Monday, January 9, 2017

The 2016 McCombs Marketing Conference: 4.5 Lessons for the Aspiring CMO

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

In October 2016, McCombs hosted its annual Marketing Conference.This year, we partnered with the Forbes CMO Network to bring in CMOs and other distinguished marketing executives from all over the country. First and second-year MBA students got to shake hands and learn from seasoned marketing professionals like Tony Rogers, CMO of Walmart; Kurt Kane, CMO of The Wendy's Co.; and Marissa Tarleton, CMO of RetailMeNot - all McCombs alumni! As a McCombs student nearing graduation, I was inspired by the success our alumni have found in the real world and honored to hear them speak. Here are four-and-a-half takeaways for the aspiring CMO from this year's conference speakers and panelists:

1) Present quantifiable and measurable results to support your voice.
During the first panel aptly called "Earning a Seat at the Table," the point was made that you must back up your recommendations with numbers because most people at the so-called table (the CEO, CFO, etc.) demand them. You won't get anywhere with your idea if you can't demonstrate its positive impact, financial or otherwise.

2) In potential marketers, companies are looking for an analytical mind, leadership, intellectual curiosity and excellent communication skills.
This came straight from our alumni panel, "Lessons Learned From My Time at McCombs." Need I say more?

3) Human-to-human engagement matters now more than ever.
According to Matthew Langie, McCombs alumnus and founder of Market Linc, an estimated $1.6T is lost every year across all industries as a result of customers switching due to poor customer service. To him, this is proof that, despite all the technological advances in sales and marketing, we must retain a human empathy for our customer. Businesses don't do business, he said. People do.

4) Be a storyteller.
Kurt Kane, McCombs alumnus and Wendy's CMO, thinks about brand all day long. He strives to find the best way to tell the story of the Wendy's brand to consumers. He urged us not to "just make ads," but to tell a truthful, cohesive story about the brand - in TV, in print, in store, everywhere.

4.5) Be a storyteller now.
More immediately applicable to an MBA student's life, we should work to become great storytellers as we look for and begin our dream jobs. As mentioned in the alumni panel, "Lessons Learned From My Time at McCombs," an MBA student must develop excellent communication skills. To land your ideal job, you should craft a great story about your path to this interview and your goals for the future. To be successful in a marketing role, you should be able to explain complex ideas to colleagues and customers in a concise, persuasive way.

Read more about our conference in Forbes today.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

11 Ways to Stand Out In Your Marketing Internship

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

The Marketing Fellows have returned to campus, fresh from exciting internships in various industries around the country including CPG, tech, retail, financial services and automotive. Internships are a unique opportunity to learn what it's really like to work for a certain company, but to many first year business school students, it might seem overwhelming. One day in May, you're dropped in to a new company and given just 12 weeks to learn your way around the office, impress executives and make an impact with your projects. You might wonder, "How can I be successful in my marketing internship and land a full-time offer?"

The Fellows successfully completed their internships and now feel a duty to pass on some of their collective wisdom to first years taking the plunge next summer. Here are 11 Ways To Stand Out In Your Marketing Internship:

Communicate your project and objectives for the summer to everyone you meet at the company, regardless of function or team. Some of the strongest additions to my strategy came from side conversations with colleagues about challenges I was facing with my project. Remember that your colleagues are seeing the whole picture, while you are only seeing the 12 week picture, so their past learnings can prevent you from making similar mistakes. Kavita Rangaswamy, Marketing Communications at Microsoft

While it’s important to crush your project, don’t forget to participate in extracurricular office activities. It’s important to make both a professional, and human impression on the people at your company. Ultimately, they are not only deciding on whether or not they want you to work FOR them, they are also deciding whether or not they want to work WITH you. Andoni Dieguez, Brand Management at Kellogg's

When you work in cross-functional context, be thoughtful about what each team, segment, and business cares and what is important for them. Make them be your advocates by phrasing your project in their terminology, presenting in their perspectives, and showing how your project add values to them. Yeony Bae, Business Process Transformation at Dell

Managers are evaluating your ability to “own” your project. This means both how well you take responsibility for your work and how usable it is to your team at the end of the day. As much as possible, “manage up” by aligning with your manager on expectations for your deliverable, providing regular status updates, and, when you run into challenges, recommending potential solutions. Samantha Toth, Summer Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group

