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5 Ways to Go Digital as a CMO in 2015

Posted on 01/19/2015

Lightbulb modernWhether your title is officially CMO or you run a marketing organization of some flavor, 2015 is the year digital will be mainstream in your role if it isn’t already.  Understanding the digital space and opportunities can be daunting so here are a few suggestions (and please add your own in the comments) to go digital in 2015:

1.  Get mesmerized by mobile: While much of what is written about mobile centers on mobile commerce, if your focus is more content marketing you still need a solid mobile strategy. Email is opened first on a mobile device more than 65% of the time; mobile optimized websites are increasingly important for search rankings and mobile advertising is now over $43B in spend due in large part to mobile. Mobile is no longer on the fringe of your marketing strategy; it is part of the core.

2.  Engage the influencers: Influencers are people in-the-know who may not be official press but who write, comment and otherwise drive what is news. Their opinions shape perceptions of your customers, analysts and broader press. Challenge your PR team to come up with a tiered structure for influencers – market-wide, product area specific and industry-based, as an example. Follow and engage these people online. If you need a primer on influencer marketing, WOMMA wrote a guidebook that is excellent.

3.  Stop being a Twitter twerp: You can, should and I would argue must be on Twitter if you are a CMO. Whether you post often or primarily lurk, Twitter is your most current, in the moment source of news affecting your industry and brand. So set up your profile, get yourself a dashboard, make lists for news, influencers and your brand and READ. No more being the “I-don’t-have-time-for-that” kind of Twitter twerp.

4.  Join or form a mentoring group for CMOs: Join and participate in an organization focused on advancing the role and capabilities of the CMO. Digital will be a frequent topic in these groups and it is an excellent way to learn. Personally I belong to The CMO Club and have found it invaluable. From this group, a small number of women marketing executives have formed a dinner group and we meet every 6 weeks or so to talk through ideas, ask each other advice and have a good laugh. Digital is frequently a topic for us. These two things have been the most valuable investments I’ve made in my career in recent years. So go join an organization or set up a small group for drinks or a good meal and talk.

5.  Make one strategic digital bet this year:  Pilot a brand ambassador program with your employees; run a series of influencer campaigns; try out content syndication… pick something outside your brand comfort zone in digital and go for it. Worst case you’ll learn a lot about your brand and your customers. Best case, you’ll show impact in brand perception and revenue that you can scale further.

These five things will give you momentum in digital and the organizational confidence to expand further. compare hotel prices If however, like many of us, you’re still catching up on goals from 2014, you also may enjoy my 14 Digital Imperatives for 2014 post.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Please follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for new posts or visit my website for more information.

You’re Never At the First Meeting

Posted on 04/14/2013

You’re never at the first meeting.

You’re never at the second meeting.

You’re rarely at the third meeting.

In fact, you may not be at several more meetings.

Then, if all these previous meetings go well, you are invited to meet with a potential customer. How can this be? Because your potential customers are meeting your company, brand, products, other clients and even your employees digitally long before they actually meet you in person.

Consider these statistics from Explore B2B:

93% of B2B purchases begin with an Internet search.

Sales reps used to get involved with a prospect about 30% of the way through the sales process. Now the sales rep gets involved when the prospect is 70% through the sales process.

And these statistics from SiriusDecisions which found that most C-level executives rely on general perceptions and influence of others (essentially word-of-mouth, usually delivered digitally) the vast majority of the time in validating purchase decisions. In fact, the combination of brand perceptions without previous brand experience; customer references and testimonials; and internal or external colleagues opinions account for the following amount of influence in the purchase process:

CFOs   67%    Chief Financial Officers

CSOs   64%    Chief Sales Officers

CEOs   54%    Chief Executive Officers

CMOs  50%    Chief Marketing Officers

CIOs    47%    Chief Information Officers / Chief Technology Officers CTOs

It should be noted that CIOs and CMOs seemed least likely to try a vendor they had not used before, hence the lower impact of non-brand generated influence.

The simple math shows that all brands need to actively manage their digital presence, engage in digital conversations to understand and steer influence or perceptions and recognize that they are dealing with far more informed prospects than ever before.

This is a big challenge for CMOs who often receive the brunt of the impact from this shift. CMOs need a solid relationship with their CIO so that monitoring, measurement and engagement technologies can be put in place. CMOs also need a new mix of talent in their organizations as the traditional push-marketing or advertising has been replaced by conversational marketing and engagement over time but build positive influence. The ripple effects in brand positioning, messaging and campaign design are huge. This also means CMOs need to be aware that influence plays a larger role in how their peers, and their boss, will interpret the effectiveness of a CMO’s strategy than perhaps the CMO realized.

CMOs in fact have to place the digital presence of their company, brand and products at the forefront of their marketing strategy. This is the only way to make sure those first series of meetings do in fact go well so you get invited to a real meeting down the line.

Loss and Learnings from Arthur Nielsen Jr. and Steve Jobs

Posted on 10/09/2011

Wow what a week it has been. The marketing world lost two great innovators this week and probably countless others with less universal name recognition.  This week we lost the amazing Steve Jobs and we also lost the amazing Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. Mr. Nielsen’s passing at the far more acceptable age of 92 was sad, but at 92 seemed ok with most of us.  Steve Jobs’ passing at the comparably young age of 56 felt unjust when he seemed to have so many more innovative ideas to come and as a result we felt ripped off by time.

So what do Arthur and Steve have in common and why is this post about both of them?  Well they both drove innovation that has forever changed the world and they touched your life whether you knew them or not.  And as a result, we have a lot to learn from their legacies.

