One of the biggest challenges marketers face is aligning internal and external activities unless, of course, they are all informed by a clearly articulated brand purpose. Kyle Schlegel, CMO of Hillerich & Bradsby, the makers of Louisville Slugger baseball bats, hit upon the brand purpose, "We exist to make players great," to launch the first fully integrated marketing plan in its 129-year history.
Finding a tight descriptor that can drive all your marketing activities is pure genius. Rose Hamilton, EVP and CMO at Pet360, could have used the term "pet owner," but instead, she defines her target as "pet parents" with all the challenges and needs of human parents. This profoundly simple target redefinition means Hamilton can focus on "solving un-met pet parent needs."
Henry Ford and Steve Jobs notwithstanding, most marketers profit more by listening to their customers than ignoring them. John Costello, President, Global Marketing and Innovation at Dunkin Brands, has customer input at the top of Dunkin's 5 key principles that drive marketing investments. As he explains, "There's really no substitute for truly understanding your customer pain points and how you can address them."
Though social media is top-of-mind for most marketers these days, it is often handled as a secondary channel through which to push ad-like content. Acknowledging a deeper focus on all things digital that led to its new #GoInSix campaign, Antonio Lucio, VISA's Chief Brand Officer, advises, "We are incorporating social in the very heart of our marketing, not merely during the execution phase."
More and more marketers are seeing service as the lynchpin of their brand reputation, especially since a single "bad" experience amplified on social can undo years of "good" marketing. Accordingly, Julie Garlikov, CMO of Torani Foods, moved customer service into her marketing department this year, noting, "We're now able to have one seamless approach to the [customer] experience."
When it comes to marketing departments, organization often defines output. Divide staffing by discipline and inevitably you'll have silos. In response to this problem, Stephanie Anderson, CMO at Time Warner Cable Business Class, recently implemented what she calls an "outside-in" structure that puts their customers and the segments they serve at the core, while realigning staff accordingly.
Ask any marketer and they'll tell you that budgets are tight and there's rarely margin for error. Nonetheless, innovative marketers like Beth Comstock, CMO of GE, see experimentation as a necessity for finding new ways to connect and engage their audiences. Explains Comstock, "I'm a big believer in carving out a percentage of your budget to develop new models."
After observing the entrenched behavior of his team, Jonathan Becher, CMO at SAP, declared, "We need to innovate the discipline of marketing." Initially, Becher thought an elite Innovation Group would be the cure, but he later disbanded that idea in favor of a department-wide culture shift that "pushes boundaries and embraces changes, even ones that are not completely successful."
Self-reliance is not a bad thing—unless you run a marketing department that is trying to stay on top of the latest digital developments. Marty St. George, SVP, Marketing and Commercial Strategy at JetBlue, combats such insularity with an annual "Digital Day." Explains an enlightened St. George, "We have found several exciting new technologies and channels just through an open 'casting call.'"
Marketers who focus mainly on cost-per-acquisition often find themselves on an endless treadmill of replacing expired customers with new ones. Michael Lacorazza, SVP Brand & Advertising at Wells Fargo, offers a different vision for marketers: "Building lifelong relationships, one customer at a time." In Lacorazza's model, service becomes an integral part of marketing, leading to greater customer satisfaction and higher retention rates.
Content marketing is all the rage BUT please don't mistake that attention as a trendy fad. Creating content that your customers and prospects find useful is an unquestionably strong way of driving site traffic and engagement. As Raj Rao, VP of Global eTransformation at 3M, concurs, "We do believe that content marketing holds the key to success with our top two digital priorities."
Marketers who focus on what they do versus what they say simply make more powerful connections with their customers. American Express's Small Business Saturday and OPEN Forum are two great examples of this approach. John Hayes, AmEx's long-time CMO, says, "If you're in the service business, every interaction with a prospect or customer should be a service interaction."
When it comes to motivating an army of employees, salespeople and or customers, there's nothing like a good cause to rally the troops. Sheryl Adkins-Green, CMO of Mary Kay, united a bevy of independent sales reps behind the powerful mantra "One Women Can," which was both a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the company's founding and a charitable program that gave away $5,000 grants on behalf of 50 contest winners.
Final note: Before you're done, please note that the highly skilled marketing "chefs" quoted above offered far more insights than we could squeeze into this newsletter. To see the larger recipe book, saunter on over to TheDrewBlog.com in the coming weeks.