Listen Up! CMOs Are Doing Just That

Unless you happen to work the wireless desk of the NSA, listening intently is typically a well-regarded activity. This is definitely the case in marketing circles, where the everyday observation of real-life behavior and the monitoring of customer conversations can result in better products and improved service.

But don't take my word for it -- have a listen to the seven top marketers quoted below and you will hear why staying in touch with their customers has been integral to their ongoing success. All winners of The CMO Awards, a recently completed competition organized by The CMO Club, each offers fresh insights on why keeping your ear to the ground is good for everyone.

Chris Brull, CMO of Kawasaki:  “Not every industry is as hyper-connected with their customers as the power sports industry. You have to understand how people act, react, and think. We’re becoming real and authentic to the point where we’re almost a family member.”



Beth Comstock, CMO, GE: “You have to live with them [customers], analyze them, listen and empathize with them. This means putting good marketing people on the ground in markets around the world, and more importantly, helping engineers and other business teams understand that marketing skills can be added to their jobs, too.”

John Costello, president, global marketing and innovation, Dunkin' Brands: “The passion for Dunkin' Donuts is unmatched, and we believe the key to our continued success has been listening to our customers and evolving to meet their changing needs. Providing great food and beverages at a good value in a fast, friendly and convenient environment is the best way to build loyalty. We’re also planning to expand our enhanced DD Perks national loyalty program later this year. We believe that a customer-centric approach and ongoing commitment to evolving with our guests is why people have been coming to Dunkin' Donuts for more than 60 years.

Geoff Cottrill, CMO, Converse: “It has always been the brand’s intention that our products and consumers drive the marketing, not the marketing driving our product. Our approach to the consumer experience is to invest and grow our connections to consumers.”

Louise Camuto, CMO, The Camuto Group: “What I have found to be paramount is listening to customers. When I am in any of our stores, I watch how the customer shops, how she selects product, as well as her purchasing process. When we work on our campaign looks, we collaborate with Vince [Camuto the founder], our marketing team, and PR to ensure we are on trend and delivering something exciting to the customer.”

Marty St. George, SVP, Marketing and Commercial Strategy, JetBlue: “Our mission is “Inspire Humanity,” and part of what we try to accomplish is to establish and maintain that personal connection between the brand and our customers. Our customers feel personal ownership of the brand, and they are very vocal about the things they love and the things they want us to change.”

Raj Rao, VP of Global eTransformation, 3M: “The customer no longer follows a linear path to purchase, nor are they tied to any single channel. They are using digital tools like never before, amplifying brand experiences without any relationship boundaries and demanding more service options as part of the product purchase. So the role of CMO needs to have that broader perspective of the customer experience journey and be prepared to generate appropriate content for that diversity.”

Final note: I've been spending a lot of time lately listening to CMOs. If you'd like to see my complete interviews with these marketers and more, click on over to The Drew Blog.
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