Carol Chen, Global Lubricants Marketing VP at Shell, and Christine Delfaut-Sara, Deputy Managing Director Marketing & Communication at Nuxe Group discussed how their businesses are accelerating growth with new strategies during the CMO Club EMEA Innovation and Inspiration Summit. Both had practical advice to share.

Redefining the role of CMO

The role of the CMO is being repositioned.

The CMO has to play a very unique role to really evolve marketing strategy and drive growth into reality.
– Carol Chen

This means working more closely with the CFO and CEO to align marketing strategy vertically with the corporate strategy. At the same time, by aligning marketing horizontally with other business functions, marketing is properly anchored and ready to translate revenue into growth; “It’s not easy but you have to do that in order to translate marketing strategy into the bottom line.”

The CMO has significant influence to help drive the business forwards.

Taking a long-term view

Marketing can deliver quick wins, so there is always a temptation to focus on the short-term. Carol was keen to emphasise why taking a long-term view is vital, “I call it evolving marketing strategy to drive profitable growth today and tomorrow”. 

As I evolve my marketing strategy, how do I meet the short-term needs of customers but then make sure my business will not be totally irrelevant three years from now, five years from now, ten years from now?
– Carol Chen

Markets and customers change over time – and the CMO has a responsibility to help their businesses profit from those developments. This is no easy task, but Carol was adamant, “I cannot emphasise enough on this point. The only role the CMO has to play is to look at your strategy, not only for the next twelve months but then for the next five years.

Unifying metrics

With so many channels available, maximising spend is critical. Nuxe Group worked with a consulting partner, with an approach based on an algorithm that allows them to accurately compare return on investment across all of their channels – OFF and On, including instore PoS. “Defining the amount of budget you will allocate to each of those touchpoints you have selected after this approach, is what makes you more confident about outcomes,” Christine explained.

These insights are also valuable for informing longer-term strategies, “Based on all the metrics and our strategy and objectives, we held an executive committee workshop to develop our roadmap over the next three years.”

As CMOs we drive performance.
– Christine Delfaut-Sara

Data has always been essential to making smart decisions, but finding a way to standardise insights across all channels is even smarter.

Testing and scaling

Carol outlined her belief that testing channels, techniques, and campaigns is vital – but are CMOs then able to translate the results into profits? “How do you balance very systematic test and piloting and innovating with massive scaling? Because unless you can get your new idea scaling you will not be able to achieve transformation in terms of profitable growth.

I think that you must be very obsessed with exploring new things, but also obsessed with scaling. That’s the balance to help you keep evolving your marketing strategy because strategy, is only something on paper unless you can demonstrate business impact.
– Carol Chen

This obsession means that Shell now considers how a campaign will scale from the very outset of testing. This reduces wasted effort and ensures that their efforts deliver genuine value when taken to market.