Rain dampened the City streets and fog shrouded the venerable Tower of London just down the River Thames, but the weather did not dampen the spirit nor keep over 120 intrepid marketers from trekking to the newly minted Hilton London Tower Bridge for the second Annual CMO Council Summit Europe. From throughout the UK and across the Continent, senior marketing executives convened for "Mixing, Merging and Multiplying: Managing Euro Market Dynamics," the CMO Council's final Summit of the CMO Council season, following successful North America (San Francisco) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) events. Closing out the year on a series of high notes, the CMO Council Europe recorded its 750th new member, the CMO Council welcomed over 350 senior marketers to its three Summits, with representatives coming from over 30 countries, and the Council closed in on 3,000 global members.
Executive director Donovan Neale-May opened the Europe Summit, welcoming attendees and noting that many of the world's most recognized brands - including AT&T, Microsoft, Oracle, Philips, Motorola, Google, HP, IBM, Symantec, and Hitachi -- were represented in the mix of speakers. Indeed, many of the CMO Council Europe Advisory Board members, most of whom have EMEA region-wide responsibility, were accounted for as panelists or attendees.
Morning keynote speaker Simon Anholt, one of the world's leading authorities on measuring and managing national identity, and reputation and author of The Nation Brand Index published quarterly by GMI (Global Market Insite), started the sessions with a discussion of the 'shrinking quilt of Europe,' stitching together a highly entertaining and informative look at the elusive qualities of brand image and mystique from the perspective of the nation as brand.
A host of pan European and global companies comprised the colorful "quilt" of Summit attendees. European marketers from Palm, Unilever, Verizon, ARM, British Airways, Dell, Sun, Alcatel, Deloitte, Orange, Cognos, and many others engaged with each other and panelists in sessions that probed critical challenges these executives are facing as they confront the mixing of demographics, merging of cultures, and multiplying of new brands and the attendant rise in purchasing power across the region. Symantec EMEA vp marketing, Amanda Jobbins led a panel taking a comprehensive look at centrally versus locally run marketing operations, campaigns and initiatives in the region, diving into and dissecting real world panelist experiences in how best to weave marketing DNA into a company's European quilt. AT&T's Paul Neary, whose portfolio includes EMEA and Asia Pacific, moderated the Channel Changes and Choices panel, which focused on the myriad of new platforms, channels, and mediums for reaching the consumer, upending traditional channel structures and forcing marketers to get smarter, more efficient and innovative in improving prospect and deal flow even as these new opportunities birth equally thorny challenges. Panelists representing software (Cognos), hardware and services (IBM) and mobile services (Telefonica O2) ranged the channel spectrum and delivered expert insight.
Midday keynote Lucas Covers, who has been with Philips Consumer Electronics for sixteen years and who now serves as senior vice prsident and chief marketing officer, invited attendees into the near future for a glimpse at what consumer products might look like and, more important, how European consumer patterns, behaviours and motivations have evolved in the last ten years and what marketers need to do to reach, and “multiply” developed and emerging customer markets in the near future.
Speakers and attendees turned up the heat in the afternoon panel, "New Directions in Digital Marketing to Homes, Hands and Distant Lands." The digital revolution is transforming the way marketers reach consumers - Google's Dan Cobley, director of marketing, UK/Ireland/Benelux, Microsoft TV's Laura Lilyquist, worldwide director customer marketing, and GSM Alliance's chief marketing officer, Bill Gajda, had frank dialogue around the multiplying of platforms like SMS messaging, IPTV, video on demand, and instant messaging, the merging of old and new commerce using mobile money transfers and mobile transactional marketing, and the mixing of entertainment, commerce, and media ushered in by social networking and the implications it holds for marketers. It became quickly apparent with the passionate q&a from the floor that this topic in particular - effectively positioning one's brand in this paradigm shift - resonates as an issue, opportunity, challenge of premium importance
The 2007 CMO Council Summit Europe concluded after a short walk along the Thames to the historic HMS Belfast for a dinner aboard a vessel that holds a place of noble regard in Britain's naval lore. Toasts were made, ideas, insight and - as this was a room full of marketers -- fiercely held opinions, were exchanged. Dinner dialogue also featured discussion around the thought leadership initiatives, programs and forums the CMO Council will debut in Europe in 2007, including the online Mastering MPM (Marketing Performance Measurement) program, the FAME (Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience) Global Mobile Mindset audit of mobile wireless users, and CLOSE (Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness) initiative focused on driving better alignment between sales and marketing.