Given an increasingly large marketing delegation, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction from the creative community at large seemed to bubble under the surface of this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
. But creative folks should beware – it’s the marketers who are looking for solutions, and who are responsible mainly for marshaling the creative power around and in support of their brands.
2012 certainly seemed to be “the year of the CMO” at the Festival. The sharp rise in registered delegates - from 9,000 last year to 11,000 this year - was primarily due to the number of clients attending, including delegates from 92 big-name brands and 550 marketing organizations in total
. They had starring roles in seminars, forums and workshops, as well as made appearances in “fringe” events such as the McCannes Rendezvous “Cocktails & Conversations” session, and The CMO Club Roundtable.
Of course many of the usual culprits were there such as P&G, Unilever and Coke, but there were several new brands on the scene too, and of course many brands doing double duty – not just there to speak or see what’s new, but also there to market to the creative community (Google, Adobe, Getty Images, Facebook and Yahoo! to name a few).
In terms of seminars, many CMOs had starring roles: Visa, Coke, P&G, Unilever and Nike. The Coke seminar with CMO Joe Tripodi (interview)
was “blow away” good in every sense – content, creativity and delivery. Same with the Unilever seminar starring CMO Keith Weed and SVP of Marketing Marc Mathieu. In both cases, major announcements were made. Coke announced the latest iteration of its program “The Beat of London 2012” for the Olympics.
And Unilever launched its global Waterworks™
initiative with Facebook and PSI (Population Services International) as the world’s first open social graph, “using technology to create lasting change”.
There were forums and workshops geared for and starring senior marketers as well. Dana Anderson of Kraft led a particularly good forum on “5 Sneaky Ways to Get Great Work” which was highly entertaining, and which featured work from a range of brands, including the “Angry Pilgrims” creative for Stove Top Stuffing
The workshop led by Brand Learning’s co-founders Mhairi McEwan and Andy Bird was also tailored to the marketing community and for agency folk wanting to better understand the marketing community. Entitled “The Growth Drivers: Challenging the Way Marketers & Agencies Work Together”, it featured Kerris Bright, CMO of Ideal Standard International, Barry Herstein, recent CMO for Snapfish, and Amanda Mackenzie, CMO for Aviva.
from left: M Sachs, M Klein, M Banikarim, J Travis, W Clark
Of the “fringe” events, my panel entitled “Cocktails & Conversations at Cannes”, which was part of the McCann Rendezvous, was especially enlightening in terms of the creative process as seen through the eyes of senior marketers. Joining me were Wendy Clark of Coca-Cola, John Travis of Adobe, Maryam Banikarim of Gannett, and Michelle Klein for Smirnoff at Diageo. And we got into a whole host of issues including ownership of creativity, getting the right balance between data and creativity, experimentation and learning, and internal politics. Arun Sudhaman wrote an excellent re-cap on the session for The Holmes Report
Another “fringe” event, The CMO Club’s CMO Roundtable, was kicked off by CMO Club CEO Pete Krainik and included senior marketers from Yahoo!, Sovereign/Santander Bank, Carlsberg, Ferrero, General Mills, Heineken, Google, Beiersdorf (Nivea), Philips and Unilever. Hosted by EffectiveBrands and MOFILM, the conversation focused how to best leverage global brands, using frameworks, best practice sharing, story-telling and engaging in the conversation.
And marketing delegates were not confined to the upper echelon. 2012 was the second year for the Cannes Creative Academy for Young Marketers
(under 30) for young marketers who want to learn about creativity, with Dean of the Academy, former global marketing officer for P&G Jim Stengel, who also earlier this year launched his book Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies.
So while creatives may not be overly enthusiastic about an increasing number of marketers flocking to the Cannes Lions, they should at least be appreciative that marketers are taking an increasing interest in creativity and how to encourage best-in-class creativity, and that they respect the Cannes Lions enough to support the Festival with truly amazing content, major announcements and thought-provoking conversations.
As Claire Beale, editor of the UK's Campaign magazine, said, "This is a serious, full-on business event that's a thoroughly justifiable way of spending a week out of the office and even a fairly justifiable way of spending several thousands of expense-account pounds [dollars]. It's perhaps not as much fun as it used to be, but then, what is?"
