Introducing strategy’s CMO Council for 2020

From the C-Suite newsletter: Members of the advisory board predict what marketers should expect in the year ahead.

This story appeared in Strategy C-Suite, a weekly email briefing on how Canada’s brand leaders are responding to market challenges and acting on new opportunities. Sign-up for the newsletter here to receive the latest stories directly to your inbox every Tuesday.

For the first time, strategy has convened a CMO Council, an editorial advisory board that will help shape our coverage during the course of the year.

Under its guidance, strategy will examine the most pressing issues facing the industry today, from new approaches to innovation to calls for greater inclusivity and diversity across organizations. Starting with a feature on the state of sustainability, first published in our Jan/Feb 2020 issue, these stories will continue rolling out in print and online throughout the year.

The inaugural board consists of (in alphabetical order):

Ian Adler, CMO at PepsiCo Foods Canada
Todd Allen, VP of marketing at Labatt Breweries of Canada
Antoinette Benoit, CMO at McDonald’s Canada
Mark Childs, CMO at Metrolinx
Andrea Hunt, SVP and CMO at Arterra Wines
Matt Kohler, VP of marketing at Clorox Canada
Caroline Losson, CMO at CCM
Jon Mamela, CMO and EVP at Tourism Toronto
Anne-Marie LaBerge, SVP of global marketing and communications at BMP
Jackie Poriadjian-Asch, former CMO and CRO at Ecobee (now a board member at The Supreme Cannabis Company)
Sandra Sanderson, SVP of marketing at Sobeys

As we kick off another year of our Strategy C-Suite newsletter, we asked the members what they expect to see in 2020. Here’s what a few of them had to say:

Matt Kohler, VP of marketing at Clorox

“There are three main issues facing brands in 2020. First, there’s sustainability. More than ever before, consumers will reward companies that take care of the planet. If sustainability isn’t already on your priority list, you’re falling behind. Second, inclusion and diversity. Brands must reflect Canada’s multicultural society. And we’re not just talking about including diverse talent in your TV ads. The ideas themselves – and the teams that develop them – must be more diverse and inclusive. Finally, tech transformation. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning will create great opportunities. However, creating emotional connections with real human beings must always be at the centre of everything you do.”

Jon Mamela, CMO and EVP at Tourism Toronto

“With the continued acceleration in the growth of AI and machine learning, 2020 will further present the opportunity for brands to transform consumer-facing experiences – particularly with the intersection of voice search, image recognition, mobile and contextual relevance. So long as brands maintain a strong level of trust with their customers, they will reap significant long-term benefits from smart experimentation in this area over the next 12 months. I anticipate that next year we’ll see further examples of award-winning strategies and creative that will have capitalized on these capabilities.”

Ian Adler, CMO at PepsiCo Foods Canada

“Marketers must pay closer attention to the amplifying voice of the consumer while inspiring their organization to listen and act as well. More than ever, Canadians demand purposeful brands to deliver high quality products, meaningful messaging and customized experiences, but at a relevant price and value given tightening household budgets. Seamless cross-functional solutions that affordably raise the bar on the entire consumer proposition – from how and where a product is made all the way to the in-store or online experience – is now a must.”

Caroline Losson, CMO at CCM

“2020 will see marketers focus on several areas, starting with marketing analytics and data mining. With the blurring of the lines between IT and marketing and ecomm growth, we need to continue to invest in marketing analytics to drive marketing investments. Then there’s the omni-channel shopper experience. Since the path-to-purchase has become very iterative, ensuring consistency across all touch points prior to, during and after purchase will be a huge area of focus. Marketers will continue searching for the best balance between internal and external agency models. There are more questions than answers at this point. Finally, sustainability and social responsibility. This will be a big focus area moving forwards, as consumers and investors demand transparency and want to understand how brands will have their skin in the game and make a difference.”

Antoinette Benoit, CMO at McDonald’s Canada

“In 2020, we will see an even bigger ‘annoyance syndrome’: brands that anecdotally annoy you because their communication might not be interesting or relevant to you and brands that deeply annoy you because they might not respect your privacy. So, more than ever, I think we [as marketers] should be our first customers.”