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Marketing Leader Event 2 – Key Themes

November 18, 2019   By Susan Rylance

During our recent marketing leader peer-group gathering, we had some great discussion with a multitude of marketing leaders ranging in size of companies and industries including; financial services, tech-start (backed by Bill Gates), manufacturing, consulting and SaaS. With a range of topics, the main challenges of companies and marketers included data & personalization, creative strategies and selling strategies to the C-Suite.

Data personalization is effective, but you can’t get too creepy

A big challenge of data and personalization is creating an effective personalization that doesn’t cross the line. Very acute examples of this are in the healthcare, insurance, and financial services industries. Personalization can be very effective for servicing clients; however, it can become creepy if the customer isn’t expecting it or if the personalization is unwanted.

The leaders discussed that the use of data and personalization is most suited for customer engagement and creating a solid customer journey. The more you build trust with your customers, the more data and AI you can use to continue to help them in their journey with your brand.

As we look at the use of artificial intelligence, most leaders didn’t feel it will be your marketing savior, or at least in the short to mid-term. Artificial intelligence paired with humans to make decisions on how to best leverage the insights and capabilities is the model most should take.

Many external forces are driving senior leaders’ behaviors and decision making. A top-ic worthy of taking a deeper dive into is the fact that Google is now going to sell checking accounts. This is terrifying to financial services firms. As a result, senior leadership is demanding that their organizations become great at data & analytics.

While we continued to discuss data, we talked about the importance of collaborating with sales to provide them with the right data and information to go after the business.
As marketing leaders, it’s our job to build trust with the sales leaders so we can share data and insights that will help sales do their job more efficiently with customer insights and data. Get your early adopters to use the data, build trust and get some wins to help expand throughout the sales organization.

Creative isn’t dead, but it has changed

One great question we discussed was whether creative was dead; an overwhelming response from the group was it isn’t dead, it has just changed. Gone are the days of the Mad Men era where strategy started with creative. Today’s marketing organizations leverage data and intelligence to drive marketing spend, but creative is still the key to differentiation. Today, a creative strategy is more about purpose drive work vs who has the best creative to win awards.
For most companies other than Walmart and Budweiser, the massive campaign is dead. The middle ground of broad, but highly targeted is the sweet spot for marketing campaigns and creative.

Selling strategies and change into the C-Suite

Knowing your biggest opponent internally, whether it’s the CFO, Technology, Legal or Risk, meeting them head-on first to understand the counterpoints is critical when selling strategies and change to the C-Suite. It also helps to sell your idea to peers individually having them behind your request helps get the green light to move forward.

For the c-suite, it often comes down to increasing revenue or cost savings that matter most. Knowing what are the levers that are critical to the decision-maker is vital when shaping the proposal.

Being boring is outdated, you need to be remarkable!

This is where B2B companies have an opportunity to brand and market their company to stand out from the crowd. Our conversation started to get a little “creative”. As a manufacturer of adhesives, maybe you need to be bold and show how your adhesive product holds up by adhering a handle to an anvil over a puppy! Ok, that might be a little extreme, but you get the point. #dontcrushthepuppy.

A good example of a company that uses creative and purpose behind their brand is Yeti. They create an experience behind their brand where their customers sometimes pay 5x more for their product than the competition. Remember when we said creative isn’t dead, it’s just as crucial now that is has ever been!

Key takeaways

Although data is crucial and a driving force behind companies marketing strategies, it has to be married with the human element and creative. Creative continues to be a leading factor in business success, it’s conjoined with data driving the strategy for most organizations.

Interested in joining the next Marketing Leader Peer Group? Let us know! Reach out to to learn more.

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