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Marketing IS in the Middle: Jeff Schroeder

The next marketer is Jeff Schroeder, a person I have worked for and who has definitely helped me understand the importance of brand, product and an integrated approach to attacking the market.  Jeff currently is the President of CulinaryPrep and working in the consumer space now, but has extensive B2B, Financial Services and software market knowledge as well.  At the end of the day, product needs to move and that’s one thing the Jeff taught me.  I’m definitely appreciative of his interview below as this is his busy season shipping product.

What marketing roles have you had and in what markets?

My most recent marketing roles have been as the head of the marketing department.  This has included responsibility for product, pricing, brand and marketing communications.  I have been CMO or head of marketing in several business sectors, including Information Services, Financial Services and Consumer Products.

When you look at your career in marketing, what discipline/component have you found most interesting/challenging?

My two greatest challenges are moving from consumer products to financial services and then launching a new consumer product; CulinaryPrep.  The first, moving into financial services required me to reapply all the discipline and process from consumer products to a new business sector.  The challenge was doing this while learning a new sector, customers and company.  The second, launching the CulinaryPrep has been the ultimate test.  We had to build the brand, the positioning and go-to-market plan while we were starting up and building a new company.

What do you feel the most important component of a successful marketing gig?  (Product, Brand, Positioning)

I believe the single most important component is a quality product.  With a quality product you can build your brand and develop the positioning and messaging that the consumer will respond to.  A quality product will also give you the repeat and referrals you need to be sustainable.

If you could design the perfect corporate environment for a marketer to be successful what would that be?

It would allow the marketer to make the critical decisions that are necessary to manage a P&L and build a great brand.  This means everything from product, brand and advertising to key business partners.

How far is this from reality?

Today, for most companies still pretty far away.  Marketing is one of those functions that gets a lot of help from other departments and executives.  Everyone believes they are a great marketer and can do the job of CMO.