Coworking

Coworking with Gautam Mehandru

He’s chief marketing officer at Illumio.
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Gautam Mehandru

· 3 min read

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Each week, we spotlight Marketing Brew readers in our Coworking series. If you’d like to be featured, introduce yourself here.

Gautam Mehandru is chief marketing officer at Illumio, a network security company. He’s previously held roles at the cybersecurity company Tanium, as well as at SAP Concur and Dell EMC.

What’s your favorite ad campaign? In the 2015 Super Bowl, where my Seahawks suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots, there was a commercial that literally broke the internet. It was the “Like a Girl” spot. I was a dad to one of my girls at that time already, and it just connected with me on a deeper level. What was brilliant was that it had no mention of the product, but instead, it said what you thought you felt, and what you didn’t know was that the others felt that way.

One thing we can’t guess from your LinkedIn profile: I grew up wanting to be a professional tennis player and played competitively at the national level for several years growing up. Then, life happened. I still play recreationally and hope to continue to play with both my daughters as long as I can keep up with them.

What marketing trend are you most optimistic about? Least? I’m really excited to see that CMOs are starting to adopt a more strategic stance within the company’s C-suite. I’m a firm believer that the CMO role has the most complete and overarching view of the market and the customer journey, and by partnering with other C-suite members and sales leaders at a more strategic level, they can ensure that market strategy aligns with other business and stakeholders’ broader objectives. I’m optimistic about how data is already and will continue to be at the heart of modern marketing. Marketers in every field are analyzing and interpreting data to make informed business decisions.

Given the current macroeconomic situation and the focus on ROI, I’m less excited about some marketers and their organizations’ overfocus on short-term gains and quick returns, which will invariably lead to lack of investment in the long term. This short-termism at the expense of long-term building can have a negative consequence on an organization’s sustainable success.

What’s one marketing-related podcast/social account/series you’d recommend? I love the CMO communities that I’m part of, both here locally in the Seattle area like the CMO Collaborative and other virtual ones like the CMO Coffee Talk Slack group. There is so much learning that can be had from engaging with other B2B and B2C CMOs, and I definitely try to make time for those conversations. I’m a subscriber to Dave Gerhardt’s blogs and newsletters, which I find useful. I also love Simon Sinek’s thoughts on leadership.

Get marketing news you'll actually want to read

Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.