Earlier this month we hosted another CMO Roundtable with our partner, Doug Anderson of DCA Live, that featured consumer marketing leaders from four leading brands.

Here are the key takeaways from our conversation:

The need for direct marketers to understand analytics

One of the key focus areas cited by several participants is the need for direct marketers to become well-versed in metrics and other ROI measurements – especially as more digital channels are added to their marketing mixes. This is especially essential for brands whose roots go back to traditional channels like TV, radio, direct mail, and catalogues (remember those?).

The possibility of Instagram as a conversion channel

Several of the CMOs mentioned they’re experimenting with new channels like DRTV, cinema, and sports sponsorships. And interestingly, one is working with a boutique digital agency to test Instagram as a conversion channel. Whether or not this works remains to be seen, but it’s certainly an interesting space to watch.

Blurring the social and influencer lines

Speaking of Instagram, the conversation also touched on the use of both organic and paid social media channels. TikTok is a growing channel, and Threads is now part of the mix. Interestingly, Twitter was not mentioned. (Oops, we meant X – having flashbacks to the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, may he rest in peace.)

We also talked about the use of influencers and their role as an extension of the company’s content development strategy. An interesting conundrum was raised: the line between social media itself and influencers who use it has blurred. Do you attribute sales, and your budget, to influencer marketing or to social media algorithms in your reporting?

AI – test, but proceed with caution

Shocker – AI came up! Everyone is treading carefully around this new technology and all that it entails, but each CMO said they’re experimenting with various use cases. One of the participants offered up a real-life example: using AI to record a commercial voiceover with the voice of a “40-year-old woman with a Midwestern accent.”

Also noted was the need to develop employee policies to govern the use of AI. Your employees’ use of AI tools could impose liabilities and vulnerabilities on your company in significant ways. We’re in uncharted territory when it comes to AI, and every employee and every company must be aware of the potential pitfalls.

For more on trends in consumer marketing, check out our recent interview with Pam Piligian, CMO of Navy Federal and Doug Zarkin, who led Pearle Vision’s Marketing team for 11 years.

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