This is the second in a series of interviews of marketing leaders and CMOs that I respect and admire.

Ted Rubin CMOToday I am honored to interview Ted Rubin, one of the most forward-thinking and influential marketers. Many people know Ted for his enthusiastic, energetic and undeniably personal connection to people. besides his work as CMO, Ted is a leading social marketing strategist, keynote speaker and brand evangelist.

Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine and #13 on Forbes 2013 list of Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers. I had the fortune of meeting Ted when he was the CMO at e.l.f. cosmetics and later at OpenSky. Here is what he has to say:

1. What company is an example of good marketing today? Who do you admire?

Duane Reade is doing a great job marketing and building relationships. They are leading the way for their parent company Walgreens. I admire Calvin Peters at Duane Reade for being open to innovation and for using social media and content to build relationships and enhance the rest of his marketing and PR efforts.

2. Did you have a mentor or a person you learnt the most from? What was a key lesson?

I have had many mentors over the years, and constantly seek out those I respect and admire. The most important lesson I ever learned was to listen, observe, and trust my guts instincts.

3. What story of a successful marketing strategy could you share?

The strategy I put together with the Collective Bias team for Duane Reade detailed here: Duane Reade Surpasses 1 Million Followers, Becomes Twitter’s Most Followed Retailer in the Drug, Food and Mass Arena Worldwide

You can read the case study published by Twitter here, but in summary, the company combined organic tweets with promoted accounts with geo-targeting to reach twitter users in specific markets like New York, Boston and San Francisco. Duane Reade’s VIP Blogger team featured rich media and promoted useful and interesting content highlighting content created by customers.

As a result, the company saw a 6,700% increase in followers in one year (almost 1.5 million today), a 4% promoted tweet engagement rate and 28% increase in sales during a specific campaign. Very nice to see some real ROI number (as in sales lift) from a social campaign.

4. What is your marketing superpower, the most important skill that makes you a great marketer?

For me it is all about Looking People in the Eye Digitally… truly doing my best to connect, be responsive, and care.

5. What interesting book have you read recently?

Best social media book ever written was authored in 1936, and it is more relevant, valuable, and important today than it was then… How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I keep a copy on my iPhone, iPad and coffee table and read from it often.

6. What new, modern tactic, tool, or aspect of marketing should marketers pay more attention to?

The ability to go into the “social” homes of their consumers and prospects, see and hear what they are talking about and interested in, and really get to know them where they live instead of waiting for them to come to their Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels. It seems so simple, but is being totally overlooked my almost all brands and marketers.

7. What good aspect of basic marketing have marketers neglected in recent years?

Oh, that’s easy. So many have forgotten about marketing to their target audience, and the importance of frequency. Make it relevant and of value and do it again and again.

8. What skills will marketers will need in the future? How do you stay sharp?

Clearly they will need to learn to wade through vast amounts of data. But more importantly they need to trust their judgment, guy instinct, and common sense, and not to make it all about data like some are suggesting.

9. What was the turning point in your career?

I have had many turning points in my career, but most recently is was jumping with both feet into the opportunities presented for relationship building at scale by the growth of social platforms, and not looking back.

10. How do you increase marketing’s relevance and influence in the organization?

Marketing’s relevance and influence will rise to the top when marketers not only use social tools to market to their consumers, but wrap a social shell around the entire organization to add value, create deeper employee loyalty, more effective knowledge sharing, improved brand reputation, lowered costs, and most importantly, increased revenues.

11. What blog would you recommend?

Here are three:,, and

12. How would you summarize your digital marketing strategy?

BE Authentic, don’t just ACT it. This might seem obvious… but authenticity is on the verge of becoming just another buzz word in social media marketing. TRUE authenticity (not just using that word often in your tweets and posts) will set your brand (product or personal) apart in today’s highly competitive market.

13. What experience in your past has best prepared you to be a marketing leader?

Being a divorced Dad, fighting to keep my daughters in my life, and then having to re-build my relationship with two teenage girls who were alienated from me.

14. How marketing leaders can be better mentors and true leaders of their teams?

Take the time to listen to your employees. Even when it’s about what they did for the weekend. Make it known that you truly care.

14. Any final thoughts or anything else you would like to share?

Welcome to the ‘Age of Influence,’ where anyone can build an audience and effect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference. ANYONE

Relationships are like muscle tissue… the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become.

Thanks Ted!

As you can see Ted is all about relationships. His book, Return on Relationship was released January 29th.Connect with Ted via twitter at @TedRubin and follow his blog