Six Powerful Marketing Themes From Moderating The CMO Summit – What is top of mind for marketing leaders today?

Published On: Sunday 23rd October 2022

Our founder Daryl was invited to moderate the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Summit by Inspired Business Media. Content from the day was curated based on the latest CMO research and the needs of marketing leaders as we look to the year ahead.

Daryl and the Inspired Business Media team were joined by CMO’s and marketing leaders from the worlds most progressive organisations. Representatives from IBM, Accenture, AB InBev, WW, UBS, Ofi, Medallia and beyond helped to shape the day.

This blog post is a collection of the 6 power marketing themes that resonated most and at Hexdon, we see these topics as pivotal to marketing success today. If you’d like to discuss any of these topics or themes, contact Hexdon here.

The evolution of consumer values and defining the digital experience

Consumer values are more important now than ever before, as customers face inflationary pressures from multiple angles. The real challenge for brands is to increase customer loyalty while increasing prices. It’s the value exchange that’s at risk.

In the opening CMO Summit discussion, Daryl asked the panel about their observations of the shift in customer values. Between Simon Edwards (CMO, IBM), Katie Chung (Global Sustainability Marketing Leader, Accenture) and Toni Radzihovska (Global Director, Digital Consumer Products, AB Inbev), the themes focused on authenticity, sustainability, ESG and the balance between emotional (brand love) and rational (pricing) consumer needs.

One key highlight focused on the tightrope that consumers walk. What they want, what they need and the options that are available.

“People are prioritizing themselves … but want to effect change for others. They want to follow their values … but not at the expense of value. They’re taking matters into their own hands … but also want companies to hold their hand.”
– The Human Paradox, Accenture

Brands need to consider this as the season unfolds. It’s imperative that they understand their customers evolving attitudes, preferences, behaviours, and needs

Improving the Customer Experience

Consumers expect experiences that exceed their expectations, no matter how, where or when they interact with brands. There’s also the complexity of channels, touchpoints, products and services along with the evolving behaviours and preferences of consumers at this time.

Federico Selle from Medallia articulated 3 key factors driving true CX transformation.

  • Investing In CX Culture
  • Listen To All signals
  • Experience Orchestration

At Hexdon, we firmly believe in CX culture. In fact, we see this as customer-centric culture and data culture, all of which fall under the banner of business culture, when implemented successfully.

One key point that Federico called out was the example of measuring metrics that drive change. This means avoiding vanity metrics like NPS and focusing in on metrics that drive operational improvements.

Federico’s message was clear. Levelling up as a business means doing more for the customer. It means acting on customer data opportunities. It means driving great experiences. Importantly, it means focusing on commercial value too.

Giving the microphone to your customers

Tony Miller, VP Growth & Performance Marketing at WW (Weight Watchers), presented a clear message. Trust and transparency must be front and centre and engagement must be real, authentic and relatable.

This is how WW delivered sustained success in the last year. They created a platform for members to become ambassadors, by creating content, sharing their journeys to a healthier life. This move by WW allow members to represent the brand and in doing so, WW increased acquisition and retention amongst a multitude of engagement and commercial metrics.

The message here was that being brave and giving customers a platform that inspires authenticity and empathy, while delivering personalised experiences, is a strong motive for customers to become and remain loyal.

Attracting and Retaining Marketing Talent in the Great Resignation

Daryl was joined on stage by Claire Evans, Deputy CMO at UBS for a fireside conversation on the war of talent. This conversation drew similar comparisons with the Data industry.

Collectively, the UK is experiencing a talent shortage and holding onto good people is harder than ever. Echoing the values of consumers, employees now look for employers that hold true to their values.

Flexibility is still a key requirement from employees in the new normal since COVID. But this is no longer enough. Marketing leaders need to create attractive places for people to come to work, regardless of geography.

Skills in data, technology, innovation and transformation are in high demand within the marketing office, so it’s imperative that marketing leaders invest in creating an attractive place to work.

Entering and winning awards, a strong team culture, education and having a team purpose that aligns with the employer brand are now a requirement. And as brands fall under increasing pressure to perform better, they must remember to create space for employees to thrive. Enough pressure, but not too much that they crack.

Claire also highlighted that supporting the growth of your team members and promoting a culture of promoting internally is a fantastic opportunity for organisatons and team members alike.

The key message here is that marketing leaders must do everything in their power to create attractive places for marketing talent to work but also create opportunities for talent to grow and potentially move on.

On becoming purposeful

A brand’s purpose is grounded in it’s reason for being. It’s the ‘why’ behind the things it stands for. Meaningful value can be incorporated into brand purpose, especially when creating resonance with customers and so when commercial outcomes are on the line, purpose is considered a competitive advantage, when executed authentically.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
– Simon Sinek

A 2018 study by Cone, found that “77% of customers felt a stronger emotional connection to purpose driven companies over traditional companies” and that “66% would switch from a product they typically buy, to a new product from a purpose-driven company”

Take Patagonia for example. Their CEO and his family transferred ownership to a specially deisgned trust and nonprofit organisation.

Earth is now our only shareholder.
If we have any hope of a thriving planet—much less a business—it is going to take all of us doing what we can with the resources we have. This is what we can do.
– Yvon Chouinard

Ofi (a global leader in food and beverage ingredients) is another example that demonstrates strong Purpose. CMO Briony Mathieson’s presentation addressed key challenges and learnings from evolving their Purposeful approach over the last decade.

Ofi’s success was grounded in a shared ‘why’, recognising that purpose is incremental and capturing the hearts and minds of the many stakehlders across the business around the world.

With a key investment in stakeholder engagement, ofi was then able to deliver successful and purposeful change, with scale and impact. The result delivered growth and employee engagement. And the change was sticky because of consistent brand messaging and investment in the long term.

Investing in customer insight for business outcomes

A key theme throughout the CMO summit was the need for customer insight to fuel marketing and business deisions.

Whether it’s research or analytics, it’s imperative that in today’s fast evolving environment, brands keep their finger on the pulse. And this can be done with meaningful investment.

Clarity on the market, who your customer is and isn’t, and their attitudes, behaviours, needs and prefernces can shine the light on the jobs to be done that defend your business in tough times and also serve to increase revenue, profit and market share.

Closing remarks

Moderating at the CMO inspired summit was eye opening to say the least.

As we navigate the stormy waters to come, it’s imperative that we keep customer values front of mind.

Ensuring we seek to foster a stronger CX culture and look for ways the whole organisation can better serve the customer is still a competitive advantage.

Taking action in new brave ways to expose brands to our customers can deepen the relationship, increase acquisition and fortify retention metrics, especially when done with authenticity and trust.

Thinking people first as we attract and retain talent is the only way to be. We must demonstrate flexibility, increase opportunities for growth and also for space to think and be creative.

We must find a way to be more purposeful in our approach. Authenticity here is critical and done well, it has the potential to increase revenue, profit and shareholder value.

And most of all, we must continue to seek the most meaningful insight from our customers, in order to deliver better customer experiences and long term value.

It was a real pleasure to moderate the CMO Summit with Inspired Business Media. I look forward to working with the team again soon.

If you would like to discuss any of the themes we covered here, contact us for a friendly chat.

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