Interview with Mark Bunting, CMO, Rackspace

Mark Bunting
Mark Bunting

” Both CMO and CTO are considered key stakeholders and the relationship between the two departments is no longer siloed, but very much collaborative.”

Tell us about your role at Rackspace and how you got here. What made you join a cloud computing company?

While I previously served in an interim CMO role with Rackspace, I threw my name in the hat to be considered for the fulltime position after falling in love with Rackspace’s incredible talent and company culture, broad portfolio of technology solutions and 20 year legacy of fanatical experience for its customers. Literally two weeks in, (after swearing I was not interested in the full time gig), I knew I had to become a permanent Racker. I’m thrilled to join this passionate, innovative team. The opportunity to redefine the New Rackspace is huge fun and quite an honor. I was also motivated to be a part of one of the best executive teams I have ever seen – bar none.

As Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), I lead the global marketing practice at Rackspace. We help customers of all industries, sizes and locations realize the power of digital transformation without the complexity and expense of managing it on their own. We’re delivering true transformation as a service across applications, data, security and infrastructure on the world’s leading public and private cloud platforms, which enables us to provide unbiased expertise.

What’s the most fascinating aspect of leading the marketing team in a tech-heavy industry?

I’m still surprised at how, despite the advances in both tools and talent, the challenge in this field has remained constant: how to tell a story. And in the technology industry, the stories and customer benefits change with such frequency. It’s the rapid pace of these dynamics that I find fascinating, challenging and exciting.

Marketing’s role within tech organizations in particular is also rapidly changing. More and more, both CMO and CTO are considered key stakeholders and the relationship between the two departments is no longer silod, but very much collaborative. It’s exciting to me to be a part of leading this transdisciplinary way of doing business.

Given the changing dynamic of marketing analytics and social media insights, how do you strategize your marketing roadmap?

The three biggest pieces of advice I have here are 1) be nimble in embracing change, 2) understand that there is no “one-size fits all” marketing strategy. While the technology landscape may change how we do things as marketers, we’re still charged with understanding at a fundamental level the marketing challenge and how to drive success. And 3), surf the data but don’t lose sight on the creative/story-telling component (balance, and balance again).

What are your predictions on the most influential disruptions in B2B commerce?

“Artificial Intelligence for $1000 Alex.”

What startups in the technology industry are you watching keenly right now?

The startups I currently find fascinating are primarily in the Augmented Reality (AR) space. The implications of AR are endless. Real time access to knowledge on demand in a mobile and hands-free environment is frankly nirvana for a marketer.

What marketing and sales automation tools and technologies do you currently use?

SFDC, Marketo and others.

Could you tell us about an outstanding digital campaign throughout your career?

During my time at McAfee, we launched SiteAdvisor, a product we acquired through an MIT startup that was designed to designate websites as “safe” (free of malware and other threats). We were tasked with generating 20 million downloads in a matter of weeks. This early digital campaign, combined with traditional media, was instrumental in us achieving that goal in record time.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader?

I’m not sure any of us are truly “ready” for the full impact of AI. The acceleration of data was a true curve ball. AI is a full high speed knuckler… it’s fast pitch and most of us are scrambling to fully grip the bat. The best way to prepare is to ingest learning and experiment – quickly.

How do you inspire your people to work with technology?

Fortunately, my teams are very much self-motivated when it comes to working with technology. I don’t feel the need to inspire them to enjoy technology as it’s something I think inherently interests them. I’ve found that people get excited about new tools, new ways of doing things and that they largely embrace change.

One word that best describes how you work.

Passionately

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I don’t think there are ANY that I can’t live without… Ok, maybe a few:

  • Mobile banking app – I don’t go into a bank unless I need a notary.
  • Waze – Godsend
  • TasteBud – Food ideas/deals on campus – great app.
  • Zoom, Schwab, ESPN, Slack

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

In 2016 I truly mastered Siri’s hands-free functionality.

I spend seven hours a week in the car between Dallas-Austin-San Antonio. I use Siri to recite emails, articles and more. I speech-to-text the majority of my texts and email. Hands-free is my productivity hack. I look goofy in public but I sure get a lot done.

What are you currently reading? 

As mentioned above, I am spend a lot time on the road so I like to use Siri as a text-to-speech tool to consume information.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Do things for something other than money or just yourself. Those two masters alone will never bring you joy.

Something you do better than others – the secret of your success?

I love what I do. I don’t “go to work”… I “GET to go to work”. Most of us are better at things we enjoy. I have loved my career.. all of it. Creating and building and seeing the rewards of turning ideas into commerce, young talent into success, etc. If I had a secret it’s likely not a secret at all.. I put in very long passion-filled hours and frequently win by passion-fuel effort and eventually attrition.

Tag the one person (or more) in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read.

Paul Schiller, Apple CMO. STUD.. period.

Robert “Bob” Metcalfe, founder of 3COM, inventor of Ethernet – in fact I will ask Bob these questions as I see him frequently at UT Austin where we both now teach

Thank you, Mark! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.

As Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Bunting leads the global marketing practice for Rackspace, including global marketing strategy and all aspects of the marketing organization including communications, brand, advertising, creative, digital, field and channel marketing.

Mark brings more than 25 years of experience as a technologist, author, TV personality and influencer to Rackspace. He has served as interim CEO and CMO at various technology companies where his experiences ranged from driving traditional marketing strategy and deployment, to sales and marketing organizational restructure, to agency and personnel selection and team building. Mark has also held acting C-suite roles at Apollo Education and McAfee, and currently serves as a mentor to numerous technology start-ups at the Texas-based accelerator Capital Factory. In addition to his experience in the C-suite, Mark is a recognized TV personality on the topic of demystifying technology and has appeared on programs for The Discovery Channel, CNBC, The Learning Channel, Fox and his own series, “Bunting’s Window,” which ran for 23 years on 11 airlines globally. A serial entrepreneur, he has also founded numerous digital and media brands, including SkyTV, which was sold to Ziff-Davis.

Mark is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he is currently a lecturer at the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. He is based in the company’s San Antonio and Austin, TX offices.

Rackspace
Rackspace is modernizing IT in today’s multi-cloud world. By delivering IT as a service, we help customers of all industries, sizes, and locations realize the power of digital transformation without the complexity and expense of managing it on their own. Our comprehensive portfolio of managed services across applications, data, security and infrastructure on the world’s leading public and private cloud platforms enables us to provide unbiased expertise. Rackspace has been honored by Fortune, Forbes, Glassdoor and others as one of the best places to work.

The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.

Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *