Michelle Bottomley: 2015 Marketing Hall of Femme Honoree

If any member of the 2015 Marketing Hall of Femme class can stake a claim to be among those pioneering data-driven marketing, it’s Michelle Bottomley. She was bitten by the accountable-marketing bug, as she puts it, at the start of her career in the early 1990s at Bonner Slosberg Humphrey, an agency now better known as Digitas.

“Those were the days when databases were so big we had them loaded on supercomputers so we could go and look at profiles of who buys a certain thing. One of our first analyses was for Lotus, to find out whether people who bought word processing programs also bought software bundles. The sexy channels back then were direct mail and the call center,” Bottomley recalls.

She took her targeting skills to OgilvyOne, where she played a key role in transforming the direct agency into a data-fueled integrated marketing force. Over a 10-year career there, she rose through the ranks from chief CRM officer to GM of the consulting business to co-president and COO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide. Her next stop was Barclaycard, where, as CMO, she herded most of the marketing budget into digital pastures, set up retention and cross-sell desks in the call center, and drove the cost per account acquired down from $100 to a much more reasonable $10. It’s a ratio she likes to work in. At Mercer last year, Bottomley turned a renovated brand and a new demand generation capability into a 10:1 ROI in the effort’s early months.

“I think about three things,” she says, “how to grow the business through client relations and sales effectiveness, how to differentiate the brand, and how to build the digital experience.”

Marketing strategy: In a word: leverage. Invariably, the Pareto Principle [aka, the 80/20 rule] is at play, and opportunities exist to retain and expand existing high-potential relationships while acquiring best customer look-a-likes.

Winning ways:  Mercer is transforming our go-to-market program and outlined the vision and strategy for delivering an increasingly data-driven and digital approach. We’re on the path to delivering a substantial change program that puts our clients and our colleagues at the center of everything we do.

Defining moment: Working at Ogilvy for Carla Hendra, Bill Gray, and Shelly Lazarus during a time of significant growth was energizing. Ogilvy—itself a transformation partner for some of the world’s best brands—taught me how to help transform global organizations leveraging digital, data, and a powerful brand.

Trend watching: Mobile payments. This will further push consumers and businesses into the mobile commerce space.

Words to live by: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Goethe

Good read: Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman

Good advice: Master data analytics to drive marketing programs that lift revenue, and become adept at digital. 

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