The job of the chief marketing officer is changing.
Marketing executives play a far more active role in the C suite and the boardroom today than ever before. They wear business hats, chart out ways to use data and technology at scale, and drive measurable business results.
With marketers’ positions within their organisations becoming more important than ever, Business Insider is celebrating the global marketers rising to the occasion with the second instalment of our annual ranking of the world’s 50 most innovative CMOs.
Scroll on to see which marketers made the cut.
Our selection criteria are by no means scientific. We relied on our reporting and an advisory council. We also solicited nominations from our readers and included some of their picks. We tried to cast our net wider than most other similar lists, acknowledging leaders and companies from Europe, for instance, whose brands have increasingly been encroaching on the US and beyond in recent years.
Our ranking was compiled by Business Insider’s advertising reporter Tanya Dua and advertising editor Mike Shields. We also drew on inputs by an advisory council of independent experts: BrandSimple Consulting founder Allen Adamson; Sleuth Brand Consulting founder Shireen Jiwan; Vivaldi Group founder and CEO Erich Joachimsthaler; MediaLink chairman and CEO Michael Kassan, and The Talent Business global CEO Gary Stolkin.
CMOs were ranked based on a number of different attributes, including:
- The Connectors. Marketing executives who have effectively married art, science, and technology in their campaigns.
- The Rebels. Executives who are taking their marketing efforts in a different direction than their peers.
- The Storytellers. Marketing executives who have mastered the art of storytelling across platforms.
- The Breakouts. Executives at the helm of newer brands who have demonstrated how to disrupt traditional companies.
Other factors we took into consideration included the size of the executive’s brand and how much the brand footprint has grown over the past year, the extent of their role and responsibilities, their influence in the marketing and advertising industry beyond their own brand, and whether their marketing efforts have driven their company’s performance.
50. Julia Goldin, CMO, Lego
The year 2016 was a big one for the Danish toymaker, whose revenues rose by 6% and hit the highest level in its 85-year history. This past year, in comparison, has been a bit of slump with the “Lego Ninjago” movie opening to a lukewarm response. But the brand still makes it to the list for pioneering change and pushing for inclusivity. This month, Lego released its “Women of NASA” toy set modelled after four famous women from the US space agency who are scientists, engineers, astronauts, and entrepreneurs. It took just a few days for the product to rise to the top of Amazon’s list of best-selling toys.
49. Mike Linton, CMO, Farmers Insurance
Farmers Insurance has always had a knack for producing quirky ads that highlight all the bizarre situations that people file insurance claims based on. But this year, the company took things a step further under Linton, finding out-of-the-box ways to insert itself into culturally relevant conversations of its consumers. This includes the brand’s first-ever 360-degree virtual experience with the Halloween-themed “Stranger Claims” campaign as well as a broader effort to incorporate middle America in its creative and strategy.
48. Andrew Sherrard, Chief Commercial Officer, T-Mobile
T-Mobile may not be the biggest wireless company in the US, but it feels as if its marketing often sets the agenda in the industry. The company has pushed data-free plans back into the conversation, causing rivals to react. And under Sherrard’s guidance, T-Mobile has thrown free Netflix into the mix, likely causing many consumers to turn their heads. And during the recent World Series the company rolled out a campaign promising to donate $US2 to victims of the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico every time they tweeted using the hashtag #HR4HR. No wonder then that Sherrard’s title was recently elevated from Chief Marketing Officer to Chief Commercial Officer.
47. Alison Lewis, CMO, Johnson & Johnson
Lewis has served as the global CMO of Johnson & Johnson since 2013, overseeing marketing for brands including Neutrogena, Johnson’s, and Listerine. In addition to global marketing, Lewis drives digital and strategic consumer insights, professional marketing, and the innovation pipeline. After focusing on uniting the company’s global marketing team under one branding framework, Lewis turned her attention to reaching consumers with new marketing and media approaches this year. She led the development of the first smart, personal baby sleep coaching system through its Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Sleep App and helped extend Zyrtec Allergy to living rooms in the form of an Alexa skill.
