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Crystal Ball

We asked CMOs of 15 top consumer brands to predict how digital media and technology will impact brand marketing in 2012. The feedback we received ranges from proving that mobile and social are no longer just hype to confirming that content can still be King. Regardless of their point of view on which electronic medium is preferred, the consensus from each CMO is that digital is critical to the survival and success of their brand. In this first series, marketing chiefs from Dominos, Motorola, Progressive and RadioShack explain why mobile is a priority.

It’s not very surprising that Eduardo Conrado, SVP & CMO of Motorola Solutions, is bullish about the effectiveness of mobile. That being said, Conrado feels that 2012 will be the rise of the purpose driving brands. Technology will become critical in sales enablement, bringing marketing and sales even closer in developing customer relationships. “Marketers will move from a focus on ‘product’ to a focus on ‘solutions’ – enabling key experiences for customers,” said Conrado. And mobile is a key enabler.

In just two years, smartphone adoption in the United States has skyrocketed from 18% to 44% and shows no signs of slowing. This represents a significant opportunity to engage consumers at their point of decision, on their terms. Phones are no longer the third screen of interaction – behind televisions and PCs. Increasingly, they are the first screen. Consumers are utilizing cameras, sophisticated apps and other wireless capabilities, including mobile commerce, to guide their purchase decisions in real time.

Lee Applbaum of RadioShack

Lee Applbaum, EVP & CMO at RadioShack, explained to us the brand’s strong heritage in mobile innovation, having sold more than 72 million cellphones since 1986. As smartphones and tablets are becoming the preferred devices shoppers use to research and locate products and services, Applbuam and his team plan to leverage the products they sell as a medium to connect with our customers. “For RadioShack, it is more than a just a commerce opportunity, but actually a brand imperative,” stated Applbaum.

Russell Weiner, CMO of Dominos, is in full agreement that mobile will be imperative this year. “In my opinion, 2012 will become the year where ‘mobile’ moves to the other side of the ampersand in every marketer’s ‘Internet & Mobile strategy’. Mobile will start to lead, not follow a brand’s technical priorities.” According to Weiner, companies have historically thought of web first with regard to their marketing programs. Even at Domino’s, Weiner explains that their web ordering site online has been leading and then followed by iPhone and iPad apps. “So in the past it was, what do we do online and then how do we adapt it for mobile? With many of our new projects, we are now thinking mobile first.”

At Progressive Insurance, their CMO, Jeff Charney, and his team have always been focused on innovation and digital technology, which is proven by their multitude of apps, games and other industry-first mobile technology. “We want bold results. Period. In this uber-competitive marketplace, you don’t get bold results by staying in your comfort zone. Lots of marketers overuse the phrase, ‘be everywhere.’ If you say you’re going to ‘be everywhere’ you’d better really… be everywhere,” stressed Charney. And now that it’s the first screen, mobile is clearly everywhere.

Jeff Charney of Progressive

Charney warned that brands can’t just decide one day to just go mobile or digital: “It’s got to be in your bloodstream as a marketer, your DNA, your MO, ingrained in your culture, like it is in ours. The bold, breakthrough brands that have embraced this years ago will be the ones to be reckoned with – putting up bold, breakthrough numbers – while those brands choosing the more traditional routes might have to settle for results that remain…traditional.”

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by Brandon Gutman
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Brandon is an expert connector and seasoned business development professional. As Principal of Brand Approved, he's led the advisory to become the bridge between brand marketers and best of breed service providers that are reshaping the industry.

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