CMO Insights: Tifenn Dano-Kwan, Chief Marketing Officer, SAP Ariba

Tifenn Dano-Kwan

March 21, 2019

This week’s guest on CMO Insights is Tifenn Dano-Kwan, Chief Marketing Officer, SAP Ariba.

In this video, Tifenn talks about:

  • Marketing becoming more business oriented.
  • Becoming an effective leader in the business and marketing world.
  • The process of not only managing managers but managing leaders.

Learn more about Tifenn from her LinkedIn profile and follow SAP Ariba on Twitter.

For more great CMO interviews like this one, please check out our other CMO Insights Videos or our YouTube channel.

Full Transcript

Jeff Pedowitz:

Hi, welcome to Revenue Marketing Television, the CMO Insights Series. I’m your host, Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO of The Pedowitz Group. Okay. Today as our guest, we have Tifenn Dano-Kwan, who is Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Ariba. Tifenn, welcome to the show.

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

It’s so good to be here.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It’s so good to have you. You have such a, an amazing background hailing originally from France, been all over the world and your journey to, to chief marketing officer has also been interesting. Tell us about it.

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, I come from a small town in Brittany, which is on the West coast of France. And for as long as remember, my dream was always to see the world travel and be becoming an American, which hopefully will be a reality in a couple of months from now. I’ve been living in America since 2011, loving it and reflecting on that journey of mine, which started back in France when I did my business school and decided to become a marketer. And when I did that, I quickly jumped into the new technology world because I knew this would be a quick way for me to travel and see the world, but also because it was a perfect fit, was my personality. And just how curious I am and a willing to work together with the people around me. So I started there and quickly, you know, moved to Sydney Australia and started this around the world journey, which, which taught me a thing or two about adapting, a sense of adaptability and curiosity, which I think are really important when we are a marketers and, and really helps us develop a creative sense.

But as you know, marketing is much more right now with the rise of digital and we need to also be extremely data driven. So it’s, how do we combine the art of science and the science all together is what I’ve been learning along the way since I started my career.

Jeff Pedowitz:

And you’ve been now as a CMO about a year, right. A little more than a year, a little more than a year. Right. What’s happened like as, so I guess first everything prior; did it prepare you adequately, or were there still some surprises in your first couple of months that you were learning to deal with?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, there are surprises every day. I will say it’s a journey. It’s not a destination. And, you know, I was reflecting not long ago by the first year and the first steps. And you know, one of the things about me is I’m a model cycler. I love model cycling of a motorcycle all around the world. And it helps me reflect on the journey and, and taking a ride, right. And just ensuring that we stay put on the road. But that we learn how to circumvent a lot, a couple of obstacles and things, but the thrill of the ride comes also with the challenges and the unknown. And when you jump into this kind of role, you have to expect challenges and you have to expect the unknown. Everything is new, absolutely everything at that level is new. The people use to work with the relationship is new, everything changes, and you have to rapidly adapt and change to really become an effective leader and just make sure that you really self reflect on what it truly means to be an effective leader and, and drive the organization.

So yes, a lot of surprises and you know, there’s not a single day where I work up and the plan goes according to plan, right. You know, you, you come and, you know, you have a couple of things to do, but there’s always a phone call, an email, something that’s you had not planned, and you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in a way and was the unknown, because that is absolutely part of the job. But I think that as we learn, we also learn to build resilience. And it’s incredible what a difference a year makes. I am certainly a different person than I was a year.

Jeff Pedowitz:

It’s interesting that you mentioned motorcycles in your love for it, because I think the first thing that came to mind was I envisioned balance on a motorcycle and how important that is, especially when you’re weaving in and out and where you’re, you’re on a track. So I guess being a CMO is very much like that too. Where do you, do you find the time? So it’s hard to keep a balance between all the different demands of today’s finding an executive.

