Last week, our Transformational CMO & Retail Virtual Assembly brought together C-Suite leaders to discuss the prevailing trends and challenges marketers & retailers are facing today. Participants discussed customer engagement, cause marketing, digital-first strategies, leading martech solutions, and more. Check out our event highlights below to get the full scoop!
Day one kicked off with a welcome workshop featuring Santhi Ramesh on leveraging social media to fuel growth and customer engagement. Ramesh broke down social media strategies at each stage of the customer journey:
- Discovery: At this stage, uncovering your customers’ rituals is crucial. She suggests deploying a social listening plan for insight-driven social content – in Hershey’s case, these rituals pertained to the “eating experience”.
- Awareness: For Hershey’s awareness initiatives, Ramesh and her team developed a User Generated Content platform for recipe sharing across all markets. Not only did this boost awareness, but it uncovered insights on customer’s untraditional food interests and combinations.
- Engagement: Creating a dialogue is vital for boosting engagement on social media. Ramesh shares that inviting customers to debate is a powerful way to connect with consumers in a meaningful way.
- Conversion: By using holistic full-funnel activation and Amazon advertising, her team was able to reach and convert customers.
- Retention: Creating a community for brand loyalists, Hershey’s was able to increase sales with their existing customer base. Ramesh adds that her team bounced off new product ideas with this segmented group to better understand what consumers’ evolving needs and desires were.
Santhi closed out the session with a final piece of advice: search for new ways to leverage social media at every stage of the consumer journey. And at each stage, you’re given the opportunity to gain insights to better understand and reach your customers.
“Content remains constant,” says Harshavardhan Chauhan of Spencer’s Retail. With 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing, the importance of community building and influencer marketing is only growing as time goes on. In this interactive discussion, our C-Suite attendees share their struggles with community building – Chauhan says that if you’re regularly sharing content, it becomes more likely to become “discoverable” for consumers through various platforms. He adds that it is crucial to find tools that assist with meta-data and meta-tagging. Chauhan concluded with a point on how community-led content has become a hot trend this year, and noted that it can be a powerful strategy for engagement.
A Brand That Makes a Difference: Amy Wigler of PBS speaks on how it has become essential for brands to adopt a unique storytelling approach. She adds that it is important to strategize engagement-driven content, and the old saying rings true here: “promotion is demotion – the more you shout about something, the more consumers are turned away.” With engagement being the name of the game, her team has taken on these practices:
- Create empathetic and aspirational messages for consumers
- Share relevant content, and don’t over-promote
- Capitalize on cultural trends like escapism, and build it into storytelling
Amy closed out her session with a final comment: marketing is around the utility you get from a brand, and always be a part of a larger conversation.
CMO Innovator Of The Year Award: Kevin Miller, CMO of Fresh Market, was awarded as our CMO Innovator of the Year! Miller’s team was dedicated to creating an emotional connection with their audience and wanted to meet them where they’ve been for the last year and a half: at home. This prompted them to create a gourmet food magazine featuring top culinary influencers and chefs, along with recipes and QR codes directing readers to their e-commerce platform. Using this “traditional” form of media, they were able to boost traffic to their site and built their subscriber base to 1,000,000+. Miller touched on how their e-commerce strategy changed with COVID-19 – they launched Instacart prior to COVID, but noticed the high demand for curbside pick-up and decided to roll that out immediately to meet their customers’ evolving needs. To refine this experience, they prioritized hiring the proper staff and digital equipment, owning the entire process internally. He stressed that big ideas are important, and it’s crucial to measure the impact, test, learn, and deliver on your promises for customers.
Revisiting Your Martech Strategy: Krish Dhokia, VP of Marketing at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation discussed tips on how to revamp your martech strategy. In order to have a successful martech strategy, it’s imperative to have a close relationship with IT, and run the team like it’s an IT group that does marketing relations. He adds that IT doesn’t want to be the last person to know about the initiatives because they may need to properly map data. So being inclusive from the onset, and including them in the conversation, is important for continued success. In martech, you have to be prepared to make decisions and take calculated risks. Always take action with the data and insights produced by your initiatives. He closes with this statement: “As hard as it may be, you have to prioritize your investments, because not everything you want to do is going to have the desired budget. Prioritize these initiatives by the level of importance, speed to market, and ROI.”
CMO & Retail Keynote Panel
“The Balancing Act: What it Means to Be a Digital-First Business”
David Schweidel, a professor at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University led our Day 2 panel discussion on what it means to be a digital-first business. Panelists included Aldo Carrillo from Paramount Pictures, Hernan Tabah from Altria, Francesco Lagutaine from M&T Bank, and Naveen Seshadri from Foot Locker. The group shared their experiences and insights on what it means to adopt a digital-first mindset, and what the cookieless future means for marketers.
Some key takeaways:
- Word of Mouth is crucial – people will always trust their peers over an influencer or advertisement.
- Investing in the tools necessary for a responsive supply chain is imperative for building trust with consumers. It allows you to deliver on your promises! Focus your efforts on building a better supply chain based on data and digitization.
- Digital-first is the way of the future, and it will ultimately create more customer value as time goes on
- Companies that adopt an omnichannel approach are creating the most shareholder value, take Warby Parker for example.
- Focusing on customer behaviors & drawing actionable insights will take on new importance in the cookie-less future.
- Human empathy is not something you can scale or something that can necessarily be augmented digitally. There is still a strong value in face-to-face interactions and relationship building in retail!
- The move from third party to first-party data is an adaptation of marketing – a positive evolution that marketers should prepare for.
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Until Next Time…
Don’t miss out on the next Transformational CMO & Retail Assembly. Go here to request an invite for the November 17-18 Assembly!
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