“If you could go back 20 years and give your younger self some advice, what would it be?”


Learn how to fail faster. Learn from it and move on.

Don’t be so focused on the ultimate goal of “getting to the top” – enjoy the ride.

– Don’t worry about fitting in. Be yourself. Your true talents and abilities will be revealed as you “enjoy the ride.”

– Learn about the importance of the company’s culture beforehand.

You don’t have to love the topic to love the job. For example, working for a financial institution: You may not be “a finance person” but you can be the Marketing Person.

Be patient. Your time will come. Go to bed earlier.

There is always the ability to create, even within a structured culture.  Develop a scorecard and track what you can.

– When they say they want “a change agent,” get a definition of what that means. How much change? How soon? Using what resources?

– Align your values with your passions.

You will be judged you by your last hire. Surround yourself with smart people who are better than you are in certain areas.

– Remember, people believe they are experts in two areas, their own and Marketing. Even those providing advice “outside of their scope” are in fact consumers and someone’s target market.

Leading Digital Transformation

Delta has moved from 70% traditional and 30% digital to 80% digital and 20% traditional in just a few years. There are many different areas that “touch digital” from digital advertising to the app, to e-commerce. Delta moves 190 million people a year – that is a small city a day.

Branding involves everything from the blankets to the logo shown by resellers.

Delta’s digital goals

  1. Digital Revenue – track as best you can, it is hard to track attribution when you go through a reseller/distributor.
  2. Premium upsells – from a better seat with more legroom to WiFi and airport lounges.
  3. Sky Miles – developing new ways to redeem, because people are racking up miles but not redeeming them.
  4. Brand Preference – there are “battleground markets” like New York City. Delta is now #1 in NYC.

“How does your Marketing department prove relevance, especially with the issues caused by not being able to get a full picture of attribution?”

– Teaching the whole department financial literacy. We are judged by the bottom-line. That is how the company keeps score. You better know the metrics the CEO and CFO consider crucial.

– It is very beneficial when the “C” suite has come up through the ranks of “customer facing” departments. If you have a “C” suite that believes “Brands drive the business,” you should relish your time there.

– There is no more “earned media” in social. Now you must keep the influencers happy, in addition to your customers.

– Social has become the “public suggestion box” and all-too-public “complaints department.” Bad PR can snowball.

– In the digital world, especially when you have distributors or use resellers, it is often very difficult because the reseller “owns” the customer and the chain of attribution is broken. Measure what you can from website hits to impressions to followers. As you build better ways to track you can at least show positive movement forward.

– If you can’t prove ROI, you can at least show engagement and positive movement.

The BIG takeaway from Douwe Bergsma from Georgia-Pacific LLC (GP)

The only way you are going to lead your company into Digital Transformation is to change the behavior of your fellow “C” suite executives. How do you change their behavior? Psychology.

  1. They must be discontented with “the ways things are operating” and with the “results.”
  2. They need to have a vision of how things would be if “it was better.”
  3. They need a plan for getting there.

Now, you as the CMO must tweak your message to each individual executive – they are on their own paths to “digital enlightenment.”

-If they are discontented, show them the vision and how you can help them make it better.

-If they are content, you can still give them the vision of how things can be better.

-If they have the vision of how things can get better, show them the plan to get there.

At Georgia Pacific, it took a trip to the West Coast to meet with the Google’s and Facebook’s of the world.  They saw how far Georgia Pacific was “behind the times.” It reinforced the three points above. In three years GP went from 1% spent on Digital to 50% of spend in Digital.

Year One – showing them the vision and the plan of “getting up to speed” and relevant in a digital world.

Year Two – test, test. Test. Little tests to prove out concepts and show results.

Year Three – open the floodgates.