Friday, July 27th, 2018 | 5 min read
What’s the difference between a top CMO and everyone else?
After reviewing the data from the The World’s Most Influential CMOs 2018 report, jointly published with Forbes, we identified common traits among the top 50 leaders. One quality in particular stood out: problem solving.
Here at Sprinklr, we have a few core values we abide by. One of them is “Fix it, don’t complain” – the idea is that everyone has a role in making our teams and processes better. If anyone sees a problem, then let’s find a solution.
As we read about the top CMOs and their accomplishments, we saw that many follow this same mantra. Faced with hurdles in their own companies (and in some cases, other companies) they throw on a pair of spikes and jump – and then remove the hurdle for future groups.
When JPMorgan Chase CMO Kristin Lemkau encounters a problem, she fixes it. So when she saw that the bank’s online ads were appearing alongside questionable content on YouTube, she knew something had to change.
The bank initially took the direct route, appealing to YouTube to see if the platform could remedy the issue. As a prestigious financial institution, JPMorgan Chase was concerned about the reputational effects of these misplaced ads.
When YouTube couldn’t fix the issue in a timely manner, Lemkau took control of the situation. Her team built 17 filters to narrow down the channels that would receive her company’s ads. This whittled down the possible channels from five million to about 3,000 that were considered safe.
YouTube eventually followed the bank’s lead and introduced the Google Preferred advertising program, which enables brands to have more say in where their ads appear. Thanks to Lemkau’s quick action, Chase didn’t have to wait for these guardrails to be released.
For many people, air travel is an inconvenient convenience. It allows us to travel further and at a faster pace than other methods, but overall it just feels like a burden.
Tim Mapes, SVP of marketing and CMO at Delta, saw the general disdain for flying as an opportunity. With so many airlines to choose from, how could Delta establish itself as a brand that was more customer-focused than others? And what could be done to improve the in-flight experience?
First, he set out to address a few common complaints from average travelers: lackluster food options and limited entertainment. The brand revamped its menu for economy class, and offered a wider selection of in-flight movies to choose from.
It also rolled out an experimental Innovation Class, in which travelers could be seated next to prominent thought leaders on their way to industry events. Along the way, the thought leaders would serve as “mentors,” discussing their ideas and projects and then taking their seatmates with them to their destinations.
By adding a level of exclusivity and interest to the experience, Delta reimagined why and how people fly.
Fixing a problem first requires a leader to acknowledge that a problem exists. Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.
In the case of airline food, barring a foodborne illness outbreak, there typically isn’t a “problem,” so much as an expectation. People don’t expect to enjoy the food they are offered on a plane. If you surprise and delight customers with a more gourmet experience, they’ll be more likely to remember the overall flight more positively.
In your own company, look for products and processes that can be improved upon. Listening to customer feedback and measuring sentiment is a great way to find areas for improvement. Even around the office, fix that broken copier and re-fill that empty napkin dispenser. You’ll thank yourself later (along with everyone else).
[See more examples of CMOs solving problems in The World’s Most Influential CMOs report]
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