As empowered consumers and technology shift brand power, pressure on a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) or Chief Content Officer (CCO) has never been greater. Who better to talk about the challenges facing a CMO or CCO than Jonathan Copulsky. He has held both positions at Deloitte, so he knows a thing or two about resilience.
Surprisingly, the CMO role itself is relatively new. Jonathan contributes this to the importance of growth and marketing to an organization, but also the changing nature of the position. He says, “the CMO role is challenging, yet fun,” and involves five marketing strains of DNA:
Brian and Natalie ask Jonathan about expectations, dealing with our omnichannel reality and how to demonstrate value to the CEO. He acknowledges expectations are high and its all about results. “It’s the job of the CMO to be the voice of the customer, but it requires a strategy from the outside-in.”
Jonathan sees one of the very first and best examples of content marketing in Michelin. The French tire company created a guide to restaurants to encourage car trips.
Flash forward and today, anyone with a digital device can create and publish content. However, great content marketing requires more than just content generation.
At Deloitte, content marketing is thought leadership. “This allows us to take our capabilities or expertise and frame them through the lens of problems our clients are trying to solve,” says Copulsky. “However, the value needs to be in the content, not the advertising.”
Hence, it’s the job of a CCO is to distribute content using all the great tools available to marketers and maximize exposure.
Jonathan shares a few successes during his career at Deloitte including, the “Confidence Campaign,” and first ever massive open online course on 3D printing. He also talks about the importance of social responsibility at Deloitte in the areas of education, veterans and health and human services.
What’s next for Jonathan? Well, you’ll have to listen to find out. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this latest Brand Lab Series™ episode.
To hear episode 31 with Jonathan on brand insurgents click here.
To listen to other episodes visit us in iTunes.READ FULL TRANSCRIPT
This week we’re excited to have back Jonathan Copulsky from Deloitte. We’re going to talk about the evolving role of the Chief Marketing Officer, as well as the Chief Content Officer.
So, Jonathan, welcome back.
Delighted to be back, glad to be here again.
Thank you. So, last time we had you on the podcast, we talked about your wonderful book, “Brand Resilience.” This week I’d like to talk a little bit about the evolving marketing and brand landscape, and look at some of the changing roles facing today’s chief marketing officers as well as chief content officers. You’ve worn both those hats and several others at Deloitte.
So, over the course of your career and over the course of time, how have you started to see the role of the CMO, or the expectations of the CMO evolve?
So, if we were sitting here having this conversation 20 years ago, and you used the word CMO, nobody would know what you were talking about, because it was very rare that people even had that title. So, I think the CMO title or the Chief Marketing Officer title, like many other C-suite titles, it’s relatively new. And I think that represents both an important recognition of the role of marketing to the success of an organization, really the focus on growth. But also, the changing nature of that role where a CMO, somebody who used to be called an SVP or EVP of marketing, is now not just about the marketing activities, but really about managing the entire customer relationship. And this has happened in the context of a world which is increasingly more digital, and increasingly powered by data, and powered by analytics, and increasing focus on the customer experience.
So, building on exactly that point, brands are so much bigger now than just a marketing function. As brands continue to evolve beyond just marketing, how can a CMO impact customer experience, or help fuel employee advocacy, or influence some of the technology that’s so critical for brands today?
So, several years ago, a colleague and I wrote an article about the DNA of marketers, and we said there are five strands of the DNA. Number one is about customer experience and managing, maximizing, and optimizing the customer experience. Strand number two is about analytics, and really bringing data to bear to understand more about the customer, about his or her buying behavior, his or her motivations, and his or her interactions with the brand. Strand number three is about the brand, building that brand itself, the creative expression of that brand, and the interesting imaginative ways in which people are activating the brand to bring it to life. Strand number four is about enabling sales and helping salespeople, whether those are people in B2C or B2B contact to be more successful. And strand number five is about really driving innovation, driving individual products, and helping those products to come to market. So, in our mind a CMO has various elements of all those five strands. An individual CMO in an individual company may lean more heavily into one of those five strands than others, but the composite of those is what makes the CMO job so challenging but also so much fun.
Just to follow up on that, do you think that sometimes the expectations are too great on CMOs today?
