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3 Takeaways From GRMA Forum

Our CMO Sophie Vu shared this guest post with us this week.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending my first GRMA Executive Leadership Forum with Vibes co-founder and CEO Jack Philbin. The two-and-a-half day conference is in its 12th year, and I was surprised to find out some attendees have come as many as eight times.

After experiencing the event’s communal atmosphere and soaking up insights from the great lineup of speakers, I can see why they keep coming back. (It also doesn’t hurt that it takes place at a beautiful beachfront hotel in St. Pete Beach, Florida.)


Here are three takeaways on marketing, leadership and today’s unique business challenges:

Even all-star employees cannot succeed without the right infrastructure.

Leadership expert Dave Ulrich took us through an interesting exercise. He asked, “What makes a great company — the people or the organization?” The majority of people leaned toward people, but he shared findings that 20 percent of group success comes from an individual, while 80 percent comes from the organization — regardless of the group in question. Hiring matters, but culture matters most.

Embrace what your customers love about you.

Legendary talent agent Shep Gordon represented Alice Cooper and shared how his schtick made parents uneasy and even angry. Instead of changing, Cooper embraced that and assembled a fanbase of kids eager to rebel against their parents’ wishes. If you want your customers to have similar levels of devotion to your brand, you have to find the triggers that resonate with them.

Companies aren’t the only ones focused on innovation.

Global security advisor Marc Goodman gave us a glimpse into the emerging business of “Crime as a Service” (and as we saw from last week’s devastating ransomware attack, business is booming). I was amazed to learn cybercriminals are using software that is as sophisticated as the software programs we use every day, complete with dashboards that show the status and success rates of hacks. For Vibes and our retail customers, the session served as an important reminder of the importance of protecting customer data.

Thanks for a great event, GRMA! I’ll definitely be back next year.

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