Carlos has over 20 years of marketing experience with startup and Fortune 500 companies. As CMO of GiftCards.com, he has accomplished triple-digit growth in traffic and sales over the past two years through a comprehensive digital plan including SEO, PPC, display, social, and e-Mail. Previously, Carlos was VP Marketing & Recreation for Viacom’s MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central brands in southern Europe.
The “Wise Up!" Q+A series features insightful interviews with innovators, disruptors, game-changers and leaders across industries that we work with here at Wise Public Relations, could be a client, reporter, influencer, vendor, partner, etc. We’ll ask some questions as it pertains to the individual’s line of work, and then a few ‘softball’ questions on the individual’s interest outside of work, like travel, food, music, books, etc.
Check out Carlos’ responses and enjoy!
What are your current day to day responsibilities?
I manage all marketing and communications for GiftCards.com. As an e-commerce player, we focus almost exclusively on digital channels, which include PPC campaigns, SEO, e-mail, social media, loyalty programs, UI/UX, analytics and all consumer and corporate PR. And of course all the insight and creative processes associated with these activities, from ad copy to positioning, messaging, branding, etc. Most of the work is done in-house with a team of creatives and area specialists.
What tool or utility helps you do your job more efficiently?
Hardware: The four walls in my office. Except for one picture of my daughter, all four walls are very efficient whiteboards covered by numbers, ideas, stats, reminders. Things go up and down daily as I brainstorm with anyone on the team. I keep various markers and a stash of Windex wipes handy at all times. When I need more room, take a photo, wipe, and start again. Software: the Listrak e-mail platform; it’s a pretty efficient and user-friendly tool to manage bulk, segmented, and retargeting e-mail campaigns with very good reporting capabilities.
What are your three go-to media outlets?
The Wall St. Journal in all formats: wsj.com, tablet and yes, paper; I still enjoy the act of juggling an oversized piece of print, a bagel and a cup of coffee. The Economist and Economist.com, in my opinion the best journalism money can buy with a unique ability to combine gravitas, information and a twist of humor. And TechCrunch for the latest and greatest nerd gossip. If I may add a fourth, I find the multi-media content in TED.com very insightful and thought provoking.
What is your most poignant professional moment?
My first startup, back in 1996. The Internet was a fascinating, new world back then, surrounded by uncertainty and hope. I left a cushy job in a Fortune 500 company to take a chance on something many people thought was a fad. Most of my friends thought I was out of my mind. I was taking the red-eye between New York and Silicon Valley almost weekly. I think somehow I managed to work 25 hours a day, but I can’t remember ever having so much fun. And most importantly, I may have learned more in that job than in college and grad school put together. I learned a lot about entrepreneurship, execution, accountability, a sense of urgency and sales. It makes a huge difference when you’re negotiating with P&G or talking to the New York Times from multi-billion dollar company or from a garage with 4 guys and a piece of code. It was a humbling experience that helped me develop thick skin, among many other things, which came in very handy in both corporate and entrepreneurial environments.
Who are the three people you’d invite to dinner?
Brian Eno, an incredibly creative mind, a musician, an artist, a producer, an innovator, a pioneer, and an inspiring powerhouse behind an endless list of talented artists.
Former Uruguayan president José Mujica, I think he has redefined what a politician should be all about. He has shown an unprecedented level of both integrity and humility, while being a gutsy innovator. They call him the “poor president” for his humble, frugal and unpretentious lifestyle. His reaction: “poor are those who think I’m poor.”
And Ferrán Adriá, so that he can cook dinner for all of us.
Where is your next big adventure?
Mixing it up in Africa. Desert, jungle, the Savanna. Those luxury tents that make a room at the Four Seasons look like a prison cell. Watching every visible star in the galaxy from a beach in Zanzibar. Visit some towns for what I suspect would be an eye-opening cultural experience.
You can also check out Carlos’ video testimonial as he shares his thoughts on working with WISE Public Relations, via this link.