Highlights | MMA Global

  • MMA CEO Greg Stuart kicked off this dynamic event, designed to help CMOs develop marketing organizations that add real value to customers.

    The live event brought four years of powerful research to life, sponsored by the MMA and Salesforce and spearheaded by Omar Rodríguez-Vilá, Associate Professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

    Guided by the MMA’s global board to ensure practicality, this groundbreaking research offers a measurable approach to improving marketing performance and business growth through organizational structure.

    The research takes the politics out of marketing decisions, freeing CMOs to break through the complexity and pick out the capabilities they must be good at to drive their unique goals and objectives.

    Read through the key takeaways from the live event below, and be sure to benchmark your current status with our Marketing Capabilities Assessment.

    1. Empower Your Team with a Mission Command Approach

      In the opening session, Retired Col. Thomas Guthrie and Mr. Rodríguez-Vilá explained how the U.S. Army’s new Mission Command approach, developed in the years after 9/11 as a replacement for the old Command and Control model, could provide inspiration for business.

      As wars in Afghanistan and Iraq spread troops out over vast areas, commanders were forced to give a lot more freedom to young leaders. With little physical contact, commanders had to provide guidance, vision and intent and let the troops in the field figure out how to get the job done. “The biggest factor is establishing mutual trust,” Col. Guthrie said. “But once you empower your people, the innovation and agility you’ll get from them is extraordinary.”

      Noting that leaders don’t need to be the smartest people on the team, Col. Guthrie said that “If you can move decision-making authority where the information actually resides, do it.”

      In another presentation, Alicia Tillman, Global Chief Marketing Officer at SAP, said that CMOs need to “create freedom within a framework.” She offered that team members “want the ability to … showcase their thinking, but they also want to know what the ultimate goals … are.”

      Peter Schelstraete, Co-Founder & CEO of Ubuntoo, added that only when leadership creates a culture of enablement can you “look for the changemakers inside the company.”

    2. Ask the Simplest Question First

      Omar Rodríguez-Vilá noted that many marketers get tempted to add new capabilities and technologies even if they don’t really need them. Instead, he tells marketers to first define their mission: Why does marketing exist in your organization? What do you want/need it to accomplish? The answers will be different for DTC companies, financial services firms, and other types of businesses, based on the type of value they want to provide to customers.

      Mr. Rodríguez-Vilá said that a company like Chobani needs to focus on Engagement Value. Delta Airlines is better served by an Experience Value-led approach and focusing on Exchange Value is a better fit for a retailer like JustFab. For more on the distinctive types of customer value that marketing can deliver, please see the Harvard Business Review article on this research.

      Once your mission is defined, it can be easier to align your team around common processes, tools, and even language, according to Dr. Neil Morgan, the PetSmart Distinguished Chair in Marketing at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. “Common processes and tools aren’t control mechanisms,” he said. “They’re like brakes on a car: they enable you to operate at your best.”

    3. Design a Coalition, Not a Function

      Janet Balis, Americas Customer and Growth Market Leader and Marketing Practice Leader at EY, said that CMOs have to “move beyond the org chart.” In today’s world marketing is interconnected within the organization and with external partners like agencies, freelancers, providers, influencers, and customers.

      As Mr. Rodríguez-Vilá likes to say, “We’re not designing a function, we’re designing a coalition.”

      For Amit Shah, President of 1-800-Flowers.com, marketing success is all about talent and alliances. “You have to be loud about your talent needs and push hard,” he tells CMOs. “Build a team that will evangelize a growth strategy and have honest conversations with your peers in finance, sales, customer success, and other areas.”

      Ms. Tillman looks at talent as a network of internal and external resources. “As a CMO, I need to take that network and give it a shared sense of purpose,” she said. She starts with the basic promise of her company — SAP enables companies to run at their best — and asks members of her network what that means for them. “My basic intention is small,” she explained. “I don’t want to control the experience, I want my network to build from that from their perspective.”

      Stephanie Buscemi, Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, relies on her extended network to help tell the brand story. “My dream state,” she mused, “is that we only create 50% of our branded content internally.”

    4. Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

      Mr. Shah, whose background is in marketing, was very clear about the “false dichotomy” between brand and performance. “The outcomes sought by both functions are complementary,” he said.

      By incentivizing outcomes over activities, Mr. Shah believes that business leaders will realize that they “need the short-term wins to fuel the long-term investment.”

    5. Realize the Value that Marketing Provides to the Business

      According to Mr. Rodríguez-Vilá, “Marketing has always been the voice of the customer for the rest of the business” and that role can increase dramatically with access to the right data. 

