Alan Hart, host of Marketing Today, goes behind the scenes with the world's best chief marketing officers and business leaders. Listen in to learn their strategies, tips and advice. What makes a great brand, marketing campaign, or turnaround? Learn from the experience and stories of these great marketing and business leaders so you can unleash your potential.
Agile Research with Rob Holland CEO at Feedback Loop
On this 242nd episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Rob Holland, the CEO at Feedback Loop, a technology growth company that provides rapid consumer feedback through its agile research platform.
We begin the interview with Holland's upbringing in Staten Island and eventually to the West Coast, but wherever he went, it never seemed to be permanent. Holland believes "being comfortable with mobility has been a real game-changer," allowing him to adapt quickly to new environments. We then move to Holland's financial background and how it helped him when making the transition to managerial positions. Though he started in finance and eventually found his way to the marketing side, Holland has "always been connected to the consumer in some way."
Holland then dives into Feedback Loop, defining agile research as a tool that "provides directional guidance early and often to guide decisions that might otherwise be made by opinion or rank, rather than data." Holland has seen first-hand that "the whole idea of getting rapid consumer feedback to solve rapidly changing needs in very dynamic markets has never been greater," and it's not going to go away anytime in the foreseeable future. Lastly, we end our conversation on the current polarizing state of the world and how "it's forcing marketers and brands to take sides in places that they really have no need to get into." Marketing teams need to tread lightly!
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Rob grew up in Staten Island before heading to the West Coast after high school, though he has remained a Mets fan. 1:20
Both sides of Alan's wife's family are your typical Italian family from Staten Island. 1:49
Throughout his career, Rob has stayed connected to the end-consumers the entire way. 2:38
Starting in finance, Rob moved into market analytics, where he began to climb the management ladder. 3:16
Rob's operational finance background gave him an advantage when he made the transition to the management side. 4:11
Find someone who knows the finance side of the company, as it will always be an advantage. 5:50
Feedback Loop provides an agile research platform that serves teams that want to do their own research. 6:06
The Founder of Feedback Loop recognized the lack of ability to get rapid consumer feedback. 7:16
Over time, Alpha's platform (prior name) evolved and grew with its customers and product development teams. 8:10
After so much growth, Alpha stopped describing the platform accurately, so the company changed its name to Feedback Loop. 8:56
Rob has seen the impact of the constantly evolving market on Feedback Loop and the marketing research industry as a whole. 10:48
Research teams are having a hard time trying to keep up with the shifting market, and that's where Feedback Loop hopes to help. 11:36
Agile research provides small chunks of information quickly to inform incremental decisions. 12:45
The rapid feedback provided by Agile Research is most comparable to using windshield wipers during a storm, allowing you to keep moving forward. 13:55
Product teams and research teams need buffers, and Agile Research provides those controlled parameters. 15:05
Feedback Loop works with consumer-faced businesses of various sizes across a variety of industries. 17:25
Farmers Insurance, a client of Feedback Loop, created Toggle, a direct-to-consumer product that allows them to connect to younger generations. 17:48
Due to COVID, the behaviors and expectations of consumers are changing rapidly. 20:50
Feedback Loop is working with brands that are being forced to re-evaluate because of the massive shift that the world is going through. 22:17
Industries that had pre-understood truths have to re-evaluate what those truths are and show consumers that they are adapting. 23:40
Moving around often while growing up gave Rob the flexibility to adapt to new environments very quickly.
2021 Global Marketing Trends with Deloitte's Ashley Reichheld
On this 241st episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Ashley Reichheld, principal at Deloitte. Reichheld discusses the findings of Deloitte's 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report and dives deep into a few of its seven trends.
We start our conversation with Reichheld's background of traveling. She talks about her experiences living and working in over 40 countries across six continents and how it helped her gain insight and perspective into different cultures. From there, we dive into the meat of the interview, Deloitte's 2021 Global Marketing Trends Report. With this report, Deloitte aimed to dispel some of the uncertainty that this past year has brought to marketing.
Reichheld then discusses her favorite trend category, trust, and how "overall, trustworthy companies outperform their competitors by 2 ½ times." For a long time, public trust in corporations and governments has been on the decline and presents both a threat and opportunity to marketing departments worldwide. Deloitte uses its metric, HX Trust ID, which measures trust drivers: humanity, transparency, capability, and reliability. By measuring these four drivers, Deloitte can predict buying tendencies and motivations for consumers and employees. Lastly, we talk about marketing effectiveness and how to know if your efforts are working or not.