Being a true data geek, I admit that the Nielsen Company and in particular Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. along with his father Arthur Nielsen Sr. forever changed market research and how we view, measure and plan media consumption.  The founders of the famous Nielsen Ratings, Arthur Jr. also pioneered the TV rating systems and other digital media measurement that most of the world’s companies use every day to plan their media buys.  The Nielsens turned measuring consumer behavior into a repeatable and scalable science but even more importantly from a marketing perspective, they made this service an integral part of both media providers’ and media buyers’ business models.  The analysis and sale of trends in consumer behavior was the cornerstone of the father-son Nielsen team legacy and it is brilliant in its simplicity and longevity.  Countless other data analysis and research companies now do similar work in a variety of fields and they have the Nielsens to thank for showing that it is both possible and valuable.  Arthur C. Nielsen Jr. pioneered the concept of a data-product company that would enable countless other companies to grow to a scale never before possible, simply because they now had the information to do  so.  His legacy forever changed what each of us sees on TV, hears on the radio and reads in various publications whether online or off.  So whether you know his name or not, he has in fact shaped your life.

Steve Jobs, having been born and lived his life in the age of TV and new media, is far more widely known.  Steve was an artist at the core.  An artist who could envision new products and new experiences that had the amazing combination of elegant simplicity of design combined with powerful emotional connection.  Just think about how many people you know who own an iPod, iPhone, or Mac and how much they truly love these products.  Think about how many movies from Pixar you have seen and the enduring characters they brought to life.  He believed both in his dreams and the seemingly crazy dreams of others.  In  case you missed it, the Pixar home page also paid tribute to Steve Jobs.  While the Apple home page is in the majority of the press, you can’t help but be touched by the heartfelt tribute from John Lasseter and Ed Catmull.

Steve Jobs innate ability to “hear the space between the words” and envision what could be rather than simply evolve what already was is a lesson for all of us.  Listen… envision… think different… never give up on your dreams.  Simple concepts yet, very difficult to live each day.

Those of you who know me well are probably smiling at my combination of tributes to these two great men. Having done Nielsen rating work and forecasting years ago at NBC and now using Nielsen data as a cornerstone of the digital strategy for Microsoft, Arthur Nielsen Jr. has been part of my career from the very beginning.  Nielsen products appeal to the data geek in me and have helped me design great business strategies that have made billions for the companies I’ve worked for.  Similarly, Steve Jobs has been an influence since my college days when the original Macintosh first became pervasive on college campuses.  Watching Steve Jobs innovate in totally new ways across the tech and entertainment worlds has been an inspiration.  I cannot help but admire the elegantly simple yet amazingly emotionally powerful products he brought to life.  Having been both a competitor and customer of the products Steve Jobs’ companies delivered, I have enormous respect for his vision and dedication to customer experience.

So often a time of loss is the only time we permit ourselves to pause and reflect.  Reflecting on the contributions of Arthur Nielsen Jr. and Steve Jobs is both fitting and educational.  Their approach to business includes countless lessons that surely will fill countless books before long.  While I never met either of these men in person, I would like to say thank you to both of them.

Thank you for not giving up when giving up seemed like the best option.  Thank you for seeing beyond today and “hearing the space between the words”.  Thank you for making amazing products that have enabled me to have a fantastically fun and profitable career.  Thank you for making me laugh and at times cry.  And lastly, thank you for changing the world and I hope the rest of us can keep your learnings going and create innovation for the next generation as well.

I prefer to think of their passings as an amazing gift of learning versus a loss.  And I think they would both like that idea as well.  Rest in peace to them both.

It’s About Time…

Posted on 04/24/2011

I’ve officially gone out and done it. Yes, I’ve jumped on the train.

For years now, I’ve been asked if I had a blog… when I would have a blog… and if I would ghost write for others. While an avid blog reader, commenter and occasional ghost writer for several years, I had not done my own blog because, quite simply, I feared I would not have the time to provide the readers with high quality, consistent content.  With my life settling down a bit and me making peace with the fact that I am happiest when very busy, now seems like the right time to officially start a blog.

Of course people blog for a lot of reasons. Some blog for the ego boost. Others because they believe they have expertise to offer. Still others blog to have interesting and ongoing conversations with people they may not be able to see every day. Some blog to further an area of thinking, a cause or an idea that can make the world a better place.

So why am I starting a blog?

Well… as always that is not a simple answer. First, I’m writing this blog because after years of being asked if I have a blog, I figured I should. Second, my career has gone fully in to the digital world now after many years of channel marketing, product marketing and business development in the tech sector so blogging as an individual is a natural extension of where I spend most of my time. And lastly, but most importantly, I have had the pleasure and immense privilege of meeting fascinating people all over the world and hearing from all of you on a variety of topics in a place where we can all connect sounds like a fantastic idea.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a data junky at heart. So, I am officially expanding my blog presence here (you can also find me on Twitter) and join the 49% of worldwide bloggers who are in the USA; 25% of bloggers who also do mobile-blogging; and at this point I would be in the 65% of bloggers who do this as a hobby versus a part-time or full-time job. These stats are courtesy of the Technorati State of the Blogosphere 2010 which has many more interesting stats for my fellow data junkies.

Many thanks to all my friends, colleagues and family who have been encouraging me to do this and who are excited that I finally am. Stay tuned for interesting topics to discuss. I look forward to your comments, insights and ideas.

Ok, let’s blog!