Lessons from marketing leaders who took big risks

Taking place this week, the Marketing Hall of Fame will recognize lifelong achievement for superstar marketers – http://www.marketinghalloffame.org/.

Last year, I was humbled when attending the first ever inauguration of leaders to the Marketing Hall of Fame. They put in perspective a lifelong commitment to our profession. Reflecting on the first ever event of the Marketing Hall of Fame, leaders shared inspiring stories of taking risks and pushing boundaries that included:

  • Beth Comstock of GE shared how it can be lonely championing a new idea. Beth recounted how, a decade ago, there were only two people at GE who thought Ecomagination was a great idea. Fortunately, at the time, both Beth and her boss believed in what now is the Ecomagination platform that has pushed GE innovation and collaboration with entrepreneurs to tackle environmental challenges, and which has cut GE emissions by nearly 1/3.
  • Former CMO of Coca-Cola Joe Tripoldi talked about his big bet to gain competitive advantage by investing in creating and nurturing networks and connections between employees, suppliers, partners, and influencers, advocates, and customers. Joe discussed how these connections between advocates and customers hold the promise to create far greater value than traditional marketing efforts.
  • Finally, Philip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing at Kellogg School of Management, provided a reminder that the latest advances in marketing science hold their roots in decades-old disciplines such as behavioral economics.

Last year, after his speech, I was honored to chat with Professor Kotler about measuring emotions as the key to unlocking value from the next generation of analytics. The conversation reminded me of my own experience – putting myself out on a limb to measure emotional engagement for campaigns, such as P&G’s “Thank You Mom” and Unilever’s “Real Beauty.” Using cognitive analytics, our team found that emotional engagement with each brand’s creative message delivered lift in important social metrics, such as positive sentiment towards the brand. Using cognitive analytics, we were able to analyze viral commenting on videos, and to quantitatively prove that engagement with the creative message changed perception of the brand.

This Thursday, I look forward to being reminded that we all have opportunity to take risks in measuring and proving the value of our marketing efforts. On May 21st, the second Marketing Hall of Fame event will honor the outstanding, lifelong achievements of several inspiring marketing leaders: Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia; Trevor Edwards, President of Nike Brand; David Aaker, Vice Chairman of Prophet and Professor Emeritus at Haas School of Business; and Shelly Lazarus, Chairman of Ogilvy& Mather.

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