Marketing Advice and Predictions from 13 Top CMOs

Last week, The University of Notre Dame hosted a CMO Summit featuring marketing leaders from top companies.  Chief Marketing Officers (or their company’s equivalent) shared their favorite stories, wisdom, and predictions with attendees and students.

This is a brief summary of the best marketing advice shared by these leaders, broken down into three categories: Biggest Challenges, Looking Forward, and Good Reminders.  Some are direct quotes, but most are paraphrased ideas. Enjoy!

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Clive Sirkin, Chief Growth Officer, Kellog Co.
Steve Fund, CMO, Intel
Denise Karkos, CMO, TD Ameritrade
Lucas Watson, CMO, Intuit
Emily Culp, CMO, Keds
Ann Legan, SVP Brand Marketing, Constellation Brands Beer Division (Modelo)
Colette LaForce, Former CMO, ICF
Kristen D’Arcy, Head of Performance Marketing, American Eagle Outfitters
Herbie Calves, SVP Marketing, Link AKC
Andrea Brimmer, CMO, Ally Financial
Matt Walsh, Cheif Experience Officer & Founder, Green Stone
Tim Rea, CMO, Edward Jones
Roger Adams, Former CMO, USAA, Home Depot, General Motors

 

Clive Sirkin, Chief Growth Officer, Kellogg Co.

Biggest Challenges

•  With the rise of e-commerce, brand discovery is becoming more difficult. People used to go up every aisle of a grocery store or talk to the store owner for recommendations. Andrea Brimmer from Ally Financial drove this home by sharing a video of a man trying to buy batteries from Alexa, but she could only find two choices. Both were Amazon branded. “I’m sorry, that’s all I can find.”

•  Large organizations with lots of bureaucracy can be difficult for marketers. The same rules that are in place to keep anarchy out also stifle innovation.

Looking Forward

• The next frontier in food is personalized nutrition. Despite our nearly 99% similarity with other humans, our microbiomes are 80% different. Customizing food choices for these differences is just around the corner.
• The future of marketing is in combining ideas and data with the ability make real-time adjustments.

Good Reminders

• Rational decision-making is a myth. People feel – do – think.
• Good ideas need to be curated over time. He used the analogy of gently shepherding a butterfly and helping it fly. Not ripping the wings off and then wondering why it can’t fly.
• Buying cheap ideas is a bad idea (e.g. inexpensive creative/ad agency).

'Rational decision-making is a myth. People feel - do - think.' - Clive SirkinClick To Tweet
 

Steve Fund, CMO, Intel

Biggest Challenges

• Moving Intel beyond being just an ingredient brand.
• Getting attention, respect, and name recognition from millennials is hard. They are more interested in experiences than products.
• Connecting your brand to experiences takes more work, but is more effective.

Looking Forward

•  As a technology brand, Intel is working on combining real-world, live experiences and technology. For example, Intel’s True VR technology allows fans to have a court-side VR seat at sporting events.
•  Intel developed the technology behind drone displays used at the Superbowl halftime show with Lady Gaga and Olympic opening ceremonies.

Good Reminders

• “Evolve or Die” – Even if your top-line and bottom-line are growing, your brand must grow with it. If not, you risk becoming irrelevant. By the time you realize what’s happening, it will be too late to evolve. You can’t be afraid to make big changes. e.g. changing the tagline and marketing strategy of a company with a $227 Billion market cap.

'Evolve or Die' - @stevefund CMO @IntelClick To Tweet

 

Marketing Advice - Denise Karkos - TD Ameritrade

Denise Karkos, CMO, TD Ameritrade

Biggest Challenges

• Creating an emotional brand connection with consumers for a very rational product brand (i.e. investments) is challenging. To accomplish this, TD Ameritrade partnered with ‘beloved brands’ like Andrew Luck.
• They’re also lifting the conversation away from the logical aspects of money and investing. This meant appealing to consumers desires for confidence, happiness, safety, and security.

