Marketing Chiefs Talk Big Thinking

Marketing today is not for the faint of heart. And complacency is completely out of the question. Today marketing requires thinking differently—and thinking big. A drove of esteemed marketing and business leaders shared their thoughts on thinking big in marketing at The Economist‘s Big Rethink. Here, a roundup of 15 of those marketing chiefs’ advice, insight, and opinions on how they approach and achieve success in marketing today.

“As marketers we’re seduced by technology, but we need to think about customers first.” –Laura Henderson, director, U.S. media and communications, Modelez International

“In this time of technology stripping out humanity, how do you bring back the humanity?” –Ester Lee, SVP, brand marketing, advertising, and sponsorship, AT&T

“We were the original social network, so how do we take new technology and apply it to the tentacles we already have? Our spend is going more toward digital because we’re trying to find a way to get our message directly to consumers…. We’re very engaged in social; you want to make sure that you’re part of the conversation.”  –Candace Matthews, CMO, Amway

“How do vanity measures translate to conversion? You can’t look at one without the other. And, you have to look at the quality of conversion, not just [the number of] conversions. Are you creating engagement? ‘Have you gotten me to want to think about your product?’”  –Anindita Mukherjee, SVP and CMO, Frito-Lay North America

“If it’s core to the business, we collect as much data as customers will accept. We use the ‘sunshine test’: If customers find out we’re collecting a type of data about them, will they be OK with it?” –Tariq Shaukat, EVP and CMO, Caesars Entertainment

“Our line for collecting data is: Is it in service to the consumer? ‘If I give you my data, will you help me solve a problem or improve my experience?’” –Deanie Elsner, CMO, Kraft Food Group

“[Marketing] is different now because we have access to so much data. It’s a data-first world that we’re living in. Real-time marketing has changed the face of marketing. But you need to have a defensible budget to do real time [consistently]; you can do it one-off.”  –Amit Shah, VP online, mobile, and social,

“Real time is a fundamental element of our marketing strategy because it has business impact. [We] think of real time as an always-on approach. Real time is a natural way to engage with consumers because that’s how they’re engaging with media.” –Laura Henderson, director, U.S. media and communications, Modelez International

“You need to start with the seed of what’s incredibly true to your brand, and then carry that forward into mobile video and social media. You can bring the brand to life…. We’re in a duopolistic competitive environment, so we’re trying to create an emotive response, which is more in the spirit of how we go to market.” –Tom Lamb, CMO, Lowe’s

“Mobile video has to be relevant to your brand and to the experience customers are having. I worry all the time: ‘Will this be great content and can I tie it back to my brand?’ Don’t just run an extension of your national campaign; you may miss an opportunity to engage your customers…. Instead of ‘Will this go viral?’, think, ‘Will consumers watch it again?’ –Scot Safon, EVP and CMO, The Weather Company

“Today, the brand is a joint-custody situation between a company and its customers.  I enjoy [that]…. Our best content comes from the testimonials and experiences real women have with our products. The principles [of content] haven’t changed, just how you serve it has.” –Sheryl Adkins-Green, CMO, Mary Kaye

“The days of being able to stand up and just talk about yourself are long gone. You need to tell a great story in the manner of the channel in which it’s consumed.” –Neil Bedwell, global group director, digital strategy and content, The Coca-Cola Company

“Interactive fans are more important than avid fans.” –Simon Wardle, chief strategy offer, Octagon

“We view ourselves as more of a technology company… that connects buyers and sellers. We want to facilitate your journey so you can enjoy your passion seamlessly and effortlessly.” –Michael Robichaud, SVP, global sponsorships, MasterCard

“Total Rewards…is really a data collection platform. If we don’t use that data [to be relevant to Total Rewards members], customers complain.” –Tariq Shaukat, EVP and CMO, Caesars Entertainment

“The Holy Grail [in marketing] is real-time decisioning…. With real time I can see what’s working and what’s not and make changes on the fly. It will be a profound change to the marketing industry.” –Deanie Elsner, CMO, Kraft Food Group

“The body language of a brand has to be in synch with what it’s saying.” –David Droga, founder and creative chairman, Droga5

“In the world of marketing, now more than ever consumers are empowered and jaded and have seen it all, so we have to create [things that are fresh and different.]” –Anindita Mukherjee, SVP and CMO, Frito-Lay North America

“Marketers have a marketing problem…marketing has to feel like it’s not marketing.” –Neil Bedwell, global group director, digital strategy and content, The Coca-Cola Company

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