Chief Brand Massager Melding personal and professional passions
Debbie Gonzalez loves trying new
and fresh ways to market a brand .
Before moving into franchising with Massage Envy in 2014 , she held marketing leadership roles at Kellogg ’ s , Gerber , Herman Miller , and PetSmart . Today , as chief brand officer for the Scottsdale , Az .-based company , Gonzalez says the work she does has a familiar feel . “ These companies all share a focus on health and well-being , two personal passions I have been able to extend to my professional passions .”
Gonzalez is an active leader who believes in the power of social media . Last year , for example , Massage Envy introduced a rebranding campaign called “ Because Everything .” The goal was to educate consumers on the importance of total body care , and to get them thinking differently about massages and skincare services and incorporate them regularly into their wellness plans .( See the brand launch video : http :// bit . ly / 1o7efmu ).
Gonzalez was also behind the controls last summer when the brand launched its first Father ’ s Day social campaign ,# HugDrive , which arose from the idea that hugs , like regular massages , can also improve overall well-being . “ The campaign garnered 24,000 pledges , and for every pledge Massage Envy donated $ 1 to the Arthritis Foundation up to $ 10,000 ,” she says .
Market research and customer data analytics are front and center for Gonzalez . One of the first tasks she took on when she joined the company was to pore through all the information she could find about the industry , marketplace , competition , consumer perceptions of the brand , and member / guest behaviors . She and her team then filled in any gaps with additional
BY KERRY PIPES
research on customer segmentation , brand tracking , and behavioral analytics .
“ Once we pulled the insights together , developing the next chapter of the brand ’ s story became clear and exciting : getting consumers to understand that this category is not just about convenient and
affordable massage and skin care . These are things that should be proactive and integral parts of everyone ’ s well-being journey ,” she says .
With two decades of marketing experience on her resume , Gonzalez says she is relishing working with her team to develop new programs to drive new guest counts and increase revenue per customer and member retention .
Describe your role as CMO . My actual title is chief brand officer , and I think that is an important distinction in this business .
My role is to help grow the business for our more than 1,150 franchised locations . This requires a deep understanding of the beliefs , behaviors , and motivations of our target consumer , and developing programs that drive new guest counts , increased revenue per customer , and member retention .
What ’ s unique about the CMO position at Massage Envy ? My position ( chief brand officer ) at Massage Envy is different than that at most companies . We are in the service business and we count on more than 35,000 associates across our franchise locations to deliver the brand promise more than 50,000 times each day . So when I use the word “ customer ,” I am often referring both to members and guests , as well as the therapists , estheticians , managers , and frontdesk associates who work in our locations . My team is organized into two groups : one that manages consumer brand marketing , and one that manages employee brand programs . The two groups work closely together to ensure that we are delivering the brand promise , “ We help you take care of you ,” for both “ customers .”
What ’ s the most challenging part of being a CMO today ? The role has certainly evolved as technology has advanced and provided more sophisticated and effective ways to reach existing and prospective customers . Marketing used to be considered primarily a creative field , but today it is critical that a CMO also be versed in data analytics and technology innovation .
What are the 3 most important keys to being an effective CMO leader today ? The role of CMO today extends far beyond what was once defined as marketing . Technology has changed the way customers behave and their expectations of businesses and brands . They expect you to know them and give them a seamless experience : what they want , when they want it , and how and where they prefer to engage . Effective CMOs must leverage data and analytics to fully understand