Alicia Tillman is the new global CMO of Capitolis, a financial technology company that drives financial resource optimization for capital markets. Capitolis is backed by world-class venture capital firms, and is used by more than 100 financial institutions, including banks, hedge funds, and asset managers. Most recently, the company closed a $110 million series D funding round valuing the company at $1.6 billion.
Tillman is a three-time Forbes Most Influential CMO in the World recipient and a former top marketing boss at SAP. Culminating in her new appointment at Capitolis, Tillman is known for her world-class marketing leadership strategies and brand transformation at large-scale companies.
In an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post, Tillman presented key lessons and tips that she has gleaned from her storied marketing career.
As a creative, how do you relate to the business world, which is typically seen as a very stuffy, corporate industry?
“I’ve been in b2b (business to business) marketing my whole career. I always thought that I should have been on the consumer side, but somehow I found myself on the b2b side. [I’ve noticed that] when we market as professionals, oftentimes in b2b marketing we believe that we have to transform our message into one that uses business words: we talk about ‘optimizing’ a lot, ‘transforming’ and ‘driving efficiencies,’ and all of these sorts of things, which are typically not words that we would use on the weekend.
“I think we have to realize that everybody is a human. Regardless of if you’re wearing a chief financial officer hat, or you’re the head of treasury or you’re a banking administrator, we’re all humans.
“And what often resonates the most with us as humans is just creativity. That always has an impact on a person. From a marketing perspective, our ability to talk about the value we bring and the work of our products in a way that feels meaningful and relevant.”
Is there a specific tool that marketers see as the key to success?
“Oftentimes, the power of creativity lies in how compelling and relevant what it is that you’re talking about is to the person that you’re communicating with. Storytelling is a huge aspect of creativity, which I think is at the core of any really strong marketing organization.
“It’s not just about how well you understand a business, [you need to be] able to elaborate in a way that feels tremendously relevant and compelling, and is aligned to values and things that people care about.”
What are the major steps in creating or transforming a brand’s identity?
“First, if you want to transform a brand, know what problem you’re solving with your company, products and services. Know your industry, know what your customers’ challenges are. Second, look at that problem against what it is you offer. How does this product solve that challenge? Or how does this product create a positive opportunity for your customers in solving these problems?
“Third: how do you now build a brand, visually or through written word, that is going to bring those two together? And number four, how do you make sure that that is just relentlessly relevant through every channel that you tell your story.
“There’s this notion of consistency, and a fair bit of adaptation of your message, because we have multiple different customers that carry various job titles, and by and large, they’re solving the same problem - but it’s nuanced. And so those nuances have to be reflected in how you tell your brand’s story of value to them. Recognize that, build the messaging appropriately so that it really speaks to them, and then deliver that consistently.”