The average tenure of a new CMO, according to one study, is less than 24 months. And in a recent study, 60% of respondents thought that this failure was not due to the CMO’s failures but to the fact that the company was not as open to change as they thought. CMOs are hired to drive a change agenda, but just can’t get enough support.
My take is a bit more nuanced. Most organizations do inhibit change and thwart CMO objectives. But how, and why? I believe the power of the product and sometimes the country or functional silo units are the primary impediments. Nearly every organization is decentralized with silo units that have budget and strategy power. One rationale is that such power provides accountability and close-to-the-market decision making. To give up that power would, in the view of silo executives, make their job more complex, more difficult and less personally rewarding. Since much of the CMO agenda aims to impose some synergy and efficiency on the silo structure, there is a conflict. And again and again, the silos win.
So what is to be done? I talked to 50 CMOs as part of a study reported in my book, Spanning Silos to determine what works. My central conclusion is that the CMO, in the absence of organizational crises and a CEO committed to break down the silo power, needs to change his or her goals. The CMO teams should strive to enable and encourage cross-silo cooperation and communication instead of attempting to impose centralization and standardization on the silo units. The resulting sets of programs can be non-threatening and still create amazing positive change. …Continue reading
It wasn’t merely posturing that made this a hot issue on both sides of the political aisle in last year’s election. It’s a subject that matters to American consumers. A lot. Or at least enough that 80 percent of us, according to one study, will happily pay a premium for products we know were made here in the U. S. of A.
This isn’t a new trend. It is a re-surging one that cycles through periodically as a result of circumstances and conditions. The pro-American consumer movement last arced in the post-9/11 environment on a wave of patriotism sparked by tragedy.
More recently, the sentiment has grown in a recession-weary public that wants to feel good again about our country and do what it takes to spur on the recovery. Made in America translates into more jobs, better working conditions, better quality and craftsmanship and more wealth staying here at home. …Continue reading
image via Bloomberg Businessweek
I serve as one of the judges for The HUB Prize 2012, presented by The Hub Magazine. As such, I got a preview of the winner for excellence in the retail experience. First place went to a New Delhi flagship store for Asian Paints, the third largest paint firm in India. It took retail innovation to a new level.
The concept started with the insight, garnered in part from in-home interviews, that consumers were not comfortable with color experimentation in their homes. They found paint a confusing category and were even intimidated by the idea of choosing colors.
The solution was a retail store that provides personalized color solutions within a magical in-store experience. It begins at the store entrance, where consumers step on footstones of different colors to activate a play of light and color that involves a huge chandelier and the external façade signage. This warm-up gets the consumer into color experimentation, shows how color affects space and the displays impact of light on color. Consumers play with tactile, colored blocks and select some combinations of colors and styles to see in an on-screen virtual room, guided by a consultant. The consumer’s preferences are used to prepare a personalized magazine that shows how the selected colors look in context. All the information is recorded on a RFID card, which is then taken to a conventional paint retailer to purchase the corresponding Asian Paints color. …Continue reading
The CEO of Chick-fil-A reportedly said on a syndicated radio show, “I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’” The quote and other statements about gay marriage resulted in a firestorm of criticism including statements from several major city mayors saying that his firm and its opinions were not welcome. However, the belief that this controversy will hurt the company and its brand is, in my view, misguided.
The generally accepted hypothesis is that a brand should avoid controversy, because it will alienate a portion of its customer base. So the best course is to remain agnostic with respect to any controversial issues, at least visibly. Following this logic, the Chick-fil-A position was therefore at the intersection of a smaller brand mistake and a larger brand blunder with lasting implications.
This hypothesis is probably true for brands such as Coca-Cola or Walmart that have a broader base. But in my view it is not true for a charismatic brand that has a deep connection with a segment that is the core of its market, especially when the controversy alienates other segments and reinforces the connection to the core.
Chick-fil-A is such a brand. …Continue reading
Most mass retailers are scared of the city. Small footprints, high rent, difficult logistics, diverse consumer groups – it just doesn’t fit their business model. But as the Targets, Walmarts or even Best Buys of the world saturate the suburban landscape, the untapped market for them is the notoriously difficult urban environment. But it’s not as easy as simply finding a big enough space to plop down your store – you have to reinvent your urban business model. This is exactly what Target is doing now, and they have the brand and image to pull it off.
Brands need to re-consider, re-evaluate their customers’ experiences
When marketers map customer experience, they start by defining a beginning and an end. But consumers experience a brand in an integrated ecosystem, replete of definition. In fact, when we think of improving experience for a particular brand, we typically look at touch points that are knowingly controlled by that brand. Let’s say I’m in charge of Walmart’s experience– I’m probably looking at the parking lot, the entrance, the signage, the store layout and wayfinding, customer service, the checkout line, the bathrooms. The list goes on. Every detail is considered, from the time you enter the parking lot until you drive off. But if there is construction outside, or no traffic light at the intersection of the parking lot, it’s not Walmart’s problem. Or is it?
While our customers might become frustrated with these obstacles, we don’t link the frustration with the brand as a singular experience – but what if we did? …Continue reading
While visiting my local Walmart, I noticed this (yet-to-be-activated) touchpoint, co-branded for P&G and Walmart, with Facebook activation. Basically, the consumer will “check in” at “Freebie at Walmart” on Facebook and receive a free sample of a P&G product.
It’s an interesting way to get product samples out, track who is actually taking them, encourage people to check-in at Walmart, and continue to link Facebook to the physical world.
Of course, if information is a currency of sorts, the sample isn’t really “free”…
UK retail behemoth Marks and Spencer is renewing their efforts to encourage customers to swap out their clothing while they shop for new clothes with a new program called “Shwopping.” This is far from a new or innovative concept for a clothing retailer (see Patagonia’s Common Threads program), but M&S seems more serious this time around with broader distribution of drop-boxes and marketing support for the program. They’ve partnered with Oxfam for the items to be resold.
The building momentum for retailers to have a closed-loop product environment is encouraging as we, the consumer, burn through new products at an increasing rate. Even Walmart has jumped into the fray with an electronics recycling program to entice new product purchases as well as responsible product disposal. They’ve also built a trade-in offering to create stronger incentives for customers to get involved. It provides good karma all-around, even if there are actual business/financial incentives for these retailers.