As we celebrate our colleague and friend Lara Richardson’s news heading to Crown Media as their new CMO, we posed questions about what she is most excited about in her new role and what motivates her personally and professionally.
What are you most excited about in going to Hallmark Channels to be their new CMO?
As they say, timing is everything! I can’t think of a more exciting time to join Crown Media. Ratings wise, Hallmark Channel has had a great year. There is a wave of progress and momentum as the evolution of the Hallmark brand continues. Also, Wonya Lucas recently took the helm as CEO, and having the opportunity to work with her fueled a lot of my excitement. Last but not least, the chance to work on a brand that is so beloved and rooted in a legacy with such amazing superfans is a marketer’s dream!
You have extensive marketing experience across a diverse range of networks. Which position taught you the most in your career?
There is no way to pinpoint one position that taught me the most. I have learned so much from every job I have done, and I have no doubt I will be taught A LOT in this new position as well. My first job in television was in the 125th market, Lubbock, Texas. I was the promo scheduler, a writer/producer, and kids show producer – all at the same time (without a computer!). If I wanted to paint the set, I had to do it myself. Working in a small market like this allowed me to try so many things. That role taught me to roll up my sleeves, try new things, and not worry about the project’s size – it was ALL important.
Tell us about some of your philanthropic work and how that has changed you as a person?
I have found a tremendous amount of reward and perspective by helping others in times of national disasters, personal tragedy, or causes that feel unjust. Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria were both national disasters that I felt “called” to help… however I could. A lot of my producer skills helped me navigate uncharted territory in the wake of these disasters. Understanding how to make something happen, like a rescue or a fundraiser, were all skills I developed in my professional life. During COVID, I volunteered with an organization called Support and Feed. The concept is simple. Restaurants need business and people need food. Both are struggling. The money raised buys meals prepared by local restaurants and businesses to people experiencing food insecurity in our communities. All of this work has put into perspective what is essential in my life.
What are the most important things marketers need to be thinking about as we head into 2021?
No one could have predicted 2020, which had a tremendous influence on consumer marketing. Hopefully, 2020 taught us to be agile, listen to your consumer, give them what they need, and ask for and try to anticipate what they may not even know they need. The marketplace is changing – this can be said every year. Focus on the consumer and enjoy the ride.
For new marketers, what is the one piece of advice you’d give for them to think about as they progress in their careers?
The one thing I would tell anyone, not just marketers, as they progress in their careers, is to be yourself and bring your unique perspective and personality every day. Don’t be afraid to be the only person in the room with a different POV. You may not always be right, but you will always know you spoke and stood in your truth. And specifically, for a marketer: Let the strategy be your guide. Good creative execution is everything, but it will not be effective if you don’t have a sound strategic foundation.