Last week I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Ad Age CMO Strategy Summit in San Francisco.  It was great to spend the afternoon with hundreds of fellow marketers who were taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss how brands are innovatively delivering new, fresh ideas to their customers.

There were truly inspiring presentations by amazing brands such as Target, GoPro and Coca-Cola discussing how the marketing landscape is changing due to all the data we are can access and collect. Here are some of my reflections on the powerful marketing programs being deployed by some of my fellow CMO’s:

CMO Blair Christie

B2ME (Business to Me) Marketing is in, B2B or B2C Marketing is Out:

With the explosion of data, new target audiences, new media vehicles and new selling channels, understanding the individual behind who you are marketing to is extremely important. As Kraft Foods’ CMO Deanie Elsner pointed out in her presentation, there is a new era of “agile marketing” or marketing in a digital age, where we are moving from broad buying media to buying individuals – agnostic of medium – driven by fragmented media consumption on multiple devices. With all the rich, customer data available, brands need to provide the right message in the right medium at the right moment to stay relevant with customers to drive purchase decisions.

The Innovation Pipeline is Key to Growth and Differentiation with Brands

Target’s “Made to Matter” campaign is doing this well by cultivating a partnership of shared values. Target CMO Jeff Jones spoke on a panel with Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics and Eric Ryan of Method on how Target works with various leading organic, sustainable and natural brands like Plum Organics and Method, giving them a platform to launch their products and make them more accessible to the general public. In return, Target has been able to secure a pipeline of unique innovation to offer its customers. As a mom of three children and a frequent Target shopper, I personally love this campaign!

Content is Always King

Content is king not only for your customers that you engage with, but also for your sales team. GoPro’s VP of Marketing Paul Crandell showcased how their 2 ½ years of user-generated videos on YouTube have become a platform for the company’s brand marketing initiatives, spreading awareness and inspiring others.  To see this idea in action, check out the entertaining surfing pig.

The Holy Grail: Connecting Marketing with Sales

I had the privilege of sharing Cisco’s story of brand and marketing transformation. I was able to showcase how our brand work, sales enablement platform and revenue marketing efforts are not just changing how we market, but driving changes to our sales pipeline and our bottom line. Our team is amazing, and I was so proud to share our vision and our results! You can check out my presentation from the conference below:

One thing I was reminded of is that it is such an exciting time to be in marketing.  I truly believe that we marketers are a lucky bunch; we get to leverage new technologies to drive innovative programs that are helping transform our businesses. Not a bad way to spend your day, right?


Blair Christie

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer