RENEGADE THINKING from the Founder/CEO of Renegade AND the author of "The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing."

How CMOs Take Marketing to the Next Level

04/10/16

Last week I introduced my new keynote speech, Think Like A CMO as the brazen answer to the question: What’s the secret to success?  My rationale starts with the extreme yet somewhat familiar sounding challenges that most CMOs (and the rest of us) face:

  • Bosses that may have unrealistic or significantly different expectations;
  • Numerous factors that impact results that are outside of one’s control;
  • Limited time-frame to achieve successful outcomes.

To overcome these obstacles, I then present successful CMOs as cool CATS (Courageous, Artful, Thoughtful, Scientific), an acronym that offers guidance for just about anyone looking to accomplish anything.  Happily, the speech was well received. What also makes me happy is that the interview below with Anthony Christie, CMO at Level 3 Communications, adds more evidence to my growing stockpile.  Christie, winner of The CMO Club‘s Officer Award, is indeed one of the cool CATS:

  • Courageous: Shifted the responsibility for customer experience into the global marketing department;
  • Artful: Developed CMO-CIO-CTO triumvirate to tackle cross-functional challenges;
  • Thoughtful:  Launched a new branding initiative internally first, an effort that insured employee pride and commitment;
  • Scientific: Implemented a variety of metrics including brand tracking and sales performance.

And like his successful peers, as you will soon learn, for these CATS, there’s no time for preening.

Drew: Looking back over the last 12-24 months, what initiative under your leadership really worked well?  

In Q4 of 2014, Level 3 completed the acquisition of tw telecom.  My team was directly involved in leading the integration process from end-to-end.  First the product management and development teams that I oversee have led the process of rationalizing our product portfolio and continued work to move to single instances of our products and solutions around the globe.  Additionally, our marketing strategy, pricing and communications teams have been responsible for integrating targeting strategies, pricing approaches, voice of the customer activation as well as all internal and external communications related to bringing two companies together as one.  A year into the integration process, the company has achieved our major milestones and are meeting stakeholder expectations.

Drew: I watched your recent corporate video and one of the lines that struck me was “you may not have heard of us but many companies have.”  How important is it to your long term plans to have broader awareness of Level 3? If it is, how do you go about building this awareness while still driving leads efficiently into your pipeline?  

We have a very surgical approach to targeting enterprises in our addressable market.  Our business is B to B only and focused on wireline services to enterprise and wholesale unlike some of our competitors who play in the consumer wireless space.  So, it’s not necessary for us to have broad awareness in the general marketplace.  However, we are focused on simultaneously building awareness and filling our funnel through a mix of thought leadership, events, social media and hyper-targeted efforts that drive inbound activity and qualified outbound activity.  And we have evidence through our brand tracker and campaign results that this approach is working.

Drew: Effecting change beyond the marketing department is not easy and is often met with resistance from other departments.  How did you make this happen? Looking back, what do you wish you knew a year ago that you learned “the hard way”?

It’s critical to understand the needs across the enterprise and to look at change efforts from your cross-functional stakeholder’s point of view.  In our case, we look at the functions of the CMO, CTO and CIO as a three-legged stool that relies upon each other to move the business forward.  This relationship has become a deliberate part of our operating model.  Separately, we learned the “hard way” that affecting change in improving the customer experience could not happen in a silo within one functional area of the business. We resolved this by moving responsibility for global customer experience out of the business process function and into the global marketing function as we believe that customer experience is intrinsically tied to brand and a comprehensive view of the customer journey.

Drew: Did any of your marketing initiatives involve employee activation? If so, can you describe what you did and how it worked? How did you get employees to care?

When we relaunched our brand, we actually built the foundation through the lens of our employee base first then evaluated it to ensure that it was also compelling for our customers and prospects.  We also deliberately launched the brand internally before launching it externally.  We built various programs and communications to engage our employees.  These included a fun and interactive e-book, use of our employees in our branded materials including videos and posters, and ongoing communications and brand immersion training.  These efforts helped to instill a sense of pride and to give them context for how important each and every one of their jobs are to “Own It” and be accountable to their contributions to the company with the end goal of enabling our customers’ business success.

