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Mila D'Antonio | February 4, 2013

Marketers' Leap to Digital

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Ever since the emergence of digital, much has been written and discussed about bridging the social/mobile and traditional marketing divide by getting a handle on Big Data and ultimately having the ability to understand and respond to consumers' ever-changing needs and behaviors.

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Companies that have successfully built that bridge used to be something of a fairytale...until recently. At last week's 2013 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum in New York, marketing executives from an array of industries shared their digital best practices and examples of how the role of the CMO is changing.

Benjamin Karsch, CMO of Cigna Corporation, described his company's change management initiatives that helped to move the organization in the same direction of focusing on customer centricity and learning from voice of the customer feedback across the enterprise. "Clicks and likes are good, but you have to pull the thread all the way through to earnings," he advised.

Cheryl Guerin, senior vice president and group head of U.S. Marketing at Mastercard Worldwide, described some of the company's most recent digital, social, and cross-channel campaigns. One of Mastercard's "Priceless" campaigns created a game for baseball fans to play by hiding Yankee's stadium seats throughout Manhattan in partnership with Facebook Places. Fans who found the chairs and checked-in via Facebook Places became eligible to win prizes. Guerin discussed the strategy behind deploying a hyper-local approach to marketing: "We look at the data and determine the partners that make the most sense," she said.

TD Bank is also making efforts to create messaging and engagement strategies that are hyper local. CMO Vinoo Vijay described how when customers are online, the company analyzes their IP addresses to find nearby branches or "stores" and serves up banners or videos featuring the managers from those stores. "Know how the bank connects to consumers' narratives," he said. "Tell the narrative continuously across all customer influences."

Angela Tribelli, CMO of HarperCollins Publishers, said the emerging digital channels provide a whole new set of rich customer behaviors. "It's about finding out what the customer wants and tweaking the messaging to the medium," she said. "Focus on where people are discovering your content."

Saks Fifth Avenue is evolving with the digital customer by working behind the scenes to bridge marketing and IT. Denise Incandela, executive vice president and CMO of the company, said the trend in marketing is to move from the right brain to the left brain. While traditional campaigns still have their place, Incandela said that she ensures their marketers also know geo-targeting, display, and mobile. "Your best friend is the CIO," she told the audience. "It's very important to integrate the online experience, enabling the customer to get across and lure her with content into the stores."

Finally, at Panasonic North America, evolving to digital meant changing the mindset internally. Betty Noonan, senior vice president of marketing, said Panasonic had employed classic marketers with traditional skills so she had to force change. "I wanted to ability to leverage digital technologies to track ROI and get immediate results," she explained. "Changing the people was the biggest change."

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