7-Eleven, Kellanova and Milani Cosmetics CMOs Share Their Bold Takes

Today, 100 chief marketing officers (CMOs), along with rising stars, academics and other C-suite execs, will convene at ADWEEK’s annual Marketing Vanguard Summit in Chicago to discuss how to navigate an industry in flux.

With the brightest marketing minds gathered in one room, speakers will engage as “provocateurs,” setting the agenda for discussions with bold takes that challenge the audience, their peers and the industry about the marketing role and remit and where it’s headed.

Discussions will include how brands such as Kellanova are scaling AI, a talk with Pernod Ricard’s former U.S. CEO Ann Mukherjee on rewriting the CMO narrative, and lessons in culture marketing with Molson Coors and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

As we kick off proceedings, we’ve gathered provocations from 10 CMOs and brand leaders that give an insight into the hot takes and edgy conversations that will take place on stage at the event. Scroll down to see their bold opinions on the industry.

1. Charisse Hughes, CMO at Kellanova, on breaking the test-and-learn cycle:

“With the acceleration of mobile, digital e-commerce, and now AI, have we gotten to pilot purgatory? We [need to] talk about how to organize around AI, getting CEO and CFO alignment early, and setting clear priorities on focus domains.”

2. Marissa Jarratt, evp, CMO and sustainability officer for 7-Eleven, wants marketers see the people, not just the data:

“I keep thinking about how all this ‘data’ that surrounds us as marketers [is] really people in disguise.  How can we continue to harness the power of data while increasing our empathy and understanding for the people we’re marketing to?”

3. Jeremy Lowenstein, CMO at Milani Cosmetics, has questions about the CMO’s ever-expanding scope:

“The role of the CMO continues to expand to include everything from product, communications, channels, culture, DEI, and more.

“How does one best prioritize time and organize a team to maximize efficiencies and drive results while maintaining a consumer-first mindset and bringing the cross-functional partners along the journey?” 

4. As does Lynn Teo, CMO at Northerwestern Mutal:

“There is no other title in the C-Suite that creates more nomenclature confusion than the CMO role.  I’ve seen CMOs most recently recast as chief market officer or chief commercial officer – why? Is it because marketing doesn’t have commercial merit on its own?

“[I’ve also seen a rise in titles such as] chief customer officer – if marketing isn’t about the customer, what could it possibly be about? Then there’s the chief experience officer, chief digital officer, chief brand officer, and chief advertising officer.

“Our industry is sorely in need of agreement and alignment on what we call ourselves. Perhaps this points to the ever-morphing skillset requirements of a CMO and what it takes to drive a business successfully. Is the work we must focus on outside the walls of marketing or inside?”

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