Elissa Fink is one of those people that make you think "how does she do it"? Among being one of the friendliest and forthcoming people we know, she is beyond talented in the area of marketing.
Elissa Fink was Tableau Software’s CMO for over 11 years and retired at the end of 2018. She is credited with driving marketing strategy and execution through all stages of growth, taking the company from a small startup with ~$5 million in revenue to a publicly held industry leader with over $1 billion in revenue. Elissa built the Tableau brand andcultivated the enthusiastic Tableau fanbase from just a few hundred to hundreds of thousands. Sheserves on boards, advises fast-growth tech companies in scaling and marketing strategy, and also teaches at the University of Washington.
We recently had the chance to interview Elissa about what she is currently up to and how she tackles times of chaos.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share with us what you do and the story about how you first got started?
I am currently serving on a few private company boards, advising fast-growing tech companies and doing some teaching at the University of Washington. I'm probably best known for being the CMO of Tableau Software as it grew from $5 million in revenue to over $1 billion; in general, my "thing" is being a data-driven B2B marketer.
I was really lucky to find myself in an advertising sales job out of college where I learned up close all about marketing and selling, especially marketing and selling with data and market research. Soon after I discovered my love for technology and found myself working for a marketing software and database company when marketers were just getting their hands into technology. Ultimately, that love for data, marketing and technology took me to Tableau.
What is your number one advice to a business owner in today’s climate?
In today's world, my advice to a business owner would be to be hopefully pragmatic. What I mean by that is to face the challenges and changes of today's environment head-on but also to be looking for opportunities. There are going to be winners and losers so be real about what your chances are. But at the same time, once you've got a realistic view of your risks, you can start plotting how you can be successful in this new climate. Because there are opportunities everywhere.
How do you handle times of chaos? As I handle times of plentitude. I remind myself "this too shall pass." In good times, it's reminded me to be grateful and to be present especially in the small moments of joy. In times of chaos, it's reminded me that we can and do get through challenging times and that we can remain challenged but hopeful.
- early or late riser? Late. Only do early morning if it still feels like really late the previous night.
- texting or email? Texting.
- what is the last article you read? Tough one. I read NY Times, Washington Post, Axios and FlipBoard every morning. But tonight, September 18, I've been binging on articles about the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So inspiring, so amazing, so brilliant - I'm heartbroken but grateful for all she accomplished.
Thank you, Elissa, for taking the time to do this interview. We are in awe of you and your accomplishments.
kinfizz is your go-to company for marketing strategy during times of chaos. Be it due to changing times, leadership changes, M&A or new ventures.
We love chaos. Yes, you read that correctly. The more chaos the better. We also love change. Chaos and change, two words that get most people running away from a company. But for us, that is where we excel. kinfizz has helped companies worldwide since 2014 using a process known as blue-penciling. We come in and blue-pencil things back to calm and peaceful. The goal is to find the good stuff and eliminate the waste (of time, money and resources). In effect, we improve sales and marketing processes using existing, internal resources. Kinfizz is located in Los Angeles and our work has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNBC, TechCrunch, and Entrepreneur.