Drew: When advising members of your team on cross-departmental initiatives, what do tell them to do and not do to ensure success?

First and foremost, I advised them to approach these initiatives as though they were the CEO of their business.  That inherently assumes cross-functional leadership and engagement.  A CEO by definition cannot do the job on their own.  It requires understanding and respect for cross-functional expertise.  At the same time, the leader of any cross-functional initiative needs to gather stakeholder input and work toward a collaborative solution.  And to remember that collaboration does not equal consensus.  At some point in the process, the best decision for the business needs to be reached and implemented.

Drew: Looking ahead, what is the single biggest challenge that you’d like to overcome? 

The biggest challenge I’d like to overcome to is to accelerate the alignment of my team with our partners in sales and operations to grow our business faster than the broader market and do that on a global scale.

A 150 Year-old Brand Takes a Fresh Look at Storytelling

04/6/16

I have to admit that I went into the conversation about storytelling wondering “what’s the story here?”  How could something as old as storytelling be a hot new topic in marketing.  Darren Marshall, CMO of Steinway & Sons, was kind enough to set me straight in preparation for our panel Storytelling and Branding: Does Story Trump Data (also featuring Aimee Munsell of IBM and Douwe Bergsma of Georgia Pacific) at The CMO Club Summit.  I could add a more robust preamble but that would simply get in the way of the good stories that lie ahead.

Darren MarshallDrew: So Darren, our given our panel title, does story trump data?

I think it’s the balance to be honest with you. I wish I had more data. I am glad I have a good story, but I’d love to have a little bit of both. But you know, with the lack of data, then story is where I am going.

Drew: Steinway has been around a long time. What story are you telling?

What’s interesting about Steinway is that it’s an old company that really has a pretty incredible story because you don’t think about how pianos are made, the artistic expression they bring, or the emotional connection that people have with them. And not only the beauty of what goes in, but the beauty that comes out, as well. And to realize that this level of craftsmanship happens in New York City to this day, much in the same way that it did a 100 or 150 years ago is pretty incredible, particularly in a world where disposability is the norm.

Drew: I have to say that the made in NYC part really struck home for me. Do you see storytelling as something different than you would have done as a marketer 10 years ago?

Not really, I don’t think. At the end of the day, I believe that stories are engaging. Bedtime stories are all about captivating someone’s imagination and taking them someplace else so that you can relax and calm yourself and go to sleep. That’s what any advertising or communication should be about. And whether it’s a presidential speech or whether it’s a story about a brand, there are groups of people who are buying the technical elements of products. But the real value of a brand is telling the story of that brand and where it’s come from and why it’s come from there and how it’s made and who made it. That’s the irrational piece where you can exchange value. When you think about antiques, it’s one thing to say this is an antique revolver, but to say that this was the revolver General Custer used during the Battle of Little Big Horn — that has a story that goes along with it and there’s huge value. Whether it’s true or not is a separate thing. But it takes you to that place that is new and different and imaginative.

Drew: Tell me about your target audience and how this impacts your story.

At the end of the day, we address a very small group of humanity, people who have the buying power to buy one of our instruments and who have the interest in our category. It really is a very thin group of people. So the level of engagement needs to be much deeper than broader. I need to be able to really help them understand what the brand stands for and why it’s three times more expensive than other alternatives that may look the same. The value of what we do is not necessarily seen to the naked eye. And we need to be able to tell the story of what it is, particularly for people who don’t know what Steinway does in quite the way that others do. So as an example, a concert pianist would know exactly what a Steinway does. But you or I look at the Steinway versus its next alternative and they look very similar. You’ve got to be able to bring that to life why it is different for mere mortals like you and I.

Drew: So how does the storytelling enter the picture given your target?

