How to (Re)Brand: Pivoting from Product to Consumer with CMO Ana Villegas

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“I think one of the things we want to make sure we also show was how important it was to differentiate what we were doing versus our competitors.” 


We don’t often think about marketing as something that changes the world, but it is. Whether it’s through amazing products, or by creating an inclusive environment for minorities to have their voices heard, marketing is a powerful place to be. We are helping to shape the world view. Today, the CMO of National Instruments, Ana Villegas, joins us to talk about how she was able to come to a new country and climb the ranks of amazing brands like Dell and National Instruments by using her superpower: belief in herself.

Key Insights

 Invest In Your Network 

There’s an old proverb that says “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This is especially true when it comes to your career. The importance of creating a network of professionals – at all levels – cannot be overstated. 

“I had to learn that networking is important and you have to dedicate part of your time to networking. It’s magical.”  

Believe you’re the expert 

There’s never a perfect time to speak up, and most of the time – no one is going to give you permission to make your voice heard – you just have to do it. When there’s a problem that needs solving in your field or a question that needs answering on your team – believe that you can be the one who offers a solution. 

”First and foremost, believe in yourself. You are an expert. If you have done your homework, you have the answer. So speak up – the answer might not be perfect, but say it.”  

Why a ‘frozen in time’ brand might be an opportunity in disguise  

It might be easy to look at companies that have been around for a long time and think they’re past the help of new marketing trends. But Villegas argues that even brands that seem stuck in the old ways of doing things can be the perfect candidates for fresh branding opportunities. 

“When I started looking beyond just what they were showing – more at the functionality and how they were generating demand, how they were building the field, and how all functions of marketing were frozen in time – my first reaction was ‘wow’, and my second reaction was ‘how exciting…there’s so much we can do to help this brand.’”   

About the Guest:

As chief marketing officer, Ana Villegas is responsible for the management of all NI’s global marketing teams. Her focus is on promoting the strength of NI’s technology to cultivate growth across key industries, elevating the importance of test in bringing world-changing technologies to market, and celebrating the engineers behind the innovations.

 A seasoned marketing leader with experience in both consumer and B2B marketing, Ana brings a wealth of experience working across global, cross-functional teams to drive marketing ROI. In her previous role as NI’s vice president of demand generation and field marketing, she was responsible for driving impact on-demand creation through integrated marketing campaign strategies and multichannel customer acquisition programs. Prior to joining NI, she served in marketing leadership roles at Dell where she was responsible, throughout her career, for managing multiple marketing functions and delivering revenue for the business.

 Ana is a thought leader and frequent speaker on the topics of B2B digital and omnichannel marketing at international conferences, and she’s on the board of Latinitas, a non-profit focused on empowering girls to innovate through media and technology.

 Ana received an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, a master’s in finance and project management from the Universidad Pacifico in Lima, Peru, and a master’s in marketing and a bachelor’s in engineering from the Universidad Catolica in Lima, Peru.

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Episode 307