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We were delighted to catch up with Chief Marketing Officer Emily Barfuss and get to know more about her exciting career, personal hobbies, and perspective on the future of advertising.
Tell us a bit about your background leading up to Ogury
Throughout my career, I have had the opportunity to build marketing organizations and marketing teams in most positions I have had, and through these experiences, I was fortunate to realize early on that I am a brand marketer at heart with leadership at the forefront of what I focus on every single day. I started out in traditional media at CBS on the sports side – I am a big sports fan and it was my dream to work in sports when I moved to New York City. I soon moved on to cover Entertainment and News as well as Sports at CBS and enjoyed working on and learning more about the publisher side of our business. After leaving CBS, I moved on to several AdTech organizations such as Index Exchange and Tremor International, which has led me to where I am today at Ogury.
What excites you about joining Ogury?
I would say it really comes down to three things:
I am really excited about how Ogury’s core product is built for the future of the industry. Our industry is constantly introducing new, flashy concepts, but ultimately we are all working on a future of cookieless and ID-less. To join a company that has been at the forefront of cookieless and ID-less for so long and remained constant in that vision gives me personal excitement to know that not only am I part of that, but I can now help shape the strategic vision for the future of the company.
The second thing is the opportunity to run a global team and work with and learn from people on an international basis. I love the journey that my career has taken from when I started at CBS and was very centralized to the US, and as I continued to grow and take on new opportunities, I have added more international markets to my experience. The fact that Ogury is global but really looking to drive and capitalize on growth in the US is exciting, and I can’t wait to work with our other leaders to grow and develop the brand in the US and globally.
This brings me to my next point – As someone who is always eager to learn, I am really enthusiastic about the leadership team at Ogury, and I’m at the point in my career where I really want to start challenging myself to gain experiences and learnings that can be applied to my personal career growth. Our C-suite have long and tenured careers within AdTech and I’m looking forward to collaborating and learning from each and every one of them.
What are the greatest opportunities CMOs should embrace these days?
An opportunity for CMOs to embrace is the concept of delivering a full-circle brand experience at every touch point, not just for customers but also for employees. Leveling up and creating top-tier, omnichannel branding throughout your full marketing strategy will not only help people establish a relationship with your brand, but will also encourage brand advocacy which will then lead to growth in revenue. An additional opportunity to consider – CMOs have more data at their disposal than ever before which allows them to make informed decisions for their strategies and campaigns. Applying valuable data points that will serve you best while avoiding “analysis paralysis” – sometimes too much data can be a bad thing – is key, and when you find the perfect mix, you can execute a really strong marketing strategy.
What’s a piece of advice that’s stuck with you?
Treat people how you would want to be treated and for me, that centers around kindness and respect. That is one that has always stuck with me and something that my parents taught me from an early age. As you continue to climb the corporate ladder you can sometimes feel pressure to alter your core values, especially as a woman, but despite all of this, I think it is crucial to remember who you are and to always treat people as you yourself would want to be treated. I have always viewed my empathetic approach to business as a strength, not a weakness.
What are your personal KPIs?
I used to be someone who would sit down at the beginning of every year and write down all my goals and hopeful achievements and honestly, that served me well for quite some time. Those goals were both personal and professional, and no matter if I would complete them or not, I would still feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I tried. I’ve begun to take a much different approach to goal setting – instead of making a list, I have a guiding principle that is as simple as this: do things that make me happy. This is challenging in its own right, but I have found that happiness as a north star brings accomplishments, passions, and a sense of fulfillment that I was probably overlooking when making my annual lists.
What are some of your passions and hobbies outside of work?
Sports have always been a passion of mine. I love the NFL – my favorite team is the New Orleans Saints as I’m originally from Louisiana. I love how sports bring everybody together and also allows me to lean into my competitive nature. I’ve always loved to travel and learn about other cultures. My husband, Brian, and I recently spent two years traveling throughout the US and visited 27 states – where we got to see much of the beauty our amazing country has to offer. We eventually settled down in Charleston, South Carolina where I am currently based.
What is your favorite travel destination?
I tend to rarely go back to places I’ve traveled to because there are so many destinations in the world on my bucket list, but if I had to choose just one place, I would choose Florence, Italy. It has the best wine, pasta, and gelato – what more could you ask for?
Marketing can be an art…and a science. Would you say you lean towards one or the other?
I think it’s really important to do your best to lean into both but rarely do you have a marketer who can naturally and instinctively embody both schools of thought. For me, the “artistic” side of marketing comes much more naturally, so I have to work extra hard on the science and data side of marketing – so much so that I’m pursuing my MBA to try and build that instinct. I believe in the importance of strong brand representation for your employees, clients, and shareholders, and making decisions on brand representation with data is crucial.
Are there any interesting life hacks that you learned recently that you are willing to share?
My husband recently looked at me as we were cleaning up after dinner and said why don’t we put all the spoons together, all the forks together, and all the knives together in the dishwasher when we load it. This way, when we unload, we don’t have to sort them and we save ourselves time. And as someone who is always looking to be most efficient with her time, I realized wow, sometimes it really is the simplest things that are the answer!
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