Chief Marketing Officers Discuss Pathways to Innovation and Revenue Growth

In an informative panel discussion at the YPA Annual conference today moderated by Amdocs Vice President of Customer Development Rocky Wolf, members were treated to insights and updates from four CMOs on the frontlines of industry transformation.  Sharing notes on emerging technology challenges and the innovations driving new paths to revenue, it was interesting to see how many similarities there were across the companies represented in the panel.  Here are some of the highlights:

Question: What’s the next big thing in technology?

Answer: Social and Mobile

According to Stephane Marceau, CMO of Canada’s YPG, baking social and mobile into all user interfaces is a top priority.  “80% of our users in Canada use Facebook, so we need to integrate it into all of our solutions,” he said.  YPG sees opportunity in building further social and mobile solutions for what they call “local lifestyle”.

Building on that thought, DexOne CMO Maggie Le Beau, added that in the development of new mobile and social applications, the most important thing is to adapt to these new environments.  “There were a lot of lessons learned when we went online that we don’t want to repeat with mobile – the goal is not to replicate the product in the new medium.  We don’t want a static experience of a desk top or a print product,” she explained.

Question: What are you doing to adapt the sales channel?

Answer: This is still a work in progress, but it all comes down to leveraging relationships.  Arming the channel with data-driven solutions is essential to success.

According to Berry CMO Kathy Geiger-Schwab, “Access to the SMB is everything to us and that is our key to moving forward.”  She shared details of Berry’s new go-to-market approach that empowers their marketing consultants to provide prescriptive recommendations to customers on all elements of their advertising approach based on analysis of their rich geography and heading-specific data.

Question: How are you building and providing new value to your customers?

Answer: Demand creation and communicating return on investment are the name of the game.

“We’ve invested in building one simple solution for customers to be able to see the ROI of their local advertising programs all in one place,” said Ken Ray, CMO AT&T Advertising Solutions. “Providing pay-per-call models is also a new priority.”  In this space, there have been many key learnings, he said.

“Lesson #1: print is alive and well.  We should be cautious not to jump too aggressively into digital while overlooking a very effective medium in print.  Lesson #2: We’ve inadvertently set up a system where vendors are fighting over the same call, which is sometimes causing unwanted results.   We want to generate more leads for our clients, not customer support hassles,” cautioned Ray.

The workshop was packed with attendees and they expressed interest in hearing more about social media challenges.  Watch this space for future items on the subject.  Thanks to all our panelists for an insightful session.

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