Wendy Clark, Coke
One week from today (Wed 20 June), I'll be moderating a panel of senior marketers called "Cocktails and Conversations" at the Cannes Lions Festival. The panel will include Wendy Clark
, SVP of Integrated Marketing Communications and Capabilities at Coca-Cola; John Travis, VP of Brand Marketing at Adobe; and Maryam Banikarim
, SVP & CMO of Gannett.
"Cocktails & Conversations" will be part of the "McCann Rendezvous"
series to be hosted at La Cote Terrace at the Carlton Hotel, facing La Croisette. The event will begin around 6.45pm, with our panel running from 7.30-8pm plus Q&A.
Maryam Banikarim, Gannett
We'll be discussing the name of the game in Cannes - creativity - but we'll be putting our own spin on the subject in terms of working practices in marketing versus creativity in the marketing product itself.
I've been thinking about appropriate questions to field around the creative process, creativity in experimentation, origination of creativity (agency partners versus client side), creativity in the innovation process, and more. But I'd be happy to entertain any questions my readers might have - just please email to email@example.com
Following our panel, it would be only fitting to have some creative entertainment. Neon Trees
, an American alternative rock band from Provo, Utah, will be performing for the audience.
The recent CMO Club Summit demonstrated to me more than ever how many variations of a CMO job spec there are. Of course there are the traditional delineations - B2C, B2B or both; industry sector; size of business; size of budget; responsibilities held - the list is pretty much infinite. Company culture, CEO mindset and C-suite support also factor in to the make-up of a CMO. Personalities and interests of the CMO, as well, impact how the CMO approaches the task at hand.
To make the position even more challenging, the role of the CMO is probably one of the least understood by both the outside world and internal audiences. Marketing is often seen as a "black box" confused with sales, and which is sometimes viewed as a financial drain on an organization, funding expensive advertising campaigns, sponsorships and other untold extravagant items.
While marketing accountability is increasing and marketers are working more closely than ever before with their CEOs, CFOs and HR heads, the marketing discipline is still often shrouded in mystery. It is probably the least understood management function at the boardroom level – if it is at the boardroom level, often getting short shrift in terms of attention except when there is an issue. And yet it can be such a powerful driver of growth, innovation and reputation. In fact, according to Wikipedia
, the CMO is ultimately responsible for facilitating growth, sales and marketing strategy. He or she must work towards objectives such as revenue generation, cost reduction or risk mitigation.
The good news is that according to Spencer Stuart, the average tenure for a CMO was up from just under 35 months in 2009 to 42 months in 2010, but how much of that was driven by the economic conditions versus improved performance? And the average masks significant differences in tenure across industry sectors. For example, the life expectancy of CMOs in the highly competitive communications and media sector is just 22 months, and in the restaurant business just 25 months.
I’ve seen a few job specs for CMOs over the last several months as research for my book, and I never cease to be surprised by the diversity of responsibilities. You do not see that with CEO or CFO job specs! On a basic level, CMOs are supposed to have significant influence over all “4 Ps of marketing” – promotion, product, place and price. However in reality, a study conducted across over 1,700 CMOs by IBM
last year indicated that while CMOs exert a strong influence over promotional activities such as advertising, external communications and social media initiatives, in general they play a smaller role in shaping the other 3 Ps. And that’s a problem given that they don’t have power over the combined effect.
So what we have here is a sort of “50 shades” effect, but what we need are some industry standards in terms of CMO role and responsibilities which can be used to inform and educate the business community at large.
Last week’s CMO Club Summit
presented an array of content eagerly consumed by CMOs attending the two-day conference. And while not all of the subjects included a digital element in the title of the session, digital, search and social certainly was woven throughout most of the presentations, not surprisingly.
