and Cloud solutions.

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Brooke Cunningham, Chief Marketing Officer at inriver

Brooke has dedicated nearly 25 years of her career to driving business growth for data-related B2B software companies. Before inriver, she was CMO of Datto, a security and IT vendor for MSPs to service SMBs that was successfully acquired for $6.2 Billion. She also held global leadership positions across marketing, operations, and partner functions at some of the top software companies, including Splunk, Qlik Technologies, CA Technologies, and SAP. Brooke is also a member of Chief, an organization designed for women executive leaders to strengthen their leadership journey and affect change from the top down. LinkedIn.
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