Building A More Agile and Productive Marketing Organization as CMOs

Virtual Events
Thu, Feb 11, 8:30 AM (PST)

About this event

Listen to the full Virtual Roundtable [56:17]

In this roundtable, Luci and Rich shared their insights on new approaches to organization design, roles and responsibilities, and in-house versus agency models for success in improving your marketing organization’s agility and productivity.

Our panel included:

Luci Rainey, CMO at PODS 

Rich Honiball, EVP / Global Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer at Navy Exchange

Here are some highlights from this roundtable: 

What was your "Why" when shifting to a more agile organization framework? When and Where did you Implement this? 

For Luci Rainey, CMO of PODS, said that her marketing organization never specifically said "oh, we have to switch to a more agile framework", but that they knew they needed to reevaluate and restructure what they were doing and how their organization was structured. 

  • Luci and her team shifted their organization in two phases. The first was focusing more on where their gaps were, and the second was a necessity because of Covid.
  • Originally, there was a pause in business because of the pandemic and fear of moving during it, but after a while there was a huge influx of business which caused the marketing organization to shift quickly and reevaluate their structure and needs on a week-to-week basis to stay in tune with what was most in demand. 
  • Something new they tried and have been having success with is optimization teams. This is on top of the employee's normal duties, but the benefit is they can be fluid with the needs at the present moment, and can constantly be reevaluating and shifting to wherever there is a more pressing need. 
  • With this, in the past 16 months, they either changed or upgraded every piece of their marketing technology to keep pace with the demand
Rich Honiboll, EVP / Global Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer at Navy Exchange, made some amazing learnings from working with a military entity. 
  • First, he said that the military in general is not inherently agile, and that some sectors like the Navy Seals are, but most of the time the decisions made take place after a long and laborious process. 
  • However, like most businesses, when the pandemic hit, their primarily in-person customer base needed to be quickly rethought, which caused Rich and his team to work quickly to create a more agile and remote system.
  • Like Luci, Rich and his team didn't formalize the process of creating a more agile organization, but really broke the organizations and put them back together until they found a way that worked across the board. 
Something important that both Rich and Luci stressed, as well as many of our members who attended, was that there is not a need for your entire company, or even entire organization, to switch to an agile model. 
  • Although the entire company does not need to be an agile organization, they at least need to understand the model, especially those that you work cross-collaboratively with. 
  • Branding, for example, does not always need to be "agile". Some things require more time and a longer path, paving the way for you to allocate more resources to those parts of your organization that may need speedier delivery. 

Key Takeaways from the Roundtable: 

  • "Failing fast is key" when figuring out what works and what doesn't when shifting to an agile framework, says Luci. Don't spend time trying to fix something if it just isn't working! Spend more time to make your effective parts even more effective.
  • Rich said a common misconception with being a more agile team is that others think you are "doing more with less" when in fact you are doing less with more, but doing it much more effectively.  
  • A final takeaway: this is a hot topic! Check out our "Ask a CMO" page on the members-only site to continue the conversation with your peers on the how-tos, the internal and external resources and companies you can use, and to bounce ideas off of one another! 


  • Luci Rainey

    Luci Rainey



  • Richard Honiball

    Richard Honiball

    Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM)

    EVP / Global Chief Merchandising & Marketing Officer

  • Host

  • Jon Suarez-Davis

    Jon Suarez-Davis


    SVP, Marketing Strategy & Innovation