We’re going to be much more about depth than breadth. The media choices that we use are going to be much more focused. I spent, as you may know, a long time at The Coca-Cola Company. And if you’re buying a Coke and you’re making those sorts of decisions very, very frequently, then your level of engagement and your risk of purchase are very, very low. And you’re making those purchases very frequently and you can change your behavior quite quickly. But when you’re buying something else of great expense and lasting value, and you’re doing it once or twice in a lifetime, then there is a lot more research that is done. I’d like to say that it’s an impulse purchase and it is for some people — for a lot of people, but not for everyone.

Drew: I know that you’ve just started marketing again after a long hiatus. Have you looked at new kinds of metrics to get a more complete understanding of the impact of storytelling?

To be honest with you, ours is a very small company. It’s very entrepreneurial; it is not the world that I used to work in at Coke. There’s a lot more subjectivity. Although the process is very similar, in terms of just finding the North Star if you will or the story arc that is essential to your brand, and then bringing it to life across the various different touch points, we don’t have the resources to be able to measure the effectiveness of every message at every touch point. By the same token, it’s a much smaller organization, so we can quite easily determine whether the content is on brand or not.

Drew: So how do you decide whether to tell the story from the brand’s perspective or from that of the customer’s?

For any brand, there needs to be a framework that considers the true essence of that brand, its values, its benefits which I’d call a traditional packaged goods creative brief. It really gets to the essence of the brand, which we have done and as most other people have done as well.

And getting to that story comes not only from a couple of different vantage points, but then also gets to the different stakeholders as well. And each of those, if the brand is true to its set of values and it’s North Star, then that story will be similar but told from three different angles. So in our case, we talk about the craftsmanship of our product, the artistic expression that it empowers, and the beauty it adds to homes and lives.

We talk about those things and values from the artist’s perspective. Showing how that craftsmanship then leads to nuances not just in a physical product object, but in the music that then flows from that product, which is really the end benefit in another way.

We talk about the owner, those who may or may not be players, but those who appreciate what our brand stands for, and that same set of values, but seen from another set of eyes. And there are probably few other perspectives. But all of that content is what brought them to life. It’s the same story, but told through different lenses. It’s almost like the books of the Bible are the same story, but told from different apostles’ perspectives. And so it’s the same sort of idea.

Drew: Okay, I am a believer.

 

If Marketing is War, I Want Kylberg as My General

04/3/16

It is hard to be a student of history and not be fascinated by leaders.  And as some of you may have picked up by now, I spend a lot of my spare time reading books and listening to courses on American History with a special concentration on Ben Franklin and the American Revolution.  Starting about a week ago, I took a break from the 18th century and jumped into the mid-19th to try to fill a huge knowledge gap on the Civil War.  As told by Professor Gary W. Gallagher, this is a story of leadership and often the lack there of on both sides of an epic confrontation. Ultimately, two leaders rose above the others, Lincoln and his final Commanding General, Ulysses S. Grant.

Now since you probably didn’t come here for a history lesson, let me explain why I’m talking about these two leaders before I introduce you to Rich Kylberg,Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Arrow Electronics.  Well, first Rich and I talk about leadership and the challenges of reinventing and transforming Arrow, a 75 year-old company. Lincoln’s United States was just a decade older (“four score and 7 years”) at the time of his Gettysburg address, when he looked to transform the nation. Second, Rich seems very much a man of action, the very reason Lincoln made Grant his main man in March 1864, a decision that cemented the Northern victory just about a year later. Third and hopefully more to the point, Rich uses warfare as a metaphor in one of his answers paving the way for this grandiose introduction.

Given this history-rich if not historic preface, you may rightfully expect an enlightening interview and indeed you will find one below.  Kylberg, for the record, was awarded the Leadership prize from The CMO Club late last year.

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Drew: How would you describe your leadership style?  

Optimistic, passionate, and entirely “out of the box.” Offering a teenaged German song contest participant 1,000,000 euros to alter her lyrics from a love song to a ballad about the nobility of engineers raised eyebrows.