46. Scott Meden, CMO, Nordstrom
Like others, Nordstrom has struggled to stay afloat in an increasingly competitive retail environment, with its attempt to go private going bust and its stock taking a hit. But despite the roadblocks, Nordstrom has tried to remain on the cutting edge of digital under Meden. It has developed robust e-commerce experiences, seamlessly integrated online and offline channel, and provided numerous cross-channel capabilities for in-store shoppers. And it has also risen as a brand unafraid to speak its mind. In March, it dropped Ivanka Trump’s line – a move that ultimately won it even more brand love than ever. Another glimmer of hope: The company just recently opened another store in New York City.
45. Leslie Berland, CMO, Twitter
The former American Express executive has a tough assignment: making Twitter accessible to consumers who still don’t quite speak in 280 characters or understand insider lingo like at-mentions. Despite that ongoing challenge, Twitter has never been more influential. Under Berland’s leadership, Twitter has focused on a simple message: It’s what’s happening in the world.
44. Antonio Lucio, CMO, HP
Lucio has been HP’s global chief marketing and communications officer since 2015 and is responsible for branding, global communications, demand generation, and strategic events. Under Lucio’s leadership, HP has sought to reestablish a more emotional connection between the brand and its consumers. But over the past year, a bigger focus for the brand has been addressing the industry’s diversity challenges. After demanding that its agencies move the needle on the number of women in the teams servicing the brand last year, this year, HP turned its attention to minorities.
43. Greg Lyons, CMO, PepsiCo North America Beverages
Pepsi may have had one of the biggest marketing gaffes of the year with its tone-deaf Kendall Jenner ad (which came out of its global beverage group), but that didn’t deter the beverage giant from continuing to experiment with its US marketing initiatives, overseen by Lyons. After becoming the first brand to incorporate emojis in its marketing in 2016, 2017 saw Pepsi lead the way with Snapchat marketing. The soda maker plastered millions of soda bottles with Snapcodes and became one of the first brands to run a mobile game within Snapchat. Pepsi also managed to double its e-commerce beverage sales this year, with Lyons also leading the launch of Lifewtr, the company’s premium new bottled water. He has also been instrumental in leading several of Pepsi’s joint ventures, including the Starbucks Cold Brew and the Pure Leaf Tea House with Unilever this year.
42. Kelly Campbell, SVP and CMO, Hulu
Campbell joined the streaming upstart this past summer and saw the rollout of Hulu’s first national ad campaign in five years featuring a celebrity spokesperson this September. “For the Audience” featured Anna Kendrick and celebrated the service’s new look and feel in four TV commercials aired nationally. The company scaled new, uncharted heights with the dark original series “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Hulu not only swept numerous awards at the Emmy’s but went home with the top honours – the first time that a streaming service took the best series award.
41. Rand Harbert, Chief Agency, Sales, and Marketing Officer, State Farm
Harbert knows his job better than most given that he started as a State Farm agent in 1992. After leading the company through a rebrand last year, he helped drive that message home with the ad campaign “Backstory” this year. The messaging effort built on the company’s new tagline “Here to help life go right,” highlighting how possessions aren’t merely things but can often represent something a lot bigger.
40. Suzy Deering, CMO, eBay
eBay has an unusual battle to fight. It’s become too successful at branding itself as the place where people auction stuff online. It wants to be a shopping destination for everybody at a time when Amazon looms everywhere. So under Deering’s guide, eBay has made a point to try everything (like, say, custom and quirky ads in the very insider digital community Imgur) as well as cheeky TV ads last June during the NBA finals that slightly tweaked Amazon.