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Ashley has lived and worked in over 40 countries, picking up an appreciation and empathy for cultural differences. 1:19
The level of uncertainty in 2020 fueled Deloitte's 2021 Global Marketing Report. 2:23
Purpose, human experience, and fusion are the three trends that confused most people. 3:13
There has been a drop in confidence across the board in C-Suite executives from consumers during 2020. 4:52
Organizations have had to pivot to better serve their customers and that ability largely affects a customer's continued loyalty. 6:40
Interpreting and acting on data is especially difficult for marketing departments because people are irrational creatures. 7:55
For a long time, trust in companies and the government has been on the decline and has only been exasperated by the pandemic. 8:50
Trust is the key to continued loyalty from both consumers and employees. 9:51
Deloitte uses its metric, HX Trust ID, which measures trust drivers: humanity, transparency, capability, and reliability. 10:37
By measuring these four drivers, Deloitte can predict buying tendencies and motivations to work for consumers and employees. 11:40
Deloitte's Global Marketing Trends Report shows a direct link between employee trust and consumer trust. 12:34
Recent research suggests that governments and corporations can't be both ethical and competent. 14:20
Being aligned around common goals and being driven by a purpose takes companies further than being driven by incentives. 15:38
The airlines are all dealing with the same problems, but the companies that have remained customer/employee-centric are gaining traction.16:08
Alan believes that the perfect storm exists when the purpose is aligned with business results. 17:28
Bringing in the right talent and preparing employees for C-Level positions is one of the biggest challenges in marketing today. 18:04
CMOs have an extensive range of responsibilities, making it hard for employees outside of marketing to transition. 19:23
Marketing isn't finance, but a finance background isn't useless in marketing. 20:44
The best way to measure your marketing's effectiveness is to simply turn your marketing off for some time. 22:20
Because Ashley believes that we are the sum of all experiences, she can't point to just one experience that has helped shape her. 23:04
If she could look back, Ashley would practice more mindfulness and take things slow. 23:49
Ashley has recently joined the board of The Center for Women & Enterprise to help underserved populations
Unlocking Brand Growth with Belvedere Vodka CEO Rodney Williams
On this 240th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Rodney Williams, president and CEO of Belvedere Vodka. With a bevy of experience leading successful marketing campaigns across a plethora of industries, Williams is truly an expert when it comes to closing the gap between a product and its consumers.
To start our conversation, Williams discusses his business school experience and the nonprofit sector before he began his journey to become a marketing expert. In school at Northwestern, Williams quickly learned that "you have a strong chance of getting a good grade by joining a group with people that don't think like you." This experience helped him understand a simple fact of life; to truly be successful, you must be open to the perspectives of others.
We then dive into Williams's experience working for large companies like Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble. It was his success at these companies that taught him both "the element of brand-building where you're really fundamentally problem-solving" and not only the importance of "really tapping into what was already there." Williams then takes us into his induction into the Wind and Spirits industry, which eventually led him to his current position at Belvedere.
To end the conversation, we discuss how "the push for social justice has opened up brands in a big way" and how "the need for brands to take a stand and stand up for values that they believe in has never been more important." Williams touches on how the views of different cultures in the corporate business world have changed since he entered the workforce. "We're not there yet, but we're making progress!"
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Before business school, Rodney ran a direct mail business in Chicago that hired disadvantaged employees.1:53
Rodney has stayed in-tune with how the business world affects the communities that it is in. 3:03
Growing up in Evanston, Illinois, it was a natural fit for Rodney to attend Northwestern's business school. 3:35
After business school, Rodney worked for J&J and Procter & Gamble in a pursuit to learn sophisticated marketing. 5:32
Figuring out how to get the brand in the right position where it can connect with its customers is like a game to Rodney. 6:20
In his time at J&J, Rodney learned the ins and outs of working in an intrapreneurial environment. 6:55
Over time, Rodney slowly developed into an enhance-growth guy that has been able to take companies over the top. 8:47
J&J required that 25% of each business under its umbrella's revenue had to be from new products in the last three years. 9:15
When Rodney arrived at Band-Aid, he was able to take it from stagnant to The New York Times by using Barry Manalo's jingle. 10:22
The ability to understand the essence of a brand and what it means to the consumers allows a brand to enhance its imagery. 12:26
A former colleague's call about a dot-com opportunity led Rodney to quit his job and head to the West Coast. 13:04
Rodney's time working with OnStar eventually led to his entrance into the Wine and Spirits industry. 14:41
It was the health benefits of wine that initially drew Rodney to interview with his first wine company. 15:58
Robert Mondavi taught Rodney the importance and value of presentation. 17:20
Kendall Jackson, the number 1 chardonnay over $10, presented Rodney with an opportunity to launch the biggest product in company history. 18:37
In 2011, more women than men graduated from high school for the first time in history and saw the gender gap begin to grow. 20:28
Since coming to Belvedere, Rodney has seen that vodka takes people back to experiences they have outgrown. 21:30
Belvedere aims to add some class and flavor to an alcohol category that has become stagnant. 22:30
Just before the pandemic, Belvedere ran a study that showed people in different markets around the world valued the s
Media Assurance & Transparency Still a Global Issue with Rizwan Merchant
On this 239th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Rizwan Merchant, CEO at Media Merchant. Merchant is the first guest from Pakistan and brings over a decade of experience in the Pakistani Media Industry. Today, we talk about the 2016 ANA Transparency Report and how these issues are still present today, four years on.
