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Gary Briggs - Board Member at Petco and Etsy

Gary is an experienced senior executive with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry


Gary Briggs is a Board Member at Petco and Etsy and former CMO at Facebook. Prior to these roles, Gary worked for companies such as LifeLock, Motorola, Google, eBay, and PayPal. 

Show notes

Getting Into Marketing (02:48) 

I thought that I wanted to be a lawyer, so at the time, I have worked for my congressman through college. After this experience, I have realized that I don’t want to have a career in government because I found it a little bit slow. I got a chance to work in Pepsi and I really fell in love with the energy of that industry. 

Also, I wasn’t making a lot of money in the government. I was making $12,000 a year working for a congressman. At Pepsi, I started as a marketing analyst. I really liked the mix of data and creativity. I worked in analytics for about 10 months, then in promotions for about a year and finally in the products section. This allowed me to learn many new things at a fast pace. 

Two people I worked with back then had graduated from Northwestern’s Business School at Kellogg and they encouraged me to get a business degree. 

Early Career (07:37) 

After I was done with the Business School, I went to McKinsey and consulting. I worked out of the Chicago office. I was there for about four years and it was one of the most important experiences in my life because through it I have met my wife. I worked largely in consumer products and marketing. 

I’ve realized that I wanted to get back in marketing and I went back to Pepsi where they’ve put me as a new product manager in 1993. That was a pretty important shift for me. 

The Middle Stage of a Career (10:23) 

Some of the things that I’ve learned at this stage is that what gets you promoted is the ability to manage a project and do well as an individual contributor. The ability to deliver when you say you’re going to deliver and when people are motivated to be working with you.

The Most Impactful Roles (11:54) 

I got the most insight when I worked at Pepsi, specifically in the product sphere. I also worked on the North American Coffee Partnership, which still exists today. Forming the business model around it, creating a team, working with operations and product development was very beneficial for me. I became much more of a general manager than I had been before. 

The Transition to California (14:24) 

After being involved with a startup, I just couldn't go back to a kind of classic corporate slow environment again. I wanted something that felt dynamic and eBay certainly felt that way so I’ve moved to California. 

The Use of Data And Its Importance (23:37) 

I think that data continually becomes to be more and more vital. Honestly, if I was hiring today, I wouldn’t hire me. I don’t have a data analytics capability that matches a lot of people that I now hire. At Facebook, we had a difficult time hiring enough data analytics people. These are very sought after jobs. 

Marketing vs. Product Marketing (26:40) 

The key of the product marketing is to know the user and to have a good understanding of the product. Also, the ability to integrate those two into something that will benefit the organization. 

Marketing picks up not only this function but also the customer acquisition, retention, mechanics, communication etc. 

The Role of the Marketing Team at Facebook (29:56) 

Internally, the organization needed to learn why it needed marketing. Everything really started with the product marketing. The company didn’t communicate enough with its users about the product changes that were happening a couple of years ago.

We started working in small sub-teams and developing benefits and better communication with people. A lot of what we developed in the marketing capabilities early on was just helping the organization run better and communicate better. 

Being a Marketing Leader During the Times of Adversity (34:21)

I think that when you're leading an organization in a time of adversity, the most important thing you have to do is go back to principals. You've got to have a core set of principles that when a crisis occurs and they will occur, you know who you are and why you make decisions.

Advice For Aspiring CMOs (37:43) 

If you always carry yourself as you're just the smartest person around, you're not gonna learn anything. Humility and intellect are both important in order to continue to adopt, adapt, and learn throughout your career.