39. Laura Henderson, SVP of Marketing, BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed will soon have a TV show on the Oxygen network, a growing stable of born-on-Facebook brands like Tasty and Nifty, and of course its core social-content machine. There’s a lot there to foster, and the former Mondelez marketing executive Henderson has skillfully made BuzzFeed stand out in a vast sea of drive-by digital publishers. She’s pushed the company’s top web series talent, like the travel-eating show “Worth It,” to host real-world events and engage with their fans – helping BuzzFeed move beyond its listicle roots.
38. Lee Applbaum, CMO, Patron
Patron isn’t nearly six times as large as the next best-selling super-premium tequila for no reason. The brand gets digital and continued on its streak of double-digit sales growth over the past year. Under Applbaum, Patron continued to lead marketing innovation on the heels of its voice-powered cocktail-recommendation system on Amazon Alexa, launching an AR tool built on Apple ARKit to support launch of Extra Añejo Tequila and a Foursquare-powered cocktail-recommendation engine. It pushed the boundaries on the product design front, collaborating with famed director Guillermo del Toro and the French crystal house, Lalique.
37. Susie Rossick, Assistant VP of Marketing, Honda
Rossick’s robust marketing and creative leadership helped propel Honda to its third consecutive year of record sales in 2016, with the brand being on track for an all-time annual sales mark in 2017. One such campaign was Honda’s 2017 Super Bowl campaign, “Yearbooks,” which yielded more than a 30% increase in brand awareness for Honda and ranked No. 2 in USA Today’s AdMeter. Rossick was responsible for overseeing marketing initiatives for the all-new 2018 Honda Accord, Clarity series, Civic Type R, Civic Hatch, Civic Si, Odyssey, and the Honda Fit this year.
36. Chris Tung, CMO, Alibaba Group
Often referred to as the “Chinese Amazon” or “That thing Yahoo used to own part of,” Alibaba Group has been on a mission to court the US ad world. Tung seems less focused on getting American consumers familiar with Alibaba as an e-commerce vehicle (though that’s growing) and more on getting giant ad agencies using its tools and services. To help Tung helped steer a big pitch at the Cannes ad festival last June where it touted its powerful data pool, reported the Drum. That pitch has some marketers excited and others nervous. “We need to watch out,” said WPP CEO Martin Sorrell, reported Digiday.
35. Roger Solé, CMO, Sprint
Solé hit the ground running when he took over as Sprint’s CMO, launching the “That Wireless Guy” campaign during the NBA Finals, snatching up Paul Marcarelli, the face of competitor Verizon’s ads. But this year Sprint created waves when it followed in the footsteps of brands like Allstate, Stubhub, and Unilever, taking digital ad buying in-house.
34. Raja Rajamannar, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Mastercard
It’s been a big year for Mastercard as the company underwent a brand overhaul, overseen by Rajamannar, for the first time in two decades. That work included the introduction of Masterpass, the credit-card company’s digital wallet. Plus, the company’s Priceless Cities perks program is now in 80 countries.
33. Jack Hollis, VP of Marketing, Toyota
Hollis is credited with crystallizing Toyota’s brand identity under Total Toyota, or T2, which seeks to incorporate insights that span ethnic groups and cultural nuances into the company’s marketing. The model not only took into account the changing customer landscape but also brought previously separate agencies into a collaborative model in which advertising ideas are shared and insights are jointly developed. This year, he led the launch of Toyota’s first global campaign, Start Your Impossible, and the US-focused Sensations campaign that launched in September and positions the Camry to remain the best-selling car in America, continuing its 15-year streak.
32. Ted Ward, CMO, Geico
Geico continues to be one of the most aggressive advertisers on TV, fuelled by its ubiquitous Gecko. In an era in which people are harder to reach than ever, the insurance brand under Ward’s leadership has been able to maintain old-school TV-commercial characters and stories that people love. Not to mention its innovative use of preroll video ads you can’t skip and ads that are “condensed.”