Looking Forward

•  Targeting mindsets is more powerful than targeting demographics.
•  Marketers must think about the context in which their message is being received. E.g. what type of message would be most appropriate for a woman scrolling through her Facebook feed on a Saturday morning in bed?

Good Reminders

• You must ensure your brand message is consistent with every interaction and marketing campaign.

'Targeting mindsets is more powerful than targeting demographics. - Denise Karkos, CMO, TD Ameritrade'Click To Tweet
 

Lucas Watson, CMO, Intuit

Biggest Challenges
Creating a simple mission statement is hard.

Prior to coming up with “Powering Prosperity Around the World,” employees had a difficult time connecting with the company’s mission. Even though it caused a lot of internal backlash, the company realigned all of its activities with their mission. Including philanthropy. Instead of funding causes due to proximity to HQ or the CEO’s hometown, they provided employees money to give away to startups around the world.

Employees ended up giving a significant amount of money from their own pockets. Proof, some say, that employees were truly bought in on the company’s mission.

Looking Forward

•  There are essentially two types of employees that tech companies are hiring for: Coders and marketers. Someone to make it, someone to sell it.
•  There is a war for the best talent in each segment, but the most in-demand skill right now are data scientists that understand machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Good Reminders

• “There are only two types of marketing. Great, and not great.” – Lucas Watson
• “Brand is not what we say it is, it’s what people say about us.” – Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit

'There are only two types of marketing. Great, and not great.' - Lucas Watson, CMO, @IntuitClick To Tweet

'Brand is not what we say it is, it's what people say about us.' - Scott Cook, Founder, IntuitClick To Tweet
 

Emily Culp, CMO, Keds

Biggest Challenges

•  For Emily, one of the biggest responsibilities she has is improving a legacy brand. It’s equal parts staying true to your past and being respectful of whoever is running the company 100 years from now.

Looking Forward

•  For fashion brands, there will be continued partnerships with influencers around the globe. From local influencers to megastars.
•  Emily prefers giving away product over paying for promotion since it delivers more natural content. 100 people getting free shoes will deliver more creative user-generated content and pictures than paying one expensive photographer to “go be creative”.

Good Reminders

• “If you can win in mobile, you can win everywhere else. Think mobile first.” – Emily Culp
• There are only a few places, like your website and owned retail stores, where you have complete control of the story you tell. Take advantage of those opportunities.

 

'If you can win in mobile, you can win everywhere else. Think mobile first.' - Emily Culp, CMO, @KedsClick To Tweet
 

Ann Legan, SVP Brand Marketing, Constellation Brands Beer Division (Modelo)

Marketing Advice

• You must create a shared sense of purpose between your brand, your customers, and company employees.

 

Colette LaForce, Former CMO, ICF

Marketing Advice

• Some amount of dysfunction on a marketing staff is OK. It won’t always be comfortable if you’re being creative.
• Marketers need room to work – give them a runway and be patient.

'Some amount of dysfunction on a marketing staff is OK. It won't always be comfortable if you're being creative.' - Colette LaForceClick To Tweet
 

Marketing Advice from CMOs

Kristen D’Arcy, Head of Performance Marketing, American Eagle Outfitters

Marketing Advice

• To be a great marketer, you must experience life. Be curious.
• Give your staff 1-2 days each month to get out of the office with the sole purpose of experiencing life.

'To be a great marketer, you must experience life. Be curious.' - Kristen D'ArcyClick To Tweet
 

Herbie Calves, SVP Marketing, Link AKC

Biggest Challenges

•  People often view marketers as people who just make commercials. In reality, they are the true drivers of a business.

Looking Forward

•  We are moving more and more to a subscription economy.
•  Pet wearable market will be $2.4 Billion by 2022
•  Pet trends tend to lag behind human trends by 5-7 years.
•  Ultimately, Link AKC’s goal is to become an entire pet ecosystem. One where pet parents have the ability to have items like dog food delivered on a subscription basis.

