Top 10 Tweetable Moments from Economist CMO Conference

May 28 2014, 7:06am CDT | by

The Economist recently held its annual conference for chief marketing officers — dubbed “The Big Rethink” — at New York’s TimeWarner Center.  I couldn’t make it, but my friend Steve O’Keefe of SixEstate did. Thanks to Steve we have his top 10 tweetable moments:

1. “40% of our marketing spend in China is digital.”
Tim Mahoney, General Motors/>

When one of the biggest consumer advertisers in the world says his company is going to spend almost half its total marketing budget on digital — in the largest market in the world — it says a lot about the future of global business and digital marketing.

2. “What matters to millennials is what their friends think is cool.”
Anindita Mukherjee, Frito-Lay North America/>

Mukherjee had some of the best lines at the conference. Concerning the controversial issue of paying Facebook for promoted posts that push content to your followers, she said, “If you do it right, the juice is worth the squeeze.” She also explained how FritoLay collaborates with Walmart to track promotions, noting that Walmart knows more about FritoLay consumers than FritoLay ever will.

3. “We are quantifying the value of the influencer.”
Deanie Elsner, Kraft Foods Group/>

Deanie Elsner, one of the new breed of brainy-friendly-female CMOs, explained how big data analysis supercharged peanut sales for Kraft by refocusing marketing on women instead of men. It also led to marketing Lunchables to adults, tripling sales of that brand in one year.

4. “Interactive fans are more important than avid fans.”
Simon Wardle, Octagon/>

“Only 1.8% of U.S. television programming is sports-related,” said Wardle, “but 40% of U.S. social networking postings are sports-related.” According to Wardle, a fan who shares is much more valuable than a fan who only watches. And what is the top content draw for sports fans online? “News, news, news.” What Wardle said applies to almost any field at any time: what your most valuable prospects are looking for is the latest news in their field.

5. “Empowered consumers are in charge now.”
Mayur Gupta, Kimberly-Clark/>

Before the conference, The Economist stoked a great deal of discussion with an article citing a Gartner stat that in 2017, CMOs will have a bigger share of the technology budget than CIOs. Gupta put the horse back in front of the cart, saying the whole organization needs to recognize that the customer is in charge now, not the CMO, the CIO, or the CEO. Neil Bedwell at Coca-Cola said much the same thing about marketing: “The days of talking about yourself are over. We’re telling fan stories now.” Michael Brenner at SAP says it’s true in B-to-B too: “Storytelling is the future of marketing — with the customer at the center of the story.”

6. “Customers expect you to know who they are and what they like.”
Tariq M. Shaukat, Caesars Entertainment/>

Almost all of Caesars’ regular customers use the entertainment giant’s rewards program. That program captures 80% of all activity by customers. That includes deep data such as what people eat and drink in restaurants and how often they use amenities, along with more basic information about customer wagering, winnings, and losses. Caesars draws the line at storing data that might upset members if known.

7. “We will tell you who your significant other will be.”
Amit Shah, 1-800-Flowers/>

Amit Shah was speaking about the future of digital marketing, but even in the present, your florist may know many important details about you and the people around you. With enough data, they really could point you to someone nearby with shared interests.

8. “Consumers are more concerned about the erosion of personal privacy than they are about climate change.”
Laura Simpson, McCann Truth Central/>/>/>

Simpson stressed the need to compensate consumers for sharing their data. As an example, she said the men and women who spend up to two hours each day uploading data about themselves and their babies to the WebMD Pregnancy App believe they are raising better babies as a result. Consumers are willing to tolerate privacy invasions if it results in better lives.

9. “A human PLUS a computer beats a human OR a computer every time.”
David Rogers, BRITE Columbia Business School/>

BRITE Columbia Business School Executive Director David Rogers made the marketers in attendance feel a little better after a day hearing how big data analysis is rendering us obsolete. Among other insights, he saw a “hollowing out” in marketing coinciding with the decline of the middle class: “Advertising production values are either very high or very low.”

10. “It’s not about being perfect — it’s about being the best at being better.”
Peter McGuinness, Chobani/>

The last word here goes to Peter McGuinness, rock-star marketing head of yogurt dynamo Chobani. While McGuinness came across as an old-fashioned CMO (smart, male, intimidating), he explained how Chobani’s “How Matters” slogan applies to marketing. It really does matter how you handle your marketing, and the goal really should be continuous improvement — the best at getting better.

How many of these top 10 truths do you apply in your marketing?

Christine Comaford (@comaford) is a former serial entrepreneur, White House advisor and neuroscience-based executive coach that helps leaders build cultures of trust and high performance.

 
 
 

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