So, when the question arose over why everything was about digital during our final lunch, I wondered how someone could even ask such a thing. Isn't digital pervasive in every aspect of marketing; indeed in every aspect of business. I'm guessing this CMO was just concerned that so many topics focused on digital and social media almost to the detriment of leaving out other traditional topics – rather than how digital is woven through all we do as marketers. This CMO went on to clarify her point by suggesting additional content around more traditional marketing topics like advertising, promotions, creativity, etc. Perhaps CMOs are getting weary of the digital emphasis.
And yet, just yesterday Advertising Age published a story
about more growth in digital. “Last year, US agencies generated 30.3% of revenue, or $10.1 billion, from digital, compared with 28% in 2010,” according to the article. “Digital revenue at agencies surged 16.4% in 2011, with growth across agency disciplines.”
Clearly digital is here to stay, thrive and expand with new technologies, platforms and devices. So, the subject matter at the CMO Club Summit around digital transformation, innovation in search, delivering with digital, ranking high on Google, innovation in mobile and bridging the digital divide were most clearly relevant for today’s CMOs. But perhaps we should also be thinking more cleverly around topics that are either languishing or relatively unexplored such as interactive television, diversity marketing, sponsorship and the like.
As a strong advocate for digital, I’ll happily gobble-up content around the subject and I’m always eager to hear about new developments. Equally though, I worry that we just grasp at the bright new shiny toys and forget our grounding in old-fashioned creativity, story-telling and coming up with the big idea which can be integrated across new – as well as more traditional – channels and platforms.
Welcome to my new website which ushers in my new consulting business, Changing MO LLC, based on the tenets of the book I launched last year as well as ongoing dialogue and facilitation with CMOs over the course of the last few months. In short, Changing MO consultancy offers change navigation and management for senior marketers, specializing in the key developments driving the rapid shifts in the marketing environment through social media, integration, harnessing influence and leveraging best practice across silos and geographical boundaries.
The website still houses information about my book, which I launched at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, but now there is a lot more information surrounding the services on offer, our terrific business partners, and our fantastically-clever board of advisors. I must admit that it has been difficult to box in the specific services on offer, but the content provides a good snapshot, and I have partners and individual consultants on which to call to deliver the goods when it’s appropriate.
Taking a page from the book, the imagery of the website has taken a natural progression from “disruption” to the more general “change” and “rebirth” associated with nature. It seemed appropriate to given the nature and theme of our services.
And the website links to my increasing social media presence – including an updated Twitter home page and new Pinterest account which includes what is probably my favorite pinboard on “fave infographics”.
Stay tuned over the coming months as new projects are posted, new events are announced, and new liaisons are agreed and launched. In the meantime, I would welcome your feedback and ideas.
In the last quarter of 2011, I worked with TNS on a project to generate a “voice of the CMO” report, providing qualitative feedback from CMOs to the key themes from TNS’ annual Digital Life Study
. The Study itself is a robust quantitative piece of work based on conversations with over 72,000 people in 60 countries – it is the most comprehensive view of consumer attitudes and behavior online on a global and local level.
The 13 CMOs who participated in the interviews were remarkably aligned on several aspects – despite the fact that they came from a mixture of B2C and B2B brands, and a variety of business sizes. And the report – “The Impact of Digital on Growth Strategies – CMO Imperatives”
– was just released by TNS.
For me, one of the key insights emerging was a new set of brand-building priorities:
- Shareable content: content and experience development that has “share-ability” and is designed to enable and encourage advocacy. This applies to both B2C and B2B businesses, as well as PR or Corporate Comms influencer outreach.
- Co-creation and experience marketing: encouraging and welcoming consumer input to brand marketing campaigns.
- Brands as enablers: the Digital Life Study shows us that consumers are looking to express themselves online and welcome brands who act as enablers. This can take almost as many forms as the self-expression itself, for example, brands being entertaining, informative, playful, collaborative or helpful.
As an overlay to these priorities, CMOs have renewed faith in the central ‘brand idea’ or the ‘big idea’ because:
- Today’s more empowered digital consumer has more influence on a brand’s digital manifestation and reputation. With a stronger central idea, there is more likelihood the brand will be able to maintain the key essence or message they wish to convey, as it is remixed and shared by consumers.