If you make a rather bold recommendation in your presentation to the company, deliver it tactfully. There are people in the room who have worked there for 10 or 20 years and worked hard to get the company/department to where it is today. Before laying out "opportunities for growth," take time to recognize the things that are going well today and the people executing them. Linda Permenter, Marketing at Dimensional Fund Advisors

In a large company like Dell, make sure you talk to 1 or 2 new people everyday. Get to know more about everything happening with the organization as a whole. This will make sure that you don't stay pigeon holed within your own project and that you develop relationships with other people. This can come in handy during your internship and especially later for full-time prospects within that company. Tariq Rakhange, Product Management and Strategy at Dell

Framing is key. A helpful piece of advice I received during my internship regarding my final presentation delivery was to "Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you just told them." While it may seem repetitive to the presenter, this framework ensures that the audience, who has likely never heard the presentation before, captures the key message and recommendation. Monideepa Chakravorty, Snapple Brand Marketing at Dr Pepper Snapple Group

Set up a standing weekly meeting with your direct supervisor to review your progress. Come prepared with a checklist of questions and items you want to discuss. Your managers are super busy so they will greatly appreciate you being as efficient with their time as possible. Caroline Luby, Jeep Brand Intern at Fiat Chrysler

Reverse engineer your internship. Think about the STAR stories and resume items you would like to take away from the experience. Then consider steps that would connect desired outcomes to the present or your start date. Your goals and game plan may evolve. Even so, this framework will still help you evaluate opportunities and tradeoffs as they arise. Josh Miller, Content Strategy at Apple

Be proactive and take the first step, then ask if that is the right step. Brett Chikowski, Marketing at Dimensional Fund Advisors

Fit with the company culture is number one.  If the team that's hiring you enjoys you and can truly see themselves having a blast while working with you, they're more likely to pick you over someone that has the technical skills you lack. Have fun in the recruiting process. Have fun working this summer.  Show that you enjoy your work and that will be reciprocated by your boss and your team. Andrew Hodge, Product Marketing at Salesforce

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Marketing Fellows Visit Red McCombs

By Kavita Rangaswamy, Class of 2017

Last Friday, the Marketing Fellows had the rare opportunity to meet with Mr. Red McCombs at his office in San Antonio, Texas.  

During this session, Mr. McCombs spoke to us about his experience at The University of Texas, as well as in the business world. It was inspiring to hear about a few of his many accomplishments, including funding the creation of the first UT Women’s Softball field, establishing the university’s first Student Recovery Center for those facing addiction, and developing McCombs Partners, the investment management division of McCombs Enterprises. He also spoke to us about his experience in marketing roles, and said that one marketing fundamental hasn’t changed in over 75 years, which is that “repetition sells.”

It was exciting to hear about his triumphs over the years. Despite the many wins, however, McCombs remains humble and says that he considers “success being happy.” His stories were about much more than marketing, and even business. He stressed the importance of giving back to the community and finding opportunities to improve the lives of those around you. He encouraged all of us to find our own passions and closed out the session saying that, “…not many expect to win. If you expect to win, you have a pretty good shot at getting there.”

Marketing Fellows and Dr. Hoyer take a picture with Mr. Red McCombs

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Visit to GSD&M

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

Southwest Airlines, where “Bags Fly Free.”
Walgreens, “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy.”
The PGA Tour declares “These Guys are Good.”

What do these memorable slogans have in common? They’re all award-winning work from GSD&M, an Austin-based advertising agency founded in 1971. The Marketing Fellows had the privilege of touring the downtown Austin office with Executive Vice President and CMO, J.B. Raftus. Displayed in large letters in the entryway is the phrase “Ideas That Make a Difference.” J.B. explained that this statement guides their work with every client. When a client comes calling, GSD&M takes the time to understand the client’s unique purpose for being. Southwest doesn’t just sell airline seats, they want to democratize the skies. Chipotle doesn’t just make burritos, they exist to serve food with integrity.  With these examples, J.B. illustrated how the client’s larger purpose informs the entire creative strategy for communicating value to the consumer.

