I’m currently working on a report around how to hire and retain good digital talent. So the CMO panel featuring Brian Lauber of OneAmerica, Jared Blank of Tommy Hilfiger, and Chris Krohn of Restaurant.com that addressed hiring and staffing was music to my ears. A few takeaways on how to nurture your digital employees:
*Create an emotional connection between employees and your brand. This helps to brand your company externally. OneAmerica CMO Brian Lauber finds that “Your employees are your best branding. He tells every single employee that they are the brand. “I tell them to look like it, act like it, talk like it.” Every day. In everything they do.
*Don’t rely on HR to do everything alone. Creating a strong digital organization isn’t just about having good recruiters. It’s about creating a culture that employees feel part of and proud of. And this lands on managers to create. Chris Krohn of Restaurant.com says his role has two primary components: 1) Make sure the marketing strategy is clear; 2) Make sure we have the right people doing the right things.
*Create benefits beyond financial compensation. Tommy Hilfiger employees get discounts off of clothes. And buyers of media and of clothes get 10% of their regular budgets to play with. “We want people who are passionate about clothes. And about our clothes. So we give them a reason to buy our things for themselves. And we make them accountable for 90% of their budget. The other 10% they can spend on whatever they think is cool.”
I’m co-presenting next week at Forrester’s first-ever CIO/CMO Forum with my colleague Craig Symons, a VP and Principal Analyst from Forrester’s IT client group. We’re hosting a discussion around how to budget for marketing technology purchases. So it was perfect to hear Robert Stephens, the CTO of Best Buy, talk at the Exact Target Connections Conference about the role he plays in Best Buy’s marketing innovations. Stephens is the technology mastermind behind all of Best Buy’s industry-leading efforts like Twelpforce — its Twitter-based customer service organization. Here are a few sound bites from Stephens’ presentation:
“My job is to transform trends into reality for us.” Stephens talked about his close relationship with Barry Judge, Best Buy’s CMO. They meet regularly to swap ideas and co-support innovations. And Stephens doesn’t view any imbalance in the “power” either of them has over Best Buy decisions. He’s actually come up with his own share of “marketing” ideas; for example, he came up with the Geek Squad in his lean college years. In his words, “When you don’t have any money, everything is marketing.” I think this perspective makes sense even when firms *do* have money. What if every employee — including IT ones — thought about all of their moves as marketing ones? That is ways to create a product, culture, and experience that promotes your firm above all others.
Carol Bartz was fired by phone from her post as CEO of Yahoo! in what must have been a Trump-worthy conversation with Roy Boystock, Yahoo!'s Chairman of the Board. Tim Morse, Yahoo!'s current CFO will act asinterim CEO and part of a larger executive committee to manage Yahoo! operations until a replacement CEO is found.
I like Yahoo! And I was optimistic about Bartz taking the reins from Yahoo!'s founder Jerry Yang, as I thought it signaled an desire by Yahoo! to aggressively course correct its languishing strategy. But now I'm just disappointed. Three more years have passed and Yahoo! is the same sinking ship it was when Bartz took the reins. Here is my take on Yahoo!'s situation. Yahoo!:
Has terrific online advertising capabilities. The online opportunity is *still* a huge and growing one; we project interactive marketing will near $77 billion by 2016. Yahoo! has tremendous traffic and user engagement globally which populates its monster user database that it is a pro at mining on advertisers' behalfs. It's ad labs scale testing and optimization. Its reach and available inventory is massive. And its ad marketplace is making real-time ad buying mainstream.