1) What do you think the most important thing Marketers need to be doing right now?
To use a couple common expressions, it is about balancing “fishing where the fish are”, and figuring out “where the puck is going”. Don’t lose sight of what is working and where there is an immediate opportunity, but make sure you take time out of your schedule to explore new paths. Whether through seminars, conferences or spending time with forward-thinking agency partners. And, challenge your teams to do the same. Encourage them to take time out to explore, make it part of their objectives, and have them share what they find and key takeaways with the rest of your team.
Another important thing marketers need to do is to spend time in the field. Work with your frontline Sales folks, meet the customers and chat with shoppers. Find out first hand what is working and where there are frustrations. Identify the common themes and work to maximize the positives and improve upon the opportunity areas.
2) What is your approach to market research, both customer and competitor focused?
Ultimately, the key is knowing what you are trying to accomplish and to focus first and foremost on asking the right questions. Once you have the questions, the approach to find the answers follows, whether from internal or syndicated data or custom research.
For me, understanding the effectiveness of marketing efforts (brand and trade) relative to the competition has always been critical. Just one example is pursuing a comprehensive marketing mix analysis. It has helped on more than one occasion (and with more than one company) to better focus my team’s efforts and shift limited resources to target activities which have the strongest ROI.
Try not to let the discovery process slow down the momentum, whether for a campaign or a new product. If the initial read is positive, and there is internal excitement about the approach, I am inclined to move forward and run the research concurrently as a validation, and adjust course accordingly.
3) How important is diversity hiring for you personally and for businesses?
It is critically important for a company to be representative of the population in which they operate, and to which they are marketing and selling. Not only because it is the right thing to do, but also in an effort to improve the diversity of thinking and creative approach to brand, trade marketing, and sales.
Having a population internally which mirrors the marketplace allows companies to not just “talk the talk”, but “walk the walk”, and make their brands truly relevant from above the line communications to the front-line sales relationships. Ultimately leaving little doubt that positive impact on topline results will follow.
About Jeff Neuman – LinkedIn
Jeff is a proven strategic leader in the field of Marketing with extensive domestic and international experience in both B2C and B2B. He is a results driver with success in Brand, Trade Marketing and Innovation, and has the ability to connect and communicate internally and externally to gain alignment and execute plans and campaigns (traditional and digital). Jeff is a builder and developer of high performing teams and creator of open and positive work environments.