03 . 09 . 19

The C-Suite change makers

Words by: Ulbe Jelluma
When it comes to pioneering the case for print, should we be opening up conversations about print effectiveness to CMOs and their C-Suites? How can we convince the media buyers to shed their print blinkers?
C-Suite change makers.jpg

Ulbe Jelluma
Managing Director, Print Power Europe

Newly inspired by this year’s Print Power Round Tables for brand and media professionals in London, Berlin, Paris and at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2019, there was one undisputed point on which the collective creatives concurred.

We all love print advertising. And we universally agreed – consumers prefer print above all other channels.

But head-nodding and purring over paper aside- why aren’t we seeing this love-in translated into increased outlay on advertising in newspapers, magazines, customer magazines, door drops or catalogues? As we’ve just seen at Cannes – print advertising campaigns are proving successful and incredibly effective.

The advertisers themselves are the drivers of advertising investment, so where better to get to the heart of the love vs spend shortfall than by looking at where brand success really starts. With building a belief in marketing at grass roots level. And with the brand’s own creators and champions. The marketing decision makers.

‘There’s a positive shift happening within leading companies. A group of ‘pioneering’ CMOs could be the champions of print. And CEOs are validating marketing’s mission.’
Ulbe Jelluma
Managing Director, Print Power

All together now

A report by McKinsey & Company concludes that an organisation’s ability to drive growth depends on the strength of a CMO’s rapport with the C-suites in their company. That’s means communicating a unifying marketing message with the CEO at every level - from sales, finance and product innovation to finance, technology and HR. It’s this C-suite collaboration that puts a company and its brands firmly on the road to greater media effectiveness and financial gains.

It’s a model that means marketing is no longer a mythical medium that no one but the marketers buy into. It becomes a word that’s valued by all the chiefs in a company as they’re part of any advertising conversations at the start.

In Marketing’s moment is now: The C-suite partnership to deliver on growth, McKinsey interviewed 60 C-level executives and conducted 200 surveys with another 200.

The good news from the report? That ‘83 per cent of global CEOs say marketing can be a major driver of growth’. That’s great. So, the CMOs have the green light and the stamp of approval for driving growth, right?

Well the outlook’s not so rosy. The survey also found that 23 per cent of those same CEOs ‘do not feel that marketing is delivering on that agenda.’ And other C-level executives are even more sceptical. Only half of the CFOs surveyed ‘said marketing delivers on the promise of driving growth. And 40 percent don’t think marketing investments should be protected during a downturn.’ Even more gloomy is the fact that even though board members are pivotal in marketing decision-making, only three per cent of them have any experience of it.

It seems the way a company invests in different media channels can entirely depend on the cooperation (or lack of) between the CMO and CFO. Overcoming these obstacles could be the key to growth. And the route to more creative and brave thinking when it comes to spend on print media alongside digital.

But how? Well the report identified the three types of CMO. And there’s one who can lead the charge when it comes to winning over the C-suite doubters as well as boosting both growth and brands.

Three degrees of success

These marketing brave hearts are called Unifiers. And their collaborative way of working can pave the way to success. McKinsey defined the smallest group – 24% of CMOs – as Unifiers. They have a seat at the table when it comes to making key company decisions. And through closer partnerships, they get their C-suite peers on board and ultimately to a shared vision. They have a results-oriented mindset and help to drive a company’s strategy. They’re pivotal and pioneering.

The more isolated Loner CMOs are seen as ‘executors of brand stewardship, advertising and PR’ and not as equal partners. They don’t have the full support of their company’s C-Suite as they haven’t forged the same cast-iron connections with their peers. They follow a company’s strategy rather than lead it.

The report identified the majority – 49% of CMOs – as Friends. They lie somewhere between Unifier and Loner. They have an ally in the CEO, but their marketing agenda doesn’t have the buy in of their C-suite peers across the company.

Looks good on paper

But how can all McKinsey’s research boost the case for print’s marketing spend? Well the 24 per cent of Unifiers are results-driven. So naturally, they value effectiveness.

‘Unifier CMOs demonstrate that marketing is accountable and does in fact drive predictable and significant value,’ concludes the report. ‘The best marketers use advanced analytics to help quantify the impact that marketing spend has on short- and long-term value. They build business cases with metrics that reflect meaningful financial value (ROI, customer lifetime value, revenue run rate) rather than more prevalent but less valid—in the CFO’s eyes, anyway—indicators, such as brand equity, gross rating points (GRPs), or engagement.’

‘…digital media might be the marketer’s go-to platform because it gets quick-fix results. But there’s no doubting the value of print when it comes to effectiveness, brand perception, quality, media trust and experience.’
Ulbe Jelluma
Managing Director, Print Power

The complete package

Print media needs to open up discussion with these Unifier CMOs about how digital and physical marketing can work collaboratively to complement each other. Digital as the selling tool, print as the inspirational source. An integrated marketing campaign that brings the best of both worlds together. Just as no one department or business function can single-handedly deliver business growth, a digital-only marketing spend is limiting a company’s ability to deliver more ambitious, creative ideas that make a lasting impact on the consumer.

Could developing more research into these long-term health metrics be the saviour of print? Could print media and using these tools as convincing, media-spend arguments to take to these Unifier CMOs?

Print doesn’t deliver express data. But it’s not flash-in-the-pan. It’s more memorable. It has longevity. It delights. It’s credible. It’s target-specific. And its magic lies in getting people talking about a brand.