Well certainly, if you look at the average tenure of a CMO, that would suggest that the expectations are very high, because in some ways a CMO becomes really the individual, more so than any other Senior Executive in a company, who gets tagged with the expectations for growth. And companies that are not growing as quickly as they promise their investors and shareholders in the street, it is often the CMO who takes the bullet.
It seems like every day is just a new game, our world moves so fast now. So how can marketers adapt to this omni general reality?
So, I think that it’s a job of the marketer, of the CMO, to be the voice of the customer. And it was funny, as I was thinking about speaking with the two of you today, I went to my bookshelf and there’s a great book that a friend of mine co-authored several years ago called “Strategy From The Outside In: Profiting From Customer Value.” They say that the important thing for marketers is always thinking outside-in, as opposed to inside-out. And very simply, inside-out says we can do this because we have the capabilities, we have the expertise, we have the experience. Outside-in says, we can do this because the customer really needs this, and if we deliver this, it will create tremendous value for the customers. I think it’s a job of the CMO to be that voice for the customer, represent that outside-in view, and make sure that the other members of the executive team are lining up their activities to support that outside-in view.
Okay. How does marketing demonstrate value to the C-suite?
Results. It really focuses on the outcomes. What are the things that they are trying to change and move? Some of those outcomes are obviously gonna be sales and growth, but some of those outcomes may be about the ability to introduce and gain acceptance for new products. In some cases, some of the outcomes may be about expanding the brand permission that that individual brand has. So, I talked in our prior discussion about Virgin and its success in going from record stores to airlines, to financial services. Those are outcomes which drive growth but also change radically what the brand promises. I think marketers are very good at understanding the outcomes that they’re trying to drive, and then being the drivers in making those outcomes come to pass.
One of the things that you mentioned a couple of minutes ago was also the role of technology with today’s CMO, and technology have obviously helped brands better connect with consumers, or their customers in the B2B space. What has been the biggest benefit you’ve seen in this shift as a global marketer?
I’ll go back to that outside-in view because certainly, marketers are using technology to make their processes more efficient and more effective. We’re using marketing for campaign management, for marketing resource management, to do our budget, and really to drive a different way, a more efficient way, a faster way for us to do business. But from the outside-in, it’s really about what does technology deliver to customers, and why the customers find that technology of value to them when they’re on the receiving end. And well done technology is critical to helping companies personalize their products, or their services, or their offering, and really customizing and tailoring things, so that what the customer gets is something that fits them well as opposed to something that fits the company or somebody else well.
And so, that ability to gather data about when you shop, how you shop, what you buy, what you look at, done well, creates an incredible customer experience. One done poorly seems intrusive, clumsy, and in some ways, degrades the customer experience because it’s not really talking about what the customer needs, but how the company stands. Many of us have seen re-marketing, and re-targeting on websites when you look at a pair of shoes, and then every single time you go back to any website, you’re seeing those ads for shoes over and over again. I don’t know about you, as a very well dressed and very well-heeled individual, but I don’t buy shoes more than every six months or so. And so, I bought the shoes, stop sending me the ads for the shoes because what seems like it’s based on some personal habits, just becomes intrusive.
Thank you for the compliment. I experience that a lot when I’m trying to book travel, where it’s like, “Okay, I already have my hotel, I don’t need another hotel.” And it just keeps going and going. But kinda building on this outside-in, it is the next generation in building customer experience from the outside in. How do you see that playing out with brands?
Well, kind of at the basic level. Customers have as much to say about your brand as you do. An individual CMO, or an organization no longer owns the brand, it’s what the customers say about the brand that matters more. What we see is that co-creation of our brand, whether we want to or not, and the whole idea of customer reviews is just one very simple example, but all of us partake in that. Now, there are some brands which have done an absolutely terrific job of calling customers into a more proactive form of co-creation. And I think about businesses like GoPro, and what a terrific job they have of collecting, soliciting, and building this great archive of all these wonderful experiences that people have had with this terrific product, which really helps them to show what the product does, how it works, seeing through the eyes of customers.
Let’s also talk about a different hat that you’ve worn at Deloitte, which is the Chief Content Officer. Much like we hear a lot about customer experience with marketing today, content has become such a constant in the marketing world the last few years as well. Are there really differences with the Chief Content Officer role and the Chief Marketing Officer role, and if so, how do you see those?
