Forbes CMO Leadership Talk: Alicia Tillman, SAP

By Thomas Barta
Last updated: October 04, 2018

In this Forbes interview with Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP, on key insights into successful CMO leadership were discussed:

  • Work-Life Balance: Alicia emphasized the importance of taking time off for self-reflection and rejuvenation despite the challenges of being a CMO and a parent, highlighting the value of protecting those moments.
  • Career and Parenthood: She discussed the challenge of balancing a successful career with parenthood and underscored the importance of finding a supportive work environment that aligns with one’s values.
  • Digital Priorities: Alicia advised against going it alone when making digital marketing choices and emphasized the importance of having a specialized team to make informed strategic decisions.
  • Team Management: She stressed the significance of clear expectations during the hiring process and consistent communication of expectations to build a strong team.
  • Building Trust: Alicia mentioned the importance of providing regular feedback and maintaining transparency to build trust within the team.
  • Defining Leadership Moments: She shared a defining leadership experience involving a team member who wasn’t performing and discussed the importance of setting clear expectations and accountability as a leader.
  • Marketing’s Role: Alicia highlighted the growing importance of marketing at SAP, particularly in reaching a broader and more diverse audience of technology users and decision-makers.
  • Proving Marketing’s Worth: She discussed the challenges of proving the value of brand development and emphasized the importance of brand visibility, especially in the context of influencing buyers early in their decision-making process.
  • Building Brand Presence: Alicia shared insights into building brand presence for products that many end consumers may not directly experience, emphasizing the need to be present across various touchpoints.
  • Confidence as a Leader: She drew confidence from results and the purpose-driven strategies that marketers can use to make a positive impact in the world, highlighting the value of aligning personal values with professional work.
  • Dreams and Purpose: Alicia’s professional dream is to be part of an organization that believes in the value of marketing and has a vision of changing the world. She also discussed her role as a mother and the importance of being a role model to her children.
  • Tough Choices: She acknowledged that life involves tough choices and that the greatest satisfaction often comes from the most effort. Despite the challenges, she finds inspiration in her ability to make a positive impact through her work at SAP.

Alicia Tillman’s leadership journey is characterized by her ability to balance personal and professional responsibilities, her commitment to transparency and accountability, and her focus on creating purpose-driven strategies that make a positive impact in the world.