We start our conversation with the exploding media industry in Pakistan, which has gone from less than $100M in advertising expenses to over $550M in just ten years. With that massive growth has come a plethora of problems, not only in Pakistan but also for marketers worldwide. Merchant has seen "exactly what goes on behind the doors." Merchant then takes us through the ANA Transparency Report that came out in 2016, which identified a myriad of problems and fraudulent practices among the agencies that bridge the gap between the media houses and advertisers. The advertisers have forgotten that "agencies are there in the business to make money as well," so their intentions may have nothing to do with the benefit of their client. Advertisers are still losing boatloads of money because of their inability to structure contracts for themselves. Merchant says, "the easiest way to plug that financial outlet is to start paying the media directly instead of going through the agencies."
Merchant suggested that the best way to battle this problem is for clients "to upgrade their knowledge when it comes to the media supply chain." Another problem now is that "many agencies have started to own the media that they are pushing to advertisers." It seems if there is money to be made, agencies will find a way. The onus is on marketers to be smarter and more vigilant.
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Rizwan currently lives in Pakistan, part of Southeast Asia, and is a growing market with a booming media industry. 1:45
The Pakistani media industry has grown from less than $100M in advertising expenses to $550M in the last ten years. 2:30
An accountant by education, Rizwan joined Mediacom on the finance side when he returned to Pakistan in 2004. 3:35
In 2015, Rizwan started his media audit agency, Media Merchant. 5:10
The ANA Transparency Report identified problems with the rebates received by the agencies based on advertiser money. 6:00
Principal transactions came up in the ANA Transparency report, showing that agencies were buying inventory through holding companies. 6:50
Agencies were found to be selling free inventory they received from the media houses to their marketing clients. 7:15
Advertisers were found to be trusting agencies blindly, a failure on the part of the advertisers. 7:47
Rizwan identified multiple problems that didn't come out in the ANA report. 8:15
Media Buying Houses came into existence by providing the agencies with multiple suggestions that acted as a financial bomb. 9:20
The agencies exploited the lack of connection between the advertising clients and the media outlets. 11:50
While there are specific rules and regulations in different countries, this is still a problem all over the world. 12:24
With media outlets being drained of their finances, their ability to create content is greatly affected. 14:30
The relationship between the media and advertising industries the opposite of what it should be right now. 16:00
As a result of the ANA report, guidelines were created to guide the creation of the contracts. 17:34
The main problems are found in the governance of the agencies within the creation of the contracts. 19:24
The creation and execution of one's own media plan make it hard to do their own homework. 23:28
Marketers and financing departments should act as the custodians in the creation of contracts. 24:05
The best thing that marketers can do is stay up to date on policies and control the abundance of fraud amongst agencies. 26:20
Agencies are in this to make money,
Beyond Beer at Anheuser-Busch with Lana Buchanan
On this 238th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Lana Buchanan, vice president of marketing for Beyond Beer at Anheuser-Busch. Buchanan oversees the marketing for everything that does not fall in the category of beer and, as such, has a massive portfolio full of product categories that require different marketing approaches!
We start our conversation with Buchanan's background in the alcohol industry and the horror story that forced her to become an expert cocktail creator. Then Buchanan discusses what it's like working with such an extensive portfolio of products and why she loves it. "With every different category, I get to think differently in terms of the consumer," Buchanan says.
At Beyond Beer, all the separate teams have the same goal, "create an innovation that really fits the needs and the wants of the consumer in the different moments." Buchanan then breaks down different marketing techniques that help them connect with consumers on an emotional level, because at the end of the day, "the most powerful brands are the ones that make you feel something."
We then discuss how Buchanan's time working on Bon Viv and her experience from traveling Europe after college helped her learn how to pivot with the changes in front of her. Lastly, Buchanan dives into the BLM movement and the importance of changing your marketing strategies with the world's continually shifting landscape. "If you don't evolve with the consumer, you're going to get left behind!"
