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Episode 11 –
Empowering Business through Big Data with Thom Gruhler

RESOURCES   ❯   The Marketing Rapport Podcast 7-5-23

Episode Summary

In this episode of The Marketing Rapport, host Tim Finnegan sits down with Thom Gruhler, CEO and founder of Fjuri, to discuss the intersection of data and marketing. Gruhler, a former global CMO at Microsoft, shares his journey from leading one of the top marketing media agencies to launching his own company.

Gruhler’s Fjuri helps clients tap into big data in a more powerful way. The conversation delves into the challenges companies face in accelerating revenue growth, particularly in harnessing their data. Gruhler emphasizes the importance of data governance, cleanup, and augmentation, and how these processes can unlock the potential of AI tools and features.

The episode also explores Gruhler’s advice for young professionals and entrepreneurs. He stresses the importance of staying curious, embracing discomfort, and continuously learning. He also highlights the need for entrepreneurs to love the infrastructure part of their business, including people management, as it forms a significant part of their journey.



Guest-at-a-Glance

Thom Gruhler Founder and CEO Fjuri
  • Name: Thom Gruhler
  • What they do: Thom is the Founder and CEO
  • Company: Fjuri
  • Noteworthy: Former Global CMO at Microsoft, data-driven marketing expert
  • Where to find them: LinkedIn

Key Insights

  • Harnessing the Power of Data in Marketing Thom Gruhler, CEO and founder of Fjuri, discusses the pivotal role of data in modern marketing. He shares his experiences from his time as a chief marketing officer at Microsoft, where he faced challenges in accessing and organizing data to drive revenue. Gruhler emphasizes that these challenges are not unique to Microsoft but are common across companies. He highlights the complexity of using insights generated from data to drive better decision-making. This insight led to the creation of Fjuri, a company that helps other companies navigate the data landscape, addressing issues of data governance, availability, richness, and accuracy.
  • Embrace Discomfort and Stay Curious Gruhler shares valuable advice for young professionals and entrepreneurs. He encourages them to stay curious and keep learning, as the world is constantly changing. He emphasizes the importance of reinvention and the need to put oneself in uncomfortable situations to drive growth. He advises against becoming too comfortable in one’s expertise, as it can lead to stagnation. Instead, he suggests seeking out challenges and opportunities for growth, even if they make you uncomfortable.
  • Love the Infrastructure Part of Your Business Gruhler shares insights from his entrepreneurial journey, highlighting the importance of planning for the infrastructure part of the business. He stresses that decisions, especially those related to people, form a significant part of an entrepreneur’s journey. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to love this aspect of their business, as it takes up a significant amount of time. If not, it could lead to burnout. His advice underscores the importance of not just focusing on the product or service but also on the operational aspects of running a business.

Episode Highlights

The Genesis of Fjuri: Bridging the Data Divide

Thom Gruhler discusses the inception of Fjuri, a company he founded in 2017 after leaving Microsoft. Fjuri was born out of Gruhler’s realization that if a data-rich company like Microsoft was struggling with data organization and utilization, then other companies were likely facing the same challenges. Fjuri aims to help companies cross this data divide, addressing issues of data governance, availability, richness, and accuracy.

“The purpose of Fjuri really is to help other companies cross the divide that I crossed as a chief marketing officer when I was at Microsoft. […] If we were struggling with that, then every company in the world was gonna struggle with that.”

Emphasizing Infrastructure in the Entrepreneurial Journey

Gruhler shares his insights on the importance of infrastructure in entrepreneurship. He stresses that decisions, especially those related to people, form a significant part of an entrepreneur’s journey. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to love this aspect of their business, as it takes up a significant amount of time.

“My advice to anybody who’s on the entrepreneurial precipice is to plan for the infrastructure part of the business. All those decisions, including people — maybe mostly people — plan for that to be a big part of what you do and plan to love that.”

The Gap Between Technology Conferences and Reality

Gruhler shares his observations from attending marketing and technology conferences. He notes that while technology companies are building feature sets to compete with each other, these features are often unusable for the majority of customers in the audience due to their company’s size or data readiness.

“When I go to marketing and technology conferences, every technology is building feature sets to compete with each other. […] Most CTOs or chief data officers are going, ‘How are we gonna do that?’ Our data problem is very real.”

Reaching Out to Fjuri

Gruhler provides information on how to connect with him and Fjuri. He invites listeners to reach out with ideas, challenges, or solutions. He also mentions that Fjuri aims to be part of conversations where revenue acceleration technology can help businesses improve their execution.

“You can find us at fjuri.io […] If you got an idea, if you got a challenge to an idea we have, I want to hear from you. If you want a problem, if you got a solution, you’re looking forward to a problem you have, I want to talk to you.”


Top Quotes

Thom Gruhler [00:04:00]: “The purpose of Fjuri really is to help other companies cross the divide that I crossed as a chief marketing officer when I was at Microsoft. […] If we were struggling with that, then every company in the world was gonna struggle with that.”

Thom Gruhler [00:10:00]: “My advice to anybody who’s on the entrepreneurial precipice is to plan for the infrastructure part of the business. All those decisions, including people — maybe mostly people — plan for that to be a big part of what you do and plan to love that. Because if you don’t love it, you’re gonna burn yourself out ’cause it takes up a lot of your time.”

Thom Gruhler [00:21:00]: “Stay curious and follow your interests for sure, but keep that learning process going because reinvention is something you’re gonna have to do over and over and over again.”

Thom Gruhler [00:24:00]: “When I go to marketing and technology conferences, every technology is building feature sets to compete with each other. […] Most CTOs or chief data officers are going, ‘How are we gonna do that?’ Our data problem is very real.”

Thom Gruhler [00:26:00]: “You can find us at fjuri.io […] If you got an idea, if you got a challenge to an idea we have, I want to hear from you. If you want a problem, if you got a solution, you’re looking forward to a problem you have, I want to talk to you.”