July 28, 2022

Show Swap Say What? Alan Hart Interviews Qualcomm CMO

When Drew heard Alan Hart’s interview with Qualcomm SVP and CMO Don McGuire on Marketing Today, he knew he couldn’t do it better. So we’re bringing the episode to you directly in Renegade Marketers Unite’s first-ever show swap!

Here’s the show description…

Don leads the global marketing organization, supporting Qualcomm’s advancement into new and existing markets and growth areas. He’s redefining Qualcomm’s strategic approach to product marketing, leading to innovative campaigns and collaborative partnerships that are bringing cutting-edge products to market.

 On the show today, Alan and Don talk about how Qualcomm has increased its total available market by 7X, what that means for their strategies, and how they’re managing the organization through growth. They also talk about the brand strategies they use for their B2C brand, Snapdragon, as well as the enterprise brand of Qualcomm itself.

Listen in to learn how to elevate your brand and prepare for rapid growth.

Shout out to Share Your Genius, the B2B podcast agency who recommended we show swap and made it happen. Thinking of starting or optimizing a podcast for your B2B brand? Let us know and we’ll connect you to these savvy folks.

What You’ll Learn 

  • Why partnerships can elevate your brand
  • How to develop a compelling brand narrative
  • Tips for restructuring your marketing organization and leading through change

Resources Mentioned


  • [03:00] Don’s journey to Qualcomm
  • [06:30] Splitting the Qualcomm and Snapdragon brands
  • [12:00] Elevating the Snapdragon brand with a Ferrari partnership
  • [18:00] Developing mutually beneficial partnerships
  • [22:30] Fueling explosive growth with connectivity
  • [28:30] Developing a compelling brand narrative
  • [34:30] Restructuring Qualcomm’s marketing organization
  • [41:00] Experiences that define Don
  • [43:30] Don’s advice for his younger self
  • [44:30] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [49:00] The biggest opportunity for marketers today

Highlighted Quotes 

“Having a sales position is critical to being a good marketer. It teaches you how to understand & take rejection, about having good interpersonal skills & building relationships & all that good stuff.” —@donnymac @Qualcomm Share on X “We're leaning in with our brand. Not only through traditional marketing tactics like advertising and social, but with partnerships that help us tell that story within that passion.” —@donnymac @Qualcomm Share on X “We are not interested in just slapping our logo on stuff... There has to be meaningful purpose.” —@donnymac @Qualcomm Share on X “To me, marketing has always been about driving business success.” —@donnymac @Qualcomm Share on X “The brands that can lead with empathy, drive collaboration, cohesion, and goodness? Those brands are going to win at the end of the day.” —@donnymac @Qualcomm Share on X

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 303 on YouTube

Full Transcript: Alan Hart in conversation with Don McGuire

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case, did you know that the audio version of Renegade Marketing 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one New B2B Audio Book by Book Authority. It’s kind of cool, right? You can find Renegade Marketing on Audible or your favorite audio book platform. Now speaking of podcasts before we get into today’s show, I want to do another shout out to the podcast professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with them about three months ago to make this show even better, and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. They’ve helped us improve the show in big and little ways, pretty subtle ways. So much so that our monthly downloads have doubled! Yeah, doubled! One of their suggestion was to do a show swap. And knowing that they also work with my friend Alan Hart, doing a show swap with Marketing Today was a no brainer. And here’s the kicker, I listened to Alan’s interview of Don McGuire, the CMO of Qualcomm about two weeks before I was supposed to interview Don and realize, “Damn, I can’t do any better than that.” He covered everything I wanted to cover like Qualcomm’s approach to product marketing, brand management, partnerships, sports marketing, and more! And the results are kind of amazing. It’s like 7X growth or something. So it’s my pleasure for you to hear. Alan Hart and Don McGuire in this episode of Renegade Marketers Unite presenting Marketing Today. Enjoy the show.

Alan Hart: I’m Alan Hart. This is marketing today. On the show today, I’ve got Don McGuire, he’s the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Qualcomm technologies, Don’s leading the global marketing organization to support Qualcomm’s advancement into new and existing markets and the growth areas and on the show today we talk about how the company has increased its total available market by 7x. What that means in terms of their strategies, how they’re managing the organization through that growth. We also talked about the brand strategies that they have deployed both a more prosumer or b2c brand, if you will, on snapdragon which is a core element of Qualcomm as well as managing the enterprise brand and corporate brand of Qualcomm itself. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Don McGuire.  Don, welcome to the show. 

Don McGuire: Hey, Alan. Thanks for having me. 

Alan Hart: Yeah, I’m excited to learn quite a bit about what’s new at Qualcomm. But before we get there, I mean, being the CMO of a global company is a really busy thing. Like what do you do in your spare time? Do you have spare time? 

Don McGuire: Aspirin? I have a little bit of spare time. Yeah, I think I wouldn’t say that I divide my spare time probably once three major kind of things. One is just has to do with keeping my sanity and keeping myself healthy and balanced. And that’s I have a love affair with my peloton. It really did save my sanity during the pandemic and I have to say I’m a little bit of addicted to that from a fitness standpoint. I love the content. I love the instructors. I love the sense of community, and it’s a really good workout. So that’s one thing that I get to do in the mornings mostly. Second thing is I actually am a baker, believe it or not. Yeah, I actually find it very therapeutic. I love the science of it and the steps then I kind of get lost in it. And then I love being a results oriented person. I love seeing the creation on the other side of making sure that you mix the ingredients correctly and seeing things rise or whatever it takes to shape. I kind of like that. So baking is one of the things that I really enjoyed doing when I’ve got time. And I think the third thing would probably be I am a kind of a sneaker fan and I do love a bunch of different brands of sneakers and I buy and trade hold and sneakers. So that’s kind of another hobby, I guess I would say.

Alan Hart: That’s amazing. Well, it’s probably good that you have the peloton if you really like baking. Yes,

Don McGuire: It’s funny because I bake but I don’t necessarily eat what I make. I mean sometimes I do obviously I taste obviously a taste but there my wife sometimes gets bad because I’ll bake a bunch of stuff and then I’ll leave on a business trip for a week or whatever. And they’ll leave it all behind and then she gets mad because she said then she needs that.

Alan Hart: But if you don’t know them already, I’ve had the CMO of King Arthur Baking Company.

Don McGuire: I’ve been. You have like baker Mecca. Yeah. I took a class. They’re awesome. Yeah, I did. I would my wife’s from New Hampshire. from Boston, but her family lives in New Hampshire. And we went there for Thanksgiving this last Thanksgiving and right across the border on the Vermont side of the King Arthur making and so I went with my daughter and my sister in law and we took a pie making class.

Alan Hart: Wow, that’s amazing. That’s awesome. I have to connect the two of you if you don’t know each other already. And then the other person since you love sneakers is we’ve had the stock X cmo on. stock X is a big trading platforms.

Don McGuire: Right and that’s that’s right. Yeah, my son actually kind of got me into it. And I do use stock X as my trading platform, but I’m a bit of an Adidas insider and stuff like that. So but I think I find myself keeping the ones that I get more often than I’ve been training them. Yes. Like I ended up liking them and but I have engaged in some swapping for sure.

Alan Hart: That’s awesome. So when you’re not baking or peloton, collecting sneakers, what’s been your path to become the CMO at Qualcomm?

Don McGuire: I’ve been sort of around the technology space for pretty much my entire career. I started off in sales and I think having a sales position is kind of critical to being a good marketer is having to actually having to have to sold something in your career, I think is actually a good thing. It teaches you how to understand and take rejection it also teaches you about understanding dynamics and about having good interpersonal skills and building relationships and all that good stuff. So I started out in sales, but after a few years I made the bridge into product management and then in marketing and had been on marketing track ever since various positions at various companies. And I’ve been a big companies up in I take in my established startup and and I’ve actually done consulting for a number of years with a couple partners. So I tried a bunch of different things. And what really brought me to Qualcomm was just a combination of the fact that I was born and raised in San Diego and came back in 1997. And really enjoy living here and worked here a long time because you ran a consulting practice that took me out of town a lot and then I was there for five and a half years as a commute up to Santa Clara. So I really was looking forward to making the same video because I hadn’t done that for a while. So I was wondering, practice things that were welcome to my first capacity here. My goal has been to be a CMO of a fortune 100 company and I think if I think back, I would say that maybe I thought that that would be something that was a little bit more consumer facing or more of a consumer brand. But enjoyable, but I actually have to say I really enjoy where I am at Qualcomm. It’s a nice sort of bridge between having to understand and be able to articulate a story from a company and pistons business perspective, but well at the Snapdragon brand, push more and more consumer space, at least from a tech employers perspective and explore the consumer marketing side of my background. So it’s interesting and challenging, but I get to do a little bit of both. That’s always been fun. I’m just honored and blessed that work that I did in my first four years as the head of product that allowed me the opportunity to practice as many as well as back to the marketing because

Alan Hart: I know like he’s just mentioned you’ve got these elements complexity in your business, the b2b side, consumer side with Snapdragon it’s enough to manage one of those but like, you think about balacing the two brand strategies, if you will, and how you go to market?

Don McGuire: Well, it is a challenge. it’s also an opportunity. We just recently seperated the two brands. And if you look at it off, you can go back in time, this predates me or Qualcomm, the snapdragon brand started out as a standalone brand and this is way back when I was a very young company, and there wasn’t really a lot of I was a marketing discipline in the traditional perspective, and so it was sort of organic, and there was a lot of ideas floating around. And we it was sort of it’s a big bang lifecycle. And so Snapdragon was sort of this idea that was a product brand, that sort of was birthed to gain a life on its own. And there was not really attention or attention paid to the brand other than it was the name of the company. There was really not a lot of change in being in this story. Or a brand exercise. Qualcomm and so Qualcomm out there was sort of marketing and investment and effort put behind building Snapdragon with senses and so it started to grow in awareness and preference, affinity, relevance started to grow and Qualcomm sort of sitting here and then every time there was a decision made to also try to gain some additional exposure for Qualcomm, and I think the methodology was, we bring the two brands together. This is Qualcomm as our company name, Let’s nest a Snapdragon brand underneath it, and tie them together, hopefully then lifting the Qualcomm brand. And so it was almost like hitch the Qualcomm wagon to the Snapdragon horse, so to speak, and I understand why that might have been a decision again at the time that the company was made, but as it turns out, it really didn’t serve its purpose or intent. What happened was it created a logo, size that would be problematic with customers as well as a translation standpoint, especially outside of english speaking countries, whereas Qualcomm brand didnt translate into other languages. So oftentimes, you’d end up with this word when translated word stacked up on top of that layer, which is didnt go well with tue awareness and preference and understandability. And then you have the issue with the logo becoming very big, Qualcomm and Snapdragon being very long words. The icon and the fireball icon needing to be attached, and it became very hard for our partners to co-brand with. And so it ended up creating more problems than it solved. When I came into the organization, I have always intuitively in my mind question that decision and felt like, wouldn’t we be able to do more for both in the long run with the audience’s that need to understand both if we separate the two but that was not my call at that time. And so one of the things I started thinking about as Penny and I were planning the succession plan, I was pushing this issue a little bit and as Cristiano was ascending to CEO, having conversations with him about this idea that let’s look at separating them again and really giving Snapdragon its own whitespace and its ability to grow in the direction that I know Cristiano wanted to grow in and myself included in that and then give Qualcomm is proper love and attention and nurturing with the audiences that are important to understand the Qualcomm story. so we decided to split the brand’s about a little less than a year ago, back apart and it’s been a great exercise in new thinking and our ability to build new muscle around pushing more and more into the consumer space with Snapdragon, as well as understanding how we were and how we tie the two together. And we looked at different models as we were coming through this exercise right we looked at the Xbox Microsoft model. For example, if I were to describe how we’re treating Snapdragon and Qualcomm I would say, probably the Xbox Microsoft example would be the closest. Xbox is a gaming brand. It sort of stands alone, but it is loosely associated to Microsoft when it’s appropriate, without damaging its brand goodness in its relevance in the category where its main audience lives, building that association where it makes sense to certain audiences. That’s the approach that we’re taking Snapdragon and Qualcomm going forward, is building that brand association where necessary and where it makes sense, but letting Snapdragon have its own life and it’s unclear air in its own personality and the product categories where it lives and with the audience’s which is primarily a tech influencer, consumer audience habits its whitespace it’s clear air to grow, both from an awareness preference a relevance and affinity perspective.

Alan Hart: That’s awesome it’s a great identity having lots of Snapdragon and and to your point around the Xbox and Microsoft example I can definitely see how Snapdragon can help push or pull Qualcomm into new areas potentially, or at least new audiences for that matter. And the tech influencer audience is interesting because you’ve announced a bunch of stuff recently related to the Snapdragon brand. I’d love to look at a couple of those with you. And if you could tell me more about what you’re doing in the gaming and Metaverse space. I know there was a Esports League or ESL gaming partnership that you had annouced with Snapdragon.

Don McGuire: Yeah, absolutely. So in building again, building a full funnel sorter for Snapdragon amongst these audience or these audiences. We’re really looking at the both the platforms that we create better render Snapdragon, the experiences that those platforms enable, and the passion points around those experiences. And then we’re leaning in with our brand through not only just traditional marketing tactics like advertising and social and all that kind of stuff, but with partnerships that help us tell that story within that passion. or so for example, gaming you brought up is a perfect example. Gaming is something that is a industry leading feature set an experience layer that the Snapdragon mobile platform enables. And so it’s a differentiator for the brand. It’s differentiated for the category. And it’s something that there’s a really rich audience that is passionate about. So we’ve leaned in on gaming in several different ways, from an experience layer perspective, all the way through to brand partnerships, and one of the newest additions to our 360 degree marketing strategy around building affinity for Snapdragon in the gaming space. Is this partnership with ESL, which we’ve announced just recently, which is that we are going to take mobile eSports together with ESL to a whole different level. And it’s really about taking trends that are already happening in gaming, which is the revenue is shifted to mobile. That’s where the growth is. It’s the democratization of gaming, because the ability for people to play anytime, anywhere, add on to that the additional capabilities that our platform brings in a couple of things include gaming, and the fact that triple A titles are more and more moving into the small screen form factors because the performance is there from a CPU GPU perspective, but also the connectivity to allow full streaming with really ultra low latency. And you’ve got a combination for a really compelling experience that gamers can actually engage in anytime, anywhere. And if you’re talking about platform proliferation, the fact that it’s not going to take a $4,000 home built PC or a $2,000 console in order for you to have a great experience, really democratizes gaming in general but also brings a whole new layer to eSports where what we like to call with ESL is the era of everyone, right? It’s really about you can go from zero to hero through a mobile eSports and mobile gaming experience in a way that you could not achieve on other platforms without some serious barriers. And so as era of everyone in this democratization of eSports both from a gameplay perspective and neighborhood disability perspective, but also from a diversity and inclusion perspective, is pretty amazing. Because if you look at mobile gaming, and whether you look at it from where it started with games like Candy Crush and individual player games all the way to massive multiplayer games, the mix of types of people playing is quite different, quite inclusive was quite diverse, versus the PC gaming ecosystem and the console gaming industry which skews still to this day, mostly male, right? mostly younger, mostly male, and breaking into that even though there’s been lots of valiant efforts to do that is still far from an equalizing factor. So we really liked the opportunity of mobile eSports and bringing mobile Esports to the next level with ESL for so many reasons. And it is really going to be a great platform for us to build upon. Not only affinity for Snapdragon, but also the promise of our elite gaming feature stack and this idea of enabling and allows the ability for so many people around the world to engage in Esports to compete in eSports from novice competitions all the way through to Masters, both digitally and physically with a total prize pool of $2 million. So this is serious, right? It’s not Junior League, this is serious eSports and we’re really excited about our with ESL, because ESL is the world’s biggest eSports company. And when I thought about who do we do this with, when I was at Intel, I had the fortunate experience of being part of IEM and a part of that initiative and seeing how eSports grew up firsthand in the PC ecosystem. So in ESL was our partner to help create what is in what was IEM and and so when I thought about okay, who can we go do this with the first group that came into my mind first partner that came into my mind, really the only one was ESL. So partnership with ESL, we’re launching Snapdragon Pro Series, our mobile eSports competition Global Mobile eSports competition this year, and we’re hoping to be a raging success.

Alan Hart: That sounds amazing and what a great demonstration of what technology can do in our lives. Yeah, it’s a really interesting partnership from that standpoint to you. So let’s talk about another one. You also are doing a collaboration between Ferrari racing and Snapdragon. Tell me about that one.

Don McGuire: Oh, yeah, man, I am obsessed with f1 and I knew nothing about f1 like eight months ago, so this is a new obsession for me, my house and by the way, Netflix drive just survive. There is not a better educational tool. If you know nothing about f1 Watch drive to survive, and then you will know everything about f1 And I really did use that educate myself, but our partnership Ferraris amazing. So this is interesting, because we tend to engage in these partnerships in a different way than maybe other brands do. We are not interested in just slapping our logo on stuff to us. It may just be me or it may just be the tech space, but I don’t have the budgets to just do that. There has to be meaningful purpose. And there has to be deeper integration with our products and technologies and the brand in order for these partnerships to really make sense. And Ferrari is a great example. This was not a marketing lead partnership. This was a business led partnership. And the fact that we are engaging with this level and we are helping Ferrari digitally transform the passenger vehicle side of their business through the Snapdragon digital chassis through by way of telematics and digital cockpit and ADAS and making Ferraris cars and driving experiences worthy of the 21st and 22nd century type of driver is amazing in itself. But add on to that that we looked at this relationship more holistically and we said okay, we’re going to help you on that side of the house. And then what we would love to do with you on helping us is help build awareness for Snapdragon into space by us becoming a premier partner of Scuderia Ferrari and your f1 team. And so granted it’s a two sided relationship, a mutually beneficial win win for our business improves, our business improves. So I think it’s a really unique way to approach these types of partnerships that not everybody really thinks about. And sometimes brands say, oh, yeah, well, they’re going to use my product or they’re going to integrate my product into their commercials or something like that. That’s all great. And I’m not saying one way is better than the other way. But the way we approach these things is really about deep, deep technology integration. And showing the benefits of our products for that brand as well as enhancing our brand through attaching ourselves to their product or their brand. And so with a different approach that we’ve employed, really excited about the partnership. Oh my gosh, like talking about timing is everything. The fact that we just kicked off a relationship with them, literally a mere weeks ago and we just made the unveiling of Fox to have the Snapdragon logo on it by a matter of days. And to kick off f1 22 with a P1P2 at Bahrain and a P2P3 in Saudi Arabia, what an amazing start to our partnership and seeing that step of a brand all over the place on these two amazing drivers on this amazing f1 75 car and the whole way that Scuderia Ferrari approaches partners it truly is a family. And so it’s a really great thing to be a part of. And of course, and that’s one I mean, there’s no more story brands if we’re going to go in F1, go big.

Alan Hart: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I love the fact that you’re both learning through this partnership to your point how you described it was business lead first. Obviously that helps you elevate the Snapdragon brand or attach it to this f1 and racing in general, but like the fact that you’re both going to learn through your simultaneous work together, that does make a great partnership.

Don McGuire: Yeah, there’s so many synergies between the two brands I mean, the Ferrari brands always stood for performance and at a different level. Right, right. And Snapdragon stands for premium performance. Like it’s always good for branding performance and head and shoulders above any other platform, whether you’re talking about it in a smartphone, or we’re talking about a sense, stands for premium performance and so there’s brand synergies are their brand association between the two so there’s no disconnect even the colors. I know besides the yellow, you know, we got the red in the black and they got the red in the black and there’s so many points of collaboration and complimentary synergy that match kind of.

Alan Hart: That’s awesome. Let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about the corporate brand and the enterprise side, if you will. That’s my word. And I know you mentioned when we last spoke this unbelievable number to me that the company has driven a 7x increase in your tam are available. Market. I mean, that’s an increasing number. How does that happen?

Don McGuire: Well, it doesn’t just happen overnight, but it is amazing. And the exciting thing is that we’re already on our way, but it’s interesting, our core DNA company has been always rooted in this idea. of inventing just earth shattering and world changing technology and products. And yes, of course, at the beginning when we were young, fledgling high growth, like I said, in our Big Bang kind of phase, we were just going crazy with invention and creating amazing technologies and some of it ended up in really cool product categories and some of it, but didn’t that was okay, because it was just this entrepreneurial, sort of growth engine. But as we grow up and mature, we found our places and we planted our flags out and we found our Northstar towards where can we take this thing right and what can Qualcomm be going into the future and I think one of the great things that has happened over the last few years is organically we were experiencing this explosive growth in all these new product categories. We had both industry ecosystems of potential customers coming to us saying, Hey, have your roadmap or for your products. And it’s not traditionally where you have sold in your products or developed your roadmap. The fact that we have always developed this one technology roadmap rooted in the fact that we had to make the most integrated, small, tiny, powerful little package to fit inside of a device that fits in the palm of your hand that put the internet in your pocket that enabled Uber to exist. The fact that we started there, gives us permission and the ability to take that performance that integration and that sort of little packet of I like to call it our tiny little dragon and then feel liberated out into all these new categories. And if you take that DNA and that history, and you couple it with what’s going on in the world, right explosiveness with regards to connectivity and compute at the edge, and in the cloud, and the total toleration option curve that’s happened over the past two years, the massive upgrade cycle that’s happened over the past two years, because connectivity became like water and air, freight and electricity. It was essential. To our ability to survive the last four months with this brand and through on top of that, the fact that things need to get more help. Factories need to get smarter cars need to get safer, right? So you need to get smarter, more efficient productivities needs to be enhanced based on environment we need to work from everywhere. We need to learn from anywhere and to communicate connect from anywhere. And we need the compute power to be able to do that. At the same time. We can’t be plugging our devices in every hour, 30 minutes or 45 minutes. We have to have power efficiency, right? And that’s also good from a sustainability perspective. So all that really, you’ve created such a sweet spot for what we do, and what we’ve always done. Right low power, high performance compute, and hyper fast cutting edge connectivity across every sort of connectivity stack whether it’s Bluetooth, Wi Fi or wireless, being the purveyors and the commercialization engine behind 5g, which is the next generation, the new generation, the current generation of wireless technology, on top of everything else going on, it creates this opportunity for us and gives us permission to exist and to enter into these new areas. So over the past several years, we’ve experienced this growth in IoT, whether it’s consumer for industrial, whether it’s having factories become smarter, or campuses or cities, or whether it’s making peloton a more attractive device or mirror or whatever it might be on the consumer side on top of metaverse on top of edge networking, bringing the medicine out our history in XR right between AR and VR and all the different device ecosystems we already power from HoloLens list to vive to Pico, etc. Plus our mobile history or in our leadership in mobile which will always still be there that provides us tremendous opportunity for us to grow as these gazillions of devices become connected at the edge, producing data and intelligence at again highpass the ultra low latency and high performance low power intelligence and compute some of this data than going to the cloud, some of it staying local or at the edge. I mean, that is our sweet spot. That is where we live. There is no better market dynamic than that we’ll be able to grow and expand what we do into these new industries, new categories and going up the stack, in certain cases, from silicon to software to services. So it’s really this new playing field. But it’s nice because it’s not just a vision. It’s not just us putting stuff on paper and saying we’re going to do this. It’s already happening. We already have the KPIs. We have the metric revenue streams. Were growing a billion dollars a quarter in our IoT business in revenues. Our pipeline for automotive is over $13 billion and growing. We continue to lead in high performance, low power computer connectivity in the mobile space owning the premium and high tech Android ecosystem. And we are pushing into Edge networking to make the democratization of future networks to provide the connectivity that’s going to enable smart cities enable the metaverse to exist, etc, etc. So there’s all these different vectors of growth. It’s a little daunting and kind of overwhelming if you think about it. Part of my challenge has been, oh my gosh, this is really complex, exciting story. How do we crystallize it into a messaging framework and a narrative that people are going to understand when you ask the question about the brand and how do we then harness this enterprise wide story? We came up with this idea and it was really Cristiano’s idea of this is really all about the connected intelligent edge. And that’s a nod to our history and connectivity, our history and people and intelligence and the fact that the edge is based in an on device in the cloud, where I think by some as 64% of all data that’s produced over the next 10 years is going to be at the edge. So that gives us this amazing opportunity, this amazing permission to exist and to thrive. And so we package that all up in this story around, connected, intelligent edge, and we’re just drawing these connection points, all these trends and these macro trends. All roads lead through Qualcomm in order to digitally transform these areas of society.

Alan Hart: That’s an amazing story to your point, because you’re already doing these things. If you heard any clicking in the background on my end, it was me buying Qualcomm stock. Apologize if you heard that the background is quite amazing. And you’ve had some great achievements but I’m guessing that you and Cristiano. because you are promoted and elevated from within you guys had all of this history and knowledge about the organization to pull from and to start to craft the stories do you feel like they gave you an advantage and edge so to speak?

Don McGuire: I mean, for me a little bit but for Cristiano? Absolutely. I mean, he’s been here for over 25 years and he’s grown up in this organization and he has been through a lot of cycles. He was part of the big bang area, or growth area of company. He’s seen the company mature and grow up, that he’s a collection of his experiences within and he’s lived in the businesses for so long. talking to customers. And potential customers seeing the value that our products bring to them seeing the potential value in these new areas. So for him, I think it was just natural over time, continuous dots and building three direction in this path for the company to go. I’ve been here a little over five years, but I think the exciting thing for me has been when I came into the organization, I was running technology marketing for the businesses. And at that time, Cristiano was overseeing all businesses. And so we had a natural connection point there which enabled us to form a very good relationship and very strong communication channel for me being able to get educated on what he was thinking. And then for me to bring him ideas and for him to bring beat ideas. And so when He ascended and then when Steve announced he was retiring and Cristiano was announced as his succesor, then not too long after that, Penny announced she was going to retire and she had announced me as her successor, it really created this nice natural transition and progression for both of us, where we really hit the ground running a lot of these ideas or be more naturally because we have this relationship already. And we could have conversations even prior to initially moving into our roles about how we wanted to set up the company for the next decade. The story we wanted to tell. And then from there, it was really about using inflection points, like our investor conference in New York, which happened at towards the end of 21 as a sort of coming out party, or a pivotal moment for us to tell this story about Qualcomm for the next decade. And beyond. And we spent lots of days and hours and weeks in conference rooms on Saturdays and Sundays, going through slides and whiteboarding and sharpening and filling gaps and doing research and really constructing the story from a patchwork of ideas and ideation to them. That really flowed quite naturally and really made sense the audience’s we needed to drive understandability and we needed to drive relevance. And for a technology company that’s rooted in engineering, that’s not always easy.

Alan Hart: Right, Yeah, I can imagine you guys have a wealth of experience and obviously working. It’s coming through in this conversation in all the things that you’re doing in the marketplace. So kudos.

Don McGuire: Thanks. I mean, I think we made a lot of progress for sure. But I think there’s still so much we can do. I’m really pushing the envelope on simplification, and simplicity and storytelling. And that’s, again, a new muscle for a company like Qualcomm to be able to embrace, but we’re getting there. We’re getting better every day. And we’re going to continue to beat the drum. And I’m going to continue to support the storyline and do whatever I can to help drive business success. To me marketing has always been about driving business success. There is no marketing objective that you can’t you shouldn’t be able to tie to a business objective. You can’t and you got to show why you’re doing what you’re doing. And from one of those types of marketers less CMOS does I have to be so tied to this, and I have to prove, prove and show that ROI and move the ball forward constantly. I can’t afford not to and a business can’t afford not to. So it’s exciting. It’s challenging, and it’s never dull.

Alan Hart: Well, you’ve driven so much and add so much more to come as CMO. How do you think about the evolution? Maybe even the restructuring of the marketing function in your organization as you took the hill?

Don McGuire: Oh, yeah, great question. So not only did Penny and I plan a succession planning, when she decided she was going to retire but prior to that, when Cristiano was announced as the CEO, give us some feedback on how some organization could drive success under his CEO ship, so to speak, and He gave us a lot of really good, constructive, positive and, you know, areas where we thought we could improve. So we embarked upon a restructuring exercise for the Cristiano era, prior to even Penny announcing her retirement. And so what started out as an exercise that Penny was driving and I was supporting, as soon as she announced her retirement. We flipped the script and it became my restructuring exercise to drive and then she was super supportive, and helping me think through how we set the organization up for success, not only for the next 12 months, the next three years as we explore this massive growth opportunity for the company, and probably the biggest growth opportunity in our history. So we did undergo a pretty large restructuring of the organization. To align to that the vision that Cristiano laid out well as the business alignment, that was a realignment that was happening. And that sort of took hold within the month of June in July of last year. And from there, we had an implementation phase that we worked through over several months, and it was both organizationally infrastructurally as well as culturally and process. So it was really those three factors that we looked at, and just, quote unquote, restructuring that we made changes. We’ve all evolved, we approved or we broke and then then we put back together in a new way. So it was very holistic in nature, and explored this idea that together we succeed and it’s this concept around one marketing and breaking down the silos and barriers. Focusing everybody on business success, and marketing success equals business success in our business success has to be driven and tied to our marketing success. So really a lot of change for the organization. But I think we’ll change and we did it in a way that I think drove excitement and energy. And by the way, we’re doing this epidemic, right so we have the extra added challenges are together physically for much of this work, and meeting taking over the organization at a time where everybody was spread out across their homes in the world, and that needed an extra level of challenge, but I am really pleased with the progress we’ve made since July of last year. And the way that the teams have gelled the way that we started getting things more left to right and right to left versus just up to down. And I’ve had the opportunity to bring on some great new talent as well and give my team opportunities to explore new things. So I’ve really broken kind of cracked the egg a little bit. Things open, to give opportunities to bring in new fresh eyes, as well as to give people an opportunity to grow and within the organization and it’s been a special time, I think for the team, and just more to come. That’s really good.

