Career Journey with Marketing Leaders – Episode 2 with Gaston Tourn
Welcome to the next edition of this new mini blog series that sits down with CMOs and Senior Marketing Leaders from the CMO & Marketing Director Forum.
Each publication will ask them five questions about their career journey to date, greatest campaign, biggest failure, challenges facing CMOs and the advantages they hope to take in 2023.
I’m delighted to welcome our next guest in Gaston Tourn. After spending time at Google, Gaston has taken on CMO positions within companies such as Badoo, Emma, Appear Here and Curio.
Alex Marriner: Tell us a little about your marketing career and your journey to where you are today at Curio.
Gaston Tourn: When I was nine, I published my first article in a local newspaper asking the president of Argentina to increase teachers’ wages. Since then, I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. Journalism has the power to break echo chambers and improve our democracies. I studied communication at university, hoping to become a journalist, but life took me to tech.
I fell in love with the innovation and pace of technology and the value I could bring to this industry with my passion for language. I led marketing for different products at Google, working in Argentina, Brazil, the US and the UK.
I left Google to join scale-ups and have been CMO at Badoo Group (now Bumble Group), Emma and Appear Here. But in the back of my mind, there’s always been this question: “What would have happened if I followed a career in journalism?”.
That’s why I’m thrilled to have joined Curio as their CMO. It combines my two passions – journalism and tech – and has the potential to expand cultural horizons and foster better democracies. Curio has made my childhood dream a reality.
AM: Tell us about a campaign that you’re proud of.
GT: I’m proud to have led the Save The Street campaign during my tenure as CMO at Appear Here, the leading marketplace for retail spaces. During the pandemic, independent retailers were disproportionately impacted by lockdowns, while most government support was focused on large retailers.
With Save The Street, we amplified the voices of independent shopkeepers and brought their concerns to the forefront of the UK government’s attention. Independent retailers received the support they so desperately needed thanks to our efforts.
The campaign not only successfully improved the conditions of thousands of small businesses, but it was also a creatively enriching experience that allowed us to establish an emotional connection with independent retailers. We even wrote a poem to save the street.
AM: What are the key challenges facing CMOs in 2023?
GT: During an economic downturn, staying afloat requires more than just a good product. To survive, you must effectively market your product as a necessity. During recessions, ‘nice-to-haves’ are often the first to disappear.
It’s crucial to collaborate closely with your product team to create a solution that delivers critical value and continuously reinforces that value through your marketing.
AM: What are the most significant opportunities you hope to take advantage of this year?
GT: As Voltaire famously stated, “The opportunity for doing mischief is found a hundred times a day, and of doing good once in a year.” It is an opportunity to rise above and create something meaningful in troubled times.
I’m eager to build a product that truly delivers value. With Curio, we empower people to be one step ahead of the world by providing access to a diverse range of perspectives from over 50 publications. Our team curates the best content for our users, saving them the hassle of subscribing to multiple sources. In fact, subscribing to all these publications would cost over £1,400 per year, ten times more than the price of Curio.
During challenging economic times, this offers a convenient and cost-effective solution for those looking to save money and time without compromising on the quality of information they receive.
AM: What has been your biggest marketing failure? And what were the key learnings you gained from that experience?
GT: My biggest marketing mistake was to prioritise internal stakeholders over directly connecting with customers. This approach resulted in relying on tried-and-true marketing tactics without fully grasping my customers’ unique needs and wants.
When starting at a new company, the urge to make an immediate impact is strong, but taking the time to get to know your audience before implementing any strategies is crucial. Now, I make a deliberate effort to spend my first month engaging with customers.
At Curio, I monitored our social media, reached out to our most engaged users, and even invited them for coffee to better understand their needs and how we can improve our product. This approach allowed me to develop a customised marketing strategy that delivers a much greater impact than generic tactics, which may only result in average outcomes for most brands.
Alex Marriner is the Founder & Leadership Search Consultant at Acquire Digital Talent.
Acquire Digital Talent is a people-first Leadership Search Firm that exclusively partners with Technology companies and Consumer brands to build Digital & Growth Marketing Leadership teams. Our expertise and reputation ensure successful delivery across niche, critical and executive appointments from Seed to Series A and beyond.
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