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

At first, it is to be honest, because it all comes at once. And how do you make sure that you prioritize the many demands that come your way? How do you make sure that you’re effective up and down and laterally and, and learned to do it? You know, the answer is comes with experience. So I think that what I’ve also learned is to pace myself and just accept that I’m not going to be good at everything at first. And that’s where the magic happens when you rely on the team that you have around you. So, so to speak, it becomes an incredible opportunity for empowerment, empowering others, to help you along the way, achieve your goals. So I think the definition of a team becomes very clear very, very quickly. And because we are at a point where we are accountable for pretty much everything, when it comes to marketing and communication, we have to make sure that we have the right support system. And that, that resilience is not just a professional resilience. We need to make sure that we have the right support system at work, but believe it or not, the right support system outside of work is equally important.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So speaking of, how has all of your experiences shaped your, your management approach? How do you go about determining who you hire your management style? How do you motivate, how do you eat?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, it’s been a journey in itself. You know, a lot of the people work with me. We either used to be peers and, and, and different setups. Some of them I’ve known for a very long time and then the relationship changes. But, you know, when I started I inherited leaders, not just managers or team leaders or team managers, really some leaders who are very strong, very effective in what they do. So I had to also adapt to that. How, how do you go from managing managers to managing leaders? It’s a very, very different equation. So you learn along the way and you learn about yourself as well. And I think that you can speed up the process of trust and getting to know each other. It really just comes with practicing and learning and adjusting and, and keeping really the lines of communication. Very open. Another thing that I’ve realized as well is if you picture any leader that goes into a new role, whether it’s in the tech world, in politics or, or others that don’t, can’t expect them to know everything they have to rely on, people know best and empower. And, and this is pretty much what I’ve learned. And it’s been an incredible journey with, with the incredible leaders that work around me and that support what we’re trying to achieve collectively for CP Reba.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I’ve always been fascinated with SAP because I think for some people from the outside, you know, it’s this very successful, but you know, some people view it potentially as a, as I old guard kind of company. But for those of us that follow up the marketing that SAP has been doing for the last five to eight years, it’s anything. But I mean, just very cutting edge with social, social selling digital technologies. How do you balance that dichotomy? And as you build the brand and take it to market?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

I really see marketing as an end to an experience. You can, you can look at the traditional way of doing marketing, which is more geared towards branding and events or advertising the way we used to do it. But, but you have to sort of evolve the function of marketing. So it’s very much align with who you want to become as a marketer. And that matters to me, a great deal at SAP and SAP, Reba, we care about our customers, but you can’t care about customers unless you care about employees. And our goal is to really prepare our employees for the future, make sure that we quit them. So it becomes very critical with marketers because the function of a marketer is evolving rapidly, and we have to balance the marketing mix in a way with the new way of doing marketing, digital, inbound based data, driven, automated, personalized, relying on disruptive technologies like AI machine learning, all of those things are coming. So what we need to do is always keep a balance and become more scientific in the way of working. So it means that we need to have people in our team who are either creative people or extremely data scientific oriented. And it’s just a matter of keeping the balance and just ensuring that we we keep an adapting and we always have a growth mindset to learn about the new technologies and evolve the function of marketing itself.

Jeff Pedowitz:

So what do you see on the horizon? I mean, obviously tech keeps coming in marketing all the time, a lot of talk about AI account based marketing beyond that, is there some major thing that’s coming down the pike that we should be paying attention to?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, one of the things that I have also realized in this year as a, as a marketer, and that was very much the platform and the, the tenor of of my function is for marketing to become more business oriented. And I was in fact very impressed by someone that I considered one of the best, because I’ve heard his name is Sam Walsh. He used to be the CEO of Rio Tinto in Australia, but also procurement leader. And he said something that resonated really well with me in terms of procurement professional. He said, procurement professionals should see themselves as business people in procurement rather than procurement people in business. And I would absolutely adapt this to the world of marketing. I would absolutely want to see my team and the market was seeing themselves as business people in marketing rather than marketing people in business. 

And that perspective to me is critical. So it’s not as much as the technology itself. It’s about the place we have in the company. If we want to really be recognized, use the latest technology, whatever we need to really understand the business and to understand the business, we need to equip ourselves with the right tools and the right technology. And that is in my opinion, the way to go. And it has to be really a very strong partnership with sales, with partner ecosystem, you know, all the builders of pipelines and revenue that are part of, of an organization. So to me, the marketing mindset to be very close to the business, equip them, not just with marketing technology, but for them to really understand the business. So any kind of technology that’s going to get them closer to sales, closer to the business. And more importantly, closer to the

Jeff Pedowitz:

Very well said, you know, it’s a, I’ve done this. I think I was telling you, you’re about my hundred and 30th interview. And it’s just fascinating to see all the different ways the executives answer the questions. And so the way that you just answered that question around technology was really, I loved it. I really loved it. So speaking of Bob, I actually really liked the painting behind you. So I’m just curious on a personal note, what was your inspiration behind that?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, my inspiration is my spouse. He’s actually an artist and somebody who is literally the other side of the brain is as mine. And we always look to commission art from our friends and this one was a commissioned piece and it’s actually a woman playing checkers and looking at a painting, looking at another painting. So that was it. And representing also probably more inspiring empowerment of women and that pretty much fits right in with the set up of my family and who I am as a person and as a leader.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I love that. So tell us about what, how do you see yourself as a, as a woman, as an executive, as a family person?

