Your Fractional CMO
Eric S. Townsend is an American chief marketing officer and writer. He has served 400+ brands since 1993, including Dow 30 and Fortune 100/500. He is recognized for excellence by The Webbys, PR Week, American Marketing Association, Society for Marketing Professional Services, Service Industry Advertising Awards, Washington Business Journal, Kickstarter, and Northern Virginia Technology Council. Townsend scores highly for strategy and command (testing below), has innovated in small books since 2012, and has coached artistry for Torch™ since 2013.
When you’ve been mentored, you also mentor. Townsend’s protégés from the Torch™ program (San Francisco) include illustrator Dave Arcade (Salt Lake City), design lead Amber Heinbokel (Boston), product manager Jocelyn Neff (New York) brand strategist Andrew Clayton (Oslo, Norway), organizer Karlie Hill (Denver), software engineer Herman Li (San Francisco), and marketing director Joey Soriano (SF). Previously, Townsend aided the careers of CEO Rodrigue Lawson (London), creative director Joseph Magliaro (Los Angeles), artist and educator Blythe King, developer Morgan Benton, and director of engineering Chiedo John.
Townsend’s agency career began at Landslide Creative Services (1994, Richmond VA). He then contributed at a division of The Martin Agency (1996-7, Richmond VA) on their Absolut Vodka and Saab Accounts, made partner at Zinc Agency (1998-2003, Washington DC), directed business development for SQN Communications (2004-5, Tysons Corner VA), teamed with Universal Music Group for a talent development arm called SplashKit (2006-11), made partner at Glimpse Digital (2007-2017, Fairfax VA), led a successful agency pilot for Billy Casper Golf now Troon (2014, Tysons Corner VA), and is now a fractional CMO (2023).
Townsend took software company Latista from startup to $663M acquisition by Oracle, produced viral content for Navy Federal Credit Union (Chicago Tribune, LA Times, 80M views) and Pure Pasty (Washington Post, BBC, NBC, Daily Mail, more), proved an in-house agency pilot for Billy Casper Golf (now Troon) that led to exit as Buffalo Groupe (8 acquisitions since), toppled the market leader in a busy home improvement market (DC/MD/VA) for Basement Detective, and led change culture from paid leads to earned traffic (organic SEO) for Strong Home Mortgage.
Townsend has always been driven to think differently. His modifications to a line of beanbag chairs for Gold Medal Products (1997, Richmond VA) led directly to today’s loungers for gamers.He was an early adopter (and later opponent) of Flash technology on websites (1998-9). He transformed a bulky annual report for Pact International (2001, Washington DC) into a folding passport that remained impressive but was digestible in minutes. To challenge architects, he once parodied Washington DC as a plain ice cube tray (turned upside down) on the cover of the American Institute of Architects’ monthly magazine (2002). He beta-tested plugins for WordPress that are now industry-leading (WooCommerce: 2010-1, Divi: 2012-3). He began to push the merits of “writing small” and released ebooks through digital imprint Go Booklets while the publishing industry wondered what was next (2012). He created a simple self-improvement metric in billiards called “differential” that rewards players for matching and surpassing their average performance score (2016).
Townsend wrote and hand-drew a children’s adventure series Tabula Raisa (2016) which was successfully funded through patrons on Kickstarter. The author partnered with The Prince Estate (2020) to develop Blue Cloudz, a prequel to the Oscar-winning film Purple Rain. In the music industry, Townsend has been credited as writer, producer, or lyricist on 100+ songs. He’s a multi-instumentalist and 3.5 octave vocalist in “The Prince Club” for having produced, arranged, composed, and performed every note on several records.
Yin Yang Man
At three years young, Eric grabbed a pair of scissors and began cutting the components of a toy soldier. He didn’t draw it first to get the plan just right. He went straight to solving the problem. At age five, he was in the theater for the debut of Star Wars. George Lucas was taking a huge creative risk, and Eric would become one of his original geeks. His imagination ran wild. At six, his mother gifted him a Mickey Mouse record player. It was Prince’s first #1 record, “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” that left a lasting impression. When Dick Clark interviewed the teenager on American Bandstand, it began to click. Prince was elusive, energetic, and expressive too. His mother regularly drove him to the Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium (New York) to draw mammoths and gaze upon the stars for hours. In elementary school, he wrote a lengthy poem on the fall of Pompeii, Italy and published haiku in the local newspaper. His first exposure to technology was building robots in the Gifted & Talented program. The first musical instruments he tried were saxophone and drums (failing miserably at the former). In college, Eric was lead singer in multiple musical groups, member of the school’s gospel choir, and djembe percussionist for a local African Dance troupe. He regularly contributed to The Messenger, a local literary magazine. One of his short stories (Torn) was runner-up for the Margaret Owen Finch Award for Creative Writing. His senior year, he balanced his studies with moonlighting at a a local advertising agency. He earned his first first dollars in marketing by packaging local music groups (CDs, press kits, etc). Eric graduated from the University of Richmond with his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Art History.