Larry Weber is chairman and CEO of Racepoint Global, an advanced marketing services agency. He previously founded Weber Shandwick, the world's largest PR firm. He is the chairman of the board of directors of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), the world's largest Internet marketing association. Weber is a frequent public speaker on the future of marketing, the social Web, and the building of online communities. He is also the author of five books on marketing, technology, and leadership.
Lisa Leslie Henderson is a writer, educator and consultant, specializing in marketing, creativity, innovation, and social entrepreneurship.
I invited Larry and Lisa to Marketing Smarts to talk about their most recent book, The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
Native advertising can enhance the customer experience, if it's well designed (04:51) [Lisa]: "What I'm hoping it looks like going forward is that it takes the Hippocratic oath, which is 'do no harm.' The key thing right now in marketing is creating great customer experience, and [native advertising] all revolves around the customer: It doesn't injure them, it doesn't annoy them. It makes them happy and delight[ed] and serves their needs. As long as native advertising—which is essentially advertising that looks like content and it's in a native environment so it looks like it belongs there, it's not a display ad, but sort of a news feed—as long as its serving the customer and it's interesting and it makes them happy, it's terrific. I'm concerned, though, that with a lot of dollars going into digital marketing...companies will not take the time to create the great content, and will just go with what they've traditionally known, which is a more advertising-oriented approach, which I think would do harm in the end."
Maintain an active social presence, so you can be part of the conversation about your brand that happens on third party websites (14:10) [Larry]: The way that prospective students research schools using third-party sites rather than university websites "is analogous to what corporations are facing, too. They pour all this money into fancy websites, and then people are learning more about your company in other places. That's why you have to have a sophisticated social strategy."
As the C-Suite evolves, we should see more CMOs become CEOs (17:08) [Larry]: "I think CMOs...are finally staying longer than just 18 months in their job. I think, second, we're getting other titles that have very similar responsibilities of the CMO, which are chief customer officer, customer experience officer, these kinds of things. I even think the head of service should be reporting into the CMO, and I think what else should be reporting in to the CMO is a bifurcated part of Information Technology, because there's going to be two groups of that. One I would call the infrastructure side of the technology, which the CMO shouldn't be overseeing, and that would be your security, your internal kinds of things, controlling energy, lights, the cloud, etc. But, on the side of software and innovation technologies that help keep you closer to your customer, from IBM to Salesforce to Pega, to the marketing automation companies like Marketo, Eloqua (which was acquired by Oracle), and HubSpot here in Boston. Those are all...software that helps you streamline your marketing to connect with the customers in a regular and thoughtful and engaging way, and I think the CMO should have that direction. I think you're also going to see, in the next few years, CMOs actually become CEOs for the first time...because of their deep understanding of the customer."
Your Rx for content strategy: go for the minimum effective dose (24:21) [Lisa]: "The idea of the minimum amount is there's just too much noise out there. Part of it is people create stuff that doesn't have a lot of relevance. There's a two-pronged approach: (1) don't create anything that doesn't need to be created, and (2) make sure whatever you create is extremely relevant, that it is contextualized...that it reflects who that particular customer is...in a way that makes really good sense for them. It reflects their past behaviors, the things they might have done and seen and downloaded on your website. You want to give them materials that reflect the knowledge they already have, and not be redundant."
Larry, Lisa, and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
This episode brought to you by the MarketingProfs Professional Development Program.
Music credit: Noam Weinstein.
Larry Weber, chairman and CEO of Racepoint Global, and Lisa Leslie Henderson, writer, educator, and consultant. Larry and Lisa-co-wrote The Digital Marketer: Ten New Skills You Must Learn to Stay Relevant and Customer-Centric.