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Words of Wisdom from The Breakfast Club

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Words of Wisdom from The Breakfast Club
Words of Wisdom from The Breakfast Club

In the 1985 hit The Breakfast Club, there's a scene featuring jock Andrew and misfit Allison strolling down the hall of their high school after sneaking out of Saturday morning detention. Allison turns to Andrew and asks him why he's here. Andrew talks about his life as a star athlete and says, “I'm not a winner because I want to be one. I'm a winner because I've got strength and speed. Kind of like a racehorse."

While Andrew certainly wasn't comparing his athletic abilities to marketing dexterity, his quote exemplifies everything a winning marketer needs to encompass today: speed to deliver, strength to take on new challenges, and involvement in marketing's ever changing landscape.  

Last week, Direct Marketing News hosted its own Breakfast Club, comprised of the 2013 Hall of Femme winners who certainly know a thing or two about mastering the speed, strength, and involvement needed to succeed in marketing. To share their knowledge and experience, the honorees held a panel and discussed the opportunities, challenges, and trends today's marketers face. Thankfully, no-one wore leg warmers.

DMN: How do you manage to put the customer at the center of the organization and marketing efforts?

Emma Carrasco, CMO of NPR: It really is about keeping your customer or your audience at the center of any decision. My experience is [that] when you win with the customer, you win. Really ensuring that you understand audience needs so that you are able to position your brand as a true benefit to their life, at the end of the day, will help your brand endure.

DMN: How do you keep your team focused on what will get results versus the next shiny object?

Lauren Crampsie, Worldwide CMO of Ogilvy & Mather: Because we're an agency, I do encourage the team to go after the shiny objects a little bit more. As an agency, it's our jobs to test more and to fail more for our clients. On the client side, the responsibility that brands have now more than ever is transparency. One customer can say one thing on Twitter, and your brand is in the garbage. Be as honest and transparent as you can.

DMN: How do you get your customers to become marketers for you?

Vicky Free, CMO of BET Networks: The marketplace is changing so much. The consumer is the media now. They have a voice, [and] they have an audience. In some cases, they have more people tuning into them compared to another channel. One customer could be the death of a brand on Twitter or on Facebook because someone said something that is a little inflated or even untrue and the brand doesn't even respond.

Leontyne Green Sykes, CMO of IKEA US: We have some incredibly loyal fans. One of the most exciting things we've experienced is when our fans actually come to our defense, and it adds so much credibility. It emphasizes the importance of having a very honest and transparent relationship with your consumers.

DMN: Many of you referenced Wayne Gretzky's quote of “go where the puck is going, not where it's been.” How have you managed to stay in front of the puck?

Trish Wheaton, CMO of Wunderman: I took over as head of [Wunderman] Canada in 1998, and it was a very, very successful direct marketing agency. One of the most seductive things with success is to keep doing things just like you've been doing them. In an agency, you are tested with being in the front of trends.

Question from the audience: What are some obstacles or challenges you've faced with integrating mobile into your strategies?

Lisa Arthur, CMO of Teradata Applications: It's about the experience. If we take the channel out, how do our target customers want to interact? There are so many marketing teams that have separate marketing divisions. Why would you do that? It's all about the experience, and mobile has to be part of it. It can't be the channel, it has to be the experience.

Question from the audience: Is there a divide or a marriage between brand value and optimizing efficiency?

Rebecca Baker, CMO of Alvarez & Marsal: I think brand encompasses a lot more than marketing [and] a lot more than any of the functional disciplines at the center of the organization. We have to create ambassadors [out] of everyone. The new marketing is about influence.

DMN: What excites you about being in marketing right now?

Mariann McDonagh, CMO of inContact: It's all about growth strategy. The ability to be in an environment that's growing and really driving back to the pocket and helping to steer the ship based on my skills is what makes me tick. For me, it's a world of possibilities.

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