The marketing toolkit that Gail Moody-Byrd works from is exceptional. It has to be. As CMO for Noodle.ai, her task is a tall one: be the guiding voice for a global leader in enterprise artificial intelligence to help create a world without waste.
To get there, Gail oversees the entire marketing stack for Noodle, and knows how to fill the pipeline. She combines a sharp mind for crunching analytics to measure successes, and the creativity to bring a retail mindset to Noodle’s B2B marketing every chance she gets. She prioritizes client value to build lasting relationships that elevate the company’s value. And she’s an expert at converting interest in messaging into tangible business opportunities.
But in what Gail calls a, “crucial year to get messaging right,” she also uses every bit of her decades-long experience and agile leadership to strike the perfect balance between selling and empathy. To remain committed to social justice and equality while working to understand how to present Noodle as intention-driven, authentic, and authoritative — even in turbulent times.
With all that on her plate — as well as making time to serve on two executive boards — Gail is an inspirational addition to our Marketers to Watch series. She recently took time out of her busy schedule to share a little about her journey from global powerhouse SAP to the Noodle.ai startup, touch on what B2B marketers can learn from the retail space, and offer advice for aspiring CMOs.
LinkedIn: Tell us about your current role. What attracted you to Noodle.ai after a long and impressive run with SAP?
Gail Moody-Byrd: I’ve been CMO at Noodle.ai for two-and-a-half years. We’re the leading provider of FlowOperations applications to manufacturers and supply chains, restoring perfect flow from raw materials to shelf. It’s been a joyful, rollicking journey at Noodle, where Marketing leads the charge to get our advanced AI software in the hands of every planner and operator on the planet. That includes branding, PR, AR, demand gen, MOPS, and content marketing.
I joined Noodle.ai at a critical stage in its progression towards IPO. It was time to digitally transform and scale marketing, so the experience I gained as a part of SAP’s 2,000-person marketing group, targeting B2B enterprise software decision-makers, was perfect. At Noodle.ai, we’re an agile team, so I was drawn to the opportunity to become a part of the C-Suite and leadership as we navigate this fast-growth category.
LI: Decades ago, you consulted in McKinsey’s retail practice and are now on the board for Grocery Outlet Holding Corp. What are some key lessons B2B marketers could draw from the retail space?
Gail: I am ALWAYS talking about ringing a retail mindset to B2B marketing! This means watching the “cash register ring” every day. Was there an email or LinkedIn post that drove a conversion from a target account to an opportunity? Did a marketing-generated lead move to proposal or close yesterday? Did BD schedule a coveted intro meeting yesterday? The mentality of keeping the daily pulse of the business in B2B is just as important as it is in retail.
LI: In overseeing the entire marketing stack for Noodle.ai, how do you divide up your time and energy? What are you most focused on daily?
Gail: I’m focused on building a qualified pipeline for the business. This is what our business requires at this stage of its growth. That said, accomplishing this includes building awareness (branding, PR, AR, Content Marketing), advancing leads through the funnel (DG and MOPS), and post-sales customer advocacy (success stories captured in various media formats). All these actions lead to bigger, better pipeline results.
LI: What advice would you give to aspiring CMOs, especially those from underrepresented groups who can contribute to greater diversity in leadership?
Gail: I’ve got a few thoughts on this. First, bring your whole self to work. The point of view you hold may not be on the minds of others. Not because they are exclusionary, but simply because it is not part of their worldview. Speak up — make your voice heard. You are there for a reason. Build relationships beyond the professional by joining colleagues for social activities. Make it measurable: Never leave any question about the impact of what you are delivering.
LI: The last year has been a turbulent one for society, with COVID lockdowns and civil unrest stemming from George Floyd’s killing. What do you view as the most significant challenges, changes, or lessons of the past 12 months from a marketing standpoint?
Gail: The lesson for me has been about how to present our brand as intention-driven without co-opting the tragedy of George Floyd to demonstrate our “wokeness.”
Immediately after the tragedy, many brands felt compelled to post “Black Lives Matter” messages, change their profile image, and so on. We didn’t do that. Noodle.ai has the intention to propagate “FlowOperations to create a world without waste.” We decided to remain true to our intention and not shift to reflect popular sentiment.
We DID take an action that would have a tangible impact on our community, exposing an underexposed young person to the technology business: we’re sponsoring/hosting a CODE2040 intern in engineering, which will happen this Summer 2021!
LI: What’s something a business colleague or peer in the industry did over the past year that helped or inspired you? (Maybe they’re not even aware of it?)
Gail: I want to call out two colleagues for their help in planning Noodle.ai’s fifth anniversary celebration, on Pi Day 2021, on Clubhouse. @RobGordonIV and @JeremiahOwyang surrounded me with expertise to enable us to host a Pi Day Clubhouse with Garry Kasparov, chess grandmaster.
An excerpt from my blog on the event: “Let me skip to the punchline: We successfully launched FlowOps on Clubhouse and attracted over 18,000 asynchronous listeners during our 94 minute Room, Noodling Around: Pi w/ Garry Kasparov & Noodle.ai. We exceeded expectations and had a great time doing it.”
LI: Any final thoughts?
Gail: It’s been a crucial year to get communications right given the multiple crises of COVID-19, race relations and economic uncertainty. It’s been essential to strike the right balance between selling and empathy. Noodle.ai thinks about this all the time, making sure that we communicate with authenticity as well as authority and pride in our groundbreaking products.
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