- The proliferation of digital touch points means it’s rarely feasible to create a different idea for every aspect so ideas need to be prioritized. Using the ‘idea’ as the rationale for planning, each touch point or channel is now selected on its ability to effectively deliver the idea; a great balancing force to the temptations offered to marketers by new technologies.
And growth in transmedia planning – story-telling across multiple platforms and formats – is helping the brand idea land more readily through digital as well. One of our interviewees was Wendy Clark
, SVP Integrated Marketing and Capabilities at Coca-Cola, and I love how they have approached the story-telling and content creation aspect in a video entitled Coca-Cola Content 2020 Part One
Other interviewees included, in alpha order: Barry Judge
, Best Buy; Hugh Chambers
, British Olympic Association; Mike Hogan
, GameStop; Douwe Bergsma
, Georgia Pacific; Jim Gurke
, Getty Images; Lauri Kien Kotcher
, Godiva; Lisa Macpherson
, Hallmark Cards; Larry Bruck
, Kellogg’s; Jean Foster
, Neustar; Simon Sproule
, Nissan; Hope Frank
, Webtrends; and Christa Carone
I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel of CMOs at the recent The CMO Club Leadership Summit to touch on some of the key themes in my new book, The Changing MO of the CMO – How the Convergence of Brand and Reputation is Affecting Marketers. Joining me were two of my book interviewees – Danette Leighton of The Pac-12 and Harry Pforzheimer who had just left Intuit. Also on our panel was Doug Biehn from Blue Shield of California, so we had a healthy mix of sports, healthcare and technology.
Social media seemed to take center stage with this panel as it had with many. Talking about how they continue to evolve with social media in the rapidly changing environment, Danette spoke to the unique assets that the Pac-12 has as a sports entity, so it’s about creating an emotional connections and dialogue with the organization and the individual institutions. One of their biggest objectives is trying to identify what’s coming and what’s next, and connect with the fans – some of whom are powerful alumni – and the institutions.
For healthcare, Doug explained that it’s a highly considered purchase where people have, for decades, asked their family and friends for recommendations. So social media provides a platform in a different way to engage, and the lines between marketing, customer service and PR are blurring.
Harry called out a particularly successful experiment for Intuit’s Turbo Tax product. Intuit were getting hundreds of thousands of questions, so the company started allowing customers to answer questions. Last year, customers answered 45 percent of the questions (correctly) from 22 million users.
CMOs seem to agree that there’s a certain amount of “magic” around social media in terms of engaging with their target audiences. But what about measurement? ROI? According to Doug, no one has cracked the code because one of the issues is that social media isn’t “just media”. It’s a way to engage with consumers in a two-way dialogue, and add value that’s going to make their lives better.
Harry was able to give a direct revenue-building example however. Two years ago, the Turbo Tax team undertook a two-week experiment tweeting about an issue, and redirecting consumers to its blog. It generated $180K additional revenue. So last year, Intuit ran the same program for four weeks, which generated $1 million revenue. Next year, it will run for six weeks against a revenue goal of $2.5 million, for an investment of just $60,000.
Social media clearly is driving the most change, but how do these CMOs ensure that the power of three – paid, owned and earned media (POEM) – work together for maximum impact? Danette dived into this question because, with a very small marketing budget and team, she doesn’t buy any advertising but rather relies on PR and experiential activity. “People want to talk about us because we’re sexy, and PR has become my lifeblood,” she said. She and her team have transformed the brand, and 90 percent of the efforts have been through PR.
According to Doug, “For us, reputation is really the central galvanizing thing we focus on, so our brand and reputation are critical. But we are moving away from ‘broadcasting’. We still use TV, but we’re moving away from one-way broadcasting-style communication to creating dialogue, and publishing content that will provide value to as many people as possible. We just won a Press Club Award for developing content in conjunction with The Today Show.”
Social media also is driving proliferation and fragmentation in audiences. Most CMOs are needing to expand their reach to new audiences, and this is no different for Doug. Given the Healthcare Reform Bill, the healthcare insurance industry will go through a complete transformation, moving more towards retail. “It represents a huge paradigm shift,” according to Doug, “as we move from essentially a B2B company to more B2C oriented.” And there’s a huge need, with 40 million uninsured Americans. 8 million of whom are Californians (representing 25% of population).