You know, it’s interesting, Brian. The American Marketing Association and other organizations have done surveys, and content marketing consistently appears as one of the top hot-button topics among marketers. And I kid around. I’m a historian by training. I used to teach history in high school, and I remind people that one of the very first, and still one of the best examples of content marketing, was that in a tire company in France, Michelin, decided to produce guides to restaurants in France as a way of encouraging people to take car trips and essentially use tires that they’ve came to replace. So, it’s not a new thing, but I think what’s happened over the last couple of years, is people have rediscovered it and people, particularly in a digital world, have come up with very creative ways to express that. So, one of my favorite examples is Red Bull and what they’ve done with the videos that they put on their website and create that excitement about what the brand is.
Now for us at Deloitte, content marketing is what we call thought leadership. And it’s a way for us to take what we do, our capabilities, and our expertise, and frame them through the lens of problems that our clients are trying to solve. So, it’s not about talking about us directly, but it’s about saying, what’s a critical problem? Digital transformation, for example, that our customers or clients are trying to attack, how can we get them insights about that problem, which then of course lend themselves to services that we can ultimately provide. But the value needs to be in the content, not in the advertising or marketing. Now as a marketer, my job is to take the content that gets created and make sure it gets disseminated and distributed using all the great tools that are available to marketers, from social media, to publishing platforms, to other types of marketing tools, that make sure things get distributed in a way that maximizes exposure to potential clients, talent, analysts, and so forth.
Jonathan, I’m sure our listeners are very interested in hearing more about your amazing career over there at Deloitte. What has been your most memorable brand successes there?
So, the first is that many of the people who do know Deloitte tend to associate us with our legacy business, and that’s Accounting and Auditing. We’re very proud of that legacy. We’ve been in business under various brand names for over 100 years, auditing some of the greatest companies in the world. If you look at one of the big areas of growth though, it’s in our Consulting and Advisory businesses. And every other year we do a brand tracking study, and four years ago when we did our brand tracking study, one of the things that became loud and clear to us was the awareness of the growth businesses; our Advisory and Consulting was way below the awareness of our Audit business. And we made a decision that we would have a master brand called Deloitte.
So, we decided that we wanted to launch an advertising campaign, really with the goal of heightening awareness of our consulting business. And we worked with an outside agency. We’re very happy with the agency’s work with us, and we worked, internally, across all parts of our Consulting business, and came up with a campaign which we called internally the Confidence Campaign. This was not a tagline, you didn’t see it on any of the ads. But it was really about how Deloitte, in our Consulting business, in our Advisory business, helps clients to have the confidence to move forward when it comes to tackling the most complex, the most complicated, the most disruptive problems. And they would have the confidence to get the results they need and also achieve those results in a time frame and at a budget that made sense. So, we did it, through a series of very different looking ads; they were bold, differently colored, they look completely different than all of our competitors.
And net result was the next time we ran the survey two years later, we discovered that in fact, the awareness gap have narrowed considerably, really within a small percentage point difference between the awareness of our Audit business and our Consulting business. So, to me that was an absolute terrific win for us, for our business, for our people, so that when people run into folks from Deloitte they still sometimes say, “Are you a CPA?” But not all the time.
A second thing, was in my chief content officer role. We really built a campaign around a particular problem, which was 3D printing. And we ran through a series of thought pieces, white papers, interactive graphics and so forth. But one of my proudest achievements was that we did the first ever Massive Open Online Course or MOOC on this topic. And it was a great example of bringing new platforms, new ways of looking at a subject versus a 20-page, 5,000-word white paper to help clients understand a problem, and what they could do about it. And I guess the greatest compliment that we got was one of our clients, which was the Defense Department Procurement Agency, asked if they could license that MOOC so they could use it to train all of their professionals who procure products and services for defense related agencies.
Well, congratulations. Those are great examples, the stories will really illustrate for our listeners what you do. But you did mention that you were a history teacher, that interested me a little bit. Is there a failure or disappointment from your career that you could share with us to help our listeners understand maybe what they can do at this point in their marketing with their companies?