Alan Hart: I’m curious, just one quick follow up on the new skills or new talent adds. Where did you need to add or bring in talent, if you dont mind sharing.

Don McGuire: Sure, so under the restructuring, I organized around these New org clusters, some of them are natural leaders ready to take on their new responsibilities. For example, my old world stayed fairly the same, pretty much the same, and I have that successor already in mind for that role. So that was one of the Elan and that was the product technology marketing area. But I reorganized some of our marketing communications functions around digital marketing and brand and production creatives, and had looked at restructuring that into a bigger org cluster. But through the process of the pandemic and the restructuring, had a leader decide to the organization to pursue a different career path that opportunistically gave us than to look for some new talent to come up that new or cluster. So I was able to hire somebody from the outside to take on the role of the Head of Marketing Communications for the team. So she’s been tasked to get fresh eyes, new thinking, very strategic, very season, a great addition to the team. And then I also combined a bunch of small little things that were out there kind of little satellites, all in their own right. Good work, but really needed to be stitched together by a bigger thought and bigger idea. Around the ecosystem, and customer and sales enablement. So I formed the team for a super cluster around those disciplines. And again, we have the opportunity to bring in some new talent to lead that organization and I just recently hired a woman named Carmen true from HP, who brings a wealth of knowledge and information and background experience to lead that team. So that’s been another great thing that I’ve been able to add to the team be organized around the need for greater intelligence and insights for the team. So I pulled together a new work cluster around that and I have an existing team member who’s really, really good at what they do in that area. And that team, counting and operations, who I basically had an amazing planning person on my former team I just elevated to take on the role or the broader team and he’s amazing as well, so it was able to give people opportunities to grow I was able to bring on was a nice mix. And now I’ve got a really solid, senior staff of leaders on my team are ready to hit the ground running and build on all the great work that has been done and the grunt work to come.

Alan Hart: But I want to switch gears. We do this on the show and we’d like to get to know you a little bit more on a personal note. And my favorite question to ask folks is has there been an experience of your past that defines or makes up who you are today? 

Don McGuire: Experience in my past? Yes, absolutely. I mean, obviously there’s been several but it’s far from a perspective or career perspective. I often say that I learned a lot from the people that I work with. Throughout my career. I’ve learned a lot from people that were amazing to work for and work with and I can say we’re mentors, and we’re people that exemplify what leadership is. And I learned a lot from those folks. I think I also remember from people that weren’t so great, and I learned as much of what not to do, as I do. And every experience is a learning experience. So once there was a time in my career where I ventured out and start to kind of my hand in the startup world. It took a risk at a young family, but he was an exciting new space. And so I took the leap into a startup and hit the ground running and it was really interesting and exciting and had all the makings of a really incredible journey and ride but what I didn’t know at the time was that the leadership was not what I thought. And one of those experiences where I had worked for an industry whose moral compass was not aligned with mine. But again, I learned a lot and it was a painful experience to go through at times, but it was a good experience because I said I learned a lot and it helped give me another puzzle pieces to the puzzle that is my career and in the mosaic that makes up subsequent career and I don’t think I would be where I am today and I don’t think I would be the leader that I am today without being gone through that.

Alan Hart: I don’t know who crafted this thing, but something that around the aspect of pain equals growth is very true. I have done the same thing and they’re almost probably more vivid the example of what not to do, or what I don’t want to repeat. Yes the things right now that are got great advice from somebody that incorporate but the other ones tend to be better for sure. Yeah, for sure. Well, what advice would you give your younger self if you’re starting all over?

Don McGuire: I’ve always been a tech person that’s when a window of opportunity opened. I jumped first ask questions. And I think that’s certainly for pretty much not the case I just gave him for the most part. I think it served me pretty well. So I definitely think that that sort of well, so I wouldn’t change that. At one point in my career. Again, one of my mentors pulled me aside and said to me, how you do something is almost as important as what you do. So if I was going back and thinking about my years, because I’ve always been very results driven and very competitive. I would maybe tell myself, to be less of a bull in a china shop at times and focus on the how, and not just the what. and that’s something that comes with constructive visit some and training and all those good things maybe, maybe if I could give ourselves I told myself, slow down a little bit and make sure there’s no carnage in your path.

Alan Hart: Are there topics you’re trying to learn more about anything marketers need to be learning more about?

Don McGuire: Yeah, I mean, this several I actually just tasked my team to start looking more deeply into some of these trends that are going on that marketers need to maybe not as in some areas may simply look English, but at least have a good understanding of what’s going on, as it might relate to how you either talk to your audiences, how you interact with audiences, foreign commerce, to target consumer, whoever that might be. And those are areas. So NF T’s web three, just understanding these platforms and understanding what’s going on in these spaces. Make sure you’re understanding. I think it’s gonna be really important. And over the next five years to understand these macro trends, and figure out as a brand, if you’re out and what’s your place, or what is it that you may need to do to adapt and or to participate in some of these areas.