According to Harry, “At Intuit, it’s evolving and includes employees, customers and shareholders with the first two being most and of equal importance. If you get that right, the shareholders are taken care of.”
The conversation turned to analytics, and everyone seemed to agree that the days of pre- and post-testing were over. Now, everything is “real time”, rapid experimentation and all-encompassing.
My panel at last week’s Advertising Week was entitled “Winning the Marketing War”
, featuring four notable CMOs: Beth Comstock of GE, Stephanie George of Time Inc., Rob Price of CVS Caremark, and Raj Subramaniam of FedEx.
Putting the panel together, I aimed to showcase a mix of B2C and B2B senior marketing experience from different industry sectors who could speak to how technology is changing the game, how top bands are meeting the challenges posed by the modern-day customer, and how social media is changing the dynamics of building brand reputation and sustaining brand loyalty, the latter of which forms a central pillar of my book, The Changing MO of the CMO. In fact, Beth was one of my interviewees for the book, so I kicked off by taking a page from Mashable’s recent Social Good Summit quoting her since she claimed that GE is using social media “to connect the dots”. I asked my panelists to highlight how they are evolving with the rapidly-changing environment specifically with regard to social media.
GE is harnessing social media both internally and externally, and one of the most impressive examples is the recent internal competition to come up with start-up ideas by igniting the GE community and using open innovation. Beth called it “Match.com for start-up ideas”, and while not every one of the 5,000 submitted were winners or even do-able, the program unleashed the power of the community and produced some very real opportunities. Two weeks ago, GE announced a similar program to break the code of breast cancer. GE is using social media very much as an accelerator for innovation.
Another key business-building aspect of social media was highlighted by Rob who claims that CVS are using it to influence thoughts around business design, tapping key trends such as greater personalization, and using feedback to reinvent the pharmacy space such making as the company’s Mini Clinic program more accessible and personal.
Relationship-building seemed to be another key output of tapping into social media. CVS is extending its relationships with the 68 million households currently in its ExtraCare
loyalty program, Time Inc. is building community around its key titles, and FedEx is using it to listen, respond and connect to its constituencies, including its 290,000-strong workforce around the world through its “I Am FedEx” program.
The advent of social media also has brought about the need for marketers to consider broader and more diversified audiences as brand and reputation continue to converge. Much emphasis is being placed on internal audiences of course, and how consumers can influence opinion. But as well, Rob called out the “scrum of audiences” overlapping in the social media sphere, including regulators, B2B customers, consumers and other influencers.
At the same time that audiences are proliferating for marketers, a certain degree of micro-segmentation is taking place. Beth called this “microrelevancy”, and spoke to getting the balance right between mass media and special-interest groups. GE caters to a strong B2B contingency so, for example, a specific target audience could be just 40 radiologists. “Reinventing how success is defined is much more surgical,” she said. “Are we relevant with exactly the right audience? We have to work harder to do so.”
And everything is converging from analyzing to doing to measuring. GE has created little R&D labs within teams to create new capabilities in social media, elevating its ability to scale with content development over the last two years. Now the company is investing in the user experience, trying to reinvent customer service, while at the same time combining employee experience and PR and scaling to all audiences.
Elevated in terms of importance by all panelists is analytics. Rob explained the need for CVS to reconfigure how insights are gathered, synthesized and consolidated. Stephanie had just announced a new analytics initiative announced in AdAge. But while new analytics are constantly being sought, nothing is discarded. According to Raj, there is a shift from the sequential to a more parallel and simultaneous approach. Everyone is constantly learning.
New technology is allowing GE to leapfrog and accelerate its analytics. “If your’re a marketer who doesn’t like data and insights, you’re not going to have a very long tenure,” said Beth. “You gotta love this stuff.” Rob explained that insights are about taking a field of opportunity. “We want every weapon in the arsenal. It has enabled us to make the transition to focus on our top customers.”
