Leaders in Marketing: Diane Perlman

29th Aug 2017
Diane Perlman is a marketing leader whose career is distinguished by her experience at the intersection between startups and large enterprises. She was formerly Global CMO of MassChallenge, “the world’s most startup-friendly accelerator,” and Startups Lead at Microsoft. Also while at Microsoft, Diane was UK Marketing Communications Lead for the Windows Phone, the market share of which she helped to grow from 1% to 12% while managing multi-million pound budgets.
Diane Perlman

What should marketers be paying more attention to that they currently are not?

Diane Perlman: AI/machine learning, video and voice. According to Comscore, by 2020, 50% of search activity will be via voice.

What are marketers currently paying too much attention to, that they really don’t need to care about that much?

D: TV advertising.

How did you end up working in marketing?

D: I studied mass communications in university and later went on to get a Master’s in business, so I always knew that communications and the creative industries was the likely path for me.

After uni, I got my first job as a writer for a small boutique agency in the Washington DC area in the US. I took on more responsibility from there and then moved to another strategic comms agency. That role led me to my first marketing director role at an early stage startup – the company that brought me to the UK in 2000.

If you were starting your career again tomorrow, what would you do?

D: That is a tough question because the world has changed so much since I started my career and the discipline of marketing has changed so much, but I think I would probably still go into a creative industry with a tech/business focus.

What’s the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done in marketing?

D: Working with startups. The feeling you get when you can give a simple piece of advice to or make a connection for a startup, knowing that you may have made a big impact on their thinking or their business, is incredibly rewarding. Running big campaigns is fun and exciting for sure – but doing something that has a material impact on a young business is something really special.

Which books should every marketer read?

D: Purple Cow is a classic.

Throughout your career, who stands out as particularly impressive among the marketers that you have come into contact with?

D: My top marketing mentor in the UK is Paul Davies from Microsoft UK.  He was my manager for four of my years at Microsoft UK. He is not only a motivational and astute people manager and leader, he has a great eye for creativity and the ability to simplify and navigate the toughest challenges with ease. He is a friend and inspiration to me.

He spearheaded so many fantastic campaigns – but one that sticks out is the award winning campaign centered around a graphic novel commissioned from Edgar Wright and Tommy Lee Edwards with a crowd-sourced plot to showcase the graphic beauty of Internet Explorer.

Could you characterise your own distinctive approach to marketing in a few words?

D: I am always looking for the ‘magic dust’. What will make the work or the campaign really sparkle and stand out? How can we tackle a challenge from a new angle? I am also a measured risk taker, who is not afraid to challenge the status quo to achieve a better outcome.

Is there anything else that you would like to recommend to other marketers, such as useful blogs, podcasts etc?

D: BrenĂ© Brown’s Ted Talk and Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk.


Check back in the future for more wisdom from experienced leaders in marketing. In the meantime, find out how Amigo enables marketers to succeed by eliminating the marketing execution gap. 

Further reading

020 3940 4650