Masters of Marketing: Brooke Budke
VP of Marketing, Title Boxing Club
187 total units, 185 franchised
Brooke Budke, who joined Title Boxing in 2013, is an extremely passionate brand marketing executive who thrives on driving brand strategy, achieving company goals, leading teams, and leveraging professional resources. She leads national and local brand strategies with an emphasis on PR, communications, local store marketing, grand openings, digital, and social media. An avid fitness enthusiast, cancer survivor, marketing executive, and health-and-wellness spokesperson, she makes regular appearances on Fox News, consults with business owners across the country, and speaks at events and conferences.
Describe your role as CMO/marketing leader.
I believe to be great as a brand leader, you must be a product of the product. To truly understand the "why" behind the consumers you serve, you must first walk in their shoes. As the head of marketing and branding, it's both my honor and duty to understand the fitness industry as a consumer, and the franchise industry as a business executive. My role changes daily, yet it's paramount to cast the brand strategy for all areas of our business. Within the pillars of our brand, we dive deeper into the emerging categories that align with our customers and help our franchisees increase their unit value. Our team is responsible for the brand essence, the digital footprint, social media, photography, video storytelling, influencer marketing, ambassador programs, pop-up experience events, charity involvement, local store marketing, and email marketing. My passion is to hire great individuals, discover what keeps them motivated, and instill gratitude in the culture.
What's most challenging about being a CMO/marketing leader today?
Social media is easily one of the most challenging and emerging trends in marketing to get right. Great brands today are capitalizing on consumer and brand awareness through Instagram specifically. However, when you share that strategy at the unit level, it becomes more difficult to train hundreds of business owners in the art of authenticity, social listening, and engagement to drive customer acquisition and member retention. As such, we are hosting an 8-week live webinar series to break down the do's and don'ts of Instagram for our brand.
What are the 3 most important keys to being an effective CMO/marketing leader today?
1) Gratitude. Our team meets every Monday, and we start by going around the table and sharing the one highlight from last week that we are grateful for in business. Collectively as the team shares, we all are filled with the reasons we love our jobs at the start of every week. Then my request is for each person to write a personal thank-you note to the person they are grateful for. This results in cross-department collaboration, gratitude, and culture. 2) Influence. The art of influence is so key in business. If we have great ideas, yet cannot communicate them clearly and/or influence other departments on the importance of projects and collaboration, you don't get very far in your work. No matter what situation you are looking to improve, mastering influence will help you get more out of your business and your life. 3) Fire. You don't have to compromise between passion and profession. To be great, you must have an intrinsic passion that lives within you as a human being, then translate that passion into your profession. When you get out of bed in the morning looking forward to work, your team knows it, your boss certainly knows it, and your results show it.
How do you measure your marketing results and effectiveness?
In marketing, many things are not quantifiable when building brand equity. One of my favorite quotes about marketing and branding is, "A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it's what the consumer tells each other it is." The easiest place to measure results, though, is through digital marketing and social media. The tracking and analytics allow you to identify quickly if your strategies are working.
How do you budget for and balance your traditional vs. digital/mobile spend?
I would suggest that "traditional" marketing tactics have changed. A decade ago, standard traditional marketing was tactics such as direct mail, out-of-home, print, or telephone. Today, traditional marketing is digital marketing. Your business card is your website and your social media account is a window into your brand. Digital ads are only as effective as your overall strategy. We like to layer our approach through the website, digital ads, landing pages, social media content, social media boosted posts, now Instagram stories, and also include brand ambassadors and new age PR such as social media influencers.
How closely do you work with your CEO, CIO, and other departments?
Every day we work alongside the leadership team of our company. Our department heads are all craftsmen at their trade, and it helps tremendously that we hire for talent and culture. The leaders of our brand are genuine people with an amazing work ethic, so it's easy to align and conquer together.
Why do you think so many CMOs are women?
Oh, I didn't know that many CMOs are women, nor would I have guessed that. Marketing Week released an article some years back saying that men are twice as likely to become CMOs as women are. I would bet that it's because women are naturally torn between wanting a career and raising a family at the time in their career path when they would be at that level. However, there are ways to do both! I can't speak for women CMOs as a whole, yet for me it's natural to be chief of a brand where our consumer is 75 percent female. It's easier to get inside her head when forming our brand strategy.
What is your favorite accomplishment as a marketing leader?
Retaining, coaching, and cultivating my team is easily the most recognizable achievement of my career. I have had the privilege of coaching some amazing individuals for the past 10 years. Aligning with talented, compassionate people is always the best part of my day.
How do you see the role of the CMO/marketing leader changing in the next 5 to 10 years?
The marketing landscape changes by the minute because of technology advancements and the brilliant entrepreneurs who create new categories for consumers. There is no way to predict the next 5 to 10 years of marketing evolution. What I know for sure is that the consumer is in control. Making your product accessible and unique will continue to be top of mind. I would predict older, established brands will need to invest in updating their systems and thinking to compete with the new, high-tech brands that are at the front of the pack.
What advice would you offer aspiring CMOs/marketing leaders?
Read books, listen to podcasts, network with people smarter than you, and always take notes. Be a student of the game and become obsessed with constant and never-ending improvement. As the world changes so quickly around us, you can create a proactive strategy or a defensive reactive environment. To shift into the offensive strategy, you must carve out time for thinking and not just execution. Create white space in your mind for your business. When you take a step back, the bigger picture is so much clearer. My number-one tip would be to invest in yourself and not expect the company to do it for you. Sign up for personal development seminars, get audiobooks to listen to on your commute, and use the time you have been given to your advantage!
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