On 22 May The Marketing Society partnered with Gain Theory to host an inaugural dinner in New York, following a successful CMO lunch during Advertising Week last year. Our goal was twofold: to understand the value that The Marketing Society could bring to the senior marketer community in the US and discuss findings from a recent piece of CMO research into marketing effectiveness.
‘Marketing can be a route to leadership, but it’s rare. Marketing can sometimes be perceived as a back room function’
With this quote from a senior US marketer we are reminded of the very real need for the joint mission of The Marketing Society and Gain Theory global partnership. We are collaborating to empower marketers to be braver, bolder, faster and smarter, which is crucial given that marketing leaders feel they are a long way from reaching their full potential.
So, over a fabulous candlelit dinner with the added touch of a Chief Magic Officer by Johann Bayle, a stellar group of senior marketers from the likes of Diageo, Samsung, Amex, WeightWatchers, Pepsi and many more congregated.
A community of bold marketers with a diversity of opinions and experience in line with what NYC has to offer...
There’s a cornucopia of marketing organisations in the US catering to the insatiable thirst for knowledge offering up a never buffet of networking, thought leadership, best practise, awards etc.
Yet, the marketers we spoke to in New York are left hungry. When Gemma Greaves, Chief Executive asked people what value they felt the Marketing Society could add there were common threads to virtually all of the replies.
A safe place for honest, challenging conversation; a place where you can be honest about what you do and don’t understand; thought leadership that makes you bolder; help from your peers without bias or judgement; somewhere you can actually drive change; a circle that liberates and helps you think; a true sense of community where you can tackle conversations that we normally don’t talk about.
Ultimately as Gemma put it, The Marketing Society could provide ‘a safe and comfortable place to get uncomfortable’.
CMO insights: marketing effectiveness validation
Having opened the door to honesty and uncomfortable conversation we tackled some insights around marketing effectiveness. Manjiry Tamhane, Global CEO at Gain Theory, took the group through some unbiased CMO research conducted recently in the US around marketing effectiveness.
The research revealed that marketers within global brands are still searching for a guiding light when it comes to marketing measurement, decision making and strategy based on insights. They are being paralysed by ‘infobesity’ caused by ‘too much’ research, data ‘lakes’; confusion around metrics that matter and insights that take too long to develop and are regressive in nature.
Then there’s the lack of the right structure internally to make best use of any insights.
The findings were clear:
1. Going beyond data
Harnessing the power of data, and becoming data driven, is critical to future success. However for most there was the realisation that it’s not about data for data sake:
- “We are data rich and insights poor” - Travel VP Media
- “We can’t get what we need from our digital partners who have walled gardens” - CPG SVP e-commerce
2. Lack of common metrics
For many, the issue was around getting agreement on which metric to use... i.e. which are the metrics that matter?
- “We are making observations versus true insights into what’s driving the business” - CPG CMO
- “We need one source of truth, a True North, that will drive our metrics and resulting insights” - CPG CMO
- “Can’t agree on which few metrics to measure or focus on” - Auto Consumer Insights Director
- “too many data points = paralysis” - Retail Brand Director
3. Organisational structure
Most of the brands questioned whether their organisation had all the skills necessary to interpret the data into meaningful insights:
- “Still too many silos and not enough sharing between the data scientists and marketing” - CMO, Retail
- “We are our worst enemy sometimes because our brands guard their respective insights closely and do not share” – Travel Brand Director
4. What clients want in the near future
In a nutshell, marketers need to quantify the future i.e. forward looking insights to forecast tomorrow’s sales today:
- “We are making the most of what we have, although much of it is based on past efforts ” Retail Brand Director
- “Building more forward looking models that leverage 1st party, media, behavioural, cultural and social data to forecast tomorrow’s sales today” Retail CMO
Do the insights ring true? Feedback from our inaugural dinner
There was a sense of frustration…‘The biggest irritation in marketing is always being asked the same question over and over again. Invariably the answers are always the same, just a different brand manager answering’ said one marketer.
“Our research department spends a lot of time diving into qual, quant and data analytics. By the time it does the rounds internally - blocked by silos, questions about metrics and what it means – there’s very little that we can actually use” said another.
When it comes to data, one marketer pointed out ‘'Brands that ask the right questions will get the most out of their data' with another marketer cautioning ‘we need to unlearn our dependence on data’ as some marketers in big brands have a tendency to ‘hide behind data’.
Global CMO challenges
The Marketing Society and Gain Theory will continue to canvass senior marketer participation across many of the global hubs to understand the challenges and pain points we are faced with when it comes to validating marketing value.
Ultimately the aim is to unite marketers around the challenges, and together as a marketing community, find solutions that enable bolder, braver marketing through faster, smarter decision making.
This review was by Claudia Sestini, Global Marketing Officer Gain Theory, for The Marketing Society New York.