Marketing is like surfing, you just need some great waves of disruption; Samsung CMO

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 20 June 2017

When you’re a CMO of a tech company you don’t doddle along with the company’s marketing playbook, you tear up the rules and create disruption for yourself in order stay ahead, acording to Samsung Electronics America CMO Marc Mathieu.

Speaking at the Wake up with The Economist talk at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, on the question of taking marketing risks, Mathieu, whose marketing background is in Coca-Cola and Unilever as well as startups, said marketing methods at a technology company are somewhat different to those in other verticals.

“Working for a technology company, what’s interesting is that contrary to a lot of other marketers where they have a marketing playbook and have their organisation play by those rules, we instead have to fundamentally rethink the marketing playbook all the time,” Mathieu said.

“It goes so fast and as soon as we do something, it’s so likely that someone else is going to do the same that we have to constantly take risks and create our own disruption.”

Mathieu says the brand tries to “create disruptions, not avoid them”. 

“To do marketing, it’s a bit like surfing, you need to have some great waves,” Mathieu said.

“You do need to make sure that you create enough movement, enough disruption and enough risk-taking.”

Executive editor of The Economist and panel moderator Daniel Franklin; CMO of Samsung Electronics Marc Mathieu, chief marketing and communications officer of Mastercard Raja Rajamannar & CMO of Deloitte Diana O'Brien.

He referred to his days at Unilever and how, given the marketing playbook that was embedded there, it was often a struggle to create a culture of risk-taking as it was not part of that structure.

Instead of adapting that playbook, he led the development of The Unilever Foundry - a platform for startups and innovators to engage, collaborate and explore business ideas with Unilever and its 400+ brands.

“The Foundry, in reality, was more to teach marketers and give marketers the permission to take risks. They could, for $50,000, do in six weeks, a pitch-to-pilot project working directly with a startup,” he explained.

He said this was better than having to go through all the rigorous management approval processes and submitting multimillion-dollar agency briefs.

“Fundamentally it was a different way of enabling a mentality of risk-taking and initiative.”

Did you see: 'Storytelling' is a poor strategy; experiences are the future says MasterCard CMO.

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