Campaign India Team
Jun 19, 2013

Cannes 2013: ‘500 marketing leaders drive 60 per cent of the world’s largest businesses’

The ongoing ‘Marketing 2020’ research project was in focus, in a session featuring Keith Weed, Marc de Swaan, Sucheta Govil and Kevin Burke

Cannes 2013: ‘500 marketing leaders drive 60 per cent of the world’s largest businesses’

Unilever’s Kevin Weed began a session on day three at Cannes 2013, speaking about an ongoing ‘Marketing 2020’ research project, which has seen participation from over 250 CMOs and 1000s of marketers worldwide. Weed labeled the study as the most ambitious global marketing leadership program ever orchestrated.

More involvement

On the topic of discussion, ‘Effective brands - Marketing 2020', Weed said, “The world of marketers has changed hugely over the past 10 years. In the last three, it’s accelerated further. Marketers are getting more important in the overall scheme of a company. Marketers need to support business growth.”

Next up was global marketing effectiveness consultant Marc de Swaan. He started with a few learnings from LinkedIn. “Thanks to LinkedIn, I found 21,00,000 people who have marketing in their designation; 9,23,000 of them are active marketers; 1,00,000 are leaders of a company. Five hundred marketing leaders drive 60 per cent of the world’s largest businesses and we have spoken to more than half of them for our study,” said de Swaan.

He then revealed findings from the ‘Marketing 2020’ study. He said, “58 per cent of the marketers now work with the CEO; this number was 38 in 2006. Thirty three per cent of marketers now approve large growth-oriented decisions, 14 per cent higher than it was in 2006.”

Underlining the importance of data, he added, “Over-performers (marketers who exceed expectations) are guided by data. Sixty six per cent of them said that data wasn’t the enemy of creativity. They look to combine data and creativity. You can’t hide from data, but it’s also about the ‘big idea’.”

Multiple agencies

“53 per cent of the overperforming marketers are working with more than five agencies,” revealed Swaan.

While, there are multiple agencies hired, Visa’s chief marketing officer, Kevin Burke, said that the power is ultimately with the client (marketer). He said, “At the end of the day, everything lies with the client. So, we marketers take decisions from work submitted by the agencies. At the same time, marketers should commit themselves to these agencies and look at long term associations.”

Tweet a strategy

Burke also spoke about the importance of people power. He said, “The future of commerce will be dictated by people power. Consumers will demand more seamless transactions. By 2014, there will be 1.9 billion people on social networks. They can impact friends and strangers in buying decisions because 85 per cent of the people consult with friends or check an online review before making a purchase So, brands need to bring out their strategy in 140 words. There are 1.2 billion smartphones in the world and 620 million searches are made using them. We marketers have to think of the consumer through that screen.”

Employ soothsayers, psychics and fortune tellers

“‘Now’ is often too late for companies. To counter this we had people predict outcomes during the Olympics. Seven events had 100 permutations, so by the time Michael Phelps jumped into the pool for his lap, all possible results were ready to be brought out,” he explained.

Marketers can often kid themselves

Sucheta Govil, global head of marketing, AkzoNobel, spoke of Dulux’ ‘Let’s add colour’ initiative. “Towards the end of 2009, we were doing decently, but we looked to make a paradigm shift. The top management team and marketers looked at our mission, ‘Let’s add colour to people’s life’. Marketers can often kid themselves, but we looked to bring it alive. The ‘Let’s Colour’ movement began in April 2010 in Brazil and went worldwide soon after. When people visited Brazil for the World Cup and Olympics, they’ll fly into building tops with ‘Let’s Colour’ written on them.

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