Power Players 2017: Verizon's Diego Scotti on Diversifying Marketing

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Diego Scotti.
Diego Scotti. Credit: Rob Kim/WireImage

Diego Scotti oversees global marketing for the $126 billion Verizon brand, including consumer insights, digital marketing, creative development and agency management, while also spearheading an initiative to transform the company from a legacy telecom into a leading tech platform—one that rivals Google, Facebook and Amazon.

Yet he may be best known for his relentless focus on diversifying the ranks of the marketing industry.

The company's in-house agency, dubbed "140" after its street address, across from New York's One World Trade Center, employs a staff of more than 100. Half of its members are people of color and 52 percent are women.

"Verizon has been working on diversity for a long time and for us it is critical," he says. "We were one of the first companies that tasked our agencies to increase diversity and it is now a staple in the way we do business."

Last year, the Argentine native penned a letter that called on Verizon's 11 outside agency partners to increase the percentage of women and people of color in leadership roles at their own businesses. In August, the company launched a program called AdFellows, which takes 20 young graduates and rotates them over the course of nine months to work at its creative, media, digital and PR agencies, as well as with Verizon itself. The endgame is to hire 90 percent of them full-time at either Verizon or one of its agency partners.

To enable its transformation into an end-to-end tech player, Scotti hired Scott Zimmer as Verizon's first chief customer experience officer, tasked with driving connectivity and unifying the customer experience. Zimmer, a former Capital One executive, is in charge of developing a cohesive experience for Verizon in retail and digital.

"Scott Zimmer is the yin and Andrew McKechnie [chief creative officer of 140 and a former Apple marketer] is the yang," Scotti says. "I say that in the sense of, 'How do I take the right experience for Verizon in retail and digital and bring those pieces together with the right messaging and aesthetics?' "

Scotti believes that his approach is already playing out in Verizon's favor with its rewards program, which includes incentives like four months of free Apple Music, 20 percent off round-trip flights through JetBlue or a three-month subscription to HBO Now. Customers can also snag exclusive tickets to sports and music events.

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