Celebrity CMO Jeff Hayzlett was a big hit at Yahoo's Global Sales Conference--so much so that we invited him back to our Sunnyvale HQ as part of our "Outside In" speaker series. We sat down with Jeff to talk about Yahoo!, his new book "The Mirror Test" and what it's like to appear on Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.
Q: You’ve been described as a Celebrity CMO, Digital Thought Leader, and Cowboy. Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
A: I’m from South Dakota. I’ve been involved in many different businesses throughout my career. I've owned several businesses. I worked in the print industry for many years. I was a lobbyist. I was Vice President and CMO of Kodak. These days I’m speaking all over the globe, appearing on TV shows, I’ve written the best-selling book, The Mirror Test and am working on a second book. And I consult with a variety of great companies as well. I have two grown children, Tyler and Lindsey. I’m married to a great woman, Tami.
Q: For those who haven’t yet read it, can you tell us what your book, "The Mirror Test", is about?
A: "The Mirror Test" is a book for anyone in business or even those who teach others about marketing and business. It's about every company's need to ask the tough questions, know their conditions of satisfaction and be willing to create tension and drive change–all of that in order to grow and succeed. I've watched so many companies and business people fail. Heck, I’ve failed a time or two myself. This book is the wake-up call that everyone in business needs to hear.
Q: You’ll be speaking with Yahoos this week as part of our "Outside In: speaker series. Can you give us a sneak preview of what you’ll be covering in your presentation?
A: What exactly is the Mirror Test, adapt or die, radical transparency, the 118 pitch, conditions of satisfaction, the themes and lessons from the book. And we're going to have fun while we do it!
Q: Any other observations about Yahoo! as a brand and company, based your experience as a CMO and your research on strategic change?
A: Yahoo! is a great brand and company. I can't see something purple without thinking about Yahoo!. Your success comes from taking a look in the mirror, driving change and continuing to do so often. Your grasp of the breadth and reach of the digital market is phenomenal. The new "Trending Now" video offering is a great example. As a company, you know your conditions of satisfaction and work toward meeting them with everything you do.
Q: What other companies do you see out there who are marketing success stories, and why?
A: I see a lot of companies that are doing it right. Ford and Pepsi are great examples. They know that the new age of marketing is not about ears and eyeballs but hearts and minds. In the mobile sector, Mojiva has been knocking it out of the park. Mobile is growing faster than anyone in the industry anticipated and they are ready.
Q: What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned over the course of your career?
A: It's okay to take a risk. No one's ever died – that I know of – as a result of a marketing campaign. You have to step out there and own it. If you fail, learn from it and either try it again or move on.
Being grateful and thankful is another important lesson. I've never forgotten the people who have helped me. When I was 12, Mr. Pinson, gave me a job in his plumbing company. My dad was in Vietnam and he hired me so I could earn money, join a hunting club and be part of the community.
I'm grateful to everyone that helps me be successful and supports what I do.
Q: Okay – here are the questions everyone is wondering about – what was it like to be on "The Celebrity Apprentice", and what is Donald Trump really like?
A: Being a judge on The Celebrity Apprentice was a blast. I made some life-long friends from that show. And Donald is exactly how you expect him to be - bold, straight forward, and an expert at what he does. His success is directly related to who he is and how he is as a person. He's one of the most authentic, radically transparent people I know.