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The future ain’t what it used to be

It seems like there’s never been a more precarious time to be a CMO. While average tenure has increased in the past decade, from 27 months in 2007 to 44 months in 2017, it can sometimes feel like a pyrrhic victory. Technology has changed the role and forced CMOs to learn whole new skills or perish; the AI future-that-is-coming will further diminish the marketing function as it renders some positions obsolete; the focus on revenue and performance threaten to overshadow the need to build a brand and with it strategic and sustainable growth. The rise of other C-level roles like Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Experience Officer, not to mention the new influence that the Chief Technology Officer has, have further chipped away at the mighty CMO.

Leading with Talent

The Marketing Society's New York Hub held a compelling Uncomfortable Breakfast on leading with talent at SAP's stellar offices in the Hudson Yards.  Host Alicia Tillman of SAP welcomed us. Board member Adriana Rizzo opened and closed the event that was moderated by and as always cogently summed up by Margaret Molloy, New York Hub Chair and Global CMO and Head of New Business Development at Siegel+Gale.  The panel included CMO’s Alicia Tillman of SAP, Ed Dandridge of AIG, Elizabeth Rutledge of American Express, Micheal Joseloff of Fortune and Meg Galloway Goldthwaite of NPR. Richard Sanderson of Spencer Stuart provided insights into the CMO role. Margaret asked key questions that led to good insights from the panel. Is marketing’s focus long-term or performance?  How do CMO’s navigate demand gen and strategy?

What is empathy?

SXSW. It’s often seen as the holy grail of adland conferences with two weeks full of tech, music, film, experiences and endless margaritas under the Austin sunshine. This hype meant I went ready to have my mind blown. I challenged myself to go to things I normally wouldn’t attend. I took in panels about transhumanism, learnt about speculative design, discovered the power behind secrets and discussed what makes a book a book. There’s no doubt I saw, heard and did things I’ve never experienced before and I’ve had my mind opened to new ways of thinking. Back in the UK, with the sun no longer shining, the free drinks no longer flowing and the jet lag long gone it’s easier to reflect on my first SXSW experience and if I’m totally honest, I loved it but my mind wasn’t totally blown. I appreciate this may be controversial given SXSW’s prestige but the reason for it is simple - the dominant theme of the conference was empathy. It was everywhere, in the sessions, the tech, the conversations, successfully upstaging the usual SXSW suspects of AI and digital transformation.


Are you a bottleneck? Sometimes it’s a good thing. It would be impossible to guzzle a Pepsi if it were served in a saucer–the bottleneck creates the path of maximum slam. It would be difficult to water your lawn without a nozzle. The bottleneck creates pressure that allows you to reach further. But in an organization, a bottleneck can be a real problem. If the project is sitting on your desk, no value is being created. The opportunity, then, is to achieve your goals by getting every single thing off your desk so that it can move forward. A team that is sitting still waiting for you to attend the approval meeting is suffering from your bottleneck. And so are the people you set out to serve. The trick: Figure out which parts of the approval process truly benefit from your unique judgment and skills, and which parts are merely your fear at work. And then get it off your desk and let someone else do it. This is a piece by Seth Godin and first appeared on his blog here

“I don’t like your work”

That doesn’t mean I don’t like you. The difference is critical. It’s impossible to be a productive professional if you insist on conjoining them. Here are two useful things to consider: There is plenty of disliked work from people (and things) where I don’t even know the creator. I don’t like John Adam’s operas, and I’ve never even met him. If it’s possible to dislike something without knowing the person behind it, I hope we can embrace the fact that they’re unrelated.   If we need everyone to like our work in order to feel grounded, it means that we’ll sacrifice the best of what we could create in order to dumb it down for whatever masses happen to be speaking up. Which will make it more average (aka mediocre) and thus eliminate any magic we had hoped to create. If someone cares enough to dislike our work, the best response is, “thank you.” Thank you for taking the time to consider it, thank you for caring enough to let me know…

Upcoming Events


An Uncomfortable Breakfast: Leading with Talent

We will be discussing how brave marketing leadership can change the world.

We’ll be revealing exclusive new research from Accenture that explores wh

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