sleepless-cmoChange.

It’s the one constant in this industry, and it’s the No. 1 reasons brand managers are struggling to spend their nights in restful slumber.

In the Advertising Week panel “What Keeps CMOs Up at Night,” marketing managers from Dell, Allstate, and Mondelez, and Lisa Donohue of Starcom USA discussed their fears about the future.

Here are 5 reasons why your CMO can’t get some good shut-eye:

1. The Job of the CMO

Technology, marketing, and sales are more intertwined than they have ever been before. The lines are blurred, and CMOs are wondering what their responsibilities are. Should they be focused on customer experience? Or are they now the chief information officer? Integration starts at the top, and CMOs are still figuring out what and how to manage the new ecosystem.

2. The Definition of “Modern” Marketing

Change is happening so quickly that it is difficult to know what a modern marketing even campaign looks like. Bryan Jones, vice president of marketing at Dell, expressed questioning everything from his team’s organizational structure to having the right agency partners. He also spoke on the issue of being reactive versus proactive and how you maintain a balance. There is no perfect model of an effective media model, and brands have to experiment and define their own marketing path.

3. Reaching Buyers Where They Are

Buyers are doing more research online before they purchase: They are reading product reviews, asking for feedback no Facebook, and perusing competing brands’ sites. That means that they are at least half way through the buying cycle before they even contact a sales rep or walk into a store — if they do at all. CMOs are trying to meet these research-focused consumers in the digital space while they can still be influenced. The problem: It’s still difficult to know where and how to best communicate with these prospective customers.

4. Activities Moving In-House

Lisa Cochrane, SVP of marketing, said Allstate is moving as fast as it can to move to 100% programmatic in-house, and Jones said that Dell’s amount of data on customers is a competitive advantage, so ensuring that it is safe and not used by agencies for “other” purposes is key. Access to data and ownership of this data is becoming a point of differentiation, and brands are going to be more selective about who and what agencies have access to their information.

5. Data Versus Creativity

One on the most endearing conversation points came from Mondelez’s Dana Anderson, the senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

“The dress can be the right size, but that doesn’t mean it is going to look good," Anderson said.

This was in response to balance between data and creativity. You can have the the data to back up a campaign or message, but that doesn’t mean it will work.

The panel also agree that the amount of data can be paralyzing: There’s too much of it and not enough technology to be able to analyze and surface true insights. No one pleads for more data.

Marketing is still based in creativity, and brand managers need to trust their instincts.


Originally published Oct 1, 2014 4:00:08 AM, updated December 05 2014