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Embrace Change

14 Jul

Santo Ligotti, CMProfessor and Vice President of Marketing and Member Services at the Retail Council of Canada, discusses artificial intelligence, opening doors, overcoming challenges, when to embrace change and two moments that defined his career.

The CM Opens Doors

The Chartered Marketer program is unique because it embodies everything from rigorous standards and recognition to an ongoing commitment to professional development. Earning your Chartered Marketer designation signifies credibility and opens doors through career advancement, networking, and continuous learning in today’s competitive marketing landscape.

Shape, Evoke and Drive

Marketing is about telling stories, building brand identities, crafting compelling narratives and creating meaningful connections. I developed an interest in consumer behaviour, market trends, and the impact of marketing strategies on business outcomes, while working in statistics and data analysis. I wanted to impact the success of businesses and brands and leverage my statistical background while exploring innovative ways to engage and influence target audiences. Uncovering consumer insights, developing effective marketing campaigns, and communicating the benefits of products and services are exciting because marketing can shape perceptions, evoke emotions, and drive consumer behaviour. Marketing is the perfect blend of analytical thinking and creative expression.

embrace change


Here’s a list of things I wished I had known or paid attention to early in my career:

Failure: Embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. Learn from your mistakes and adapt.
Growth mindset: Cultivate a growth mindset and seek knowledge to stay current with trends.
Foster strong relationships: Network and collaborate to leverage diverse perspectives.
Work/life balance: Prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Lead with empathy: Understand the human element behind data and build meaningful connections with team members and customers.


The marketing profession presents a unique set of challenges:

1. Navigating the ever-changing landscape of technology and digital platforms requires constant adaptation and learning.
2. Capturing and retaining the attention of increasingly distracted consumers amidst a barrage of advertisements.
3. Balancing creativity with data-driven decision-making.
4. Managing and optimizing limited marketing budgets while delivering impactful results requires strategic resource allocation.
5. Dealing with subjective and often fluctuating market trends and consumer preferences demands agility and the ability to anticipate and respond to shifting demands.

Embrace Change and Adapt

In a profession as dynamic as marketing, marketers must embrace change and adapt, whether it’s rapid technological advancements, evolving consumer behaviours, or shifting market trends. To stay at the forefront of emerging strategies and innovative practices, I participate in industry events and thought leadership, teach part-time and serve as President on the board of the American Marketing Association, Toronto Chapter. This proactive approach ensures I can effectively navigate the evolving marketing landscape and deliver impactful results in an ever-changing environment.

embrace change

Reshaping Engagement

Over the last 20 years, the marketing landscape has become more dynamic, complex, and reliant on technology-driven strategies. The rise of digital technology has revolutionized advertising channels, with a shift toward online platforms, social media, and personalized targeting. The availability of big data has enabled marketers to make data-driven decisions and optimize campaigns. Additionally, the emergence of influencer marketing and the growing emphasis on customer experience has reshaped the way brands engage with consumers.

They Moulded Me

Some of the challenges which have shaped my marketing journey include,

1. Transitioning from data analysis into broader marketing roles.
2. Adapting my skill set and acquiring marketing expertise.
3. Losing my job twice

While unemployed, I embraced resilience and a growth mindset and used the opportunity to reflect, upskill, and explore new paths. I searched for opportunities aligned with my true passions and strengths, propelling me toward roles where I could use my marketing knowledge and skills. That’s when I began to see setbacks as stepping stones to finding innovative ways to contribute and thrive. I recognized how valuable adaptability and resourcefulness were and became adept at navigating change and remaining flexible. The challenges I encountered sharpened my skills and instilled a profound resilience and determination. They moulded me into a marketing professional who can confidently navigate uncertainty, embrace change, and succeed in even the most challenging circumstances.

Artificial Intelligence

I’m excited about integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into marketing. AI could revolutionize marketing strategies and customer experiences in four ways,

1. AI-powered analytics: Marketers can derive deeper insights from vast amounts of data, enabling more precise targeting and personalized messaging.
2. Machine learning algorithms: We can optimize ad campaigns in real-time, improving conversion rates and ROI.
3. Chatbots and virtual assistants: Enhance customer interactions by providing instant, tailored responses.
4. AI-driven recommendation engines: Deliver highly relevant product suggestions, enhancing cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

AI enables marketers to automate repetitive tasks, freeing time for strategic thinking and creativity. It’s crucial to balance the benefits of AI with ethical considerations and maintain a human touch in marketing. The integration of AI holds tremendous potential to elevate marketing practices, enhance customer experiences, and drive innovation in the constantly evolving marketing landscape.

Defining Moments

Two moments defined my marketing career. The first ended my employment for two positions because it wasn’t a good fit. I learned the importance of aligning values and organizational culture, which fueled my determination to find an environment where I could thrive. In the second occurrence, the culprit was restructuring. This challenge tested my resilience and adaptability and compelled me to explore new opportunities and embrace change. It solidified my ability to navigate uncertainty and rebound stronger.

embrace change

These moments shaped me into a marketing professional who approaches change with resilience and adaptability. I embrace challenges as opportunities for growth to find the right fit for long-term success. I’m committed to carving a fulfilling and impactful marketing career and suggest using these moments as opportunities for change, ultimately putting you in a better place.

Santo Ligotti, CM
Vice President of Marketing and Member Services at the Retail Council of Canada




12 Jul
Embracing the Chartered Marketer Journey
  • 10:00 am
  • Earl DeMatas