Drew: Do you have any role models that you’ve admired over the years and if so, what did you pick up from him/her?  

Mom, Dad, and Walt Disney: altruism, entrepreneurship, and creativity.  I can’t walk through a Disney park without being stunned by the imagination and creativity brought to bear in an effort to create happiness (and, I suppose, cash flow).

Drew: Can you talk about some of the actions you took as a leader in the last couple of years that were particularly challenging? 

Working to try to reinvent and transform a very large and already successful industry comes with a great deal of resistance, reluctance, and (when we get it right) reward.  Over around 75 years Arrow revenue grew to over $20 billion with very few people knowing about the company; we built a brand message, architecture, and platform that resonates across all of our business units, all around the world.

Drew: How important is your peer to peer network to your on-going success?  What are the biggest benefits of having a peer network?  

My peer to peer network has been critical to my journey.  These friends have flattened my steep learning curves, and kept me from going way off the rails.  Participating within the best organizations in my profession (the CMO Club!), our industry (IBM Amplify), and the broader business community (YPO International) is essential to keeping me relevant and connected.

Drew: What’s the best advice you’ve been given to guide personal / career success?

Pick your battles. Win the war.  I’ve had dozens of individual initiatives shut down within Arrow, I’ve seen my team grow from 6 to 70 and back down to 30, and yet our main focus on propagation of the united Arrow brand continues and only grows stronger.

Drew: What is the single biggest challenge that you’d like to overcome? 

I’d like to expand the scale, scope, and impact of the great work that we do to continue to transform our company and make this world a little better place for us all.  Last year to promote our brand we toured a race car that’s driven by a quadriplegic, and we built a computer lab in a shipping container for orphans in Tanzania –I encourage our small team of professionals to dream of what we can do in 2016 and beyond that will make life better for others, while further defining and disseminating the company brand.

[Bloggers Note: For those of you interested in more on Lincoln’s leadership style, I have a spare copy of the timelessly brilliant Lincoln on Leadership at the office OR feel free to borrow my copy of US Grant’s autobiography, a surprisingly fascinating and well-scribed book.]

The Extraordinary Power of Focus Even with CSR

03/27/16

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Whenever I meet entrepreneurs, they often pick my brain for marketing wisdom usually asking one or all of the following questions:

  1. How do we get the biggest bang for our marketing bucks?
  2. What are the most effective marketing channels?
  3. Is social media worth the time and effort?
  4. Does guerrilla marketing still work?
  5. Tell me Obi Wan, what is the secret to marketing success?

Avoiding questions 1-4 until I have a better sense of their overall go-to-market strategy, I jump all over #5.  “The secret,” I say, “can be found in one word–focus.”  Somewhat rattled by the simplicity of this seemingly obvious counsel, I wait for the notion to sink in and then offer real world stories of how businesses, large and small, have achieved success through laser-like focus on their product/service offering and target audience.

These stories are not always easy to come by which is why I’m so excited to share with you an interview I had with Diane Scott, Global Chief Product & Marketing Officer at Western Union.  In her responses, you will discover how a deliberate focus on one charitable activity (Education for Better) has helped Western Union impact more than 1 millions lives around the world and gain 75% employee participation. It’s an impressive approach that not surprisingly garnered Scott and Western Union a Social Responsibility Award from The CMO Club.  Prepare to see for yourself the power of focus in action.

Drew: Congratulations on winning the Social Responsibility Award. How do you define Corporate Social Responsibility?

Western Union defines itself as a purpose-driven company. Our business drives social and economic growth by promoting financial inclusion. In 2014, WU moved $185B, more than the GDP of 147 countries. Cross-border remittances provided needed funds for education, housing, health care and more. WU also provides better ways to move money for NGOs, universities and SMEs, which are an economic engine.

At Western Union, we use the term “corporate responsibility,” since responsible companies engage in far more than socially-oriented programs. For us, the term “corporate responsibility” typically refers to a fairly specific focus on responsibility in our core operations – e.g. how we treat our employees and promote diversity, how we focus on governance issues, how we prioritize ethics and compliance in our operations, and more.

