The CMO Files: Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, Corporate Visions, Inc.

Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer

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:  Tim Riesterer

  Organisation:  Corporate Visions, Inc.

  Job title: Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer

  Location: Incline Village, Nevada, USA



(1)       Where were you born and raised? 


In a small town called St. Nazianz in Wisconsin (population around 630).


(2)       What was your first job? 

In 5th grade, I started helping my grandfather whitewash barns, which included covering cattle stanchions and drinking cups with burlap bags, scraping manure off walls and taping windows.




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

As a young consumer, I couldn't get enough of my Evel Knievel stunt cycle and all that went with it. As a young marketer/communicator, I was thrilled to be a part of the early days of MRI technology (late 80s) and the breakthroughs it presented for modern medicine and patient care.



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


My high school English teacher, who convinced me that my curiosity and writing skills would make me a good journalist, and my high school choir director who convinced me that taking the lead in musicals would be a career builder.



(5)       What has been your greatest achievement?

Outside of helping my wife raise four daughters and keeping my marriage strong through the teenage years, it has been helping lead a company from $6M to closing in on nearly $60M in five years while creating an industry category and thought leadership around the "customer conversation," including co-authoring two books on the topic.




(6)       What has been your biggest mistake?

Helping a company spend millions of dollars in venture capital on a software start-up where the product couldn't deliver on the hype and positioning I helped create. Even though it was not a success, it was one of the best learning experiences of my career.


(7)       What is your greatest strength?

Clarity - taking complex, abstract thoughts and inputs from a variety of sources and making meaning out of them… and then turning around and inspiring the change around that insight.




(8)       What is your biggest weakness?

Being someone who tries to get everyone on the bus, but doesn't get why people might not want to be on the bus, and instead of seeking to understand their reasons, just leaves folks in the bus-dust.



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


Business marketers who don't realize that every good product and plan comes down to a salesperson with his/her lips moving - and who, as a result, get caught up in all the fancy-pants marketing stuff, but neglect the trench-work needed to succeed in the field.



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

Mantra - "The Best Story Wins," because a great story, told great, will break through perceived parity to create differentiation where very little exists.

Squirm - "Selling is an Art," because even though it takes great storytelling to win, stories are well-choreographed based on the brain science, social psychology and behavioural economics behind human decision making and change management. In other words, sales messaging is a science, which is then wrapped in the art of purposeful storytelling.




(11)    What makes you stressed?

People who play devil's advocate and actually think they are a productive contributor to a team effort to move things forward. They are actually keepers of the status quo… which may actually be the devil… if I think about it…



(12)    What do you do to relax?


Drive a boat to the middle of a lake with my wife, drop anchor, eat a pizza and listen to the Zac Brown Band.



(13)    What is your favourite song?

Amazing Grace




(14)    Which book taught you most?

The Bible. I learned that I'm never as good as I think I am; I can't do anything alone; and that I must have a perspective and purpose that transcends the trials of the day!


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

I grew up in Wisconsin - Go Green Bay Packers!




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

I love working in the USA. The opportunity for a small, farm-town boy to grow up and do anything and be anything is still somewhat distinctly American. I've loved the time I've done business in various countries… and could spend considerable time living in Barcelona if I had to pick (I won't say Spain because the Catalans would take offense.)



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


Typically you can't see it, because it doesn't happen at the 30,000-foot level… it happens at the three-foot level where a salesperson's lips move in front of a customer and all of your best laid plans and positioning either work or they don't.



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

Creating an industry category called Customer Conversations and building the company, solutions and thought leadership to make it real, make it count, and make it profitable.




(19)    What is your favourite book?

In addition to the Bible, I still feel the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" is one of the wisest leadership/personal development books ever written.


(20)    What keeps you awake at night?


Hoping and praying that each of my daughters won't choose a loser for a husband.


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