Chief marketing officer
Culver’s Franchising System LLC
1240 Water St., Prairie du Sac
Julie Fussner became Culver’s first-ever chief marketing officer in January.
The CMO position was created, in part, out of a need of higher-level leadership as the 38-year-old company grows in value to nearly $3 billon, with 900 locations in 26 states. That’s up from 600 locations in 24 states when Fussner first joined Culver’s in 2017 as vice president of marketing. “The growth of the company and then the really complicated marketing landscape that we’re in – it seemed like it was the right time to create this position,” said Fussner.
Up until two years ago, Culver’s spent more than half of its annual media dollars on traditional TV commercials. Now, it spends that much on digital ads.
Fussner leads a 17-person marketing team (and growing) that creates thousands of pieces of content for the company’s digital marketing channels, including mobile banner ads, paid and unpaid social media content on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok, and ad spots for streaming platforms like Hulu.
With such a broad customer base, Fussner says the challenge is finding the most efficient way of reaching each segment.
Fussner’s career in food marketing is tied to a deeper belief in the power of food. “If it’s leveraged in the right way, it can forge major human connections. … One of the things that’s really special about Culver’s is people go there for special events and celebrations. It’s a place that brings joy.”