Live From The Marketing Nation Summit: Day 2 – Storytelling, Brand Evolution, and The Future of Marketing

Modern Marketing


It’s day two at Marketing Nation Summit and the pace of interesting content and conversations—from the keynote, to a bustling expo show floor, to fantastic breakout sessions—has not slowed down. The day kicked off with breakout sessions, progressed to an awesome keynote led by the Marketo CMO, Chandar Pattabhiram with a multitude of awesome guests (including Queen Latifah ?), and ended with more awesome breakout sessions. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Educating the Future of Marketing

Opening the keynote, Chandar announced the launch of Marketo University, and the release of free training courses for the next generation of marketers. And this commitment extends beyond Marketo University with a partnership with GreenFig University, a micro-university offering micro degrees in applied business science, to develop and deliver a digital marketing course to students and professionals across the United States. Additionally, Chandar shared Marketo’s continued commitment to mentoring the next generation of marketers at Marketing Nation Summit. This year, in partnership with College Track, we invited students from underserved communities to come participate in the conference, network and attend sessions.

Win the Heart and Mind of Your Customer

Chandar kicked off his keynote by giving the audience a small quiz about which brands came to mind when he mentioned a few words. The brands he featured? Apple, Nike, Tesla. These brands were featured because they have won the mind of the customer and therefore are icons. Winning the mind of the customer sounds easy enough for these icons, but what does it mean for us and our brands?

Chandar posed that you can win the minds of your audience by following the three A’s:

1. The Art of Storytelling. Winning minds starts with winning hearts, and that is done with engagement and storytelling. Great storytelling goes beyond the data to build a bond with a customer. A deeply moving story can affect change. How can you create a moving story? Be interesting, be authentic, and be relevant.

Great storytelling components

2. Adaptive Engagement. For many years marketers ran the show and customers listened. Now, the paradigm has shifted. It’s gone from brands talking and customers listening to customers talking and brands (and everyone else) listening. It’s come to down to listening, learning and engaging. The big difference is that we can do this at scale today.

Engagement is also about “acting” the lifecycle because it’s not enough to just talk about the lifecycle. How many of us are actually spending dollars across the entire lifecycle? The answer is surprising—only 13% of marketers. To adapt, marketers should build the bond early, grow, and evolve with the customer to create a bond for life. 

And then Chandar shared this example of lifecycle:

And the audience was like:

storytelling across the lifecycle3. Advocacy. We’ve been confusing loyalty with advocacy. Our best brand advocates are sitting next to us at work. Let’s start building brand advocates from the inside out. 

Next-Level Full Lifecycle

Next, Chandar invited Stephen Yeo, Marketing Director at Panasonic System Communications Europe to the stage. Stephen shared his experience using marketing technology at Panasonic to share their brand story across finely-tuned full-lifecycle marketing.

Stephen shared that Panasonic has taken the customer lifecycle and dissected it so they can message the customer in the right way, with the right story with the right product (and they have many… so it can be complicated). Panasonic started off using Marketo for acquisition, but now have so much data that they’ve been able to introduce many more programs, including a customer welcome program, retention programs, and win-back programs. They have put Marketo at the heart of the customer experience and adapted it based on where the customer is sitting. Stephen noted that their campaigns have increased exponentially but that doesn’t mean spamming people, instead “our segmentation has gotten finer and finer, as our engagement platform gets a finer and finer resolution of the customer.”

CMO 3.0

Tuesday’s keynote also played host to a lively panel led by James Cooper, Editorial Director of Adweek. James was joined by CMO panelists Kimberly Kadlec of Visa, Kristen O’Hara of Time Warner, Tyler Williams of Zappos, and Marisa Thalberg of Taco Bell, and their conversation on the future CMO ran the gamut from data to internal alignment to porta potties.

Some of the best moments?

  • O’Hara shared her perspective on the value of data, particularly as it related to how Time Warner is shifting their promotion strategy based on data for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie and engaging female comic fans.
  • Kadlec described the inspirational story of a refugee-turned-Olympian and how support for the Olympian inspired storytelling and pride within her organization. She shared that as marketing evolves, she thinks organizations have a duty to tell bigger stories.
  • Thalberg made the timely and relevant assertion that, “Digital and social have changed us. It’s really our community that owns the brand now.”
  • And on the porta potty topic, Williams shared that Zappos had elevated the portable toilet experience at festivals as a marketing tactic. Proof that goal completion is a more important metric for the future CMO than impressions? For this campaign, one of the key measurements is flushes.

The Queen Takes The Stage

After much anticipation Marketo’s SVP and General Council, Margo Smith introduced Queen Latifah to The Marketing Nation (we were very excited!). Queen Latifah shared how her upbringing shaped her world view, how she determines her next projects and the importance of failing. Here are two big takeaways, Queen Latifah shared with the audience:

Know Yourself: Queen Latifah shared that as she broke into the hip hop scene, as a young person she had to define herself as a brand early on. She could have easily been MC Latifah, but she looked around and saw the misogyny in hip hop and understood that she could say something with her music and with her brand. She signed her first contract as Queen Latifah and has listened to her gut on every project and career decision from there, helping her choose a path that offered projects and sponsorship that are authentic to her and her values.

Embrace Failure: “Be a constant student,” Queen Latifah implored. Constantly learning will keep you humble but provide constant growth. Growth was a big theme for Queen Latifah who also emphasized the importance of failure. Margo asked, “Were you afraid as you moved into different areas of your career—like from singing to acting?” The answer? A resounding “Yes!”. But Queen Latifah encouraged the audience to look at the fear of change and the fear of failure in the eyes, and move forward with your plans. What’s the worst that could happen? You fail? “Then you pick yourself up and try something new, or try it again.”

Keynote day 2 guest

Perspectives on Inclusivity and Diversity

As breakouts began, we had Marlene Williamson, CEO of Watermark, moderate a much-anticipated diversity panel that included Susan Lovegren, HR Executive and former Chief People Officer at AppDynamics, Joe Militello, Chief People Officer at Pivotal, and Lisa Curtis, Founder and CEO of Kuli Kuli. The panel covered several interesting topics around inclusion—including the impetus for immediate change and how employees and companies can make change happen.

According to the expert panelists, at many organizations, inclusivity is getting the attention it deserves because employees—especially young employees—are pushing for organizations to be conscientious and responsive to diversity issues. Panelists shared some “grassroots” inclusivity initiatives, including ideas like diversity channels on Slack, reverse mentorships (where new grads mentor executives on a chosen project), and Patrons & Protégé programs for high talent individuals. But, panelists agreed that for inclusivity to be an effective vector for attracting and retaining diverse talent, it must be core to company values, and should start with organizational leadership.

Content In The Engagement Economy

And this wasn’t a breakout session, but I’d be remiss in not sharing it here. Together, Marketo and LinkedIn shot a Facebook Live and Periscope session on Content in the Engagement Economy with industry influencers and content experts, Michael Brenner, Ardath Albee, and Jeff Bullas.

Didn’t catch us live? Don’t worry you can check it out here:

We can’t wait to see what magic the final day of Marketing Nation Summit 2017 brings. Did anything stand out to you from today? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.