The CMO Files: Caroline Japic, CMO, Tidemark

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:  Caroline Japic

Organisation: Tidemark

Job title: CMO

Location: Redwood City, CA, USA


(1)  Where were you born and raised?
I was born in a small Northern California town called Oroville. My parents moved to Texas when I was 2 and I was raised there until we moved back to California when I was in high school. I'm still a Texan at heart!

(2)   What was your first job?
I was the youngest Avon Lady in history - I started at 12 years old. I would also babysit for families in our Texas neighborhood, and I'd always leave Avon catalogs at the homes where I'd babysit. Even then, I recognized that the moms who hired me to watch their kids were the perfect target market for Avon beauty products. Market segmentation for 6th graders!

(3)   What was the first product you really got excited about?
Ok, I'm dating myself here, but I loved my Sony Walkman and took it with me everywhere. It was the first time I could take my own music with me wherever I went. And, I could add a new soundtrack to my life whenever I pleased.

(4)   Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
Definitely my father. He was a savvy and successful businessman and taught me a strong work ethic. He always helped me see that I could accomplish anything I desired as long as I was willing to hard work for it. I still ask for his advice on certain business matters.

(5)   What has been your greatest achievement?
Personally, it has to be my three daughters, who are all smart, athletic and beautiful geeks. Professionally, that would be the book I worked on with Bunchball's founder Rajat Paharia: Loyalty 3.0: How to Revolutionize Customer and Employee Engagement with Big Data and Gamification. We launched the book on June 15 and within a week it was on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post bestseller lists. It was so exciting to be a part of such an amazing project based on a concept that is literally changing the world!

(6)   What has been your biggest mistake?
Not "leaning in" as much as I could have early in my career. I try to counsel the women on my team to strive for leadership roles early and often.

(7)   What is your greatest strength?
I combine common sense and intuition to consistently hire great teams. There's so much more to marketing than knowing how to put a campaign together. I look for people with energy, intelligence and humanity. I look for people I'll enjoy working with. That approach has really served me well, because my job is about so much more than the specific things I can do on my own.   

(8)   What is your biggest weakness?
That's easy: I'm impatient. I want it and I want it now.  I constantly have to work at stepping back and recognizing that some things take time to develop, to percolate.  

(9)    What do you think is the aspect of your role most neglected by peers?
Nurturing our teams. We are always focused on planning and execution, lead generation, metrics, etc. The most important asset to any company is its people but they aren't always a top priority. And what a grave mistake it is to neglect your people.

(10)  Which word or phrase is your mantra and which word or phrase makes you squirm?
My mantra is the "Five P's: Proper planning prevents poor performance." You would be amazed how it applies to all aspects of life.  On the flip side, I hate phrases like, "It's a paradigm shift." Can't we all just agree once and for all to retire that one?

(11)  What makes you stressed?
Disorganization and chaos. Organized chaos is fine.

(12)  What do you do to relax?
Anything to get my blood pumping - I run, play golf, lift weights or go to the gym.

(13)  What is your favourite song?

"Don't Go" by Yaz. It's an ‘80s syntho-pop classic, complete with the unmistakable earmark of a new wave dance song: the backbeat that sounds like a cracking whip. I challenge anyone to listen to it without wanting to jump up and pogo like you're at a Flock of Seagulls concert.  

(14)  What book taught you the most?
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

(15)  Do you have a team or sport that you follow?
My family and I are huge fans of Stanford University Football. We go to every home game, host tailgate parties, wear red, Instagram photos of ourselves from the stands, the whole nine yards. Go Cardinal!

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

I love Asia. The majority of my roles have been global and I've been able to travel the world and work with teams across all geographies. I would love to have the chance to live and work in Singapore or China.

(17)  Which company do you think has the best marketing?
Apple. It's clear, simple and succinct. And, brilliant.

(18)  What do you love most about your job?
I love that the role of the CMO has evolved and now we are expected to be creative and analytical. It's a powerful combination and makes every day an adventure.

(19)  What is your favourite book?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Yes, I am a romantic at heart!

(20)  What keeps you awake at night?
Where to find qualified talent. The job market is hot in Silicon Valley and hiring top talent can be a challenge. When you're a company our size, you want the kind of sharp, talented person Apple or Google would love to hire, but you're looking for someone more entrepreneurial who doesn't want to work at a huge company. That's a very specific hire and in a competitive market, it takes time to find that person.


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