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SMG Expert Spotlight – Rod Feuer, Chief Product Officer

Mar 01, 2022

SMG Expert Spotlight – Rod Feuer, Chief Product Officer

Our expert spotlight series showcases the great minds of SMG—those who keep us innovating, growing, and driving meaningful change for clients. We sat down with Rod Feuer—SMG’s first Chief Product Officer—to learn more about this new role and how he’s helping shape SMG’s customer-centric culture.

You are SMG’s first Chief Product Officer. What was the driving force behind creating this role?

A big part of the new era of SMG is about increasing our investment in innovation to help our clients deliver market-leading customer and employee experiences. But what exactly is innovation?

It’s commonly thought of as a “eureka” moment—a flash of inventive genius. But history shows that innovation is more of a process where a new idea is turned into something practical, affordable, and reliable that customers want to use (and buy).

My job as a Chief Product Officer is to foster this process of innovation at SMG. On a day-to-day basis this means collaborating with my team to systematically discover new opportunities, talk to and learn from customers, keep ideas simple and focused, start small and iterate, and do all of this with the intent to maintain a leading position in the market.

What drew you to SMG and what made this opportunity stand out?

SMG has an incredible set of restaurant and retail clients that collectively serve millions of customers and employ thousands of associates around the world. As Chief Product Officer, I have the incredible opportunity to craft a product strategy that helps them deliver the best possible experience to both groups of people. That’s pretty amazing.

This company’s culture was also a key factor. As a former founder of a company, customer-obsession is a core value of mine. Many companies say they’re “customer-first” but upon closer inspection, it’s just words on a webpage, office wall, or coffee mug. But at SMG, every single person is focused on the customer. It’s really impressive and helps set us apart from others.

As you reflect on your career, what are a few tenets of the most successful organizations you’ve been part of?

I believe it’s these 4 things:

  • Having a strong culture rooted in clearly articulated core values
  • Being customer-obsessed—in action, not just with words
  • Maintaining high standards: mediocrity is the silent killer
  • Having a clear, differentiated strategy (interestingly, my experience is that a good strategy is not a necessary condition for a successful outcome, but it meaningfully increases a company’s odds for success in the long run)

What’s the most stand out customer experience you’ve had?

My wife and I recently celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary. We splurged and spent a long weekend at Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Every detail of the customer experience—the beautiful room, the gourmet food, the immaculate grounds, the over-the-top service—was impeccable. The perfect experience for a very special occasion.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

Be curious, not judgmental. –Ted Lasso