Today’s CMO: Part Artist, Part Scientist

By: Drew Neisser, Founder & CEO of Renegade

My new book, The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing, features interviews with sixty-four masters of their craft, including some who lean heavily to the science side and others who employ an artist’s intuitive touch.  In this short post, I’ll introduce you to two “scientists” who have harnessed the power of data to drive sales and minimize the unpredictability of their efforts and two “artists” who rely on their intuition and place big marketing bets that the data doesn’t necessarily direct.

“The last three years of my career have seen an amazing transformation from what it means to be a marketer.” Tim McDermott

As the current CMO of the Philadelphia 76ers and the former CMO of the Philadelphia Eagles, Tim McDermott knows a thing or two about marketing sports teams, especially ones that haven’t always performed well on the court or field. Seeking to build multi-dimensional fan relationships, Tim has made data a major part of his marketing strategy.  As he puts it, “We’re heavily invested in infrastructure, software and human capital in order to re-engineer what we’re doing on the data science side.” While this is very much a work in progress, Tim acknowledges they can now take a far more sophisticated, data-driven approach.

“At Visa the ultimate measure of success for our marketing is ROI—our ability to drive the business.” Antonio Lucio

When I first interviewed Antonio Lucio, he was deep into his tenure as CMO at Visa, where he prescribed a three-tiered measurement approach. Lucio’s short-term metrics included reach and impact with recall being a proxy for reach and “usage lift” the gauge for impact. Lucio’s third tier was long-term impact, which he defined “as lift in our brand equity and our ability to influence consumer behavior longer-term.”  And while all of the above are critical effectiveness measures for just about any brand, Lucio never stropped looking for others, noting, “Our key performance metrics evolve to address changing dynamics in the industry.

“Creativity and innovation aren’t just about another page in a magazine or another billboard with clever imagery or copy.” – Lee Applbaum

When Lee Applbaum became CMO of the iconic beverage brand Patrón Spirits, he took an admittedly conservative “stewardship” approach to his new duties. Not wanting to screw up a good thing with the master brand, Lee directed his team toward new products and “reimagining the conversation in our category.”  The launch of line extension Roca Patrón presented just such an opportunity to disrupt via events, social, digital and mobile.  His “Roca on the Rails” campaign featured a fully-restored, opulent 1927 railcar offering bespoke dinners and tastings with celebrated chefs.  This unique experience started a wave of PR coverage and social buzz that helped to exceed sales goals by 50%.

“Creativity is driven by staying authentic to your brand and your mission.” – Loren Angelo

CMO Loren Angelo is not shy about sharing the success Audi of America has enjoyed on the sales front, pointing to 45 consecutive monthly sales records and elevating brand opinion and consideration by over 30 percent since 2006.  This growth is the result of bringing “smart, entertaining creative to market” like using Snapchat during the Super Bowl to launch the A3, which it continued via a partnership with “Pretty Little Liars.” Loren is not afraid to experiment with new channels, even if the ROI is not readily measurable, noting that, “Creativity comes in the message as well as the medium in which it’s delivered.” To drive the point home, Loren concludes, “Building the brand with time-starved, affluent Americans requires us to bring unique ideas to a variety of channels.”

“If only marketing were a science.” – Drew Neisser

Having interviewed over 150 senior marketers in the last 5 years, I have come to appreciate the fact that marketing is not a “one size fits all” profession.  Each CMO faces a unique set of challenges and must blend the right mix of elements to achieve the desired results. Some of these elements are quite scientific ranging from Befriending Data to Marketing Automation, CRM to Email Efficacy.  Others like Storytelling, Pure Creativity, Going Viral and Social Purpose require more of an artistic touch. All of these “elements” are covered in The CMO’s Periodic Table along with 56 more, not the least of which is Setting Expectations, the lead chapter featuring my interview with Jeffrey Hayzlett who requires no introduction on this site. And with that, here’s to hoping you pull together all the right elements for your marketing challenge in 2016!

Founder and CEO of Renegade, the NYC-based marketing agency that helps CMO’s find innovative ways to cut through, Drew is a recognized authority on cutting-edge marketing techniques, having won numerous awards for creativity and campaign effectiveness. Ranked among Brand Quarterly’s “50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50,” he is an “expert blogger” for Forbes, CMO.com and TheCMOclub among others, pens the weekly CMO Spotlight column for AdAge and is the author of TheCut, a well-respected monthly newsletter.