One thing is certain: Scotti’s exit signals big changes coming for the telecommunications giant as it deals with market share losses and pressure to spend marketing dollars more efficiently, according to multiple people familiar with the company.
Some argue that Verizon’s next CMO will need to be far more data-driven, a departure from Scotti, who is best known for big brand campaigns such as overseeing star-studded Super Bowl commercials from 2018 to 2022.
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It’s unclear if and when Scotti’s successor will be named. One person close to Verizon said the company is considering taking different approaches, including implementing a new structure that would embed marketing into different business units, and not appointing a new CMO at all. Chief Strategy Officer Rima Qureshi has taken on an interim leadership role over Verizon’s marketing organization in the meantime.
“Verizon is awash with data and needs to leverage it in a more effective way to better measure outcomes,” said Greg Paull, co-founder and principal of consultancy R3. “Diego arrived at the right time with the right mindset, but the industry has changed dramatically in eight years. The new leader needs to have analytics at their heart.”
The wireless service market is becoming increasingly saturated with competition ramping up from new players including Meta and Google, which have introduced rival services that let consumers make calls through home internet services, according to market researcher IBISWorld’s “Wireless Telecommunications Carriers in the U.S.” March report.
According to the report, in 2022, Verizon Wireless held the No.1 spot in market share, at 21.9%, among its competitors, including Deutsche Telekom and AT&T. But it still shed about 1.4% annually in market share from 2018 to 2022 as wireless carrier rivals such as T-Mobile and AT&T ate away at its customer base.
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In its most recent first quarter, Verizon reported losing 127,000 wireless phone subscribers. As part of its plan to win back subscribers, the company recently announced it would cut the costs and number of its wireless plans from six to two to make its offers less confusing for consumers.
Verizon CEO-Chairman Hans Vestberg implemented a new cost-cutting initiative last year that is expected to save the company $2 billion to $3 billion annually by 2025.
One former executive at Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned R/GA, which is a Verizon roster agency, suggested the company would be better off investing more in promoting its Verizon Fios cable business than wireless, “since it lost so much ground on the cellular network side.”
The former R/GA executive said Verizon also doesn’t need the type of flashy advertisements for which Scotti advocated. This person argued Verizon needs to focus on traditional sales tactics, such as making co-op deals with city apartments that would give every tenant in one building access to Verizon’s cable packages for a lower cost.
“That’s traditional marketing,” the former R/GA executive said. “Someone needs to be working on old-school marketing. Get back to basics is what they need to do to compete. I’ve lived in three New York apartments and they all did that with [Charter Communications’] Spectrum.”
Scotti did not return requests for comment for this story.
“We aren't going to comment on industry speculation,” a Verizon spokesperson said in a statement. “As our CEO Hans Vestberg stated in his announcement of Diego's departure, we have benefited from having Diego as our CMO during a time of critical importance for our company. His impact on our brand and our business has been immense, and we are grateful for his energy, partnership, and leadership.”