Alan Hart: Yeah, it makes perfect sense. I agree. I kind of went down the web three rabbit hole a few weeks ago, and I’m still digging myself. But it’s fascinating because you don’t know what’s right. You don’t know what’s gonna hit and what the next because, I mean, we’re talking about the next evolution that came before it created things like Facebook and Twitter and those are huge global platforms. So we have to be knowledgeable and knowing what’s going on

Don McGuire: And I dont know if web three is absolutely synonymous with the metaverse or not.

Alan Hart: Similar things but not related, similar to blockchain and crypto technology versus what’s applied.

Don McGuire: By the way, just understand the terms I know and then in the terms, I mean, yeah, now it’s like a lesson learned, because there’s not a very good understanding. I think some people use them interchangeably.

Alan Hart: They do. Yeah, definitely confusing if you haven’t dug into it. And it’s still confusing, for that matter, but we’ll get there. We’ll get there. two last questions for you. On the marketing front or on the personal front, I should say, or companies or causes that you follow you think other people should take notice of?

Don McGuire: Yeah, so I for the most part, and I do love seeing local companies, local brands, do well and grow up and quickly and so I’m a big supporter here at Qualcomm even if we’re engaging in some sort of activity, that I reckon leverage a local brand. I’ll leverage that. the cutwater story is an amazing story. It broke out of Dallas point, and took cutwater with him and then grew Cutwater over the lid and so that’s just a great in between balance point in cutwater. Great story in this business, and craft beer space of your story is a great story from an athletic wear alternative to the lemons of the world kind of thing. I think that’s a great brand story. Love the peloton. Brand Story. I really do. I know that they’re going through one of those life stage challenges that a lot of companies go through. But I do wish them all the sticks tests and Dara is an amazing person. And oh, and I hope that we obviously power through our technologies, some of their experiences, so we’re a partner of theirs and really wish them all the success in the world because I love their sense of community. I love what they do with their instructors and I love what they’re all about. and then I would say for US perspective. One of the things that’s really important to me, personally and where I’ve been tasked with is the digital divide. There was a spotlight shown on the digital divide during the pandemic, I really did show that the digital divide is exists. It’s real. And it’s not just in rural America or in Africa, right or in Indonesia. It’s in downtown. It’s in Harlem. It’s in LA, it’s in southeast San Diego. It’s everywhere. It’s not about geography. It’s also about socioeconomics, and it’s about access to technology. And it’s about regulation and it’s about providing connectivity and providing access to technology in a more ubiquitous manner than historically technology deployed. And technology has been available and I think Qualcomm has and can have a bigger meaningful role to play in bridging the digital divide and that’s something that’s been important to me. If I can do more with just my own voice as well as bringing solutions that Qualcomm has to the table to help move that initiative to a positive direction, that’s one thing that’s important to me.

Alan Hart: Love it. A last question for you from marketing standpoint. What do you feel is either the biggest change or threaten that’s facing right now?

Don McGuire: I think it’d be this is one of the same. I think a big challenge for marketers right now is how to leave room to an era of psychology and attitudes and behaviors. That pattern driven so much divisiveness and so much polarization that threading the needle has become very difficult and for martyrdom, or landmines everywhere, right? If you lean too far one way, you alienate an X part of your potential audience if you lean too much the other way you alienate Y percentage of your potential audience. If you stay too neutral, you alienate everybody. And so it’s like a minefield. I think people are done. I think they’re sick of the hate. I think the polarization I think they’re sick of the divisiveness. There’s always going to be the fringe on their side screaming at the top of their lungs for attention for the ridiculousness, but I think it’s time to lead and it’s time to leave with empathy and its time to bring people altogether. Both from a Politics perspective but also from a business perspective and I think the brands that can lead with empathy, drive collaboration, cohesion, and goodness. I think those brands are going to win at the end of the day. And it’s not about being woke enough or being two woke. And it’s not about extremes. It’s not. And I know some brands have fallen into these traps, but not about that. It’s about deceny, empathy, humanization. And I think if we can take a step back and really realize that. We would all be better off. And I would be happy if brands led that charge. to be honest with you, companies, private sector brands, if they can lead that charge, because as we all know, government is not setting a very good example.

Alan Hart: Right. Yeah, Right.

Don McGuire: So I would definitely be an advocate for that and I think we could all do more on our part to drive us in a better area.

Alan Hart: I don’t know whether to say amen vote for you or just clap really loudly because I agree with everything you just said. I think it was too amazing. 

Don McGuire: So I could never run for office. I have too many skeletons in my closet I can never run for office. But yeah, it seems to make common sense. Right. Seems to be there. I mean, common sense is locked in a cave somewhere. 

Alan Hart: It’s a scarcity right now. 

Don McGuire: It needs ot be let out of jail.

Alan Hart: Yeah. Well, this has been a great conversation. Thank you, Don, for coming on the show. And I look forwad to the next conversation that we’re going to have.

Don McGuire: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.

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