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Arguably, one of the most complex challenges marketing leaders face today is proving that marketing drives business success.  In this recent conversation on Visionaries, Akerho Oghoghomeh, SVP and Global Head of Marketing at Beyond Meat, and Ken Turner, CMO at Fanatics Collectables, tackle this topic on behalf of the marketing community, breaking it down into five parts–the why, how, who, when and what.

  1. Why is it important to know how to drive business results?
  2. How do you measure success?
  3. Who should you be engaging as champions of marketing?
  4. When is it truly a marketer’s time to shine?
  5. What is most important for marketers to focus on?  

Be sure to tune into the episode on the MTM Visionaries podcast, where they also talk about their time working together at Red Bull, exciting things they are doing with Beyond Meat and Fanatics Collectables, and real business examples of driving business results. 

Find the MTM Visionaries Podcast On AppleSpotifyAmazon, and more!

The Why: Driving Business Results is Our Job 

Ken Turner: As marketers, our primary job is to acquire consumers. Whether it’s a customer, a consumer, or a fan, our job is to understand the business objective from a sales perspective.

Once we understand the business objective, it’s our responsibility to figure out what changes we need to make from a consumer standpoint to deliver against that goal. These changes could be increasing household penetration, getting a consumer who has never bought the product before to make a purchase, or getting a consumer who has purchased before to buy more by increasing the buy rate.

We may also need to motivate consumers to change their buying patterns and buy less from our competitors and more from us. As marketers, we are responsible for the voice of the consumer, and we understand the best ways to motivate them. We may use above-the-line marketing strategies, great entertainment, and other cool stuff, but at its core, our job is to motivate consumer behavior.

We are not selling products that consumers don’t want; rather, we are driving awareness and meaning through the brand’s essence to deliver against our business objectives. No other function is better equipped to do this than marketers.   

The How: Establishing Measures of Success  

Ken Turner 

1. Get support from leadership.

This support should be focused on three areas: agreement and enrollment of what marketing’s role is, allowing flexibility within the marketing team, and the ability to invest. 

2. Have a clear understanding of the consumer we want to target.

This is necessary for building a foundation for growth.  

3. Build the marketing team and the levers that will allow you to grow.

This can be done through three key areas: product or services, engagement through experiences, and content. 

The Who: Engaging Champions of Marketing Across the Organization 

Akerho Oghoghomeh: To be successful, marketing cannot be an isolated function; it must be fully integrated. One way to do this is by building a better corporate strategy, starting at the top and integrating fully.   

We must clearly understand the tools, resources, and support we will have from our leader and board of directors from the beginning. Before accepting my position at Beyond Meat, I had several conversations with the CEO to outline what I believe marketing can and cannot impact. One of the things that excited me about joining Beyond Meat was looking at our board and seeing people I could learn from, build with, and go to with strategies.   

And then, when I started, the first thing I did was talk to my boss about what we needed to do based on the business objectives. From there, we created a measurement plan to track whether marketing was helping to achieve the mission.

Marketing-specific metrics should ladder up to revenue and volume goals. It was important to me that there was a measurement plan socialized broadly amongst the organization and that everyone understood how to measure success for marketing initiatives. 

“Marketing-specific metrics should ladder up to revenue and volume goals.”

—Akerho Oghoghomeh, SVP and Global Head of Marketing at Beyond Meat

The When: The Power of Marketing in Good and Bad Times 

Ken Turner: It all comes down to getting the organization’s support that marketing isn’t always about ROI but sometimes ROE. We need to set up measurements for success, such as tracking brand awareness, brand equity, and NPS. This way, we can ensure that we are still growing equity. Looking back at our time at Red Bull, the brand’s growth over the years is undeniable, and the power of equity was evident during COVID-19 when the marketing stopped, yet the brand continued to grow.

The model continues to move forward, even in tough times, but we need to measure success properly to get support from leaders. If marketing is a fundamental driver of the business, it’s a fundamental driver during good and bad times. We need to enroll others to believe in the power of marketing, which buys us more time to deliver results against the metrics we’ve set. 