So what do these CMOs look for in new talent? Curiosity. The exploratory. The ability to constantly re-invent yourself. Good listening skills (knowing what’s noise and what’s worth listening to). And the ability to translate.
A killer last question from the audience almost stumped the panelists: How do you make a brand social? One could argue that’s a whole other panel! “I think you make yourself accessible, more transparent, put more experts out there to provide commentary in both the good times and the bad. It’s more the PR side of marketing than anything. Opening up. Being real. Being open to judgement. Allow people to find things that are relevant and connect,” according to Beth.
“Introspection,” said Raj. “Determine core attributes of the brand and how best to communicate.”
“It means making your brand more personal because that’s what is socially transferable,” according to Rob. “You share a lot of nonsense with your friends on Facebook, but you share the important things with your best, closest, most intimate customers. And ensuring that’s what’s conveyed in the experience and touch points is what counts.”
One year ago today I interviewed my first non-US-based CMO for my book while visiting London: Laurence Bresh of VisitBritain. It was important to me to include senior marketers from outside the US. We all know that global brands are becoming more important. As Marc de Swaan Arons
says in his book The Global Brand CEO
, almost every marketer work for or competes against a global brand.
Regardless of their home base, CMOs will need to market where they see the most opportunity for growth and expansion. And aspects of an organization's social "graph" that is, how it engages with its audiences or its brand reputation will continue to transcend borders, making the global CMO role even more complex and challenging.
The results of EffectiveBrands' 2009 Leading Global Brands Study, which includes responses from some 21,500 global marketers who work on over 250+ brands across all industries, indicated that getting the right balance between local versus global is a top challenge. Nearly 65 percent of respondents confirmed that global brands have become more important over the last five years. But only 15 percent fully agreed that their global brands were effectively leveraging scale. Even few marketers believed that their organizations excelled at quickly rolling out successful global brand initiatives.
Bresh himself acknowledged the complexity in his own business. In his interview, he claimed that the business has turned 180 degrees because "instead of having lots of different fragmented campaigns in 35 markets around the world, our budget just won't allow us to do that. So we're taking a much more global approach in a sense that we have now stripped down to five central campaign themes that are promoted consistently around the world. There's a much more proactive lead from the central marketing team based in London." And he and his team have leveraged the consolidation of traditional marketing, public relations and digital into a much more effective and hard-working formula which has won several awards and which, hopefully, reaches would-be visitors much earlier in the marketing cycle.
A couple of weeks ago I posted a blog marking the anniversary of my first interview of a CMO for my book – Harry Pforzheimer of Intuit. If you’d like to download this chapter, I’m making it available here
as a sampler.
One year ago today, I interviewed Amy Curtis-McIntyre
who, until very recently, was CMO of Old Navy. I only just discovered that Amy has left The Gap brands in a management re-shuffle, but I would expect that given her marketing pedigree, she will land in an amazing new position somewhere exciting.
In a “Blue Paper” published by Spencer Stuart entitled “CMO tenure: slowing down the revolving doors”
, the average tenure for CMOs at the top 100 branded companies is just 22.9 months. Based on their data, only 14% of CMOs for the world’s top brands have been with their companies for more than three years, and nearly half are new to the job over the last 12 months.
One of the reasons given for such short tenures, compared to the CEO average of 53.8 months, is that a disconnect exists between the skills required of today’s CMO and those of the past. Just because a marketer was successful in the 1980s, where big image and even bigger advertising ruled, it does not mean he or she will be a good fit today, when successful marketing requires a much more complete, integrated and multi-audience approach.
From the research I did for my book, the sorts of attributes which will be come increasingly important to marketers will be:
- Strong leadership - CEOs or leaders will be major sources of encouragement, championing the marketing discipline.
- Boldness in planning - experimentation will be promoted and transparency across the marketing team will be key.
- Multi-stakeholder approach - the aim of marketing will be far broader than customers and employees.
- Blended thinking - media and channel agnostic approaches will need to breed engagement and participation.
- Shared KPIs - augmented metrics and analytics will be shared with other functions such as IT and Finance.
- Talent cultivation - championing training, advancement and mobility to engage and develop star talent will become critical.