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 / Autumn 2007 / Issue 48(originally published by Booz & Company)


The New Complete Marketer

American Express: From Monologues to Measurability

The American Express Company has been one of the world’s boldest marketers, regularly embracing new media to find new ways to stay in touch with its customers. This experimentation, however, is anything but capricious. As CMO John Hayes explains, “measurabil­ity” of information has completely changed the company’s approach to its customers.

S+B: In the old days — back in the 20th century — the monologue to customers typically had one brand message. You stayed on message and you tested whether they heard it and what they felt about it. It was all monolithic marketing. Now, messages are bidirectional and morphing, because you’re actually listening. How do you herd all those cats to ensure that the brand articulated by Group X feels like the brand articulated by Group Y?
HAYES: The most important thing that’s changed in the past 10 years is the measurability of what we do. New channels are regularly emerging that allow us to understand what it is we’re doing as it relates to acceptability within the marketplace. And we can do it with much faster turnaround.

Technology allows marketers to give consumers a voice. And that’s a dramatic and powerful change, as long as we pay attention to what our customers are saying. In the [20th century], we did monologue marketing. We did most — if not all — of the talking. And we expected the consumer to listen. Now, in the 21st century, we’ve moved to a dialogue. Con­sumers want to be heard. In fact, they will not tolerate not being heard.

—Excerpted from
CMO Thought Leaders:
The Rise of the Strategic Marketer

NBC Universal: Partnerships and Progress Reports

Beth Comstock brings a powerful marketing orientation to her job as the business leader of a major global multimedia entertainment company. But the president of NBC Universal Integrated Media strongly believes that the success of marketing within an enterprise largely depends on how well it aligns with the rest of the management team.

S+B: CMOs and CFOs work more and more closely together. What was your experience as a CMO, and how are you interacting with finance in your new role?
COMSTOCK: You get in trouble if you think there’s some magic ROI  [return on investment] formula, and that if it’s not perfect the CFO’s going to reject it. I’ve found just the opposite. A dialogue works a lot better. It begins: “Maybe in this case we can’t exactly define sales, but here are some other things we can define. Is that ac­ceptable for you? Does that convince you that we’re going to grow?”…

I can’t imagine doing a marketing job without connecting with the CFO. Marketing must be a finance team partner. In fact, the worst thing a marketer — or, for that matter, a business leader — can do is say, “Just trust me; I’ll show you when I make my numbers.” You need to have some pro­gress report. You need benchmarks that force you to ask, “Are we giving it enough juice? Are we really being successful? Should we pull back?”

—Excerpted from
CMO Thought Leaders:
The Rise of the Strategic Marketer

Super Bowl Sundown
by Randall Rothenberg and Robert Liodice

In January 2007, as in most Januarys for the past decade, advertising and marketing news was dominated by Super Bowl Sunday. The advertising again rivaled the game itself in drawing media and public attention, with the blockbuster television commercials the subject of TV specials, front-page newspaper stories, and breathless magazine commentary classifying ads as winners or losers. But as we looked over the 15 interviews presented in CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer — interviews conducted with noted chief marketing officers from some of the world’s most successful corporations in a variety of industries — an odd but intriguing realization emerged: The phrase “Super Bowl advertising” did not come up once.

Super Bowl advertising is yesterday’s news. Indeed, advertising itself — if defined traditionally as marketing communications products constructed by agencies to fit in predefined paper spaces or electronic time slots — is looking somewhat long in the tooth.

Globalization, the rise of sophisticated new media, demographic shifts in the customer base of many countries, and the evolution of analytic and managerial tools have not-so-quietly progressed and combined. In part as a consequence of that shift, we are seeing the reinvigoration and re­invention of the craft and science of marketing by a select group of professionals from many disciplines and backgrounds. In their view, marketing is meaningless unless it does one thing beautifully and provably — unless it drives their company’s growth.

Five critical trends are worth particular attention in the new landscape of the “growth cham­pion” marketer:

  • The consumer is not an idiot; she is your boss. That consumers have near-total control of communications channels is now the principal underpinning of companies’ marketing strategy.
  • The “purchase funnel” has Web feet. Marketers now put interactive media at the center of their strategy to influence the consumer decision-making process.
  • Marketing experimentation is accelerating, along with the need for new metrics, as communications cost barriers continue to plunge.
  • Marketers’ arsenal is ex­panding. The definition of “advertising” is changing to include multi-platform campaigns, marketer in-sourced infotainment, user-generated content, complex CRM [customer relationship management] programs, and other activities that are rarely associated with traditional advertising.
  • There is a race for new capabilities among media, agencies, and marketers as the marketing-media value chain grows more tangled and competitive.

—Excerpted from
CMO Thought Leaders:
The Rise of the Strategic Marketer

Randall Rothenberg ([email protected]) is president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. He was formerly the senior director of intellectual capital at Booz Allen Hamilton and editor-in-chief of strategy+business.

Robert Liodice ([email protected]) is president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers.

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  1. Johannes Bussmann, Gregor Harter, and Evan Hirsh, “Results-Driven Marketing: A Guide to Growth and Profits,” s+b enews, 1/31/06: The changing world requires a more rigorous approach to marketing. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice creativity to analysis. Click here.
  2. Edward Landry, Andrew Tipping, and Brodie Dixon, “Six Types of Marketing Organizations: Where Do You Fit In?” s+b Resilience Report, 10/11/05: Is your marketing approach in sync with your company’s needs? Here’s how to figure that out. Click here.
  3. Edward Landry, Andrew Tipping, and Jay Kumar, “Growth Champions,” s+b, Summer 2006: Survey data from Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers identifies marketers who drive growth by leading product innovation and new business development. Click here.
  4. Geoffrey Precourt, ed., CMO Thought Leaders: The Rise of the Strategic Marketer (strategy+business Books, 2007): The book from which this article was excerpted offers insight from 15 top marketing leaders on the current and future direction of their field. Click here.
  5. Richard Rawlinson, “Beyond Brand Management,” s+b, Summer 2006: Career paths, attitude shifts, and training approaches for the marketer of the future. Click here.
  6. For more articles on marketing and sales, sign up for s+b’s RSS feed at Click here.
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