      Rebecca Messina, Former Global Chief Marketing Officer at Uber and now a consultant to CMOs, said that “marketing can be a unifier within an organization.”

      Mr. Rodríguez-Vilá’s research revealed three types of internal value that marketing organizations can bring to a business: Strategic Value, Operating Value, and Knowledge Value.

      Ms. Buscemi suggests that CMOs need to appoint themselves as “Chief Customer Officers. “If you have a seat at the table and can speak about more than just marketing, your influence will grow organization wide.”

    If you’re a CMO or senior marketing executive who wants to understand what’s possible and what’s needed in terms of your particular marketing organization, we encourage you to dive into the research by reading the article in the Harvard Business Review and take our marketing capabilities assessment. You’ll have a much better idea of where you are today and where you can take your organization in the next two or three years.


  • Presentations the MMA has permission to post are available for viewing and download below.
    View the full agenda.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2020


    Fireside Chat: The Development, Practice, and Evolution of Mission Command

    11:10am - 11:35am ET

    In the age of terrorism, the military have had to experiment with different organizational structures in order to quickly respond to sudden threats. In this fireside chat, Col (R) Thomas Guthrie, Assistant Professor Army School for Command Preparation, will share how Army Mission Command underwent a underwent a philosophical change to achieve greater agility, empowerment and speed within its ranks. Attendees will learn about the factors that led to this change, what worked and what didn’t and how to apply these insights to organizations outside the military.

    Colonel (R) Thomas Guthrie, Assistant Professor, Army School for Command Preparation


    Omar Rodríguez-Vilá, PhD, Professor of Practice in Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
    Watch the Full Session

    How to Design a Modern Marketing Organization

    11:40am - 12:05pm ET

    In response to new technologies, new competitors and new customer expectations in today’s environment, marketers have initiated structure changes, added new activities and increased resource levels to create value and drive growth. Dr Omar Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Practice in Marketing at the Goizueta Business School Emory University will share a breakthrough framework to help guide the design of marketing organizations around six different strategies for value creation. The session will also provide an overview of a three-step process to reorient your marketing organization to contribute to the growth of your firm.

    Omar Rodríguez-Vilá, PhD, Professor of Practice in Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
    Watch the Full Session

    Organizational Design: Organizing Marketing for Growth

    12:10pm - 12:45pm ET

    As marketing has become a sophisticated balance of art and science, the question of how to optimize the internal marketing organization to deliver increased performance and business growth is more important than ever before. Whether you have a local vs global, matrix vs network organization, this session will bring together marketers and experts to discuss circumstances under which one is better than the other, when to outsource or insource, and the role of culture in optimizing the marketing organization.


    Janet Balis, Former Partner, Marketing Practice Leader - EY Consulting, EY
    Amit Shah, Founder & CEO, Instalily.ai


    Dr. Sundar Bharadwaj, The Coca Cola Company Chair, Professor of Marketing, The University of Georgia, The Terry College of Business
    Watch the Full Session

    Organizational Links: Connecting the Marketing Ecosystem

    1:00pm - 1:35pm ET

    Marketers are expected to be leaders responsible for managing the different departments involved in driving customer engagement, brand experiences and revenue. At the same time, the need to be agile and responsive has never been higher. This panel will discuss how marketers can achieve the right level of collaboration, how to lead across organizational boundaries and the tools and technologies that support these links.


    Alicia Tillman, Former Global Chief Marketing Officer, SAP
    Dr. Neil Morgan, Professor of Marketing, Welch Family Professor in Business, Wisconsin School of Business
    Peter Schelstraete, Co-Founder & CEO, Ubuntoo


    Omar Rodríguez-Vilá, PhD, Professor of Practice in Marketing, Goizueta Business School, Emory University
    Watch the Full Session

    Organizational Leadership: Leading Marketing into the Future

    1:35pm - 2:05pm ET

    The last decade has seen the role of the CMO evolve beyond brand activations to becoming the connective tissue between various departments, including IT, product innovation, operations and finance. This increase in cross-functional responsibilities requires new leadership skills to succeed. This panel will discuss how the role of marketing leaders is changing, how to manage innovation, new skills and new media and, how to make sense of the continuous changes in today’s business landscape.


    Rebecca Messina, Former Global Chief Marketing Officer, Uber
    Jay Jaffin, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer, Blackhawk
    Stephanie Buscemi, Former EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce


    Greg Stuart, CEO, MMA Global
    Watch the Full Session


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