CMO Briefing No. 10: Are you ready to lead digital disruption?

This CMO Briefing from Egon Zehnder’s Dick Patton and Rory Finlay explores the leadership implications of this year’s Kellogg Summit topic: “Exceeding Market Growth Through Digital Disruption.”

Dick Patton

Dick Patton Egon Zehnder, Boston

Angus (Rory) Finlay

Angus (Rory) Finlay Egon Zehnder, Chicago

On October 1-2, 2014, Egon Zehnder, McKinsey & Company, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management jointly hosted the fourth annual Kellogg Marketing Leadership Summit. This CMO Briefing from Egon Zehnder’s Dick Pattonand Rory Finlay explores the leadership implications of this year’s Kellogg Summit topic: “Exceeding Market Growth Through Digital Disruption.”

The possibilities literally are boundless, yet many senior marketers are apprehensive about how to harness digital. They are not native users, are unclear about how to leverage the masses of data available, and find it difficult to deal with the required speed and frequency of content. Collectively, the esteemed speakers and panelists at the 2014 Kellogg Marketing Leadership Summit pointed to two keys to leading digital disruption:

1. Don’t Let Digital Push You Around. Don’t fear digital disruption. Leverage new digital channels to tell the right stories to the right people at the right time.

2. Unlock Potential — in yourself and your team. Marketing organizations that stretch and quickly evolve will excel in the tech-savvy, innovative, consumer-centric digital arena, where the future redefines itself daily.

Marketers must move faster to keep pace with digital disruption:

  • Be aware that we no longer live in TV homes — we live in technology homes.
  • Understand that digital now represents nearly 50 percent of daily consumer media consumption yet receives only 27 percent of marketing spend.
  • Remember that media fragmentation, combined with information overload, makes breakthrough (recall) increasingly challenging.
  • Recognize that the Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) number one job is good storytelling of the brand: The customer now is your partner in this, not your target.
  • Know that creative cuts through clutter when you associate your brand with stories that consumers find personally meaningful or provocative.
  • Embrace data to understand your market’s passions and aspirations. Leverage data to be predictive and hyper relevant.
  • Be “channel agnostic.” Engage people on the right device at the right time.
  • Understand that digital disruption demands a new species of CMO.
  • Consider that everything is changing. Your approach to marketing leadership must change as well.
  • Embrace risk and innovation, but don’t let the “how” overtake the “what.” You still need to convey a great story, a good solution, a belief, a soul.
  • Assign meaningful budgets to increase digital presence.
  • Make recruiting, nurturing and retaining marketing talent strategic business objectives.
  • Engage internally—or external engagement will fail.Actively reshape your marketing culture to make it much more open to trying approaches you’ve never tried before.

Elements of Leadership Potential

curiosity Seeks out new experiences, ideas, knowledge and self- improvement. Constantly refreshes self on the intellectual, experiential and personal level. Proactively seeks feedback and changes behavior in response.

insight Makes sense of a vast range of information, often discovering insights that, when applied, frequently transform past views or set new directions (creates vision).

engagement Resonates with others’ emotions and motivations, sharing a sense of purpose and caring. Genuinely connects with the hearts and minds of others.

determination Remains resilient in the face of challenges and setbacks. Enacts self-discipline and channels emotions to persevere. Looks for disconfirming evidence of conviction.

Your past experience can be overrated. Focus on potential.

In an environment experiencing such profound transformation, the sum total of what you and your team have learned from the past has limited relevance for achieving success in marketing’s present and future. That means as a marketing leader, you need to consciously move beyond teaching (and rewarding) execution of tried-and- true formulas toward creating a fertile environment for experimentation, innovation and rapid personal/professional growth, thus giving yourself and your team room to realize much more of your potential.

This process begins with systematically identifying and nurturing potential within marketing’s ranks.

Potential can be objectively identified, according to Egon Zehnder’s research, by assessing the degree to which leaders demonstrate four personal traits: curiosity, insight, engagement and determination.

Assessing leadership potential can be accomplished with a predictive accuracy of around 85 percent, according to data on the careers of thousands of executives assessed using an empirically validated model developed and refined by Egon Zehnder over the past two decades.

By pursuing talent acquisition, development and management strategies that base important talent decisions on leadership potential, as well as performance and competencies, CMOs can help their teams effectively lead digital disruption and create impact for the brand and for the organization.

Dick Patton

Dick Patton Egon Zehnder, Boston

Angus (Rory) Finlay

Angus (Rory) Finlay Egon Zehnder, Chicago

Connect with us

  • Find a consultant
    Select an office
    • Amsterdam
    • Athens
    • Atlanta
    • Bangalore
    • Barcelona
    • Beijing
    • Berlin
    • Bogotá
    • Boston
    • Bratislava
    • Brussels
    • Budapest
    • Buenos Aires
    • Calgary
    • Chicago
    • Copenhagen
    • Dallas
    • Dubai
    • Düsseldorf
    • Frankfurt
    • Geneva
    • Hamburg
    • Helsinki
    • Hong Kong
    • Houston
    • Istanbul
    • Jakarta
    • Jeddah
    • Johannesburg
    • Kuala Lumpur
    • Lisbon
    • London
    • Los Angeles
    • Luxembourg
    • Lyon
    • Madrid
    • Malmö
    • Melbourne
    • Mexico
    • Miami
    • Milan
    • Montreal
    • Moscow
    • Mumbai
    • Munich
    • New Delhi
    • New York
    • Oslo
    • Palo Alto
    • Paris
    • Prague
    • Rio de Janeiro
    • Rome
    • San Francisco
    • Santiago
    • São Paulo
    • Seoul
    • Shanghai
    • Singapore
    • Stockholm
    • Stuttgart
    • Sydney
    • Tel Aviv
    • Tokyo
    • Toronto
    • Vienna
    • Warsaw
    • Washington DC
    • Zurich
    Select an expertise
    • Executive Search
    • Board Consulting
    • CEO Practice
    • Executive Assessment and Development
    • Family Business Advisory
    • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Accelerated Integration
    • Financial Officers
    • Human Resources
    • Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    • Legal, Regulatory & Compliance Professionals
    • Chief Marketing Officers
    • Supply Chain
    • Sustainability
    • Communications and Public Affairs Officers
    • Consumer
    •     Consumer Products
    •     Media, Entertainment & Sports
    •     Retail, Apparel and Luxury Goods
    • Financial Services
    •     Asset Management
    •     Retail Financial Services
    •     Investment Banking, Corporate Banking & Markets
    •     Insurance
    •     Private Equity
    •     Wealth Management
    •     Risk Management
    •     Financial Tech
    •     Infrastructure
    •     Sovereign Wealth Funds
    • Health
    • Technology and Communications
    •     Telecommunications
    •     Digital
    •     Systems, Services and Software
    •     Semiconductors
    •     Intelligent Systems
    •     Mobile Devices and Apps
    •     Cyber Security
    •     Big Data
    • Industrial
    •     Automotive and Transportation Equipment
    •     Building Components
    •     Chemical and Process Industries
    •     Energy and CleanTech
    •     Machinery & Industrial Technology
    •     Mining & Metals
    • Services
    •     Transport & Logistics
    •     Travel & Hospitality
    •     Business Services
    •     Real Estate Services
    •     Professional Services
    • Private Equity
    •     Sovereign Wealth Funds
    • Public and Social Sector
  • Your Career