Yet I think your question is getting at something broader than responsible operations alone. At Western Union we also seek to coordinate our corporate resources for both business and social impact, and engage our business, consumers and employees in this work. We seek to marshal all our assets – e.g. products and services, cause-related marketing, executive leadership, employee volunteerism, philanthropy and our core operations – for both business and social impact.

For the last three years our focus has been on supporting education through a program we call Education for Better. In fact, Western Union just publicly renewed our company-wide commitment to education through 2020.  As a company whose mission is to help create global economic opportunity and growth for individuals, businesses, communities and economies, education is a natural focus for our citizenship efforts.

Drew: Can you provide a short recap of your CSR initiatives in 2015?

Two achievements that stand out are:

  • The Western Union Foundation surpassed a major milestone, since it’s inception, donating more than US$100 million in support to more than 2,700 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide support to thousands of families and individuals in more than 135 countries and territories.
  • We also marked the three-year milestone with our Education for Better program, and renewed that commitment to help meet global education goals over the next three years. That programs has focused on secondary and vocational education for marginalized populations, including girls/women and migrants/refugees. 

Drew: How do you measure the success of these programs? (Please provide specific results if you can.)

Each corporate initiative has its own metrics for success, and of course the Western Union Foundation has its own metrics to measure the success of its philanthropy. Yet generally we’re looking to measure both social and business impact through our social responsibility work.

To give you an example, we’ve measured the following with Education for Better:

  • Social Impact
    • Moved more than $7 billion in principal for education (WUBS), exceeding our original target of $1 billion.
    • Provided more than $11.6 million in philanthropic funding to support educational programs in 53 countries, impacting more than 1.1 million students, teachers, and administrators.
    • Through the UEFA PASS program, enabled more than one million days of school for disadvantaged students through UNICEF.
    • Provided more than 11,000 hours of employee volunteer support to education.
  • Business Impact
    • Our education products saw double-digit revenue growth in 2014.
    • Education-related cause promotions help assist our growth initiatives. A Mother’s Day promotion between the U.S. and Mexico, promotions in India and China, and a Ramadan promotion in Germany all contribute to our growth. Consumer engagement online soared over 100%_
    • Nearly 75% of Western Union employees have participated in the cause, either through the employee giving campaign or volunteerism, building employee pride and increasing understanding of our cause.
    • We engaged 72 WU agents, deepening our business relationships.

Drew: Building a business case for CSR initiatives can be tricky. What were the keys to gaining management support?

The second key insight was that while Our World, Our Family had been effective, it was largely philanthropic and had not benefited from the full resources of the company. The next strategic initiative would be imagined differently to leverage not just our funds and volunteer hours, but the whole of our business, including marketing and products.

Drew: When it comes to sharing your company’s CSR initiatives is there a fine line between letting the world know about it and overplaying the contribution? Where do you sit on this spectrum from letting the good action speak for itself and broadcasting it from the treetops?

I think one of the first questions is whether the work itself is authentic. Is it just writing a check, or does it tie to the company’s values, operations and brand identity? For WU, our community commitment goes back to the 1800’s, and today is stronger than ever. In some ways, I think that gives us “permission” to communicate about corporate responsibility.

Over the years, studies by Cone, Inc., Nielsen, Edelman and others have consistently shown that up to 91% of global consumers are likely to switch brands to one that supports a good cause, given similar price and quality, and 57% would purchase a product of lesser quality or efficacy if it was more socially or environmentally responsible.

That suggests it’s important for consumers understand our responsibility commitment. It’s probably not possible for companies ever do enough to tell consumers not about what they do, but also why they do what they do. That’s particularly true for WU, since I think our commitment to “moving money for better” is a meaningful brand differentiator. That said, it takes a lot to raise awareness – let alone build deep brand association. That’s another reason why we focus on a single cause company-wide. That focus is critical to enabling us to both track and deepen our impact and speak loudly with one voice that can be heard.