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Lana bought a puppy during the pandemic. 1:33
During her time at Campari, Lana was forced to learn how to create a smattering of classic cocktails. 2:15
Lana currently handles everything that is not in the category of beer at Anheuser-Busch. 4:30
With so many categories, Lana chooses to take a consumer-first approach when handling her extensive portfolio. 5:33
Between categories, there are similar marketing frameworks that are used, each having its subtle differences. 6:49
Innovation goes beyond just the business opportunities in growing categories, and Lana must find out what factors are driving that growth. 8:28
Each team keeps a vision board that includes both the short and long-term goals. 10:10
Through small-market tests, each team does their best to see if they can connect to the consumer. 10:38
Small tests are still brewed in the full tanks but are strictly tested in very small regions for months at a time. 11:34
Next year, on top of launching big campaigns, Lana's team will be conducting 4 or 5 small tests. 12:22
When it comes to marketing alcohol, connecting with the consumer at an emotional level is an incredibly important goal. 14:00
Knowing your target and what they want is one of the most powerful things a marketer can have. 15:42
Wherever a drink lies on the spectrum, they all have the same goal of connecting with the consumer. 16:32
Social Club is one of the projects that Lana is most proud of because it challenged the standards that have been created in its category. 17:14
The business dynamics have already changed 4 or 5 times this year alone because of the pandemic. 19:35
During her time at Bon Viv, Lana learned how to pivot a marketing plan to connect with what's important at present. 20:20
With a safety-first mindset, traditional sampling has been adjusted so that consumers can have the experience. 22:41
Don't be afraid to pivot when something doesn't feel right. 23:52
After graduation, Lana decided to pass up on multiple job prospects to travel around Europe and get closer to her Russian background. 24:57
Lana looks back and wishes she had stopped to celebrate the wins more. 26:34
Lana recognizes the importance of the BLM movement and works to implement change in her team. 29:37
Too many marketers and agencies are afraid to recognize the change in the world and refuse to evolve. 30:48
ThirdLove Agility and Empowerment through Tough Times with co-founder Heidi Zak
On this 237th episode of "Marketing Today," host Alan Hart speaks with Heidi Zak, the co-founder and CEO of ThirdLove, the 3rd largest online bra and underwear company in the United States. Zak is passionate about making sure all women feel comfortable in their underwear, no matter their shape or size.
Our conversation starts with a glimpse of Zak's past, growing up in a town of just 3,000 people and working at a farmers market. After college, Zak finally found her way to the Big Apple while working in an investment bank's retail division. Zak then talks about the cushy job with Google that pulled her out west, the same cushy job that she decided to leave to start ThirdLove. In a market dominated by men, Zak had a hard time finding investors for her women's bra and underwear company, that is until some men were able to see the "opportunity to do things differently in all aspects."
We then dive into the challenges presented by COVID that forced ThirdLove to "cut back on marketing expenses to focus on efficiency." Zak then tackles the issue of creating content when the world is shut down, claiming, "as a marketer, you're constantly in the cycle of content creation, but sometimes you might not maximize the assets that you've already created." Lastly, Zak discusses ThridLove's support of entrepreneurs with its TL Effect program in an attempt to show everyone that "you can support causes through what you show to the world!"
Highlights from this week's "Marketing Today":
Heidi grew up in a 3,000-person town just outside of Niagara Falls and learned a lot from her time working at a farmers market. 1:41
It wasn't until after college that Heidi found her way to the retail group at an investment bank in NYC. 3:01
Like most college graduates, Heidi had no idea what she wanted to do after school. 4:09
Banking served as an excellent entryway for Heidi to understand basic business skills that she used to build her own company. 4:32
Heidi made the switch to the operations side out of a desire to learn more about operating a retail business. 5:12
A job at Google brought Heidi out to the West Coast, where she got her first taste of entrepreneurship and the startup industry. 5:50
Heidi quit her job at Google to start ThirdLove with her husband after seeing a need in the market. 6:40
It was difficult to raise seed money for ThirdLove in a world dominated by men at the time. 7:31
When COVID hit, ThirdLove hunkered down and prepared for the worst-case scenario. 8:49
The market for bras has changed a little as more and more people have started working from home. 10:24
ThirdLove had to cut back the most in the Television marketing sector while becoming more efficient in all other sectors. 11:38
In the last month or two, ThirdLove has been able to reinvest in mid to upper-funnel marketing. 12:30
Heidi is always testing out new markets to see where the potential lies for innovation. 13:00
Creating content became trickier when COVID hit, forcing ThirdLove to do things differently with the same stuff. 14:25
Leveraging content from customers and the team has allowed the brand to connect with its audience. 15:32
With so many social movements going on in today's society, ThirdLove has put the elements of inclusivity and diversity at the company's forefront. 16:55
TL Effect supports a new-business female founder of color by providing mentorship, a monetary grant, and promotion through ThirdLove. 17:55
Kyutee Nails was the first winner of the TL Effect and provides unique nail services while many salons are shut down. 20:02
Competitive gymnastics during her childhood showed Heidi the power of dedication and determination. 21:45
Just like Alan, Heidi struggled with how the apparel industry makes its clothing around these one-fit models. 23:14
If Heidi could go back, she would focus more on the moment and less on the future. 25:35
ThirdLove has been c