Chief marketers, entrepreneurs and leaders are putting their heads together to discuss change, creativity and purpose this week in Miami at the 18th annual Forbes CMO Summit.
“We want to do something that’s differentiated and valuable,” Forbes CMO Network Director Seth Matlins said in his opening remarks. “It’s a community conversation.”
This year’s Summit includes ad legends from Jeff Goodby and Dara Treseder to Bing Chen and Deborah Wahl. The stacked lineup of panels, conversations and exclusive networking opportunities has one goal: to think, be and do different.
“Irrelevancy” is a common foe of just about every marketer. Industry experts will explore and discuss the possibilities of keeping brands relevant.
Below is live coverage of the Summit. To join the conversation on social, follow #ForbesCMO.
Human Values Drive What Trends
Leaders are recognizing the impact of worker and consumer values, whether it’s sustainability or flexible work. And values differ across generations.
“It’s important to understand what these generational values are,” said Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll, on stage with The Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema.
Values drive how leaders operate and marketing strategies. Take career advancement as an example. Data from The Harris Poll showed 73% of Millennials think it’s likely the metaverse will provide lucrative career paths and money-making opportunities.
“Web3 isn’t about big tech,” Rodney said. “It’s about access and ownership.”
And with 81% of Gen Z and Millennials thinking ongoing education is core to their ability for financial stability, Rodney points to TikTok as a driver of information. “TikTok is an undercover learning channel.”
Understanding what’s at the core of what people value is key to business success, the duo said.
The Power Of Digital Data
“Irrelevance is the thing we don’t want,” said Ragy Thomas, founder and CEO of Sprinklr, a software company developing costumer experience management for businesses.
Consumers gravitate towards brands that align with their personal interests. Thomas says one way companies can stay on top of consumer’s needs is by harnessing the power of digital data.
Sprinklr conducted a research where they asked people: “what makes a great day?” The data showed breakfast, music, friends and family are general topics that give people joy across the board.
Simple questions and data can reveal what a brand needs to focus on and what communities care about.
“Magic is found at the intersection of expected and unexpected,” says Thomas. “Harness the power of digital data to Listening to the voice of your customers and consumers.
The Forbes Under 30s Shaping Marketing
Founders and Forbes Under 30 founders Bing Chen, Travis Montaque and Lara Vandenberg are harnessing the creator economy and diversity and inclusion to move their businesses forward.
“Marketing moves with the pace of culture,” said Vandenberg, founder and CEO of Publicist, a marketing firm focused on talent.
“Creators are the new startup,” Montaque said. “They’re not just ppl putting content online and entertaining us. They’re shaping culture and determining what products to buy.”
How To Engage And Connect A Brand With A Diverse Community
In a digitalized world, where anyone with a keyboard can influence the destiny of a company, the brands that stand the test of time are those that market to—and with—communities and fans.
The main job of marketers is to create a space to listen and take action on what the community’s interests and needs.
“We’re platforms for social connection,” said David Tinson, CMO of video-game company Electronic Arts. He says the life-simulation videogame Sims introduced a space for the gamer community where their suggestions are heard. These actions have sparked the introduction of customizable hairstyles and pronouns in the game to accurately represent different communities.
How do you identify the community and what they want? Listen. For a company as big as McDonald’s, CMO Tariq Hassan said, “At least 90% of Americans have walked through McDonald’s in the past year.” Opportunities to listen are everywhere.
What Stays the Same? Keeping Consumers At The Heart
Leaders should think of consumers as people first—not their IP address. Instead of business-to-business, think business-to-human. That’s the message JPMorgan Chase CMO Carla Hassan had on stage. People-first strategy can help companies stay relevant to consumers.
Marketing is an ever-changing industry. What stays the same is the consumers and fundamental brand message.
“The reality is there is a ton that’s different,” Hassan said. “What stays the same is the fundamentals. Storytelling, fundamentally, is a way that we connect.”
General Motors Global CMO Deborah Wahl advised brands to know their core and find ways to engage consumers.