CMO Files: Scott Roth, Return Path

Get inside the mind of the world's top marketing professionals. In 20 questions we find out what they love most about their job, what their biggest achievements are... and what keeps them awake at night. Read 'The CMO Files'...

  Name:  Scott Roth

  Organisation: Return Path



  Job title: CMO

  Location: Portland, Oregon (USA) – but travel      extensively to our office locations


(1)  Where were you born and raised?

 In the United States, just outside St. Louis, Missouri. 

(2) What was your first job?  

When I was 17 years old I was the “microphone man” at a retailer called the Shoe Carnival. They played really annoying oldies music in the store and in-between each song I had to bark out the sales for that day/hour. It was actually not just my first job but my first marketing job, because I would have to know who was in the store and tailor my offers to that particular audience. I also got to put people in a money booth to grab all the dollar bills they could in 15 seconds, and that was just plain fun.

(3) What was the first product you got really excited about?

The buffalo chicken wing. From the minute I sank my teeth into a juicy, spicy wing, I knew it had the potential to completely revolutionise the appetiser category in the United States.

(4) Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

Without a doubt my wife. She’s a very intentional person who puts meaning behind what/who she invests her time in. In our early days as a couple, she really encouraged me to build the vision of what Scott Roth wanted to accomplish in the upcoming years and then put a plan behind how I intended to get there. That exercise is something that I am constantly reviewing and working on in my life/career.    

(5) What has been your greatest achievement?

Having two kids and staying married. From a career perspective it has to be our growth at ExactTarget – over my 6 years there we took the company from 300 employees to 2,000, from $45M in revenue to $400M, had a successful IPO on the NYSE and were acquired by – our mentor company.

(6) What has been your biggest mistake?

Not joining ExactTarget earlier.

(7) What is your greatest strength?

Helping my team focus on what’s important and pushing them to achieve goals that they didn’t think were possible.

(8) What is your biggest weakness?

Trusting people too much, and thinking I can change people.

(9) What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?

Relationship with the sales department. I don’t know if it’s most neglected by peers, but it’s definitely the hardest one to get right. Marketing sits at the intersection of customers, product, and sales and inherently because of business pressures, the need for growth, etc., its relationship with sales can be the most challenging – or the most profitable if it’s managed appropriately. 

(10) Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?

Mantra – “you are what you do”

Makes me squirm – “that will never work here”

(11) What makes you stressed?

When individuals or teams don’t communicate well together inside an organisation – we’re all on the same team, but many times it doesn’t feel that way.

(12) What do you do to relax?

 Run or cook – just not at the same time. 

(13) What is your favourite song?

I’m not a big fan of music.

(14) Which book taught you most?  

Getting Things Done by David Allen

(15) Do you have a team or sport that you follow?

I’m a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. I generally like all sports, but primarily basketball, baseball, and American football.

(16) Which country would you like to work in? 

My wife and I have often talked about living/working in Australia for a year or two.

(17) Which company do you think has the best marketing?

This is pretty impossible and dangerous for a CMO to say. Hopefully in the near future Return Path will have the best B2B marketing on the planet.

(18) What do you love most about your job?

Strategy, company direction, meeting with our customers, developing my team. 

(19) What is your favourite book?

Not sure that I have a single favourite, but I’ve generally found things that Malcolm Gladwell writes to be pretty fascinating.

(20) What keeps you awake at night?  

My 16 week old daughter, but she’s starting to ease up on us a bit. 


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