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Publicis Sapient CMO: ‘A campaign mindset is no longer relevant’

Teresa Barreira is CMO of digital consultants Publicis Sapient and answers our questions in the latest of Press Gazette’s Marketing Maestro interviews. This series is produced in association with Lead Monitor, New Statesman Media Group’s content-driven marketing arm.

What has been your proudest achievement in your current role?

My first act when I joined digital consultancy Publicis Sapient as CMO three and a half years ago was to relaunch the brand under a unified global strategy. Rather than hiring an external agency, we crowdsourced the design in house and there was amazing enthusiasm and excitement across the company. Everyone wanted to contribute and commit to what we were creating. The result was our new brand that is inclusive, dynamic, brave and people-centric.

But transforming the brand also required a transformation of the marketing function. To be inclusive, dynamic, brave and people-centric, we needed a culture to support it. We created an organisation and team with a culture that embraces those four elements and favours speed over perfection, flexibility over process and empowerment over approvals.

How is the role of the CMO evolving?

CMOs were once custodians of the brand, but that’s changed today.  As the CMO role has evolved, marketing has become a pivotal force for a company’s strategy and to influence its vision.

In the next phase, CMOs will need to be strategic drivers for the business by creating connections across leadership functions and acting like ‘chief collaboration officers’ who unify the company’s strategy across the C-suite.  With the depth of knowledge marketers have on customers and prospective employees, CMOs are more than ever poised to drive growth, strategy and culture with their forward-learning approach. Everything CMOs focus on has a significant influence on the entirety of the company and business.

How important is data in today’s marketing, and how can it be used strategically? 

Data is like oxygen to marketing; we need it to function and without it it’s hard to breathe.  Data has to inform everything. It’s no longer just about insights. For us, data informs everything we do, from thought leadership creation to creative and design development. It is more than simply about evaluating and assessing performance.  Data tells us what’s next. It’s the guiding force.

How important is technology in modern marketing? 

Technology is a critical enabler. If data is oxygen, technology is the forest. Without it, we are missing our building blocks.  But it’s not just important to have the right technology.  The right intent and mindset are required to infuse and embrace a data-informed culture so that every single team member can leverage data across all programs and initiatives.  People and teams need to be skilled to maximise technology, and we need diverse thinking to interpret it in a sophisticated way.

What media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing?

Now that we live in the attention economy, the most powerful connection you can make is to get your audience to opt in to spend time with you.  That means thinking more like a streaming platform.  Much like Netflix, leverage data to learn what your audience wants, deliver on that and use the right mix of media channels to engage your audience.  Engagement requires not just information, but entertainment.  This year, more and more marketers will realise that it’s not about what you want – it’s about what your audience wants.  It will require thinking of new ways and using diverse media channels to encourage audiences to opt in by combining compelling stories, data and entertainment.

What for you is the key to any successful marketing campaign and what actually makes a ‘good lead’?

I avoid using the word campaign because campaigns mark a specific point in time.  They’re ‘one and done’.  Rather, we talk about journeys and how we bring our audience along a lifecycle.  Marketers need to quickly test and innovate and continuously ideate with new initiatives and iterations.  A campaign mindset no longer serves modern marketing.

What are the biggest pain points in a marketing campaign?

A campaign mindset is no longer relevant.  Having a product mindset is a key component to a successful marketing journey – the ability to test, innovate and iterate. When those factors are not present, campaigns aren’t successful. They are ‘one and done’, serve a specific point in time and are not fit for change and innovation.