31. Wolfgang Moeller, VP of Global Band Marketing, Jägermeister
Moeller joined Jägermeister in 2011 after holding marketing positions at Red Bull. Today he leads brand strategy, brand identity, and strategic initiatives for the German liquor brand. Jägermeister remains the No. 1 imported liquor in the US, but its reputation precedes it. So it’s no surprise that the brand focused its efforts on unveiling a new global strategy and positioning this year in the form of the campaign “Be the Meister.” Moeller also led the launch of the brand’s first superpremium herbal liquor, the Jägermeister Manifest, and presided over digital initiatives such as the Facebook Messenger “Jäm Bot.”
30. Chris Spadaccini, Head of Marketing, HBO
HBO consistently raises the bar for creativity. Witness the “Westworld” virtual-reality experience at Comic-Con last summer, through which fans could visit the show’s android-filled saloon. Not only did it promote the series but it helped advanced the fledgling VR medium, which is something not many brands can claim. And of course there’s that little show called “Game of Thrones.”People watched melting ice on the web earlier this year just to find out when the show would premiere, and the show has employed a custom Snapchat face filter – all of which made the hype for the dragon-dominated show inescapable.
29. Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO, L’Oréal USA
L’Oréal USA has garnered a reputation for being a digital powerhouse. It has been ahead of the curve in experimenting with new platforms and formats, from a Snapchat campaign for the Maybelline brand during New York Fashion Week to creating a virtual-reality hairstylist-education program with Matrix. Under Gulin-Merle, the marketer continued to flex its digital muscles, launching a virtual customer representative bot for Kiehl’s on Facebook Messenger, creating a custom makeup lens on Snapchat using AR and establishing a new content studio located at Terminal Stores – a revitalized West Chelsea warehouse for its 30-plus brands to create and produce original content.
28. Alfonso Gonzalez Loeschen, CMO, Nestlé Nespresso
Coffee accounts for nearly a fifth of Nestlé revenues, and while the Swiss conglomerate dominates the coffee market globally, the same is not true of the US. Which is why the brand has been betting on a growing demand for premium products like the Nespresso coffee system, led by Loeschen. It launched a sustainability-driven global campaign called “The choices we make” that tells real stories from the farmers who produce the brand’s coffee. It also expanded its coffee system Vertuo globally after successfully launching it in North America.
27. Miguel Patricio, CMO, AB InBev
Patricio has been at the helm of AB InBev’s marketing as its global chief marketing officer since 2012. After last year’s acquisition, the company is well on track with SABMiller’s integration, while at the same time expanding more into craft and nonalcoholic beers.
Its marketing has been on point. Budweiser’s “Born the Hard Way” spot at this year’s Super Bowl, for example, chronicled the immigration story of its founder Adolphus Busch and struck a chord, coming as it did days after President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
26. Philip Schiller, SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Apple
You might think that Apple’s marketing had become stale or perhaps cliché. What else is there to say? Then there were the lines and sellouts for the recent iPhone X launch. And under Schiller’s guidance, Apple has even managed to bring the moribund Apple Watch to life featuring ads with real testimonials from consumers who use the divide to monitor health. Apple’s marketing is still the gold standard.
25. Deborah Yeh, SVP of Marketing and Brand, Sephora
Prestige beauty sales are on the rise. And nothing is more synonymous with prestige beauty than Sephora. The LVMH-owned brand is not only the No. 1 specialty beauty retailer in the world but the undisputed king of digital, which Yeh oversees among her other responsibilities. In recent years, Sephora has come up with everything from a mobile app that lets users virtually try on lipsticks to Colour IQ that lets them scan their faces to find the perfect products to match their skintones. Over the past year, Yeh has built the brand further, including helping facilitate the marketing campaign Let’s Beauty Together, partnering with music festivals like Coachella and relaunching the Sephora Collection in fall 2016 with pushes including “Swipe It Shop It” and a Tinder profile.
24. Lorraine Twohill, CMO, Google
Besides serving as the way most people find almost everything, Google keeps weaving its way into more parts of people’s lives through clever marketing, thanks in large part to Twohill. Just look at how YouTube TV has owned the World Series. Or how Google Home is available at Walmart or Best Buy. And then there’s the recent rollout of the Pixel 2, which dared to take digs at the iPhone.
