A self-professed foodie, Kathleen Finato, CMO for Fleetmatics, sees her marketing role the same way a fine chef would look at the afternoon delivery of fresh ingredients. With an ambitious and creative eye, the chef knows how to turn all those raw ingredients into a 5-star meal or a winning brand in the world of marketing.
Finato shared some of her marketing recipes at a recent gathering of the Tech Breakfast Club for senior level corporate tech marketers, and they’re included here for the benefit of MENG Blog readers.
1) Great marketing and brand building, like great food, depends on the quality of the ingredients
No amount of frosting will gain repeat purchasers of mud pies. Similarly, no messaging or advertising can sustain a loyal following for a faulty product.
A great brand starts with four essential ingredients:
- Well-conceived products/solutions.
- A growing base of happy customers.
- Impeccable service/support.
- Competitive pricing.
Finato’s company, Fleetmatics Group, illustrates the power of having these four essential ingredients in place. “We’re growing rapidly because of the power of word of mouth. Our solution is very focused on fleet managers, and we get customer testimonials every day that whet the appetite of future customers in the same way that 5-star ratings in Yelp provide a steady stream of diners.”
2)Creative license can yield tantalizing new tastes Want to Cook up a Cool Brand? Follow Three Steps to Become a Zesty Marketer!and new brand opportunities
A Kellogg marketing alumnus and career tech marketer, Finato understands that a marketer’s job never ends. Every experience lends insights on customers’ evolving needs and interests, and innovators can carve out new market niches that yield significant profits and a stronger brand. Many are familiar with the experience of world-renowned chef Charlie Trotter who realized the perceived value in dining at his restaurant was more about the chef than the food and charged a premium for his kitchen table dining experience. Similarly, Motorola’s late CMO Geoffrey Frost, Kathleen’s mentor, saw that mobile phones were about more than features and functionality—they could actually become a fashion statement that defined the user in the same way the clothes they wore or the music they listened to did. The RAZR team created a high-end brand for ultra-discriminating consumers, the kind that would be supported by white glove “concierge” service.
Demand for the RAZR surpassed the iPod and led Motorola to extend the brand line to capture profits across a broader customer base. The RAZR changed the way the world looks at wireless and mobility. Finato credits Frost, and recommends all marketers follow his motto: “Great marketing is not about the WOW! It’s about the WHOA.”
3) Continuous monitoring, like taste tests, ensure a good outcome for your brand
Like a great chef, a smart CMO doesn’t take anything for granted. Says Finato, “It’s easy to get complacent once you’ve been in a position for a while, but markets are continually changing, and the best way to stay on top of the changes is to monitor.” She likens the marketer’s job to that of a great chef who knows that every one of the elements of production can impact the final product—the mise en place (meaning prepping and measuring all your ingredients before starting a recipe) is important!
Defining your channels, the marketing mix, the content, the goals, and the metrics will define your recipe for the right target audience. Simple fixes, says Finato, are often the key as many marketers make marketing more complicated than it needs to be. Unless you put systems in place—like taste tests—you may deviate significantly from your desired outcome. For that reason, Finato always includes an analytics pro on her team, and she works closely to track the brand program’s progress against specific business objectives.
As much as she is able to manage by the numbers, Finato learned not to take her classic marketing training too seriously. There is always value in creative experimentation. A 17th century Benedictine monk tried to add bubbles to white wine and accidentally invented champagne!
What recipes would you be willing to share with fellow marketers?
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