Lisa Nirell's Marketing Waves Blog

Marketing Transformation Insights: New Videos

Marketing transformation is no longer a luxury. It’s an imperative.

We define marketing transformation as the strategy for designing a new, exciting, unfamiliar, and improved future for your customers and stakeholders. Innovation is the activity required to realize that transformation (applied creativity).

Transformation, unlike incremental process, program, or product improvement, requires significant behavioral, cultural, and operational change. It’s risky, disruptive, and not for the faint of heart.

And what separates transformational marketing leaders from the order takers are three finely crafted, time-tested skills: the ability to identify trends, embrace risk and ambiguity, and a willingness to be vulnerable and transparent.

During our 2nd annual CMOs Leading Innovation Conference, Steve Cook of Adobe interviewed us to explore our personal successes and struggles with marketing transformation.

During our 1:1 conversations with Steve, he asked us two provocative questions:

  1. What are the biggest transformations and trends impacting our roles as innovators?
  2. What are the most important traits a marketing leader needs to have in order to be a successful innovator?

During my conversation with Steve, which is captured in this 5 minute video, I emphasized three key points:

  1. Marketers must acknowledge and address the erosion of trust in our society. We live in a time where conversations with our product and service providers are two-way—and unfiltered. (I coined this The Message Maelstrom™ in a previous post here). Media behemoths such as The New York Times, USA TODAY, and The Economist now compete against robotic, algorithmic editors (namely, Facebook and Google). It’s putting additional pressure on us to deliver the best messages and content to avoid contributing to the maelstrom.
  2. Marketing leaders must create lifelong learning rituals. During our panel discussion featuring Heather Figallo of Southwest Airlines, we heard how they reward great ideas, and celebrate failure, during their innovation brainstorms. Our best clients also create safe spaces where their teams can kill off “zombie projects” that no longer contribute to great customer experiences nor to advancing company goals.
  3. Transformational marketers join small, private communities of like-minded individuals. Now that we have launched our 2nd Marketing Leaders community in Atlanta, we are honored to continue that tradition.

Steve Cook also spent time with three of our clients, and posed the same questions. Here are three short videos featuring Andy Yost, CMO at Gannett/USA TODAY Network; Tracey Mustacchio, CMO at RES Software, and Sonny Ganguly, CMO at WeddingWire.

I’m constantly amazed at how much I learn from this growing community. Without them, I could not have reached this level of joy and confidence with my work. Thank you to everyone who participated in CLIC ’16, and who make marketing transformation happen.

Copyright 2016, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Other posts to enjoy:

“How Top Marketing Leaders Keep Innovation Buzzing” 12-page White Paper (free) – click here

“CLIC ’16: CMOs Lead Innovation from ‘Now’ to ‘Next’ by Steve Cook in

“Innovation Is a Priority, But Obstacles Remain” – Read more at

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