” If marketing is a fundamental driver of the business, it’s a fundamental driver during good and bad times.”

Ken Turner, CMO at Fanatics Collectables

The What: Having Clarity on Your Role and Impact 

Akerho Oghoghomeh: One of the most challenging things marketers face is scoping their role to a manageable level. When I started at Beyond Meat, I was delivered ESG within the first month, which was a challenge for me. To manage things like this, it’s important to clearly define what success truly looks like within the CMO function, even before taking on the role.

It’s common to have misplaced expectations on CMOs across the country about what we can influence and impact, but I try to mitigate that as much as possible by having early conversations with the C-suite about what we can achieve and the scope of responsibility that we’re willing to take on in this role. The best thing you can do is be very clear about the role you can play within the organization and the impact you believe you can have within the consumer psyche. 

Q&A From the Audience 

Q: What if marketing is not driving the company strategy because that’s not how it was historically handled? 

Akerho Oghoghomeh: My advice is to be the most prepared person in the room. Look ahead of the function that drives the business decisions and make sure that you can proactively address concerns before they show up. In my experience at Amazon, everything was in service to the operations team. Every meeting I walked into, I came in with a clear perspective. I would build a framework that everyone reacted to, and then slowly, over time, we became seen as the people building and dictating strategy within that organization. 

Q: What is the biggest challenge opportunity of growing a brand when the IP of many products you sell tends to be from other brands, not your own (e.g., sports team merchandise, player trading cards, etc.)? 

Ken Turner: The biggest opportunity when growing a brand is relevance and authenticity. This is especially true when building a brand in an industry like football, basketball, or baseball, where others have already built a legacy. By leveraging relevance and regional authenticity, you can succeed in growing your brand. However, the challenge with this approach is that sometimes, you can get too comfortable and fail to build your own brand.

This is the challenge that we often face when leveraging an IP for growth. It may allow you to grow initially, but eventually, you’ll stall because you haven’t built your own equity. So, it’s important to build your own brand foundation, including an essence of positioning and assets you own, in parallel with leveraging the IP for reach, relevance, and authenticity. 

Meet the Visionaries

Akerho Oghoghomeh, SVP and Global Head of Marketing at Beyond Meat: A growth-oriented consumer marketer, Akerho “AK” Oghoghomeh is an accomplished professional with a diverse background in B2C and B2B marketing and brand management.  He is currently the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Marketing for Beyond Meat.  Prior to Beyond Meat, AK was the Senior Vice President of US Brand Marketing at Red Bull North America overseeing all advertising, consumer marketing, innovation and shopper marketing for the US business.  Prior to Red Bull, AK held leadership roles in marketing at Amazon, Campaign Monitor, and Conagra Foods.  Akerho holds an MBA from the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University.  He is the proud husband to Dr. Alexis Wells-Oghoghomeh, Ph.D. and father to their two boys.   

Ken Turner, CMO at Fanatics Collectables: As Chief Marketing Officer of Fanatics Collectibles, Ken oversees brand vision, strategy and marketing efforts across the entire portfolio of physical and digital collectibles within Fanatics Collectibles, including the company’s iconic, cornerstone sports trading card brand, Topps. Ken works closely with Fanatics’ partners, including sports leagues, player’s associations, and collaborators, to create compelling campaigns, activations and experiences throughout Fanatics Collectibles’ marketing, advertising and content verticals. Before joining Fanatics Collectibles, Ken held the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Red Bull North America where he was responsible for directing innovative programming to create premium experiences for consumers, spectators, and audiences. Prior to Red Bull, he spent 10 years in traditional CPG at SC Johnson where he worked on a number of large-scale consumer brands. 

Visionaries, hosted by Nadine Dietz, airs every week and is brought to you in partnership with The Wall Street Journal. Each week, two new visionaries share their game plan and how that impacts today’s teams, talent, and hybrid work environment.   

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