Marni Walden started her career in wireless more than 20 years ago, working in a wireless retail store where she developed a keen understanding of the customer--something she believes has helped her rise through the ranks to her current C-level position.
Late last year, Walden was named chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ), replacing John Stratton, who was elevated to the COO spot.
In her new post, Walden is responsible for all of Verizon Wireless' marketing initiatives, and the management and development of its mobile products and services. She also oversees media buying, which means she controls the carrier's multibillion-dollar advertising budget. And in the cut-throat world of wireless, advertising is key to customer perception.
Verizon has been widely hailed for its long-running "Can You Hear Me Now?" campaign. However, after nine years of the Test Man, it appears that Verizon started phasing out popular ad campaign. Since last summer the company has been hammering home its "Rule the Air" marketing campaign, which has picked up since the launch of Verizon's LTE network in December.
And Walden certainly has her work cut out for her in the months ahead. Verizon recently debuted its new tiered mobile data pricing plans, which competitor Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) quickly pounced on with a series of new ads that highlight the caps and throttling employed by Verizon and other competitors, and reiterate Sprint's offer of uncapped smartphone data.
But Walden seems confident that Verizon's network and device strategy will persevere despite less expensive offers from competitors. In an interview with FierceWireless earlier this year, she said: "I actually believe network and device are more critical now and in the future because of the capabilities. That's why Verizon is set up so well. Those two elements--network and device--are critical. Now value is important too, but we will win because we are so well set up with the other two. I don't see value as the top driver for whether people will stay."