23. John Dillon, CMO, Denny’s
Denny’s is to social media today what Charmin was years ago: a squirt of sass and a huge dollop of personality. The brand, led by Dillon, is unabashedly snarky, unafraid to use some slang and poke fun at competitors. It hit a home run this March when a meme-inspired tweet it posted became one of the most shared and liked branded content posts in the history of Twitter. At a time when a brand can easily appear to be tone-deaf or, worse, thirsty, Denny’s has managed to remain culturally relevant with a finger on the pulse of pop culture.
22. Tony Rogers, SVP and CMO, Walmart US
Rogers is responsible for all aspects of Walmart’s marketing efforts, including customer research, strategy, program development, branding, and customer communications. Since assuming his position in 2016, he has helped Walmart rise as a formidable challenger to Amazon while consolidating the retail giant’s siloed marketing and ecommerce teams in Arkansas, California, and New Jersey. This has helped the retailer center itself around one consistent brand voice and maintain a single reporting structure for the creative, media and social teams across its three sites.
21. Justin Woolverton, VP of Brand Marketing, Halo Top
Ice cream and healthy didn’t really go hand in hand until Halo Top burst onto the scene. The low-calorie, protein-packed brand managed to surpass all its competitors in the US this year to become the best-selling pint of ice cream in grocery stores. And while its rapid ascent can be attributed to it amassing a dedicated legion of fans, it’s as much the result of a well-orchestrated marketing strategy built on the back of social media, food porn, strategic partnerships and its very first all-out marketing campaign this year.
20. Joe Jordan, CMO, Domino’s
If there’s one brand that has truly embraced digital, it is Domino’s. So much so that the pizza maker is commonly referred to as an e-commerce company rather than a fast-food brand. Sixty per cent of Domino’s orders in the US are now made through one of its many digital platforms, and the company has tried it all, from self-driving delivery bots and drones to letting people order pizza with an emoji. Jordan has been at the helm of it all, all the while racking up over 25 consecutive quarters of US sales growth.
19. Alegra O’Hare, VP of Global Brand Communications, Adidas Originals and Style
Over the past few years, Adidas has steadily climbed the ranks in the US to take the spot of the second most popular sneaker brand after Nike. Boosting this ascent is Adidas Originals, which itself grew more than 80% in the US in 2016 as compared to 2015. O’Hare has driven much of this meteoric rise, doing everything from a partnership with designer Alexander Wang to remixing an old Frank Sinatra tune into a branded anthem song. It’s no wonder this year the brand snapped up a Grand Prix in the music category of the Entertainment Lions at Cannes.
18. Neil Lindsay, VP of Brand Marketing, Amazon
Amazon may be the company that scares just about nearly every company in every industry. But consumer love for Amazon has only grown. “Prime”-ing something has become a verb for many Americans. And suddenly Amazon is welcome in people’s homes through Echo devices and Fire sticks. With Lindsay’s help, Amazon has become the company others want to emulate. Nobody understands how much marketing has become about data and customer experience as Amazon.
17. Karin Timpone, CMO, Marriott
Over the past four years, Marriott’s global marketing team under Timpone has integrated new brands into its portfolio and grown its loyalty member base to over 100 million people worldwide. The hotel giant has also pioneered an industry-first in-house content studio as well as global social media command centres, produced short films and expanded new marketing partnerships in sports and music, among other fields. All these efforts led M Live, the brand’s social-media listening hubs, to win two Cannes Lions this summer.
16. Meredith Kopit Levien, COO, The New York Times
Not long ago, The New York Times was borrowing money from Mexican billionaires just to stay afloat. Suddenly, The Times is the envy of many in the newspaper business for its record growth in digital subscriptions and under Kopit Levien, its reinvention as a direct-to-consumer business.
15. Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JP Morgan Chase
Until last year, Chase advertised on 400,000 websites. In March,Lemkau slashed that number to 5,000, because only 12,000 of those sites were generating any clicks on Chase ads. In making this radical decision, Lemkau not only helped Chase curtail wasteful expenditure but also shed light on the murky world of digital programmatic ads. Today, Chase has expanded its footprint back up to 10,000 sites. Lemkau continued pushing the brand forward on its winning streak after a successful digital-marketing push around its card, the Sapphire Reserve, in 2016.
14. Melissa Waters, VP of Brand Marketing, Lyft
In just over a year, Waters has helped transform Lyft from a challenger brand to a leader in its category – at least as far as consumer love goes. At a time when Uber was reeling from a spate of challenges and uphill battles, Lyft swiftly rose to the occasion, cementing its position as a viable alternative and gaining 30% more market share in the US. Under her leadership, the ride-hailing company launched the first fully integrated marketing campaign in its five year history.
13. Sue Kroll, President of Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros.
This has been a bumper year for Warner Bros., with an impressive lineup of blockbusters such as “Wonder Woman,” “Dunkirk,” “It,” and “Blade Runner 2049.” As the studio’s marketing chief, Kroll has spearheaded the strategy and implementation of ad campaigns for these releases, taking them far beyond the silver screen. Whether it was the guerilla marketing effort that put up red balloons to promote “It,” or the 3D World Lens for “Blade Runner 2049” on Snapchat, Warner Bros. and Kroll left no stone unturned to make their films roaring successes.
12. Seth Farbman, CMO, Spotify
In a world where people are only using a handful of apps on their mobile phones on a regular basis, Spotify often makes the cut among its fans. The brand love is strong. Credit the company and Farbman with stewarding innovative opportunities like branded playlists and unique subscription bundle deals for students like the one inked earlier this year with Hulu. As evidence that Spotify gets its artists and fans, when the band the Chainsmokers were on “Saturday Night Live” earlier this year, Spotify scrambled to help craft a custom ad that ran during the show featuring the group’s mums.
11. Marc Mathieu, CMO, Samsung
Looking to learn how to pull a successful comeback? Look no further than Samsung. The tech giant battled and recovered from one of the worst branding crises in recent history after its exploding-phones fiasco in 2016. Mathieu not only helped guide Samsung through the challenge but flipped the brand’s existing marketing playbook on its head while doing so. He used the disaster as an opportunity to change how the electronics giant communicated with consumers with a new focus on building love and trust.
This came about with initiatives like the loyalist program and the global campaign “Do What You Can’t,” in which it enlisted real people to share stories about how Samsung devices allow users to create, experience, and share content. Mathieu also established the Marketing Center of Excellence, a cross-functional space in the bottom three floors of its New York office to spark creativity and openness within the organisation.
10. Lindsay Kaplan, VP of Communications and Brand Engagement, Casper
Casper’s branded-content gamble may not quite have paid off, but there is no denying that the mattress startup has awakened a once sleepy category with its snappy social media and experiential marketing. Kaplan is the one making all that happen, cleverly mixing tech, design, content, and ingenuous digital hacks to make sleep worth talking about: whether through the campaign Staycation Story Hacks or its characteristic mattress unboxing videos.
9. Diego Scotti, CMO, Verizon
Madison Avenue is not known for being very diverse. Yet its lack of diversity has been brushed under the carpet for years, until several big-name marketers decided to take the matter into their own hands. Leading that charge is Verizon, whose chief marketing officer, Scotti, sent out a letter to its agency partners a year ago, calling on them to improve the number of women and people of colour working for them. This year, the telecom company took its efforts a step further by unveiling its very own diversity-fellowship program. The company has also been investing in broader industry and community efforts like The One Club and the Marcus Graham Project, as well as working to incorporate diversity into its creative output.
8. Jon Iwata, Chief Brand Officer, IBM
Under Iwata, IBM has helped bring an understanding of cloud computing to the masses while helping the world envision the possibilities of an AI-driven future. Plus, the enterprise tech giant is at the forefront of producing digital content that people want to read and share. Iwata is set to retire next month after 34 years at the company.
