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Why I’m excited about our new Chief Marketing Officer

Pierce Ujjainwalla

By Pierce Ujjainwalla

·

Updated Jan 31, 2024

Published Jul 10, 2023

Why I’m excited about our new Chief Marketing Officer

Summary - With Mychelle Mollot on board, we’re moving to a whole new level.

One of the challenges start-ups face is attracting top-level talent.

It’s difficult, when you’re new and largely unknown, to get experienced people to work for you. That’s because it’s a risk for them to join a team with a limited track record, and also because start-ups can have a hard time paying the salaries that experienced people have every right to expect.

This is an especially difficult conundrum when it comes to marketing, because a start-up needs aggressive marketing to make itself known.

I’m pleased to be able to say that Knak has now reached a point where it’s been able to break out of that start-up’s conundrum.

We have just hired Mychelle Mollot as our new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). I am delighted because I know Mychelle is exactly the kind of top-level talent we need to move forward.

A strong background and a good fit

I’ve known and worked with Mychelle for a very long time.

She was at Cognos when I joined that company in my first job right out of university. Mychelle was my boss’s boss’s boss, responsible for managing product marketing, market strategy and campaigns (among other things.)

Her team at Cognos was full of analytical people who were ahead of their time in their use of numbers and reporting and technology. I remember them doing virtual conferences as far back as 2007, and they were using digital marketing better than anyone else.

Because I had never known anything else at the time, I thought all marketing teams operated as smoothly and efficiently as the one at Cognos. It was only later, when I started consulting, that I realized what a special place Cognos was in those years. Mychelle had built and managed a huge team, and done it very successfully, at a time when Cognos was growing.

Later, as Chief Marketing Officer for Klipfolio and more recently Solace, she was instrumental in helping both companies grow. At Solace, under her direction, the marketing staff grew from five people to 27, and the number of sales development representatives went from six to 19. (During her six years there, Solace went from 200 employees to 800.)

When we started looking for a new CMO, we decided that we wanted a person who had really helped a company grow. That’s because it’s one thing to inherit a well-oiled machine, and quite another to drive growth and build a strong team while doing it.

From that perspective, Mychelle fits the bill.

Mychelle has the added advantage of knowing Knak very well.

For the past three years, while working at Solace, she has been a member of our Board of Advisors. In that capacity, she has been able to give us guidance and offer her perspective; working with her has always been a positive experience.

And because Solace was a customer of Knak, she knows what we can do from a customer perspective. She saw how we helped Solace and that insight will be invaluable in her new role. In fact, one of the reasons she’s so excited about joining us is that she has first-hand experience of how much Knak can help marketers, and she sees the potential for growth.

What having a CMO will mean for us

Getting alignment between sales and marketing is always a challenge, and we’re convinced Mychelle can help make that alignment happen. She has years of experience both as a marketer and as a CMO, and she gets my vision of marketing.

Her background in product marketing and her ability to hone in on the market is another big advantage. So is her credibility and her high profile in our home town of Ottawa.

We are looking forward to her leading, mentoring and building our marketing team.

We are also looking forward to her raising Knak’s profile with the right people.

That means telling potential customers about us, and sharing our incredible customer success stories with the right people so that we can acquire even more customers.

Mychelle is, for all intents and purposes, our first CMO.

Last time we had a CMO we were only nine people. We’ve revived the job now because conditions have changed. With nearly 100 employees and a growing list of customers, we’re at a point where we need an active and experienced CMO to keep us on our growth trajectory.

People want to connect with their peers; we now have someone CMOs in other companies can connect with at their level – someone whose résumé and experience speak for themselves. I think this will really improve our ability to reach the right people.

Making Knak top-of-mind

I’m looking forward to working with Mychelle to build a scalable lead-generation machine. I want Knak to be top-of-mind when any company, big or small, starts thinking of building marketing email and landing pages.

I want those marketing campaigns made with Knak to be successful, so that our customers can share their stories with the world.

I want our marketing team to be excited and energized when they come to work every day, happy to learn and improve and not be afraid to try new things.

And I’d like to see Knak evolve into the brand I think we should be – a premium brand known for its amazing design.

By the way, Mychelle Mollot’s appointment as our new Chief Marketing Officer creates an opening on Knak’s Board of Advisors.

We’re looking for someone amazing who can help Knak grow into its potential. Think you can help us? Reach out to me on LinkedIn.


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Pierce Ujjainwalla

Author

Pierce Ujjainwalla

Co-Founder & CEO, Knak

Pierce is a career marketer who has lived in the marketing trenches at companies like IBM, SAP, NVIDIA, and Marketo. He launched Knak in 2015 as a platform designed to help Marketers simplify email creation. He is also the founder of Revenue Pulse, a marketing operations consultancy.

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