Good Reminders

• People will spend money on their pets, even when the economy crashes.

'People often view marketers as people who just make commercials. In reality, they are the true drivers of a business.' Herbie CalvesClick To Tweet
 

Andrea Brimmer, CMO, Ally Financial

Biggest Challenges

•  63% of digital media is consumed on mobile devices, but desktops have 70% better conversion rates over mobile.
•  Data changes every day, and the CMO is expected to navigate the brand through everything. This is difficult.

Looking Forward

•  Brands must engage customers in new, creative ways. For instance, Ally’s Alexa skill “CurrenSee” that lets users know how many hours they have to work to earn enough money for certain purchases.

 

Marketing Advice - CMOs

Matt Walsh, Cheif Experience Officer & Founder, Green Stone

Biggest Challenges

•  Lots of marketers know how to get buzz, but buzz isn’t enough. It’s what you do with that buzz to further your business goals that matters.
•  Businesses often focus on bringing in new customers rather than fixing problems in the customer journey. “Don’t keep filling a leaky bucket.”

Looking Forward

•  Modern loyalty is earned through an emotional connection and a positive journey.
•  More than ever, brands need to prove their brand promise through their user experience.

Good Reminders

•  Loyalty programs shouldn’t be viewed as cost-centers. A successful loyalty program eventually removes price from the reasons your customer is buying from you.
•  To stay fresh as a marketer, it’s important to try new things. Inspiration comes easier the more you experience.
•  Agencies can become echo chambers, with everyone listening to similar music, eating at the same places, watching the same movies. Make sure whatever group you create or work with has diversity of thought. This will ultimately lead to better creative work.

'Lots of marketers know how to get buzz, but buzz isn't enough.' - Matt Walsh, Green StoneClick To Tweet

Loyalty programs shouldn't be viewed as cost-centers. A successful loyalty program eventually removes price from the reasons your customer is buying from you.Click To Tweet
 

Tim Rea, CMO, Edward Jones

Biggest Challenges

•  A big struggle for brands right now is balancing brand consistency with hyperpersonalization.

Looking Forward

•  As you evolve or change your product, don’t forget to ask yourself if the change you’re proposing is actually providing value to your customers. Often, we trick ourselves into thinking it’s best for the consumer but it’s really not.

Good Reminders

•  “What you think is happening is not really happening.”

'What you think is happening is not really happening.' - Tim Rea, CMO, Edward JonesClick To Tweet

 

Roger Adams, Former CMO, USAA, Home Depot, General Motors

Biggest Challenges

•  There is so much data collected now, it can be difficult to make sense of all of it.

Looking Forward

•  Good people will differentiate great businesses. Brands must go where the right people are, and pay them accordingly.
•  When describing the difference between value and cost, Adams likes to use the phrase, “You can buy it for cheaper, but I don’t recommend it.”

Good Reminders

•  Opinion of brand is valuable, but it’s difficult to change. It needs to be measured differently than direct ROI.

'You can buy it for cheaper, but I don't recommend it.' - Roger Adams, former CMO @USAA, @HomeDepot, @GMClick To Tweet

 
Marketing Advice Notre Dame CMO Summit

Summary of Marketing Advice

The most prominent theme throughout the CMO Summit was that smart marketers are still needed – even as machine learning and AI build steam. There is so much new data coming in, but using it strategically to move a business forward takes creativity. To be successful today, marketers must know how to interpret data and make decisions quickly.

Lastly, creating a positive emotional connection with your customers is still a winning strategy – it’s just getting harder to do.

 
About the Author
 
Marketing Advice - Brian Dooley, Independence Digital - Medical MarketingBrian Dooley is a healthcare marketing expert and the founder of Independence Digital, a marketing agency that connects patients to medical providers. He was previously the Director of Marketing and Customer Care for one of the largest urology practices in the nation. Specialties include increasing patient volume, profitability, and positioning medical providers as best-in-class.

2018-04-12T13:36:27+00:00