When Marisa Ricciardi first joined the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as CMO five years ago, she saw somewhat of a flaw in how the marketing division was organized: Each country had its own marketing team. So Ricciardi centralized marketing in an effort to have the entire organization support a holistic strategy.
In this exclusive interview with CMO.com senior and strategic editor Giselle Abramovich, Ricciardi talks about how this organizational change has made NYSE marketers more business-focused and fostered innovation. She also discusses how marketing, IT, and sales collaborate on data analysis, the organization's new digital content site, and more.
CMO.com: You’ve been with NYSE for a little more than five years. What has changed the most since you started?
Ricciardi: We now have one centralized marketing team with people that focus on different divisions. We did this by bringing in more diverse talent, going for people with agency backgrounds, designers, journalists, etc., and we basically restructured how we operate. Also, we have one agency of record now, which is Digitas. We’ve become more business-focused and more efficient. Cross-functional collaboration means twice as many ideas.
As a result, marketing at the exchange has changed. . .We have business-minded people with marketing skills. We’ve got a large digital and social presence, which isn’t something we could say even three years ago.
CMO.com: How do you foster a more collaborative environment?
Ricciardi: We support several different business units at the exchange, and our marketers have a seat and voice with the business unit they are focused on. That has helped a lot with collaboration. This way there’s shared incentive to win a piece of business. So if someone has helped win an IPO or acquire a new client from our competitor, they are serving as an extension of the salesforce as well as the marketing partner
CMO.com: How do you know that it’s working?
Ricciardi: Well, taking a lens to our listings business, we’ve increased our tech IPO market share significantly–up from single digits–in the time that I’ve been here. At mid-year 2013, we had 67 percent of the tech IPOs. That’s a reflection of our entire organization, including marketing.
CMO.com: What keeps you up at night?
Ricciardi: Talent retention and acquisition. Getting and keeping the right talent is really difficult, especially with the amazing vibe of entrepreneurship and all the small businesses in the New York area.
CMO.com: What do you love most about marketing at NYSE?
Ricciardi: That we’ve created a department that allows our team to think outside of the box, be agile, and be autonomous–all within a nearly 225-year-old Fortune 500 company.
At NYSE, I am also very proud of the fact that we have a lot of women in senior roles. That’s refreshing to see. Our head of strategy, head of sales, head of operations in Europe, head of compliance and risk–this list goes on–they are all women.
CMO.com: How important is cross-functional collaboration (i.e., the CMO and CIO) in today’s world of data-driven marketing?
Ricciardi: Very important. What marketing and tech have in common is the shared interest in understanding and using data. They say data is like oil: It’s only good when refined. Having data and having data that you know how to use is different. We could not do that without our technology colleagues.
CMO.com: How do you make your data digestible?
Ricciardi: We actually have a Customer Focus Group comprised of marketing, IT, and sales to look over the data collectively, and they analyze to determine the best messages, methods, etc. The fact that it happens collaboratively means that marketing, sales, and IT now speak in the same language in terms of client opportunities. The key was to agree and deploy a single CRM system.
CMO.com: What CMO do you want to get into a room so you could pick his/her brain?
Ricciardi: Adobe’s Ann Lewnes and GE’s Beth Comstock. I have a “business crush” on Beth Comstock. With both Adobe and GE, the amount of influence and change they have undergone is phenomenal. I have a different perception of Adobe today than I did years ago. Also, what GE has done from a content perspective is inspirational. That’s how marketers can better tell their stories, when it doesn’t feel like marketing.
CMO.com: Can you talk about The Big Stage?
Ricciardi: Yes, it’s our new digital content site created through our partnership with Digitas and Time Warner to engage customers and prospects based on NYSE being “the biggest stage in business.” We are very excited about this as we are able to offer a unique, behind-the-scenes lens into the larger NYSE community, including companies that have IPOs, innovative companies that are still private, and long-time issuers’ milestones, as well as insights from the people at these companies. It’s something we can have a lot of fun with. For example, we’ve also teamed with Guy Kawasaki for content around insights for CEOs.
CMO.com: What type of content has been working best for you?
Ricciardi: Video is working best, by far, in terms of engagement. We have video interviews with lessons and insights from CEOs from companies like BrightRoll, NetSuite, and Thrillist Media Group. The click-throughs and engagement levels are double industry standards. With video, the foundation needs to be interesting–as in, it needs to be a unique concept. The stories we share are not necessarily about NYSE. It’s about our community, the world’s biggest brands. The content is very diversified: We can have Pepsi on a Monday, Yelp on Tuesday, then Starwood and American Express’ partnership on a Wednesday, and learnings from a CFO summit on a Thursday.
CMO.com: How much of the content is being viewed on mobile devices?
Ricciardi: Understanding that our audiences are consuming content across multiple channels, the site was built leveraging responsive design. Taking a lens to our Guy Kawasaki video series, which also ran alongside WSJ.com’s Startup of the Year docu-series, we saw that desktop views were dominant in the summer months (June to August), with about 72 percent of views coming from either a desktop or laptop browser. Mobile outperformed tablet, with around 18 percent of views coming from smartphone devices. Not surprisingly, we [saw] a pickup in August in mobile views because of the summertime “vacation effect.”
CMO.com: What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from the Big Stage?
Ricciardi: Content isn’t new for us--we’ve been creating and publishing content for over a decade. We’ve had the NYSE Magazine in print, and the online hub was a natural progression. But what we are finding is that people aren’t going to The Big Stage in place of the magazine. They’re doing both. That’s why surrounding your audience will always prove more effective.
CMO.com: Name one thing you know now that wish you knew years ago?
Ricciardi: That it’s good to hire people that are stronger than you and smarter than you. I have learned that. You’ve got to hire people that are experts in their field because they can help bring the rest of a team up to speed.
CMO.com: What’s your advice to marketers?
Ricciardi: Be a sponge. Learn from everyone. Learn about what startups are doing. There’s a lot of transformation happening. You’ve got to keep up and be aware.