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Looking Back, Looking Ahead - CMOs Weigh In
Posted on December 17th 2012
This is such a great time of the year isn't it? I mean with all the parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting and caroling out in the snow. This time of the year is also time for fearless forecasts, the ones where everyone dares to boldly go where no man, or woman has gone before.
Or something like that.
What I am referring to of course is it's the time of year when people make predictions for the coming year about this and that. And while I wanted to pen such a piece myself, I wanted to put a little different spin on it - I am a big fan of spinning, as it were.
So I decided to reach out to a group of CMOs and other high-level folks across a wide array of industries to, yes, get their thoughts on 2013 - but to also get their take on the year that's coming to a close.
My esteemed panel consisted of the following: (in alphabetical order of last name, in case you curious)
- Julia Carcamo, Vice President of Brand Marketing, Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. (JC)
- Christa Carone, CMO, Xerox (CC)
- Steve Fuller, CMO, L.L. Bean (SF)
- Scott Olrich, CMO, Responsys (SO) (full disclosure - my employer)
- Denny Post, CMO, Red Robin (DP)
- Randall Rozin, Global Director, Brand Management and Marketing Communications, Dow Corning (RR) (Randall wins the award for longest title)
- Will Seccombe, President & CEO, VISIT FLORIDA® (WS)
So quite the eclectic mix for sure which is good as I wanted a diverse group to speak to and cull and glean info from as they look back on 2012 and ahead to 2013.
Ok without further adieu here's some of their thoughts looking back on the year 2012:
Was there anything in 2012 that going into the year you thought was going to happen but did not?
- (RR) "I thought the number of high quality leads generated from Social Media platforms would be much higher."
- (CC) "Stronger economic improvement in the United States and a leveling off economic declines in Europe. I’m an optimist; now I’m more of a 'cautious optimist.'”
- (SO) "I thought this would be the year people would stop over investing in search marketing."
Conversely did anything happen that you did not see coming?
- (JC) "I didn’t see our customer base using so much more social media and accessing our content through mobile devices."
- (CC) "From a social marketing perspective, I did not expect LinkedIn to transition so quickly from a resume-posting social community to one that has increasing relevance for B2B relationship building through relevant content sharing."
- (RR) "The popularity of social media curation via sites like Pinterest and the resurgence in direct mail."
In 2012 mobile marketing was very much on many marketers minds yet so many still found it hard to put into practical application. Did you use mobile marketing as part of your overall strategy?
- (JC) "We kind of stumbled onto it in 2012, but now that we have a better handle on the tools and on the needs/desires of our customers, I think there will be a much clearer path in 2013."
- (RR) "I ‘d say we’ve dipped our toes into the shallow end of the pool this year."
- (CC) "Our initial focus is optimizing our content for all screens and taking deeper data dives to understand how, where, when and why business decision-makers access our information and engage with us to inform their purchasing."
- (SF) "We’ve seen mobile (pads and phones in this definition) explode. And it’s amazing to think that the bulk of the traffic is being driven by a device that wasn’t even invented until early 2010."
Misc 2012 thoughts...
- (SF) "2012 was a little different for us because it was our 100th Anniversary. Lots of new marketing activities and good lessons, but a few really stick out. While customers are especially 'careful' in their shopping since the recession, it's amazing how much they enjoy 'new and unique.'"
- (WS) "We undertook a massive transformation in 2012 to position the organization to best create and add value for industry partners and travelers worldwide."
- (SO) "Social media continued to be a great engagement platform but not necessarily a revenue platform."
And the winner for the Smart Aleck Award goes to Randal Rozin for his response when asked if if there was anything he would've done differently if given the chance? "I had a horse come in 25 to 1. Problem was the others came in at 12:30. I’d like to have that one back."
Looking Ahead To 2013
If not already, will mobile marketing play a role in your overall marketing strategy?