GSD&M CMO J.B. Raftus shows the Marketing Fellows "The 40 Best Things We Ever Did" Poster Series, a labor of love honoring GSD&M's 40 years in business.
Our reason for visiting GSD&M was two-fold – 1) develop a respectful envy for their talent and 2) receive an assignment! In teams of four, we are developing a complete campaign for a brand new Hilton property, Tru by Hilton. I’m not sure how much I can divulge about this revolutionary development in hotel accommodations, so I’ll let this Forbes article from January 2016 do the talking. In a couple of weeks we are due back at GSD&M’s office to present our fully-developed ideas to the agency and the client. Who knows? We could see some of the Marketing Fellows’ ideas in a social campaign for Tru by Hilton!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Innovative Implementations

By Kavita Rangaswamy, Class of 2017

Recently, the Marketing Fellows worked with Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) in an interactive brainstorming session. DPSG is based in Plano, Texas and is a producer of flavored beverages that are distributed across North America and the Caribbean. DPSG has more than 50 brands under its umbrella, including favorites such as Dr Pepper, 7UP, Mott’s, Snapple, and Canada Dry.

DPSG started off the session by giving the students some background into the company, and more specifically into one of the product lines. The team unveiled a new product that may be released soon, and assigned the Marketing Fellows the task of brainstorming go-to-market activations. We were given background on sales, distribution channels, and competitors. The Marketing Fellows were asked to focus on a particular target market and consumer to anticipate some of the challenges associated with product adoption within that market.

We worked directly with the Chief Commercial Officer at DPSG, Jim Trebilcock. The students were organized into groups of five, each group had to consider the target consumers’ needs, which occasions those needs corresponded with, and how the product’s strengths could dominate the overlapping area(s).  The groups brainstormed a variety of executions, including but not limited to guerrilla marketing tactics, social media campaigns, and paid media implementations. The class ended with a team presentation of the ideas and the impact of those implementations on the brand. The Marketing Fellows now have a better understanding of how to evaluate the consumers’ relevant needs and create an innovative go-to-market strategy that meets one or more of those needs.

A team of five Marketing Fellows presents to visiting DPSG executives.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Experience is Everything

By Linda Permenter, Class of 2017

On January 26, the Marketing Fellows enjoyed a design thinking workshop hosted by Frog Design benefiting Shelfbucks. Frog Design is a global design and strategy firm headquartered in San Francisco with offices all over the world, including Austin. Frog boasts an impressive and diverse list of clients like Nike, Intel and FEMA. Shelfbucks is an Austin-based startup that has developed technology that allows shoppers to interact with products, displays and store shelves from their smartphones. The in-store personalized promotion platform benefits both the manufacturer and retailer with increased sales and data collection.

The brilliant folks at Frog kicked off the class with a brief presentation of their philosophy and process. They believe that “experience is everything” and focus their creative design efforts on enhancing the customer experience. In order to think creatively on demand, Frog recommends lateral thinking over traditional linear thinking. Lateral thinking involves thought exercises like: “remove an important attribute from an object and consider a useful arrangement of the remaining components.”

Frog helped us exercise some creative thinking to address a business challenge proposed by Shelfbucks CEO, Erik McMillan: develop impactful store experiences that provide distinct benefits for the shopper and meet relevant needs for the manufacturer and retailer. They designed and facilitated a workshop wherein groups of 5 students considered the lifestyle and needs of a specific persona, uncovered her motivations for a shopping occasion, and explored ways to improve her in-store shopping experience with Shelfbucks technology.  Whether it be a 63-year-old retired man with high blood pressure on a fixed income or a 29-year-old married mother of two with a part-time job and no spare time (actual personas provided by Frog), the Marketing Fellows proposed innovative ways to successfully integrate Shelfbucks into their shopping experience. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Marketing Fellows featured on McCombs Today!

Students Experience the Power of Sports Marketing at COTA Racetrack During Formula One

By Executive-in-Residence Rob Malcolm 
Business students recently got a whiff of fuel and tire rubber as they gained a look into the power of sports marketing.

On the morning of Oct. 23, 16 students in Senior Lecturer Kapil Jain's Marketing Fellows Practicum class at the McCombs School of Business spent two hours at Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) racetrack during practice sessions for the Austin Formula One race.

The class, focused on sports marketing, featured a panel of experts representing race teams, a motor sports marketing agency, and two client case studies who led informative presentations and discussions about using motor sports to accelerate business growth. Red McCombs, an investor in COTA, stopped by the class to share his passion for marketing, which he called "the greatest tool in the world" for driving interest.

Read more the article here...