by Amy Gesenhues, MarketingLand.com

Serving as EVP and CMO for Pet360 Inc., Rose Hamilton is responsible for the pet-focused e-commerce company’s consumer engagement strategy, marketplace positioning, overall growth plans, resource allocation and P&L management.

The Pet360 network is devoted to providing pet parents the information, products and advice they need to raise happy, healthy pets. Reaching more than 12 million pet parents each month, the company powers industry leading sites such as Pet360.com, petMD.com and PetFoodDirect.com.

Prior to joining Pet360, Hamilton served as the Vice President of E-commerce for Ann Taylor and LOFT where she oversaw the retailer’s online marketing strategy, site experience, and analytics.

With 18 years experience growing digital businesses for iconic brands and multi-channel retailers, Hamilton has led marketing, merchandising and loyalty programs for a variety of leading retailers and financial services organizations, including Chico’s FAS, Best Buy, Wilsons Leather and US Bank.

In 2013, Hamilton received The CMO Club’s Rising Star Award and was recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Women in the Pet Industry Network. She sits on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania SPCA, Advisory Board for Remodista, Advisory Board for Women in Retail, and Advisory Board for iMedia Communications. Hamilton holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Business.

Rose Hamilton, EVP & CMO @ Pet360, Inc.

  • Age: Ageless
  • HQ: Plymouth Meeting, PA
  • First Job: Sesame Street Live PR Intern
  • Apple or Android? Apple
  • Hobby: Fitness, Photography & Fashion
  • Favorite Musician: Sting

What mobile device can you not live without?

My iPhone

Which apps do you use most often for work?

Twitter – my source for news.

What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?

Facebook – I love to stay connected with my personal community.

What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?

Pet360, Inc. sales

Take me through your typical workday.

There is no typical work day for me! In an entrepreneurial, fast-growing, integrated digital media company, every day is an adventure.

What does your desk look like?

My desk is very clean with limited clutter by design. I like to keep my work space clear so that I can focus without distractions. We just moved into a new office space that allows us to bring our pets to work. I love that I can bring my two-year-old rescued Maltipoo, Princess, to work with me because she brings out the best in me and inspires my work.

When Princess or any of the other pets join us, we are all far more happy, engaged and productive, as you can tell in this recent Pet360 video from our Barkapalooza event:

What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?

The acquisition of Only Natural Pet – our house brand – has been exciting because it gives us the opportunity to educate pet parents about the benefits of natural pet products across all of our brands.

How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?

I’ve traveled from the east coast to the west coast over the past 12 months and nothing was more interesting than the BlogPaws Social Media Conference in Lake Las Vegas. Cats, dogs, ferrets, and bunnies got to roam the conference, and take a trip down the red carpet in the latest pet fashions. I’m fascinated by the passion and creativity these influential bloggers bring to the pet parent community every day.

What work challenge keeps you up at night?

As a leader in a fast-growing, entrepreneurial and innovative organization, the list of challenges and opportunities is vast! To continue growing in pursuit of our vision, it will be critical that we build the right culture, attract and retain the best and brightest talent, work collaboratively across functions to fuel innovation, and most importantly, “fail fast” to keep our learning organization inspired.

Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?

When I arrived at the company, I inherited a “flash sales” business concept for pet parents that was in its infancy stage. After we built and launched the brand Petoolah, we learned that demand wasn’t as high as we expected and the cost to support the brand was much more than we expected. While I’m disappointed the business results didn’t produce the financials we expected, the “fast fail” approach yielded critical insights that we otherwise wouldn’t have today.

Throughout the project, we learned many things about pet parents that went on to inspire elements of the Pet360.com brand. To close the Petoolah chapter, we held an Irish wake and celebrated all we had learned along the way!

Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.

I’ve been very fortunate to have several supportive mentors throughout my career. The first influence on my career was my Public Relations Instructor Kitty Shea. Kitty taught me the art of headline writing that turns heads and captures hearts. While I loved writing a good story, I fell in love with writing concise and compelling headlines that motivated action, thanks to Kitty.

Then, John Welsh, owner of an advertising agency, introduced me to direct marketing, where headlines were measurable and rang the cash register. John and my boss, Francoise Shirley, introduced me to new business development, direct marketing, and financials, which led me down the direct marketing road that eventually intersected with e-commerce and digital marketing.

What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?

Change Agent: Technology and customer needs are constantly changing, opening new opportunities for marketers every day. Successful CMOs embrace challenge and change and encourage collaboration on new ideas. Test, test, test! And bust through “fear of failure” by encouraging the “fast fail” approach.

Customer Insight: Skilled marketing leaders can identify trends, develop new ideas and engage cross-functional teams in unique ways that positively impact both the top and bottom line.

Relationship Building: No CMO can do it all on their own. Developing a strong internal and external network is critical to advancing quickly. From talent acquisition to identifying new partners, a strong external network and strong internal allies can help marketing leaders achieve faster results.

Team Leadership: From attracting to retaining talent, it’s critical to build a strong and empowered marketing team. A good CMO can identify potential and empower success with challenging and rewarding opportunities.

Analytic Horsepower: Translating customer data into meaningful insights that help drive change is a critical trait for any marketing leader. While there are loads of conversations on “big data,” translating relevant customer behavior into actionable insights that influence decisions will make all the difference.

Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?

When I was in high school, I played Sandy in the musical Grease.

Why did you go into marketing?

Marketing found me because I love balancing the art of storytelling, the science of testing and research, the financial choices of P&L management, and the gift of leading people.

What other career would you like to try and why?

I’m always curious to learn about people, politics and crisis. I think it would be fascinating to travel the world as a broadcast journalist, like Barbara Walters, interviewing interesting people to share insights with my audience.

What’s the last business book you read?

I most recently read Extreme Trust: Honesty as a Competitive Advantage by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers for a second time. While I have always believed in the power of 1:1 marketing, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers lay out a very clear picture of customer relationships being the link to longer term value. And their book helps to quantify the value of customer engagement that builds trust.

Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?

As a female executive and mother of a young daughter, the Ban Bossy Campaign, encouraging girls to lead, caught my eye. I recognize how important it is to encourage voices to be heard, especially girls, when they may be the minority in a conversation. However, I might slightly change the words to “embrace” bossy rather than “ban” bossy and encourage girls to lead. My “inner bossy” is what helps me to try new things and remain persistent in the face of opposition. Helping girls harness their opinions and learn how to “influence” others can change the world!