Becoming a CMO – 5 tips with Simona Graziani

5 Tips for Wannabe CMOs with Simona Graziani

Welcome back Croners with our marketing column 5 tips for CMOs Wannabe. Our guest today has a brilliant academic career and has found marketing to be her love at first sight.

Simona Graziani is now the CMO at Takyon, a fast-growing, successful startup. 

Let's start with the basis: who's Simona?

Hi guys! I’m Simona and if I should describe myself in 3 adjectives I would say: energetic, positive and sportive. Since my childhood, when I have an objective in mind I fight and put all my energy into reaching it, always keeping a smile on my face.

In my free time, I love hiking, playing padel (I’d love to open my own padel centre) and trying different cuisines. But what I love most of all is being the aunt of two fantastic children, Kevin and Bianca, and spoiling them more than their grandparents!

And now, a brief recap of your career

To be honest, I’ve quite a common managerial academic background, with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Bocconi University in Milan. I then obtained a Double Degree at Esade Business School in Barcelona, which further consolidated my connection with Spain (that started in high school by studying the language). 

That bond led me to start my career in Spain.

I moved to Madrid to work for the FMCG company Procter & Gamble in the role of Brand Manager. For familiar reasons, I came back to Italy at the end of 2019 and joined Amazon as an e-commerce Manager and then as a Marketing Manager for Prime Student in Italy and Spain.

What brought you to the marketing world? How did you discover your passion?

I think it was faith/destiny or however you want to call it. During my first years at Bocconi, I thought I wanted to become a banker or a consultant as many of my colleagues at the time did.

My mum always suggested I  find my own path, more than follow all the others and it was by chance I applied to my first internship during my bachelor’s in a marketing role and I was selected.

 I then started to understand more about this world and become passionate about it. The possibility to be creative, think out of the box and propose initiatives was what more excited me and since then I changed my plans and thought that could have been my way.

What are your 5 tips for a CMO wannabe?
  1. Be motivated: find the project that makes you happy and motivates you. Without motivation, it’s impossible to create something incredible.
  2. Always be curious: find inspiration everywhere, keep updated about new trends, and follow other companies to see their updates. Never stop looking outside your company.
  3. Don’t worry to be different:  sometimes we are afraid of doing something in a different way. This leads us to be just average. Being different can instead bring much value. 
  4. Have high standards: even if time and budget are always limited, even more so in a start-up, always set high standards for the outputs.
  5. Test test test: having clear in mind that it’s impossible to be perfect, have the perfect final creativity or copy or any other material. Only by testing on the market, you will know what’s more appreciated or what works better for the customers.
What's your source of inspiration in marketing?

Other successful startups/companies and successful people. Not necessarily in the same business but also in other spheres.

I think that listening to their stories, ideas and views can really open your mind and find inspiration for your company. 

What's the most important soft skill to train in marketing?

Be real and spontaneous.

I think that representing reality in marketing communications at all levels is much more valuable than representing a perfect but fake world.

This has not always happened, even more so in the last years with the support of tools like Chat GPT that make communication okay maybe better and grammatically correct, but not real. I would like to see change, going back to a more real way of communicating.

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