In partnership with The CMO Club, The CMO of the Week series profiles CMOs who are shaping, changing and challenging the world of modern marketing. For Drew Neisser's complete interview with CMO Award Winner Evan Greene, click here.
As you're reading this article, Evan Greene is enjoying what he might call the post-season. Or more likely, he's already plotting his company's next awards season push. As the CMO of the GRAMMYs, Greene is tasked with the tall order of serving up year after year of high quality campaigns for one of the most-watched annual telecasts in America. He's also expected to help the GRAMMYs reach an even wider audience every year. No pressure.
When Greene and I spoke at the CMO Club Awards in October, where he won a well-deserved Marketing Innovation Award, the 2015 GRAMMYs telecast was still a glimmer on the horizon but buzz was definitely brewing about the upcoming show, and I'll let the following paragraphs demonstrate what Greene and his team do to drive that kind of enthusiasm each year. Hint: it requires a good ear.
Selling Out Stadiums
To many, the GRAMMY awards show is somewhat like the Super Bowl: one of those huge, can't-miss viewing events, a staple of American culture, and most of all, something that inevitably rolls around at a certain time every year. A household brand, if ever there were one. So spreading awareness of the GRAMMYs seems a little unnecessary, but that's exactly what Greene and his team have to do. The ultimate goal, of course, is expanding the actual audience that tunes in to the awards each February. How Greene and his team intend to build on their past viewership is by leveraging "Better, more engaging content, better use of analytics," he says. Or as serial award-winners Daft Punk might put it, being harder, better, faster, stronger
Singing Songs and Telling Stories
Far from a stale task, connecting to more consumers is an ever-evolving process. In recent years, Greene says, the GRAMMYs have turned to storytelling to capture the hearts and minds of viewers. "We have endeavored," he says, "rather than simply placing a bunch of music artists on a spread or in a TV spot, with the message to 'Watch the GRAMMYs,' to weave a compelling narrative that connects with the music fan in an emotional, visceral way."
Greene is proud of the work that his agency, Chiat Day, has done inserting the GRAMMYs into a meaningful place in popular culture. When it comes time to kick start marketing for the 2016 awards season, Greene says that the marketing team "will again approach it from a dynamic storytelling standpoint that will set our communication apart from anyone else in our category."
Tuning Into the Audience
And how does Greene know that their efforts are working? By taking a cue from the GRAMMYs' own consumers. Listening to the music that its audience created (the music of marketing of course being data) allows Greene and his team to both measure past performance and fine-tune their ongoing campaigns. Take, for example, the 2014 telecast: "When you look at the ultimate result of our year-round efforts, which is our metrics around the GRAMMY telecast, we over-delivered on every possible measurement - ratings (2nd highest in 20+ years), social engagement (34MM+ comments on GRAMMY Sunday), sentiment (99% positive), revenue (consistently up year-over-year), it is our overall success that comes from carefully planned strategic efforts that I am most proud of."
Is it possible for the rest of us to achieve these impressive numbers? Greene asserts that brands would do well to pay close attention to the information at their disposal. "I don't think there is any one tool. I think our strategy has gotten smarter...and we are finding better, more effective ways to use data than before," Greene says. "I believe the ultimate winners and losers will be determined by who is best able to identify, understand and harness the data available to us as marketers."
If data isn't exactly your strong suit, Greene offers another piece of advice to fellow CMOs. While the GRAMMYs is a big brand, he says, it isn't "that different from other brands in that ultimately it comes down to trust. Authenticity is the cornerstone of trust, so you must respect your audience, and be as authentic as possible in everything you do." Music to our ears.
Editor's note (4/23/2015, 12:15PM EST): An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mr. Greene had left his job at the GRAMMY's. We regret the error.
CMO of the Week is an exclusive Social Media Today column published every Thursday.