7. Keith Weed, CMO, Unilever
Unilever too has been at the forefront of the movement to fix digital advertising, with its marketing chief, Weed, vociferously demanding more accountability on numerous industry platforms. Weed has specifically championed the issues of viewability, transparency, and cross-platform measurement, pushing the industry to meet the challenges head on. And along the way, he has ensured that Unilever remains on the cutting edge of marketing. It merged data with content in the perfect marriage with All Things Hair, for example, a YouTube channel of video styling tips from leading vloggers that was built by combining search terms and trend prediction to provide users relevant, useful, and authentic content.
6. Kelly Bennett, CMO, Netflix
Whether it was plastering cocaine hotspots from the ’90s with punny one-liners to promote Narcos or partnering with Spotify, Snapchat, and Lyft to build excitement around “Stranger Things 2,” 2017 was the year that Netflix truly made entertainment transcend our screens. Overseeing all these initiatives was Bennett, who managed to extend some of the streaming giant’s most successful franchises into thrilling experiences across the digital, mobile, and out-of-home mediums. Bennett, an entertainment marketing veteran who spent nearly a decade at Warner Bros. Pictures, leads global marketing and social media for Netflix across more than 150 countries.
5. Fernando Machado, CMO, Burger King
No other brand has consistently delivered on creative, innovative, and downright bold ad campaigns in the recent past quite the way that Burger King has. It’s no surprise then, that the fast-food giant took away the top awards at the Cannes Lions, advertising’s biggest gathering.
Following in the footsteps of iconic campaigns like the McWhopper Proposal and Subservient Chicken, Burger King outdid itself this year under Machado, with a string of ingenious campaigns including Google Home of the Whopper, Burger King’s anti-bullying PSA, and Halloween Clown.
4. Cliff Hopkins, Global Head of Marketing, Instagram
Few companies have had a better 2017 than Instagram. In April the company said it had 700 million monthly active users. By September that number had hit 800 million while Instagram Stories, its Snapchat Stories clone, shot to 250 million daily users in just a year. Sure, a great product and powerful network help. But amazingly Instagram has been able to keep its cool factor even as part of the Facebook empire.
3. Ann Lewnes, CMO, Adobe
Adobe has a complicated story to tell. It offers tools for creative professionals, media and tech companies, and marketers. That’s a lot of different constituencies to communicate with. To accomplish all that Lewnes has helped the enterprise-software company pump out digital content, data products, and live events, which all help serve as distinct marketing vehicles.
One of the brand’s highlights over the past year was a partnership with the band Imagine Dragons. Adobe challenged fans to edit raw footage from the band’s music-video shoot using Adobe’s Premiere Pro software to celebrate the product’s 25th anniversary.
2. Linda Boff, CMO, GE
It’s been a year of wrenching leadership change at GE, but this 14-year GE veteran continues to charge forward. Boff has helped revive the 125-year-old company, spearheading its new vision through a marketing strategy that relies heavily on experimentation and a willingness to be first on emerging media platforms. Boff encourages her marketers to use technology to drive as far down the conversion funnel as possible, so that any leads they hand over to the rest of the team are real business opportunities. While sales and strategy have always been important to marketing leaders, Boff believes that real change has come with developments in technology, data, and the speed to market being demanded by consumers.
1. Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G
If there is a torchbearer in the ad industry’s fight to clean up digital advertising, it’s Pritchard. The Procter & Gamble chief brand officer made waves at the very onset of the year, when he warned that the world’s largest advertiser would scale back on its ad spending unless things were fixed. He has lived up to his word and how.
Under his leadership, the consumer-packaged goods giant slashed spending on digital ads by $US100 million, and still witnessed a growth in sales. Pritchard’s next battle is focused on shifting the conversation from brand safety to raising the bar on “quality media content.” And P&G is once again at the forefront of making that change happen.
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