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Where’s the Beef, Chief? CMO Panel ad:tech

Posted on Jul 12th, 2005
Written by Lee Odden
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    From the challenge of managing hundreds of web sites to modest interactive budgets, the “CMO Panel: Delivering Digitally” session offered excellent insight into how top marketing professionals manage online/offline budgets, agencies and initiatives. Overall, all panelists were fairly satisfied with their performance with opportunities for improvement focusing on either paid search or organic and keen interest in opportunities with blogs.

    Panelists included:

    • Catherine Muriel, CMO of E-LOAN
    • Mike Moore, Director, Purina Interactive Group
    • Steve Pinetti, SVP Marketing, Kimpton Hotel
    • Benjamin Hill, Senior Director, Global Marketing; Motorola

    Moderator Susan Bratton asked the panelists to grade their efforts at leveraging the internet for marketing. Each panelist graded themselves in the “B” range but for a variety of reasons ranging from an emphasis on PPC to search and none on organic and vice versa.

    One of the challenges faced by each marketer was managing large numbers of web sites – ranging from 100 with Purina to over 500 with Motorola. ELOANS has one large web site which still presents challenges in content updates.

    Using outside agencies was critical for each company. Due to the range in size and types of companies represented on the panel, the number of interactive agencies used ranged from a handful to over 30. Each company uses agencies according to their unique needs. ELOANS operates with a “skeleton” marketing staff, so they need to outsource the majority of their interactive work. Kimpton Hotels includes a mix of in house staff, outside agencies and consultants.

    The emerging tactics or “shiny new object” as Susan Bratton called them, often included blogs as well as opportunities with wireless. “Losers” included chat and message boards.

    Most of the panelists were reluctant to reveal actual budget amounts with ELOANS citing $20m plus to Purina at about 5-7% of the overall controllable media budget for interactive.

    In interactive some areas are very measurable, some areas still beg the question, what’s the return?. The panel agreed that more discussions can happen about implementing “cooler” stuff, but not until there’s better measurement possible.

    Succint units of measurement included:

    • Cost per funded loan
    • B2C registrations, B2B leads
    • Engagement – depth of involvement with website
    • Calls from web site 800 numbers, metrics for specific tactics

    The session rounded up with questions from the audience. One question centered on the notion that the percent of spend online is small due to measurement and accountability issues. The panel responses strike true with a lot of my own experiences, especially in cases where any increase in online spending means taking away from offline budgets. In the end, the spend must be proportionate to the return.

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    Tags: adtech, CMO, interactive marketing