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.
The CMO of a thriving and constantly growing business unit at a Fortune 150 company has an impressive amount of departments to juggle and expectations to meet. Now imagine a typical day for Stephanie Anderson, Senior Vice President and CMO at Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC) and owner of one of the busiest calendars in business (proud disclosure: TWCBC is a client of Renegade).
Stephanie balances her tremendously busy schedule with a simple, but highly effective, strategy called "1/3, 1/3, 1/3", which she wisely adopted from her boss Phil Meeks, EVP and COO of TWC's Business Services. Definition: Stephanie spends a third of her time with her peers, making sure they understand the strategy and results of current marketing initiatives; a third of her time with her direct reports, sorting out priorities, handling budgets and evaluating effectiveness; and the final third is reserved for interacting with customers, vendors and everyone else who has a hand in keeping a ubiquitous brand relevant and successful. This three-part strategy is not only effective for managing a profound level of responsibility; it also offers unique advantages to each group.
C-Suite: Collaboration, Not Competition
To keep an enterprise-level business running smoothly, Anderson advocates for collaboration, with a light touch. Notes Stephanie, "I think when you are in any leadership role you need to spend the right proportion of time with key stakeholders and constituents to get the job done in a collaborative way, without being too far into the details or overshadowing your people."
With her peers, Stephanie uses lessons from her department's individual segments to highlight overall trends. Then, she leverages these trends to prove marketing efficacy to the rest of the C-suite. "The depth of knowledge you can glean from online activity to inform offline is sophisticated, and extremely useful," Anderson says. "I drive us hard to invest only in relevant, revenue impacting marketing initiatives." This ensures a greater, and more impactful, business return on our efforts.
Marketing: Managing? Customer Relationships
When it comes to managing her direct reports, Stephanie's collaborative but segmented approach comes into full view. According to Anderson, the reason this approach has been so successful is due to its mix of accountability and autonomy. "We all own the interactions we have with others," says Anderson, "But my team has the ultimate responsibility to make sure we capture and harness the best experience possible and deploy that across our business."
This means that every leader under her watch can use his or? her own tactics to reach differently sized businesses, which helps TWCBC avoid being hamstrung by a one-size-fits-all solution. "It's easy when you are dealing with a national customer to be responsive, available, etc., but in the mass world of transactional, very small and small, it becomes harder-and pretty soon your relationship is boiled down to email and a monthly bill."
To keep that from happening, Anderson and her team employ a stratified approach, crafting unique solutions for each size. "Our leaders run the marketing end-to-end for their segment, including offers, competitive, life cycle strategy. I also have two functional teams that are shared resources - one is mass and digital, and the other is customer experience and knowledge for all of the database, research/retention, etc."
Customers: Proving and Planning
The most unconventional part of this "1/3, 1/3, 1/3" plan is the final third, which is dedicated to customers, suppliers, vendors and other groups that often times fall through the cracks. Having somebody as prominent as the CMO regularly check in with customers means Anderson can identify potential issues before they emerge. "I recently implemented what I call an "outside in" structure that takes the customers and competitors in the segments we serve into consideration" says Anderson. "We need to be able to tell our stories quickly and with the prospect or customer in mind."
This final third pays off most when it comes to building positive relationships with customers, which is crucial for long-term audience retention. "We are building a value-added benefits program for small business and try to send them information that can help their business grow and/or stay healthy," Anderson says. "Our job is to collect, support and keep customers who are healthy and vibrant, so they can continue to offer important products and services to so many of us across the country."