Drew: Looking ahead, what is the single biggest challenge that you’d like to overcome?

Like most thinks in life, our biggest challenge is our biggest opportunity from a marketing perspective – for WU, we have more channels than ever before, and more data than ever before…

200 countries, 500k locations, 100k atms, kiosks, mobile apps, online presence, ability to send from and to accounts to mobile wallets or with cash, 130 currencies. A brand and technology platform built to drive simplicity, security and reliability of cross border money movement – for consumers and businesses alike.

Given the brand’s 160+ years young existence, many times people and businesses think they know this brand and really don’t. 2016 is all about continuing to onboard and innovate around more cross border customer use cases for consumers and businesses than ever before – whether to fuel cross border payments for a small business in Bangladesh, a large bank in London, an NGO in Lagos, a University in New York, an ExPat in Dubai or a recent migrant from Nigeria.

How Anheuser-Busch is Riding a Digital Workhorse

03/21/16

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If ever there were brands built on the backs of traditional media, it would be Budweiser and Bud Light.  These stalwarts of sports broadcasts, joined us in our living rooms and bars, reminding us years back who this Bud was for and more recently, inciting us to be up for whatever with Bud Light. But just because TV was the big horse they rode in on doesn’t mean that Anheuser Busch isn’t making tracks on the digital frontier.  In fact, Lucas Herscovici, VP of Consumer Connections at Anheuser-Busch, reports that A-B’s investment in digital is growing rapidly and with good results.  Here’s our interview on that and more after Herscovici received the CMO Officer award from the The CMO Club.

Drew: Looking back over the last 12-24 months, what initiative under your leadership really worked well? What were some of the challenges you had to overcome? What were the results?

I’m proud about the work we’ve done to make Anheuser-Busch one of the top CPG companies in digital. In order to do that, we had to shift the way the organization looked at marketing, increase investments and ultimately prove that it helps drive sales. I’m happy to say that it resulted in success. Bud Light and Budweiser are now recognized as CPG leaders in digital by external parties and platforms like Tinder and Snapchat are choosing our brands to be the first brands to advertise on their platforms.

Drew: Effecting change beyond the marketing department is not easy and is often met with resistance from other departments.  How did you make this happen? Looking back, what do you wish you knew a year ago that you learned “the hard way”?

Changing the way we negotiate sports team sponsorships initially met with some resistance due to some historical partnerships between the company and teams. By delivering a few quick wins and demonstrating results, other departments got on board with the strategy. One “key learning” was that we need to involve all the stakeholders early. When everyone is part of the process from the start, it is easier for them to get behind a new way of doing things.

Drew: Did any of your marketing initiatives involve employee activation?  If so, can you describe what you did and how it worked? How did you get employees to care?

At Anheuser-Busch, one of our core beliefs is that everyone should act like an owner. We created the rock star of the month award within our new media agency team to extend that sense of pride to not only our employees but to our marketing partners. The award recognizes great contributors and ultimately drove high engagement within the extended team.

Drew: When advising members of your team on cross-departmental initiatives, what do tell them to do and not do to ensure success?

We’re in the business of bringing people together, and that holds true within our marketing team. I encourage all of our employees to go to the field, meet with people face to face to understand how things work and come with solutions in a collaborative way.

Drew: What is the single biggest challenge that you’d like to overcome?

While we’re pleased with our success in digital marketing for Budweiser and Bud Light, there is still room to improve on how we connect with our consumers. For 2016, we’ll be focused on strengthening all of our brands by further enhancing the way we connect with consumers and shaping the culture for each brand.

It’s Not Digital Marketing–It’s Just Marketing!

03/11/16

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Over the years, practitioners have been inclined to slice up marketing into increasingly small operational areas. When I started way back when there was “above the line” and “below the line” with advertising being elevated and all other forms of marketing being lumped together into an unglamorous morass of “oh yeah that stuff.”  From that morass emerged direct marketing then CRM then digital marketing then search engine marketing then social media, influencer, content, employee and most recently, account-based marketing. Add to this ever-splintering tableau books like mine which identified 64 discrete elements and you might imagine that there is no such thing as a unified marketing department anymore.

