CMO Smart emcee Steven Handmaker: Create winning experiences and make people happy

Steven Handmaker, Chief Marketing Officer of Assurance, will emcee AMA Chicago’s CMO Smart at the Loyola University Chicago Quinlan School of Business on August 29, 2018.

CMO Smart will feature a first-hand look of the new CMO Survey from its Founder and Managing Director, Christine Moorman. Event emcee Steven Handmaker calls the study valuable because “It’s always telling to get a sense of what’s trending within the industry, relating to everything from spend and focus to the impact on the bottom line and hiring trends.

“For marketers, especially at the C-level, the more ammo we have, the better. This information is always very useful for building the case for the directions we want to go.”

Here are some more thoughts from Handmaker on the event, the Survey, and the challenges facing today’s marketing leaders.

Owning the overall brand experience

“CMO Smart is all about data-driven information that marketing leaders can use to make big-picture decisions,” says Handmaker.

Some of the data from the CMO Survey that will be shared at the event, as it happens, describes a shift in the roles played by people called “marketing leaders.”

“It’s gratifying to see marketers making their way into C-suites and boardrooms—that’s a trend that’s on the increase,” says Handmaker.  “We’re starting to see more length in tenure, too—the CMO position used to be among the shortest, two years and you were gone.

“Marketers are also gaining a bigger hand in technology spend. We’re being looked at for roles beyond just new biz acquisition, and asked to really own the overall brand experience of prospects and clients as well. Our sphere continues to grow. It’s a moving target in terms of new challenges.”

The marketer as salesperson

Those new challenges include functions that used to fall exclusively to teams outside the marketing department.

“There’s an entire purchase channel that is being erased,” says Handmaker, describing the change he’s seen since his early days in B2B marketing. “We were effective to a point; then we had to rely on the sales force to make connections and bring customers over the goal line. That’s not the way much of the world works today.

“Today’s B2B marketers are being asked, how can you assist the process all the way through the customer cycle? It’s incredibly experiential. Creativity and focusing on brand are part and parcel of the process throughout.

“We’ve gone from the marketer being responsible for getting the customer from A to B, to the marketer being the salesperson. Our sphere is growing bigger, and all of it is important.”

“An incredibly non-tech person”

“For all the technology in the world, I remain an incredibly non-tech person in believing that a great interactive experience is still the way to win hearts and minds,” says Handmaker. “My stories of successes that make you loyal forever didn’t happen because of tech, but because of something human.

“Our job is to create and systematize those experiences.”

He describes an experience at a famous New York hotel where an associate’s thoughtful gesture more than overcame the hotel’s physical shortcomings.

“The quality of the room didn’t matter—our experience went from a 5 to a 12, and it cost them $20 and five minutes.

“That is the opportunity that exists for marketers to look comprehensively at areas where they can make an impact. It’s empowering people with the autonomy to create winning experiences and make people happy.”

AMA Chicago presents CMO Smart—August 29, 2018

Steven Handmaker is our emcee at CMO Smart on August 29, with keynote speaker Christine Moorman sharing results and insights from the August 2019 CMO Survey. Join us.

AMA Chicago invites you to CMO Smart for an exclusive first-hand look at new data from The CMO Survey, the leading-edge survey of national marketing trends. Join top Chicagoland CMOs in a conversation with Christine Moorman of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the lead researcher on the study.

Reserve your seat now!

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