Marketing Through Change with Bill Taylor

Industry: Executive as a Service

Role: Chief Marketing Officer at Chief Outsiders

What is the craziest or most inspirational thing you've witnessed in your marketing career?

The most inspirational thing I have witnessed in my career happened years ago when I was working for a supply chain design software company. The company did a lot of work with the Gates Foundation and other non-profits. We modified our software to help our non-profit partners fly drones carrying blood products and medicines into Sub Sarahan Africa. Due to political unrest, bad infrastructure and bad weather, there was no other reliable way to get those critical materials where they needed to go while keeping the integrity of the products. Watching all of the teams and elements work together to make that happen is what I found truly inspirational.

What is the best thing you have learned about marketing during this crazy time of pandemic?

The best thing about the pandemic, from a marketing perspective, is that it has elevated the importance of big M marketing. The difference between big M and little m marketing is that little m is the tactical part of marketing: Direct mail, website, SEO, social. Big M is about the strategy - learning insights of the business through company, customer and competitor attributes and using that information to look at the markets you serve, your offerings and how you position. After, and only after that, should companies get to the little m execution of marketing. Without the Big M marketing, you are essentially performing random acts of marketing and have no idea if what you are doing will have any meaningful return.

What is the biggest marketing mistake you've made, and how did you adapt going forward?

This is a funny story actually. I worked for a company that marketed software development tools. I was in charge of launching a new platform. We named the launch campaign "Be Liberated" because our software liberated software developers from mundane coding. Our campaign was highly successful. However, during my European press tour, I noticed in Sweden that the T-Shirts we had sent to them were unused in a box in the corner of the office. After a few questions, I learned that "Be Liberated" loosely translated in Swedish means"have sex freely." That isn't exactly the message we were going for. I learned the important lesson that translation is not localization.
When you look in your crystal ball, what advice can you offer marketing leaders over the next five years?
My advice is to never stop paying attention to the Big M marketing. Always monitor company, customer and competitor insights and stay close to your customers. And, be twice as good at digital.

Any parting thoughts/words of wisdom?

We all know that change is inevitable. This pandemic has forced all of us into a state of change. Those companies that are embracing the change are the ones that will be the most successful.

Favorite Marketing Book?

I have two: Growth Gears, by Art Saxby and Pete Hayes, and Stop Random Acts of Marketing, by Karen Hayward. Both are excellent books about achieving deliberate, practical and strategic growth.