In partnership with The CMO Club, The CMO of the Week series profiles CMOs who are shaping, changing and challenging the world of modern marketing. For Drew Neisser's complete interview with CMO Award Winner Miki Racine Berardelli, click here.
This weekly CMO spotlight usually highlights a marketing case study as told by a wizened, war-torn marketing vet. But today I'm presenting the perspective of a CMO who, while not short on experience, was only months into her role at Chicos FAS when we spoke following her receipt of a Rising Star award at the CMO Awards and clearly felt she had more ahead of her than behind her to discuss. So take note, seasoned retail marketers: Miki Racine Berardelli's scope is a thing of the future, and you'll more likely than not appreciate the reminder of what it's like to have the attitude of a leader looking ahead from the starting line.
Prior to her move to Chicos FAS, Racine Berardelli was the CMO of Tory Burch, and SVP at Ralph Lauren, meaning she's no stranger to the world of retail marketing. However, attaining CMO status at her new company meant overseeing not one, but four disparate brands: Chico's, White House Black Market, Soma Intimates and Boston Proper.
With aggressive omni-channel growth and innovation goals laid out ahead of her, Racine Berardelli was essentially hired to build the Chico's FAS brands into a thriving e-commerce megapolis "across multiple channels, product categories, touch-points and countries," she says. Overwhelming, you might think, but Racine Berardelli grabbed her slide rule and hammer and started construction. "The experience of working in a multi-brand organization will challenge me," she says. In fact, it's "one of the main reasons I decided to join Chico's FAS."
On going international:
One of the main points on the horizon at Chico's FAS is its international e-commerce expansion. While the four brands have solid roots in the United States, the marketing game changes, of course, when products become available abroad. Thanks to a new partnership with e-commerce platform Borderfree, the company's reach now extends to new shores. "Thinking globally requires a different mindset than being purely domestic," she says. "It's important to support international efforts with the right amount of marketing support, whether it's SEM or otherwise, to acquire customers from other countries who may or may not know your brand and product offering."
While digital marketing tools and the algorithms of the sales cycle will no doubt be valuable in reaching a global audience, Racine Berardelli says that a human touch will always be necessary, and that she plans to meld the two in her approach the four Chicos FAS brands. "I've always tried to balance the 'art' with the 'science,'" she says. "I believe brands are most successful when they strike right down the middle. I'm excited about the creative opportunities here, creating a seamless experience for our customer, and continually enhancing our digital presence and marketing touch-points."
Finally, when I asked Racine Berardelli to describe what she personally hopes to achieve as she digs her heels deeper into her role, she emphatically responds, "Learning!" And as for her goals for advancing Chico's FAS marketing: "If I had to state the top three areas of focus based on my 'fresh eyes,' they would be: customer experience across all channels, mobile sites and applications, and helping to set us up for the future while we continue to build four successful global brands." No doubt we'll be seeing Racine Berardelli in CMO Awards mentions for years to come.
CMO of the Week is an exclusive Social Media Today column which appears every Thursday