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

You know, I have no qualms saying that I am an empathetic person. I believe in leadership attributes, what I said to my team all the time and what I have come to realize over the couple of past couple of years is to become an effective leader. I truly believe in the power of empathy. I believe in collaboration. And I believe in reliability. I think that those three attributes are critical and just make sure that we run effectively in a world that is more and more connected. So as a woman, you know empathy, I think is important, it allows to build bridges with with the world that surrounds us. Collaboration is absolutely critical in my opinion, especially when you work in matrix organizations and with the rise of the regions and the regionalization and personalization and reliability talks about outcomes and how we need to just really walk the talk and be extremely results and outcome focused.

Jeff Pedowitz:

I love it. So thank you so much for being on the program. Very inspirational, Tifenn Dano-Kwan. So look, definitely look forward to part two. So I wanna, I want to learn more about your travels around the globe and then on your ongoing success at SAP Ariba. Thank you, Tifenn.

Tifenn Dano-Kwan:

Thank you very much, Jeff.

Jeff Pedowitz:

You bet.

You May Also Like…

REVTalks Masters: Ruben Varela

REVTalks Masters: Ruben Varela

In the new blog series, “REVTalks Masters” we sit down with a few of the speakers from our upcoming event, the REVTalks and dive into their stories to help you with your journey to revenue marketing.

read more
REVTalks Masters: Elle Woulfe

REVTalks Masters: Elle Woulfe

In the new blog series, “REVTalks Masters” we sit down with a few of the speakers from our upcoming event, the REVTalks and dive into their stories to help you with your journey to revenue marketing.

read more

Marketing Operations

Increase efficiency. Remove roadblocks.

Customer Experience

Wow Your Customers

Lead Management

Accelerate Leads to Revenue

Digital Transformation

Turn Strategy Into Action

Inbound Marketing

Right Channel, Right Message

Account-Based Marketing

Accelerate ABM Success

Flexible
Options

Four options. One result: Greater marketing-sourced revenue.

Marketo Engage

Marketo Platinum Partner

Pardot

Accelerate Leads to Revenue

Microsoft Dynamics

Optimize Your Instance

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Certified Silver Partner

Salesforce CRM

12 Years of Integration Experience

Partners

Additional Technology Platforms

Oracle Eloqua

Oracle Platinum Partner

Adobe Experience Manager

Provide world-class experiences

Revenue Marketing University 

Training for marketers of all skill levels.

F5 Logo

F5 Network's Case Study

How a Network Security Giant Unified Global Marketing Operations

F5 Logo

Rackspace's Case Study

How a Cloud Solutions Provider Unifed And Expanded Global Marketing Capabilities

TraceLink’s Case Study

How a Supply-Chain Solution Provider Built Crucial Capabilities For Revenue

Xylem's Case Study

How a Global Water Solutions Company Nailed Marketing Automation To Win

Gilbarco Veeder-Root

Gilbarco Veeder-Root's Case Study

How a Global Fueling Leader Transitioned To Win

Telecomm Case Study

How A Multi-Channel Inbound Strategy Achieved A 600% Increase In ROI

A credit card, representing a Fortune 100 client of The Pedowitz Group's

Financial Services Case Study

How a Fortune 100 Credit Card Company Closed The Loop On Revenue

Resource Hub

Read, Watch and Download

Trending Topics

Our Most Popular Content

Blog

Our Latest Articles

CMO Insights

Hear From Industry Experts

Get Timely Insights

Take an interactive assessment and get immediate results

About TPG

How are we different? Get to know us a bit better!

Case Studies

See real results from customers just like you

How We Work With You

How can we help you?

Partners

Learn about some of our Partners.

Introducing: The Loop

 

Revenue models are outdated. Here’s your update.

About TPG

How are we different? Get to know us a bit better!

Case Studies

See real results from customers just like you

How We Work With You

How can we help you?

Partners

Learn about some of our Partners.

Introducing: The Loop

 

Revenue models are outdated. Here’s your update.