Masters in Marketing: Cheryl Gale, March Communications

 In Marketing Leader Interviews
Cheryl Gale is Managing Director and Co-Founder of March Communications and an expert on “raising two gen Zs and ~25 millennials.” She has over 20 years of experience in public relations, corporate communications and marketing communications in the U.S., UK and Europe. Cheryl returned to the U.S. after living in the UK for nearly a decade, to establish March Communications. Headquarted in Boston, the agency has a “cool kids” vibe. We caught up with Cheryl to find out how she sees PR evolving, differences in PR in the UK vs the U.S., and what’s on her radar from PR tech to personal time. Besides, she’s big on PR measurement and calls AVEs “BS,” so you know we’re fans.


Please tell us a little bit about March PR and your role there?

I am co-founder and managing director of March and work closely with clients and our teams to build out campaigns that move the needle for our clients. Founded in 2005, March Communications is an award-winning communications agency that brings together technology PR, digital marketing and social media to foster growth for our clients. Our 30 full-time staffers are an eclectic mix of journalists, PR veterans, content enthusiasts, data geeks and visual story-tellers, and are located between our head office in Boston and our satellite locations in Chicago and San Francisco.

We use an integrated mix of PR and digital marketing communications to cook up content that will inform your audiences and potential buyers, and serve it to them in exactly the right context. Central to our approach is the use of real-time intelligence to take the guesswork out of communications. Research and market insight underpin our intelligent approach to clients’ programs, while measurement and analytics track our progress against carefully agreed campaign KPIs and outcomes.


What is your work day comprised of?

Most days you can find me in brainstorm meetings with clients and teams as well as our client quarterly reviews. Often, I am on the phone with clients working through the game plan or checking in to make sure we are all on the same page. This week I am working on a few new business pitches for brands I would be very proud to work for.


What do you miss about the UK?

The English approach to creativity mixed with a bit of cynicism. I really miss Sunday lunch in a local gastro pub and of course the ease of traveling to other nearby countries.


How is the field of PR different in the UK? How is it the same?

It’s not that wildly different in terms of tactical  approaches. Product pitching is not widely done and I am finding in the US it is going in that same direction.

I found pitching very daunting in my early days in PR in the UK though.  Pitching to media – especially tech media – in London can be unnerving because the majority of reporters are cynical and quick witted. I learned very quickly how to pitch in 20 seconds and developed a pretty tough outer layer.


What do you feel you excel at the most in your job?

I am a people person. I like to work closely with clients and employees to build meaningful relationships. I love hearing about successes of all sizes and stories of overcoming a really tough challenge. Often, I am the person giving advice or just listening to the issue. I like to offer my perspective or make a suggestion based on my own experiences.


What do you wish you could learn more about or improve upon?

Digital marketing is something we are really focusing on and I am working with our strategist to soak up as much as I can. I also love measurement. It’s something I have been interested in from the beginning when I knew equivalent ad spend was total BS.


What are some must have technologies that make your job easier?

Anything that enables us to get insight from data. We just brought in Bullhorn to help us better manage our media relationships. We are constantly looking at new tools that help us to measure what we do too.


Outside of your career, what keeps you busy?

My children keep me very busy. I have two girls, 13 and 11. We do a lot of traveling and I am a bit of a bootcamp junky.


Do you have or have you ever had a mentor? Who and why?

Yes. I have had several mentors throughout the years. Very early in my career at Weber, I was lucky enough to work with three incredibly talented women – Patty Stone, Lisa Rogers and Kathy Wilson. They taught me everything I know. Later in my career in London, my mentor became Fiona Longhurst. She taught me how to be thoughtful and to slow down. And since starting March, my mentors have been other agency heads who kindly listen and offer advice. All of my mentors have been an incredibly important part of my career development.


What is next for you in 2016?​

Work: Steady growth, stability, new services and new remote office locations.

Personal: Deep breaths, being more present and navigating high school with my daughter in September.

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