- (RR) "Definitely. For me print is fast becoming like Jan Brady from the Brady Bunch, but instead Print is saying 'Mobile, Mobile, Mobile'. Mobile will be more important than ever in 2013 in users’ consumption of information, including video, but will also be important as an outreach platform from search to display."
- (DP) "We currently employ two mobile apps - one for our very popular loyalty program and the other to guide guest menu choices known as the 'Customizer.' We will be expanding access to both applications next year and exploring other forms of mobile marketing to connect with our guests at just the right times to keep Red Robin top of mind."
What impact, if any, will the reelection of President Obama have on your overall marketing/advertising strategy going into 2013?
- (CC) "None."
- (SO) "Not much."
- (RR) "Post election there is definitely more media inventory available. Also interesting to note there will be neither an Olympic event, nor any FIFA World Cup in 2013. There is an opportunity for other creative brand activation and sponsorships."
- (SF) "Not really. We share everyone’s concern for the 'fiscal cliff' and the impact on consumer confidence, but nothing relating specifically to Obama’s reelection."
And finally what you've all been waiting for:
What are the three biggest trends or predictions you see for 2013?
- Multi-platform marketing - as I sit here watching on-demand TV with my iPad in my lap and my Blackberry at my side, I am know damn well I am one of many surfing, viewing and emailing all at once. Which marketers will be first to reach me in all three with relevant, connected messages?
- Economic recovery gains momentum - I am an eternal optimist. We're due.
- Fast retailing gets faster. The pace of innovation and imitation is dizzying and only getting faster. It has become harder and harder to hold a competitive advantage. Success beings to those who are ready to move fast and move on faster.
- Data + Creative Content + Relevance: The role of B2B marketing shifts from sales enablement strategies and tools to communication-based, data-driven stakeholder engagement.
- The priority becomes less about promotion and more about creating, curating and sharing relevant content to connect with decision makers in ways that give them more confidence in our brand and more reasons to be advocates of our technology and services.
- Content really does become king -- in subtle, creative, engaging and really relevant ways.
- Content marketing is the new black of B2B marketing campaigns. Goes with everything.
- Greater balance between mass customer marketing and account-based marketing. Investing in those accounts that spend more.
- More B2B marketers will adopt marketing automation as a core competency, especially lead scoring and nurturing.
Additional trends Randall sees are:
- Social CRM will move from ‘hype to heaven-sent’ for integration.
- Social media marketing will move from experimental to accountable. B2B winners will emerge and others will be culled more quickly.
- Knowledge management, corporate security, HR and legal will be forced to embrace social media within their firewalls and employees seek to connect at work.
- Further fragmentation of media – Media will continue to become even more fragmented, meaning it will be more and more difficult to reach your target audience in mass. This means content management and distribution will be even more important to effectively reach your target audience and growing your business.
- We will see the beginning of what I refer to as “the relationship era” whereby marketers will move away from an acquisition first mentality to a relationship first one. Marketers will focus more on the entire consumer experience to build and foster a long term relationship with a consumer as opposed to just that initial purchase phase.
- We will see a transition from big data to the right data. Marketers will realize that there’s plenty of data to go around but it’s finding the right data that will have the biggest impact on their ultimate program success.
- Digital overtakes physical. Digital marketers and ecommerce marketers, etc. will begin to influence and drive more revenue than their bricks and mortar counterparts.
Misc 2013 thoughts...
- (WS) "We will continue to increase investment in content and in international marketing and multicultural marketing."
- (SF) "We are worrying about the Postal Service. The role of the catalog has changed dramatically over the last decade, but it remains a valuable advertising vehicle. The Postal Service’s continuing financial issues and possible impact on deliverability, etc. are a concern. And while I can’t say that I like the term “big data,” there are a number of intriguing services popping up in that space that facilitate advertising, better omni-channel service, etc."
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred, Steve Olenski is a senior content strategist at Responsys, a leading global provider of on-demand email and cross-channel marketing solutions.