Elissa Fink: Building Brand to Last [Built in Seattle Ep. #31]
2 min read

Elissa Fink: Building Brand to Last [Built in Seattle Ep. #31]

Board Director and Former Tableau CMO, Elissa Fink talks about thinking in bets, scaling teams that endure, and building brand.

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Elissa Fink is one of my favorite CMOs to learn from.

Salesforce paid $15.7B to buy Tableau. No doubt their brand & market position was one big reason. Elissa was Tableau's long-time CMO from less than $5M in revenue to IPO and over $1B in revenue.

She told me that "every demand in touch is brand touch." And shared so many leadership lessons from Tableau, advising, and startup boards.

Now she is helping companies like Talend, Qumulo, Pantheon, and Intellimize as a Board Member and CMO Advisor. From this experience she's able to see the patterns for success.

Elissa shares her lessons on this episode of The Built in Seattle Podcast

Episode Highlights

  • The joy of building something from nothing in the long-term.
  • Why the Tableau leadership stayed together from startup to IPO.
  • What motivated Elissa to move across the country and take a risk on a startup.
  • Why the Tableau CEO became a student of other tech companies.
  • The common patterns Elissa sees on startup Boards.
  • Why business is more like Poker than Chess.
  • What great Boards do to help operators filter out the noise.
  • How Elissa would build a team if she was starting over.
  • Why "every demand generation touch is a brand touch"
  • How to define a brand based on emotions.
  • The importance of letting people be their true selves.
  • How Elissa answers "What is marketing? Do I need it?"
  • The constant balance between stretching and reinventing.
  • The difference between a good CMO and a great CMO.

Elissa Fink Bio

As a long time data-driven marketing executive, Elissa Fink retired from Tableau Software as Chief Marketing Officer. She now advises fast-growing companies and serves on multiple boards including Qumolo, Talend, and Pantheon. During her 11 years at Tableau, Elissa led all marketing strategy and execution, from pre-IPO start-up with ~$5 million annual revenue to public enterprise (NYSE:DATA) with $1+ billion in revenue. She knows growth, scale and building disruptive brands. Prior to Tableau, Elissa served in marketing, product management and product engineering executive positions at IXI (now Equifax), Tele Atlas (now Tom-Tom), and other technology companies. She began her career selling advertising for the Wall Street Journal. Elissa holds a BA from Santa Clara University and a MBA in Marketing and Decision Systems from the University of Southern California.