Today, I am sharing the interview conversation that I recently had with Tina Tuli, a marketing and sales analytics leader, passionate about leading global disruptive innovations. Two blogs will highlight her career highlights and lessons learned from working in two high paced and challenging market leaders.
To read the second part of Tina Tuli’s journey to become a VP of marketing valuing analytics in our ITWC blog channel, go here.
Tina Tuli, a former VP Marketing and Sales Operations, with Magic Leap, is one of NA’s most well-funded start-ups that focused on advancing augmented reality into the enterprise, and leveraged wearable headset AR & Spatial Computing technology. She prior held senior marketing roles at Blackberry, where mobile smartphones was the disruptive technology.
What were some of Tina’s career highlights enabling her to achieve her leadership experiences in two disruptive companies?
Tina started her career at Research In Motion, (now Blackberry) and during our interview referred her career experiences to the “crossing point” which is best described by Geoffrey A. Moore’s book, “Crossing the Chasm”. During her time with RIM, she was able to build her digital marketing skills on a global scale, which at a time was still in its infancy stage with it came to social media, user-generated content and dynamic integrated video strategies. Today, knowledge of these channels and advanced marketing automation approaches are table stakes to have a successful career in Marketing, as Tina said: “Understanding the value of digital marketing early on in my career has allowed me to continue to utilize this highly effective and efficient channel which is crucial to driving awareness for new and distributive tech.”
At Magic Leap Inc., Tina entered the “early stage” market when AR/VR was not even on “the map”; and there was very low awareness for the technology and product category. Although today, there is significant awareness for the product category with increased press and media coverage, the emergence of competition, early adopters and customers. As Tina stated: “ There is definitely more awareness on AR/VR today, and I was fortunate to play a part in driving the narrative and increasing market awareness through our communications and marketing strategies at Magic Leap Inc.; fine-tuning and continuing to define XR and Spatial Computing.”
What did you learn from being a leader in advanced technologies that are ahead of the market curve in many ways? What works and what does not work?
According to Tina, she defined: “disruptive technology as an innovation that significantly alters the way that consumers, industries, or businesses operate. Disruptive technology takes away the “old way” of functioning whether it’s a product or habit and replaces it with something new that is recognizably superior and just better. When you’re a market disruptor, it’s important to own and drive the appropriate narrative. It’s imperative to articulate your value proposition clearly and what your product is trying to solve. As Simon Sinec says, “start with the why.”
Key career lessons she learned in these roles were:
1 – The importance of having consistent messaging coupled with solid marketing strategies.
2 – Leveraging highly targeted channels for early segment reach.
3 – Continued investment in consumer research.
4 – Understanding the market segment, the buyer motivators and the channels that they can be most efficiently reached.
5 – Appreciating continuous improvement efforts, adjusting strategies to new learnings.
The speed of the market place also required Tina to strive for stronger leadership agility and valuing collaborative practices to rapidly achieve the desired business goals.
Can you share a little more about the types of roles you needed to have in building out your marketing and operational teams? What did your organization structure look like the types of roles you had to have in your team and what skills you looked for? How important was having strong analytical and math skills?
Tina stressed the importance of being an advocate for diversification across all disciplines and channels within marketing and communications. Other skills she highlighted was ensuring that the marketing talent was balanced with creativity and innovation skills but also having business knowledge and skills to drive return on investment thinking from the get-go.
“Marketing analytics and operations is not always the department or discipline that professionals gravitate towards early on in their careers but it should be! The importance of understanding the analytics and ROIs behind campaigns, consumer research, data trends through dashboards and reports allow you to understand what works, what doesn’t and how to course-correct. Coupled with running the operational function from budget management, forecasting, financial planning and contract/vendor relations provides you with expertise that can be utilized in any department and any business,” stated Tina.
What did you study in university and what types of job roles did you have in your early days, and what did you learn from these early roles?
“I started my career as a Marketing Coordinator for a small ERP company in Mississauga, Ontario. This allowed me to learn and grow early on in my career. I was driving some initial brand development, corporate website and experiential type of marketing strategies. It was a small organization that provided me with enough room to develop my marketing discipline straight out of university and gave me the confidence to pursue Marketing as my career choice,” said Tina.
Soon after, she worked at TechData, where she was able to manage their marketing efforts for its largest vendor, Hewlett Packard. This opportunity allowed her to understand the partner marketing function and build out co-integrated marketing programs of mutual value to both organizations.
Other experiences included: an internship at DaimlerChrysler Financial as part of her MBA program, focused on channel marketing and provided exposure and experience with sales enablement and channels.
These early-career formation experiences enabled her to build strong foundational skills to prepare once she landed in her RIM career.
Tina stressed that “ Leadership roles are derived from experience, commitment and honestly, hard work. It’s a formula that works well.”
Tina, how important are the softer skills you have had to learn in your career journey that has enabled you to achieve your leadership roles?
Softer skills are always a powerful arsenal to develop in a leadership role. In particular, Relationship currency is the most valuable asset in achieving your career growth goals. For instance, when starting with a new organization, relationships drive your onboarding success and help you create a currency with others that will motivate people to support you, act on your behalf, connect to other relationships that become your internal network, stated Tina.
Other skills Tina discussed were the importance of a collaborative, supportive and adaptive, leadership style ensuring open dialogue and fostering an environment where team members feel comfortable discussing any issues, regardless if work or personal related.
“Emotional IQ is key for leadership as it allows individuals to understand and manage their feelings and emotions, along with others. It’s never the situation at hand but how you react to the situation that sets the tone and path for successful outcomes”, stated Tina.
- To read the second part of Tina Tuli’s journey to become a VP of marketing valuing analytics in our ITWC blog channel, go here.
- You can also access additional knowledge on Artificial Intelligence and Data Sciences by going to SalesChoice’s Predictive AI World Forum here. Here, you will find white papers, research papers, podcasts, webinar history, etc. to advance your AI knowledge.
- You can also go to the AIDirectory.ai and keep track of what’s happening in our AI ecosystem in North America and China, a Joint Venture by ITWC, CATA and SalesChoice Inc.
- To follow SalesChoice on Twitter, go here.
- To contact the Author, Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO SalesChoice, you can reach her on LinkedIn
- To contact the interviewee, Tina Tuli, reach her on LinkedIn