Rachel Thornton is the VP, Global Marketing for AWS, a role she was promoted to in January 2020. Rachel joined Amazon in 2013 as the Head of Amazon Student, and moved over to AWS in 2015 as Vice President, Global Field and Partner Marketing. Prior to Amazon, she served as VP of Marketing for the US, Canada, and Latin America with Salesforce. Prior to this she held marketing and leadership roles with Cisco and Microsoft. Rachel holds a BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master's Degree in International Business and Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
This episode features an interview with Rachel Thornton, Vice President of Global Marketing for Amazon Web Services, the comprehensive cloud computing platform that powers hundreds of thousands of businesses in 190 countries around the world, and is on track to surpass $51B in revenue in 2021.
Rachel is a true Demand Gen Rockstar, having been hailed in the press as “Captain of the B2B Marketing Dream Team.” She joined Amazon in 2013, serving as Head of Amazon Student and then Vice President of Global Field and Partner Marketing for AWS before her promotion to her current role in January 2020. Prior to Amazon, she served as VP of Marketing for the US, Canada, and Latin America at Salesforce.
On this episode, Rachel details the demand gen strategy that powers the dominant player in cloud computing, and breaks down the key leadership principles that fuel successful marketing teams, from customer obsession, to diving deep, to thinking big, and much more.
“From a demand gen perspective, one of the most important leadership principles is customer obsession…When we think about our demand gen strategy and any new program or new campaign that we want to put together, we start from the customer and work backwards. I think that's probably what really helps us develop great demand gen and marketing programs.”
“The best way to figure out how you're doing from a measurement perspective is go into the campaign or the demand gen program with a clear set of objectives and outputs that you're looking to get…When we're developing campaigns, we always set up: what do we want the impact of this to be? How do we want to define that? And How do we want to measure it?”
“Marketing is the beautiful marriage of not only creativity, but understanding data and doing a lot of data analysis. Because you want to make sure that whatever big idea you come up with–how do you test it? How do you refine it? And then how do you understand its impact? So that if you really love it, you can replicate it.”
“[My advice would be to] Ask a lot of questions. Sometimes I think people don't want to ask questions. They're afraid, like ‘oh, I should know this.’ I'm a big believer: Ask the questions because there are probably other people sitting there thinking of the same question you are... Really dive deep…I just think it helps you be so much more effective and efficient.”