L'Oréal CMO: marketing has not done a good enough job explaining the benefits of data

Marketers should aspire to be able to personally sit down with every consumer, writes L'Oréal's CMO for Western Europe - and data can take us close to realising that.

Never stop developing your team and yourself

To keep your team at the forefront of marketing innovation and technology, you must start with personal development.

I believe in having experts and specialists for all areas of marketing and to get to that point, you must train your talent but also continue learning for yourself.

I am a practical, hands-on leader and expect my teams to teach me as much as I can share with them. I want my teams to be experts in what they do within L’Oréal but always be working towards being best-in-class and that requires constant development and up-skilling.

Marketing is a changing industry and requires agility and flexibility to move with the times and advance on a personal, employee level but also as a company to keep up with the rest of the market.

Be influenced by culture

The biggest influence on my career has been the worlds of cultures I have worked with at L’Oréal. I have constantly been exposed to different ways of working, of communicating, of doing business and I take these lessons with me to every part of my working life.

In my time I have had managers from India, Germany and France to name only a few and they have all highlighted the importance of being able to adapt to the team you work with.

Now, as CMO of Western Europe, I strive to understand what makes each individual in my team tick. Once I know this, I appreciate what motivates them, what rewards they need to work harder and the style of feedback I should give.

The multicultural environment of L’Oréal makes this even more important and I can honestly say I learn from my colleague’s culture and experiences every day.

Keep consumers at the heart of everything you do

Throughout my career at L’Oréal, both in Canada and the UK, I have learnt that as CMO it is important to instil in my team the fundamental belief that our consumers are at the heart of everything we do.

With L’Oréal being a consumer-centric company, it should be the dream of every marketer to be able to have a coffee with each of their consumers and explain the details of their brand, get them to try it out and then offer them a sample in order for them to create their own opinion. 

We want to be able to create a rich, informed, personalised offering for each of our consumers based on their likes, dislikes, habits and previous interactions with us. It can no longer be "one size fits all".

Help consumers understand the benefits of data driven marketing

I believe the industry faces many opportunities coming out of consumer expectations, specifically in terms of data transparency.

We are in an era where consumers don’t necessarily know the benefits of data and may have a negative perception of it. We want to bring personalisation to consumers and be super relevant but also be clear on where this data is coming from, how it is being used and why it is important, relevant and useful for each consumer on a personal level.

From a marketing industry standpoint, we may have not done a very good job in the past of explaining why data can bring relevancy and content that is more meaningful. This is the biggest challenge and at the same time, if done well, could create huge, positive shifts that will respond to consumer expectations and needs.

Today’s marketer: a hint and a tip

I often tell my teams that they will rarely be rewarded for completing their to-do list but instead for thinking outside the box and for doing things that others haven’t thought of yet.

At L’Oréal, we believe in a "test and learn" culture and I do not expect everything to be perfect first time. I want to instil in my team an attitude of innovation, collaboration and experimentation. To do this, it is paramount that we do not take anything for granted in a time when technology and innovation are moving so quickly – marketers must be aware, be agile and move with the advances coming our way.

Stéphane Bérubé is chief marketing officer for Western Europe at L’Oréal and a member of Campaign’s Power 100.

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