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Indianapolis Chapter of the American Marketing Association

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October AMA Indy Luncheon Recap: "Are You Ready for the C-Suite?" with Russ Klein

By: Krysten Schmidt

The role of marketing in the C-Suite calls for mastery of leadership skills, inter-disciplinary collaboration, results-orientation, command of technology and a contagious customer centricity.  So, how do today’s marketers stay ahead of the curve to build and leverage their talents for executive leadership?

What’s next for the marketing industry? What role will tomorrow’s marketer face? And how will marketers stay ahead of the curve?

Keynote speaker, Russ Klein, CEO of AMA, joined AMA Indy on October 10th to tackle these questions and lead us into conversation about what it will take to be successful in the future and in the C-suite.

Take-Aways & Topics Discussed:

What happens in an internet minute? Looking at Metcalfe’s Law, or “the network effect”, explains the power of things like Facebook, social currency and the digitization of word of mouth marketing. If one person has a phone, it’s useless. But, the more people who own a phone, the more value it incurs.

  • Every “share” is like adding a phone.
  • Every “like”, post or comment is like making a call.
  • Every engaged piece of content adds value.

Wide-Lens Marketing. The evolution of technology and expansion of communication channels has driven the need for marketers to have a wider vantage point to fully understand the impact of what they do and how they connect with people.

  • Marketers no longer face the same vertical challenges they once did.
  • Marketers now live in a “horizontal cultural plane” that is built on personal meaning and individualism.

Friction Free User Experiences. In a time where Amazon, Uber and Apple run the world of user experience, every industry and service must transform. The expectation from consumers is to receive an effortless, one-click experience. Time has now replaced money.

Post-Digitization. In the post digitization world, there are three differences from today’s world.

  1. Compressed customer journey than ever before
  2. Commerce anywhere and marketer listening anytime
  3. 1:1 connections replaced with impersonal interfaces

Storytelling is not a new concept. However, marketers aren’t nearly the writers they once were. The old equation: Promise + Experience = Brand. The new equation: Story + Experience = Brand. Storytelling is now a co-creation between marketers and customers.

The 4 P’s (Revised). While marketing was built on and is still deeply rooted in the 4 P’s (product, price, place, promotion), marketers must start to adjust their lens.

  • Not products, but life solutions: Consumers are no longer as tied to brand, but are driven by a products usefulness and ability to provide a solution.
  • Not price, but time. Time is finite and non-renewable and consumers have grown to value it over other currencies.
  • Not place, but context/access/immediacy: Technology has elevated the importance of a products’ context, as well as the access to and immediacy of it.
  • Not promotion, but storytelling: Brands differentiate themselves by what they know and how they tell their story, instead of solely on what they make/sell.

Through these key points, Russ made it clear that technology and the buyer’s landscape is changing at a rapid pace, and that as such marketers of the future must change with it. Marketing must evolve. Today’s CMO’s look more like yesterday’s CIO’s. We’re living in a world of interconnectivity, and marketing in the C-Suite means being the connector of all things, living among customer communities, co-creating and collaboration.

Krysten Schmidt