Well, that would be categorically wrong and don’t just take my word for it.  Paul D’Arcy, SVP of Marketing at Indeed, the top site for searching jobs in the world, makes it very clear in our interview below from his opening statement.  To generate over 180 million unique web visitors a month, Paul and his team at Indeed take a holistic approach in their efforts to bring job seekers and employers together.  An approach that includes storytelling of the highest order along with continuous testing of new channels and optimizing existing ones.  And though Indeed remains one of the fastest growing brands in the world, Paul still believes his team can double the impact of their marketing investment leaving little wonder Paul why was presented with the Growth Award by  The CMO Club late last year.

Drew: What new digital initiatives did you try in 2015 and how did these perform?  What were your goals and how did it work out?

We don’t think about digital: we think about marketing. I think the most interesting things we’re doing this year are very traditional. We’re trying to tell our story of helping people get jobs through strong, authentic creative that features real people. We focus on results — and results for us means bringing job seekers and employers together to help people get jobs. We tell this story wherever we can engage people whether that’s TV, social, online video, or on the printed ad engaging someone on their commute.

Drew: Were there any areas of your digital marketing that you were disappointed with? If so, what were some of the issues you encountered?

Yes! I often say that I want the mean return on investment of our investments to be high and for the median to be zero. This means that we try many things and that more than half will fail. But we scale investment on the things that work and see great results. If we’re not trying things that fail than we’re falling behind in a quickly shifting world. We find that we rarely get a creative strategy or new engagement channel right the first time. We always test multiple approaches to deepen our understanding and find the right way to engage our constituents.

Drew: A recent survey of marketers suggested that less than 10% feel they are leveraging data to the fullest extent possible.  Why is this such a challenging area to get right?

We’re at a point where there is really, truly endless data available to us. Analysis (or programmatic use of data) takes skill, time, and work. We need to pick and choose the data we want to understand and commit to do the work to get the insights that make us better. There will always be blind spots, and data that is out there but that no organization has the time to pull it together, organize it, and analyze it. Picking the right data to analyze and understand is a very important capability. We love hiring people who are naturally curious because they always take us a step or two deeper into the data than we would have gone otherwise.

Drew: Marketing, especially data integration, often requires skills sets beyond the typical marketer. How have you been able to corral the resources and skill sets needed to achieve your digital marketing goals?  Did this require new management skills?

We have chosen to build a team that blends, in equal parts, highly technical marketers, highly creative markets, and people with deep functional expertise. A large percentage of our marketers can code. We’ve had marketers move from our team into core product software engineering at Indeed. We have software engineers, data scientists, statisticians, economists, and mathematicians on the team. I think these skills — and the skills to lead and mentor these technical teams — are absolutely essential to building a great marketing function and measuring the impact of marketing investments.

Drew: With the plethora of digital marketing options, channels and content available today and increasing quickly, how do you decide where to “place your bets” in terms of marketing spend and choices?

We test first and scale the things that work. The key is to test as many things as possible. For us, this is complex because we’re in 50+ countries and it’s important to understand not just what works, but where it works and doesn’t work. We focus all of our teams on trying as many things as possible and measuring the impact. We encourage people to fail. But, as more programs do become successfully and scale, it does become hard to start with new programs with big potential but that start small. To help with this, we have a dedicated campaign lab team that reports to me directly and that focuses on testing large quantities of ideas that start small and are likely to fail.

Drew: What is the single biggest marketing challenge that you’d like to overcome?

I think we can still double the impact of every marketing dollar that we spend. As a relatively new brand, there is still so much that we don’t know. We have a long list of documented things that we don’t know and we’re working to create the measurements and experiments to answer these questions. I’m incredibly excited for what we’ll learn as a team in 2016.

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