Its results take time – but in a sea of digital noise, it stands out.

The super CMO

It’s not just across-company collaboration that makes for the most successful CMO. A report by Accenture identifies a small group (17%) of the most valuable global CMOs as Pioneering CMOs who lead the way in marketing. Pioneering, how? And can this super group pioneer the case for print in integrated marketing campaigns?

In their report Way Beyond Marketing: the rise of the hyper-relevant CMO, they describe these Pioneering CMOs as delivering highly relevant customer experiences. And in doing so, they’re generating shareholder returns that are 11% higher than their industry peers.

So, what sets these Pioneering CMO’s apart from the pack? Well it’s not about chucking more money at a campaign than their peers. Rather, it’s more about customer-first thinking. ‘They make the customer central to their thinking and vision,’ finds the report. ‘Not just in the services they provide, but in how they pivot and adapt as a company. They create what we call a Living Business: one that continuously adapts at speed and scale to achieve total customer relevance and sustained growth.’

Accenture’s findings suggest these marketers are transforming their organisations in three ways:

They’re reinventing for the now and the new

They understand that change brings growth. And they’re trying to do better by doing something disruptive and different.

‘The pioneers understand that their organisations must remain in a permanent state of change if they’re to successfully deliver on the ever-evolving needs of customers,’ states the report. ‘They are constantly seeking alternative sources of growth, be it through reinvention of the customer experience, breakthrough innovation or entirely new revenue streams. They’re much more likely than peers to be tapping into data monetization initiatives or new ventures.’

They’re rejecting a broken marketing culture

Change often involves risk-taking. That’s why many companies resist it. But the Pioneering CMO is challenging the status quo in their company’s culture. ‘The Pioneering CMOs are pulling away from the pack,’ says the report. ‘They’re focused on getting the right capabilities in place to deliver exceptional customer experiences and deploying and developing the best talent in support of that goal. And they’re keeping pace with customer expectations: ‘When it comes to accounting for changing customer attitudes, for example, their attitudes are very different from their peers. They’re far more likely to actively study a number of factors and pivot their marketing agendas in response to shifting outlooks on multichannel experience, trust, transparency and personalization.’

They’re rewiring operating models for growth

Tying in neatly with McKinsey report on Unifier CMOs, Pioneering CMOs are breaking down barriers in their organisation’s C-Suite. They realise that ‘behind every great marketeer is a great bunch of people’. And that these relationships are critical to growth. ‘Our research finds that the pioneering CMOs are more likely than their peers to be fundamentally transforming their marketing operating models’, says Accenture. ‘They recognize that a crucial means to unlocking growth is by breaking barriers: whether that’s silos within their marketing organizations, dissonance between their marketing organizations and the rest of the company, or unrealized opportunities among their agencies and ecosystem partners.’

Future-ready roles

Their innovation runs to how marketing is resourced too. Pioneers are more likely to develop new and less conventional marketing roles to realise their vision of a Living Business.‘The responses from the pioneers show that, far more than their peers, they’re thinking about entirely new categories of marketeers: Immersive experience designers. Storytellers. Growth hackers who unlock revenue through relentless experimentation. Futurologists. Trust leaders. By looking seriously at roles that straddle traditional boundaries.’

What they really, really want

But just how does this industry elite nail what the customer needs? Well to stay relevant in their customers’ lives, they need to know more about the choices they make. No wonder then that this group relies on metric-driven channels: digital advertising, digital e-commerce, new partnerships and data monetization. ‘While many marketing organizations default back to the assumptions that brought them success in the past,it’s little surprise that these leading marketeers are at the forefront when it comes to using data to drive new insights and new action, to be able to flex and adapt and pick up speed when necessary,’ concludes the report. ‘They’re instilling a culture that’s customer-obsessed and data-focused. In fact, they’re 26 percent more likely to say that marketing should own the customer record throughout the customer journey - from first contact, all the way through to sales and service—and that marketing should be able to leverage and benefit from the insights derived from that data.

All of which paints the picture of the CMO who doesn’t have print media spend as a priority.

Print: the daring disruptor

In a survey launched at Cannes by the Financial Times and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) called The Board-Brand Rift, over half of business leaders ranked social media top for brand-building, while evidence places this firmly at the bottom of the list of media for effectiveness. But do these digital clicks come as the expense of long-term brand building? There’s a chasm between perception and reality when it comes to what’s really effective in the media plan. This CMO super group and its obsession with data is driving this.

It could also be the case that the industry is closed to anything that doesn’t fit their mainstream thinking when it comes to marketing spend and effectiveness. In an interview with Print Power, behavioural economics expert Richard Shotton says the brain’s unconscious bias affects the planners’ perception of print advertising. And this bias means their misconceptions about media and print are hard to shake.

‘The greatest disconnect is the imbalance between the long- and short-term thinking. Unfortunately, advertisers are making the mistake of prioritising activity that drives an immediate return. Over time, that leads to a loss of effectiveness.’
Richard Shotton
Author & Behavioural Economics Expert

Print media’s role then, should be to make sure the industry sees us and is open to listening about print’s long-term effectiveness. To shake them out of their  unconscious bias towards digital and challenge their thinking by talking to them in a language they understand. By presenting long-term health metrics that show a mixed media advertising plan brings considerable commercial gains.

For print to prosper, it’s crucial that we open up conversations with the ‘hyper-relevant’ few. And convince them that when it comes to being a disruptor and an innovator, print can lead that charge.