New CMO adds 'science' to DuPont's marketing formula

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Last month, DuPont named Scott Coleman VP-chief marketing and sales officer, succeeding Cynthia Green, who retired from the position in January after a 31-year career at DuPont. Coleman joined DuPont from energy company Dresser Inc., where he served as senior VP-marketing. In the following interview with BtoB, Coleman discusses his marketing vision for DuPont and how he plans to execute it. BtoB: What are your goals as chief marketing and sales officer at DuPont? Coleman: One of the bigger ones is helping to transform the image of DuPont from what I think has been that, in recent history, of predominantly a chemical company to what it is today, which is a science company. Any time you have a company that's been around for 200-plus years, it has had to adapt and change over time. We are at that adaptive, critical changing point for DuPont. In recent history, I think most people still believe it's a chemical company. If you go back just a few years ago, the vast majority of the company—80% to 90%—was a chemical company, and today less than one-third of the company is a chemical company. It has changed to a science company—everything from seeds to photovoltaic [solar power] to renewable materials. It truly is a science-based company in a lot of different areas today. BtoB: How will you execute that? Coleman: One of the things is we will be launching a 360-degree communications theme, and the theme is around a science company, being an inclusive innovator and being a global “collaboratory.” There is a multitude of different types of media we will be doing that with. We have a major media partner, and we'll be coming out with that announcement in the next 30 to 60 days. And there will be a bunch of different social and other types of media, which is one aspect of that. We'll be launching an internal campaign and an external campaign. The external campaign is a significant investment for DuPont. It is probably a three-to-five-times spending increase compared to what we have done in recent history. BtoB: Can you talk about the external campaign? Coleman: It's a little early to talk about it. We have a major media company we've aligned with. The campaign is global in nature, and there will be social elements to it. It will not be so much of an advertising campaign where I'm doing a major media buy across the world, but there will be different types of media associated with it. We're spending a lot of the money on different social aspects as well as some online efforts. BtoB: Is Ogilvy still your ad agency? Coleman: Yes. There are partners. For the television spot—there's a major media property we'll be working with—that we worked with Ogilvy to form a partnership with. We can't share any more details for another 30 to 60 days. BtoB: How will you use social media? Coleman: The campaign will be based around this concept of us being a global collaboratory and taking our science and getting it with the right industries, the right markets and the right thought leaders to solve some of the world's most difficult problems, such as feeding the world, alternative energy, and safety and protection. One aspect of it is we are in the process of putting together some global collaboratories around the world so customers on different continents can communicate in real time with our scientists from around the world. So you could have eight different sites all coming together in a rich-media experience so that it feels like they are all in the same room, working on the same issues. We are starting to build that infrastructure out now, and it will probably take the course of two years to get it in as many spots in the world as we want. BtoB: Where else are you investing marketing dollars? Coleman: If you look at the e-infrastructure of DuPont, there is a significant investment in a multiyear program that we're working on to really leverage and take advantage of the various social media-type markets. One chunk of the spend is on much richer, deeper content and being able to have platforms so, as we go out into the social world, we don't have to replicate the same content in multiple places—so we can replicate content one time and then use it on everything from a mobile platform to video vignettes across the space. Social media in and of itself doesn't cost a lot of money; but, to give someone a rich experience with a deeper understanding, we think it's important to invest in that infrastructure and platform capability. BtoB: Will you be ramping up your people resources as well? Coleman: In our global marketing and sales organization we have about 400 [corporate marketing and sales] people today, so there is not a significant incremental need for people. But certainly from a productivity and tools standpoint, some of the things we're putting in place will allow them to be much more productive, so we'll be able to get a lot more good content out and other things without adding a lot to head count. Now with that said, more than 60% of our business is international today, and more than 50% of our people are in the U.S. So one of the things we'll be looking to do is add marketing and sales talent that is more internationally based. We have over 600 websites around the world, and we do business in hundreds of countries. We want to be able to take this content we're developing and make it local. So we're really going to endeavor where we can to have the ability to do things in local languages—not only in written content, but in videos and other ways.
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