A Look Inside the Head of a CMO

Every spring for the last six years I’ve had the great opportunity to attend the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit. The annual event brings together hundreds of marketing and communications executives throughout the region to discuss high-level issues through a series of panels, keynotes, presentations, exhibits, and networking.

Co-produced by Potomac Tech Wire, the region’s source for technology news; and Capitol Communicator, the region’s source for marketing and communications news, the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit features leaders from both top and emerging brands plus some of the best marketing and communications minds in the region. Themes focus on the latest ideas, technologies, and trends in the ever-changing world of marketing and topics include metrics, mobile, social, marketing automation, online video campaigns, experiential advertising, and much more.

One session that has become a mainstay of the event is the CMO Roundtable. This year the panelists included:

  • Kerry Morgan, Executive Marketing Strategist, Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Jeff Rinehart, CMO, Framebridge
  • Gayle Weiswasser, CMO, Homesnap

Moderated by Paul Sherman, CEO of Potomac Tech Wire, the panelists discussed trends and key issues facing their profession, as well as touched on the tools, tactics, and strategies they use to grow their firms. Below is a look at what is on the mind of these top marketers.

Some trends are overhyped.

Two of the panelists agreed that while it may be fun to use, Snapchat is incredibly overhyped for the world of marketing. Their suggestion is to try to avoid the pressure to use the shiny new object and instead focus on where your clients/customers are. While new technologies and trends will come along that deserve a serious look, when it comes to Snapchat, the consensus was to stick with what works.  Additionally, while influencer marketing may work for some, the panel felt it wasn’t really worth the effort. Overall it was believed to be disaggregated and too hard to scale.

Data is where it’s at.

One of the biggest marketing opportunities for the rest of this year, if not the biggest opportunity, is data and analytics. Marketers today have so much data available at their fingertips that can and should be used to make their marketing more powerful. Specifically, the amount and quality of the data allow marketers to focus on customization – ensuring the right message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Facebook is a big yawn.

Speaking of data, Facebook has a lot of it! The panel of CMOs wasn’t too concerned about Facebook though. General feelings ranged from “you need to create a diversified social media plan and not have all your eggs in one basket,” to “Facebook is dead.” While the panelists feel we will likely see stronger privacy rules around the use of data coming from Facebook, it’s not Facebook’s recent woe’s that have impacted our use of the platform as consumers but rather Facebook’s own changes to their algorithms that have made consumers’ feeds boring and leading to a feeling of disenchantment with the platform.

Video is the choice of a new generation.

When done right, video can yield great results. The panel overwhelmingly agreed that video is not overhyped and in fact, we’re going to see more of it. As new (read: young) audiences prefer video, marketers need to meet them where they are. And it doesn’t have to be just an external facing marketing tool. For some organizations – especially those that work in secure or confidential environments – video can still be used internally to increase communications and team buy-in. Using the CEO in a video to energize the staff or to help launch a new campaign, can be just as effective at building morale as sharing video content on social media channels can be for building a personal connection with customers.

So what do you think? Do you agree that Snapchat is overhyped and that video is where it’s at? Are you surprised the panel isn’t enamored with influencer marketing or Facebook? Leave a comment below and stay tuned for more from the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit!

Let’s talk.