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What Do Leaders In Marketing Have In Common? A People-Based Marketing Approach!

As we approached the final day of the summit, I couldn’t help but feel the energy from the previous speakers, and I was pumped to hear from Steve Olenski, Director of CMO Content & Strategy, Oracle Marketing Cloud (@steveolenski), because his presentation was titled From Rocky to Downton Abbey. Life Lessons From the World of Pop. Who wouldn’t want to listen to that topic at 7:45am?

Steve discussed what pop culture can teach us as marketers. He used quotes from Rocky, Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and dozens of other movies, songs, poems, and speeches. He then interviewed c-suite individuals to learn about the pop culture quotes that had influenced them in their careers.

Steve ended his presentation by getting the audience involved. Do you know which movie, show, or person these quotes are from?

  • Don’t worry about being successful, worry about adding value
  • Never confuse effort with results
  • You grow where you are planted
  • In order to lead others you must first lead yourself
  • Truth doesn’t have versions
  • Pivot, pivot, pivot
  • Show me the money!

Next up on stage was Babs Rangaiah, Executive Partner, Global Marketing, iX, IBM (@babs26), who discussed what’s next for marketers. IBM believes the next big thing is the cognitive era. There are two main disruptions right now for marketers:

  1. How we build brands
  2. How we sell

Babs discussed Watson, its famed artificial intelligence (AI) platform. It’s fitting that IBM gave “him” an identity. Something that really struck me in his presentation is the ability of AI to continually anticipate and meet customer needs. IBM has introduced Watson Ads, which it touts as the next generation of ads. They perform like any other ad, except they’re interactive! The ad has voice recognition so it can answer questions and can interact based on location and need of the customer. A fascinating case study demonstrated how Flonase is leveraging this capability.


Adam Lavelle, Global Chief Solutions Officer, Merkle (@Alavelle), presented the third Marketing Imperative, “Managing Customer Relationships Over Time.”

The idea of building a relationship over time is not just about receiving loyalty from customers; it’s also about being loyal to your customers. So it must be grounded in a comprehensive customer strategy that is established at the enterprise level and driven by data and technology.

We know that treating all of your customers the same doesn’t work. You must manage personal moments over time, which requires ongoing decisioning. And decisioning requires the capacity to draw from the same customer intelligence that is used for targeting your addressable advertising, to weigh that understanding against context to predict behavior, and then to issue guidance or commands that inform the best experience possible. And it all must happen in a moment.

Adam presented the orchestration maturity curve, which illustrates how data-driven orchestration enables marketing interactions to move from one-to-many to one-to-one, all with the use of decisioning driven by data and technology.

Steven Fuld, SVP, Sony Corporation of America of America, presented an in-depth look at Sony’s innovative and reinvented rewards program. He explained that at the heart of Sony is the central importance of the kando experience — an emotional connection to something that takes you to a different time and place, much like an experience that inspires goose bumps. By listening to consumers intensely, Sony transformed a home-grown loyalty solution into a high-performing program through an integration of best-in-class content management, commerce, and loyalty platforms.


The mechanics of the Sony loyalty solution focus on its members’ strong desire to earn points, with impactful redemption and experiential opportunities that go beyond the transaction. All this funnels to integrated, cross-channel marketing efficiencies across all products.


Stephen Ingledew, Customer and Commercial Executive Leader, discussed leadership experiences from the UK “front line” of people-based marketing. He described four specific things marketers should focus on:

  1. Journey
  2. Decisioning
  3. Innovation
  4. Ways of working

Steven gave specific examples from the companies he has worked for and shared successes of company transformation to execute on people-based marketing as an enterprise. One specific example he gave is that the CMO and the CTO should “get married” in order to have their teams work together. It allows you to break through the organization silos and become more agile.


David Williams, President and CEO of Merkle concluded the Summit by sharing research results from Merkle’s people-based marketing assessment, which measures brands’ readiness for a people-based marketing transformation. Some of the summit attendees had even taken the assessment, and David was able to highlight several themes that emerged.

Check out the people-based marketing assessment and don’t forget to view the 2017 Marketing imperatives. You can view the sessions that were streamed during the 2017 Performance Marketing Executive Summit, by visiting Merkle’s Livestream page here.

I’m looking forward to next year’s summit! Will you be there?