BtoBonline.com, the companion Web site to BtoB, last month launched CMO Close-Up, an e-newsletter featuring Q&As with top marketing executives, as well as responses to “The Big Question” posed by BtoB editors. ¶ Going forward, CMO Close-Up will appear every other Wednesday, starting this week. ¶ Below are highlights from CMO Close-Up interviews that have already been published. To access the full interviews and sign up to receive the biweekly e-newsletter, go to www.btobonline.com/cmo.
Phil Clement, AON's chief global marketing and communications officer, and his team have embarked on a broad-based, high-profile marketing communications effort, which, starting next year, will include a sponsorship of the Manchester United soccer team.
BtoB: Tell us how the Manchester United sponsorship fits into your marketing and branding approach?
Clement: For the Manchester United deal, the brand piece is additive; it's outside the business case. It's a fantastic spinoff benefit. Right now, we're doing sponsorships all over the world, but they're not working in a coordinated way. There's not a common set of messages in those sponsorships. But if we can focus all of that sponsorship effort on a single sponsorship that people are familiar with globally—as they would be with football, or soccer as we say over here—we can get a higher yield out of how we talk about the sponsorship across the country, and that's an important part of the value of the partnership. It brings our firm together. We spend a good amount of money every year just communicating with our 36,000 walking billboards. If I'm trying to let them know about what's going on in China, Alaska and Indiana, that's a lot for people to digest. If you can find one common sponsorship that communicates teamwork and commitment to excellence, like those values that Manchester United has, and you can get across that those are also the values you have in your firm, then you get more value out of that spending.
As chief marketing and communications officer at Pitney Bowes, Juanita James has led the company's marketing program through a major transformation as it positions itself as a provider of broad business solutions.
BtoB: How has the economy impacted your marketing this year?
James: We have, as a result of the current economic environment, become very focused and very selective in terms of our marketing efforts this year. We have shifted dramatically from major mass media advertising and been much more selective in very targeted markets, very targeted publications and major events where we know there is an audience for our products and services.
BtoB: Can you give some examples?
James: There are a couple of trade shows we participate in that are primary audiences for our products and solutions, whether it's software solutions or some of our equipment. We tend to then advertise in trade publications directed to either the chief operating officer or the chief technology officer audience, use that targeted media specifically around the time of the major shows then drive traffic to our Web site for much more in-depth information about our products and solutions.
Nigel Dessau, who has served as senior VP-CMO at chip-maker AMD for just over a year, has more than 20 years of technology marketing experience, previously serving in executive marketing posts at Sun Microsystems and IBM Corp.
BtoB: How is the economy impacting your marketing budget this year?
Dessau: As with many other businesses, the state of today's economy has forced us to take a hard look at our investments and closely manage the programs we choose to advance. This has meant having to do more with less, and with a closer eye on efficiency in all we do. However, this has also given us the opportunity to re-evaluate the status quo.
BtoB: How are you finding ways to do more with less?
Dessau: AMD is in a unique position because we're faced with directly taking on our competitor [Intel], yet we have a much smaller budget and fewer resources. This pushes us to rely more on high-ROI activities and less on expensive initiatives such as traditional TV or print advertising. Using free and universally available social media tools leverages my team's existing core competencies and helps amplify the impact of our other traditional marketing programs.
Susan Popper, senior VP-marketing communications at software company SAP, is a 20-year advertising veteran. She previously helped build brands such as Merrill Lynch, Northwest Airlines and Pitney Bowes while working at such global ad agencies as J. Walter Thompson USA, Bozell and Saatchi & Saatchi.
BtoB: What are you experimenting with?
Popper: We're experimenting a lot with social media. Almost every marketing program has some element of social media, whether it be participation in the communities we already have or whether it's piloting a site on Facebook—and engaging thought leaders to come and engage on the site—and trying to grow a community from Facebook or Twitter. We are working on extensions of our conferences, using Twitter to create enthusiasm and post some of the content and drive users back to the community where the content is.
BtoB: How are you working with your media partners on developing new programs?
Popper: Media companies are coming up with very innovative ideas to bring to customers like us on how we can reach our target better, that combine their assets and their community and our advertising. For example, we did something with The Economist where they came up with a barometer on how corporate executives feel the economic recovery is going to happen. We had thousands of responses, and it just brings something of interest and something of relevance to our target audience. The findings were on a sponsored area of their site, and a very high percentage stayed on our landing site to watch videos and download content, showing that the thought leadership environment provided a targeted, engaged audience. M