Mark Organ is founder and CEO of advocate marketing software company Influitive, helping companies mobilize their advocates to produce massive increases in referral leads, reference calls, social media participation, and more. Previously, Mark was the founding CEO of Eloqua (now part of Oracle), a world leader in marketing automation software.

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In between, he was a go-to-market consultant for SaaS companies in North America and Asia, helping more than a dozen software companies successfully go to market in disruptive ways.

Mark is a popular speaker, as well, and frequently presents on entrepreneurship, marketing, and advocacy. He has spoken at marketing events all over the world, including Dreamforce and DemandCon.

I invited Mark to Marketing Smarts to discuss how he launches successful companies, his secret to hiring the right team, and why a love of learning is critical to professional success.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Launching a successful company is easier on your home turf (08:20): "I moved to Singapore and I was based there for a couple of years. I had clients all through the region...and it was fun. I really, really enjoyed it and I learned a lot. But ultimately I still wanted to go and create a great company.... Consulting is interesting, but it's not like the rush—the pure adrenaline of building a product-based, venture-scale startup. I tried to build my current company, Influitive, in Asia, and I didn't have the network there. I wasn't able to get the team that I really needed to be successful. So, I moved back to...Toronto, and within a month I had the company incorporated and we were already doing customer research on the next big thing, which is my current company, Influitive."

Don't hire today's biggest marketing stars; hire tomorrow's (but it won't be easy) (09:35): "It's really easy to look through a stack of resumes and tick off the boxes of those that have 10 years of VP experience. It's a lot harder to identify those folks that might be at the manager level, or even at the team-lead level, that are destined to be VPs or even C-level folks in the future."

To spot tomorrow's marketing stars, look for domain expertise and leadership skills (11:25): "A few things that I look for: I look for...domain expertise and I look for leadership skills. On domain expertise, those are people who clearly have a good understanding of the functions, the strategy; they can rattle off metrics. They can talk to you very clearly about the processes that they've developed—even as junior folks. Like a really junior team lead in engineering or product or whatever that has high potential are always thinking about how to scale up their function. How so that they don't repeat the same thing over and over again. They automate their function. They have metrics that they are passionate about hitting. They have an understanding of the big picture that they are trying to achieve. And if they're a team lead, they're already showing some real potential in terms of managing people—how they select and manage people. So, I would call that domain expertise."

Once you know they've mastered their domain, assess their leadership potential using Jack Welch's 4 Es and 1 P (12:21): "I've just cached Jack Welch's '4 Es and a P,' which I find a very powerful framework and something I've been able to use even at a cocktail party when meeting people.

  1. Energy. You can tell people are just jazzed about their work. They just can't stop talking about it. Their eyes light up.
  2. Energizer. Am I inspired when talking to this person? Am I energized because of the passion and energy this person has?
  3. Edge. Do they have that competitive spirit, that drive to win by being able to make tough decisions? Being able to tell right from wrong, good from bad. The people that I've found have the highest potential are always making judgments, and they are focusing, they're doubling down on the things that are working. And the things that are not working, they just cut it off. They cut off the people that aren't working, the processes that aren't working. They have that laser focus, because that's the only way for them to win...
  4. Execution. Do they actually accomplish things?
  5. Passion.

I can be at an event talking to someone and I can tell someone is 4Es and a P. I can feel it, and I'll already be in recruitment mode at that point."

The most important characteristic for new marketing grads: a love of learning (16:38): "It is the relishment of learning. Things are moving so fast right now.... These days, you've got to be in a constant state of new learning. I take a least a dozen courses a year even now, as CEO, as busy as I am, to keep on top of new trends in design, and new trends in data management, to understand what's happening there. Courses in leadership. Public speaking. It's the only way that I can keep myself sharp. So we really prize that here: people here who have this desire to constantly learn."

To learn more, visit, or follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkOrgan. You can also check out Mark's presentations on SlideShare:

Mark and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

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Special thanks to production company Candidio, an efficient, affordable video production platform allowing marketers and communicators to collaborate and curate video content, with help from a team of professional, on-demand video editors for the finishing touches. Check them out!

Show opener music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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