In today’s data-driven world, we all have information, statistics, and reports at our fingertips 24/7. However, accessing this information is only part of the challenge we face; great marketing leaders cut through the noise to find the signal, digesting data quickly and smartly to identify the right metrics by which to measure their success.
Marketing doesn’t operate in a silo; it’s part of a cross-functional business strategy. Successful leaders realize that marketing is part of a relay race; their job is to get a winning lead before handing off the baton to sales, who can convert that lead into an opportunity.
This is where Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO of Mavens & Moguls, excels in the niche as a coherent leader with extraordinary strategies, resulting in vast business growth.
Moreover, under his coherent leadership, Mavens & Moguls envisions a future where all organizations, regardless of size or budget, have access to the best marketing talent on an outsourced basis to help them find their audience with the right words and pictures to tell their stories in compelling ways.
In an interview with Insights Success, Paige shares valuable facts highlighting his professional tenure and the significance of Mavens & Moguls in the niche.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Mavens & Moguls. What challenges have you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My dad and both grandfathers were commercial bankers in the South. I was always good with math and numbers, like my dad, an Economics major in college. I started my career in NYC on Wall Street in the 80s, thinking I would follow the 3 of them in finance, albeit a more intense path.
I was good at the job, and it paid very well, but I did not really enjoy it at all, so I decided to return to grad school to get an MBA to figure out a better fit. There were really only 3 parts of my investment banking job I truly enjoyed — upon completing a deal, transaction, merger or sale, I was responsible for planning the closing dinner, advertising it in the financial trade publications, and buying a gift for the team to commemorate and celebrate its completion.
My friend pointed out to me that the parts of the job I most enjoyed were not, in fact, finance in nature at all. They were all under the marketing function—event planning, advertising and promotions.
I also got the top grade in my first year required marketing course for my MBA and a great summer internship that led to a full-time offer in marketing post-graduation. My friend was right and very perceptive; I was not meant to be a banker after all but a marketer!
I worked at a series of more mainstream corporate jobs for 1-3.5 years at places like Procter & Gamble and Coke; then I ran marketing at 3 successful venture-backed startups that all had strong exits for 1-2 years each, so if you had told me my longest job would be at a company I started I would have said that’s crazy yet here I am running a global branding and digital marketing firm that I started 20+ years ago right after 9/11 when the startup I ran marketing for cut their budget, so I hung out a shingle and the rest, as they say, is history. I guess that makes me an accidental entrepreneur.
Tell us something more about your company and its mission and vision.
How we deliver on our vision has changed, but I think we are more relevant today than when we started 2+ decades ago; great stories never go out of style. I want to bring world-class marketing talent and expertise to organizations that want to make a difference in the world.
Your core values and mission statement are intangible assets that are your roadmap to success. They must evolve as you grow and are reflected in your branding because people choose to do business with companies that align with their values, so this information needs to be visible to them. Your mission also gives your team a clear objective, which helps them to make decisions that align with the company’s purpose.
Enlighten us on the impact of your work through your expertise in the market.
Since starting my business, I have joined boards and volunteered at several organizations. I am a mentor to the next generation of leaders and have helped build a very successful anti-bullying program that >150,000 middle school aged kids have gone through. As a marketing consultant, I am able to write articles, contribute to books and speak at events to share my experience and lessons learned.
Volunteering is a great way to give back and get to know like-minded people who care about causes you believe in. I am on the boards of several nonprofits; volunteering is the ultimate way to do well by doing good. In my experience the more you give, the more you get.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
It is important to me to stay true to my core beliefs. Loyalty is one of my core values—a commitment to myself and to others whom I respect. It’s important to me to gauge how many colleagues and customers come back and refer us to those who trust them. Being true to the mission of the organization and delivering superior experiences matter to me a lot too.
Having the confidence to walk away from a client or colleague who’s diluting the equity in your brand is tough, but it’s necessary sometimes. You must always be authentic to the essence of your brand and surround yourself with people who reinforce your brand and its values–not tarnish it.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
Technology is essential for my business today; it has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic. Pivoting to online meetings, webinars, etc., has been a smart and productive way for companies can continue to have conversations that educate and inform, build relationships and move forward during this crisis period.
Social media is also a great way to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients/customers. With Zoom, social media, cell phones, etc. we see that technology does not have to be isolating; it can be used to build our real-world communities and relationships too!
What, according to you, could be the next significant change in the IT sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
I think AI and ChatGPT are already having major impact/making waves for entrepreneurs and SMBs, especially when your task is low stakes, with high fluency (i.e. writing copy); conversational AI is likely a good fit for the task. The possibilities for entrepreneurs are everywhere to save time, increase productivity and replace jobs.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run, and what are your future goals for Mavens and Moguls?
I have no idea where my business will go post-pandemic. Still, I have built a great foundation with interesting clients and colleagues who value communication and want to use marketing best practices to make a difference in the world. It has been a circuitous route to get here, but as Steve Jobs said, only by looking backwards can you make real sense of connecting the dots in life.
I believe I am on the right path and am going to follow it and see where it goes. The lessons from the pandemic that will stay with me include my gratitude and appreciation for the simplicity of good food, nature, my inner circle, essential products/services and health.
In my experience, the sayings are true: your network is your net worth, and your health is your wealth. Everything else is a distraction, so stay focused on what matters most!
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
If I have learned anything in my career as an entrepreneur, here are the lessons that have really stuck with me:
Not getting what you want can lead you to magical outcomes, and you learn a lot more from failure than success in life.
When things work well, you never really know why, but when there are problems, mistakes or failures, you have a real learning opportunity to see which assumptions were incorrect, and that is the knowledge you will never forget again. The hard-fought lessons that come from age and experience are gold. Being in the trenches together is where I have met some of my best friends and colleagues, though those relationships are deep.
Looking back at what you once thought was a failure could make you realize it was, in fact, a blessing in disguise…
Whether you were laid off, overlooked for the job or did not get the full bonus you expected, as Winston Churchill said, failure is not fatal and being resilient is really what matters in life; you have to keep trying again. My definition of success changed once I left corporate life to become an entrepreneur.
I realized I did not need to run a Fortune 500 company to be happy; I love building a small business and growing it successfully. Entrepreneurship is scary, but you can’t wait for the perfect time to act; you just have to course correct as you get more feedback along the way.
Learn to get comfortable making decisions without perfect information. Entrepreneurs never give up on their beliefs; dreams can become a reality when you pursue them with intention and courage. When you learn from every setback, you make better mistakes over time; in my experience, that is where you learn the most! You learn to do by doing. Course correct and pivot along the way; it makes for a fun path in life.