I don’t know if I would put this in the category of failure or disappointment as much a constant challenge. When we talked last time about brand resilience, I said the single most important step a company could take was really helping employees to understand its narrative, its mission, its story. And I’d say that’s never ending. It’s not like, “Okay, every employee got it and we’re done.” Because as I mentioned when we spoke last time, we have a constant share of employees. We have people who were employees, now alums, we have people who are prospected and so forth. And literally, there are over 100,000 people that we talk to every year about joining us, of whom we ultimately hire about 15,000 of those individuals.
You can never be satisfied, at least I can never be satisfied, that we’ve got every employee just perfectly queued up, and scripted in a way that feels natural to them. People are entrepreneurial, so they hesitate to read the script. They need to internalize the message, they need to internalize the narrative and be able to say it in words that they feel strongly about but is consistent across literally thousands of employees. So less of a failure, more of a constant challenge, something that you need to be vigilant about.
Speaking of entrepreneurs, I had the chance to meet you through the Veteran Entrepreneur Community. Why is it important to Deloitte, or you personally, to be involved with veteran organizations like the Bunker Labs, and all the other communities you serve around the world? Why is that important to you?
Jonathan: We have three areas that we focus on in terms of our social responsibility. One is education, the second is veterans, and third is health and human services. In all three areas, we really try to help underserved populations get access to opportunities that they might not otherwise have. The common theme, in these areas of corporate social responsibility, is helping underserved populations get access to opportunities they might not otherwise have. Veterans fall squarely within that. We hire a lot of veterans and we work with lot of organizations including the VA and the various defense agencies that serve veterans as well as serving the mission of protecting the United States.
Many of us are either veterans or have family members who are. In my case, my dad was a Word War II veteran. My father-in-law worked his entire life with the Air Force. My dad is buried in Arlington along with my mom. It has some personal resonance for me as well. We got involved with the Bunker Labs, and as you said Brian, this is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization, focused on helping veterans start businesses. We like that for any number of reasons. We have committed to helping startups be successful, and those are businesses which one day may be Fortune 50, Fortune 10 companies. We started auditing Microsoft when it was a privately held company, and they are right now one of our biggest audit clients in the world, because we stuck with them when they were a startup. The relationship happened through a personal connection in that case.
What we like about Bunker Labs is that they’ve changed the narrative about veterans. Many of the veterans’ organizations are talking about how we owe a debt to veterans and we need to give back to veterans. I don’t think that’s the narrative at all for Bunker Labs. Bunker Labs is about helping veterans understand that the set of skills and experiences that they’ve had in the military will serve them well in the entrepreneurial world, and we agree with that. We are aligned with an organization like the Bunker Labs, which is trying to change the narrative in a way that benefits society, benefits the veterans, benefits the community here in Chicago, as well as the other communities where Bunker Labs is building its chapters.
Well, I know we’ve had Todd Conner on our show and he speaks so highly of you. As a mentor, I see some of the work behind the scenes and I appreciate that. So just a final question, if I may. I know you’re coming up on, potentially, the end of a very incredible career at Deloitte. You have retirement in your sights. You’re a global marketer, a global traveler, you’re a husband, you’re a father, you’re a teacher. Will you ever slow down and what does your retirement actually look like?
That’s a great question. As I think you and I have spoken about when we got together before the show, I retire June 3rd, 2017, which is a mandatory retirement date for me. So, I’ve known about this for a long time, so it’s not completely coming out of the blue. Right now, my plan is primarily teaching. I teach at the Business School at Northwestern as well as teaching Integrated Marketing Communications. I plan to teach more. For me, it’s incredibly rewarding. Teaching forces you to think back and say, “So, when I have to boil down all the experiences that I’ve had, what’s the essence of what I’ve learned and how can I help other people to be better equipped as they set forth in the early stages of their careers?” I think about taking those skills, taking those frameworks, taking that expertise, and helping them, maybe to accelerate just a little bit, the same way that you talked about mentoring people at Bunker Labs. So that’s the plan and then, travel. As you know, I recently came back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and I’m thinking about what’s next.
Okay. That’s great and I’m excited to hear and see what’s next in your journey. Again, Jonathan, I thank you so much for your time. You’re so busy; for you to give us a little bit of your time I know is incredibly precious. I think what you’ve talked about on both of our podcasts will just be insightful for all of our listeners and so, thank you, Jonathan. I really appreciate that.
Well, Brian, Natalie, thank you very much for having me.
Tags: B2B, Financial Services, Technology, Brand and Marketing, Customer Experience
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