This was a first! Two marketing and digital trailblazers from the same company joined us on Visionaries to discuss how AI can enhance a marketer’s competitive advantage. Marie Gulin-Merle, Global Vice President of Ads Marketing at Google, and Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, Vice President of YouTube Ads Marketing at Google, joined Nadine Dietz for an exciting conversation around AI, career growth, and navigating big life changes—both personal and professional.
Anne Marie and Marie had the joy of working together 10 years ago at L’Oreal, where they navigated many digital transformations together, including the launch of their try-on app Makeup Genius, before Snapchat AR/VR filters were a thing. They later reconnected when Marie had an opening at Google, and now they are teaming up to reimagine modern advertising for the tech giant.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation:
Evolving as a Marketer Gives You an Edge
Marie Gulin-Merle: Believe it or not, I started my career in marketing over 25 years ago and had a vision of being at the intersection of technology and marketing. I landed my first job as a webmaster at L’Oreal, but people didn’t understand if I was in IT or marketing.
Fast forward to the next decade, and the company was in need of marketers who could speak both traditional and digital marketing languages. This was a turning point in my career. I was always trying to digitize and reinvent how we connect brands and products to consumers and customers.
It’s been a full circle moment for me, having spent over 20 years as the digital evangelist at legacy organizations and now being a part of one of the biggest tech companies in the world. After four years at Google, I am grateful to be a part of such an inflection point.
Looking back, I have witnessed and contributed to past revolutions, such as the internet and mobile, and now AI is the new revolution that is going to impact marketing all over again.
“After four years at Google, I am grateful to be a part of such an inflection point. Looking back, I have witnessed and contributed to past revolutions, such as the internet and mobile, and now AI is the new revolution that is going to impact marketing all over again. “— Marie Gulin-Merle, Global Vice President of Ads Marketing at Google
Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle: It’s interesting how things have come full circle for me as well since joining Google and reconnecting with Marie. We had the chance to work on some incredible brands like L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline, and we focused on digital transformation within the organization and marketing team.
This experience taught us how to transform ourselves as marketers and how technology and innovation can help connect with consumers, drive insights, and propel innovation. Now, being part of Google at this inflection point is a privilege and an incredible opportunity.
Cross-Functional Collaboration is Key
Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle: Working in a marketing role for any organization requires cross-functional collaboration, especially at large organizations. When I came to Google, I was surprised by the extent of how cross-functional the organization was. This was a steep learning curve for me!
We work closely with ad sales teams, product teams, and engineers, all with a focus on putting the customer at the core of everything we do. Our goal is to help customers solve business challenges, achieve marketing objectives, and connect with consumers using our products. That’s the beauty of our products and how they can open up possibilities for our customers to connect with their audience.
Strong Relationships Help You Navigate Change
Marie Gulin-Merle: I’ve had to navigate a lot of changes and surprises personally and professionally over the past 10 years, including moving continents, switching industries twice from CPG to retail and tech, starting at Google right before the pandemic, and having a baby in the middle of it.
With the abundance of information available in today’s world, it’s easy to think you know everything, but there are always surprises and discoveries. It’s important to work well with others, especially in a fast-paced, complex environment like tech.
And while change can be difficult, it’s ultimately good for growth. I’ve had to navigate stakeholder relationships in a remote environment, which has added to the complexity. You never truly master stakeholder navigation; it’s really about the people and having relationships.
Nobody loves change, especially at the level that I experienced, but in hindsight, change is always good.
Embrace AI to Unleash Your Full Potential as A Marketer
Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle: You’re not competing with AI, you’re competing with marketers using AI. As a team, we are thinking about how to use AI to increase productivity. There are a lot of Google tools we are using day to day. For example, we use BARD to help with ideation.
Think about how much time it takes to sit around a table and spark ideas. We are reducing the speed of creation. We are testing a bunch of things before going to market. Testing and learning takes on a whole new flywheel we haven’t been exposed to.
As marketers, we need to embrace these new tools and think about how we are using them for creativity, productivity, and performance. If AI is the engine, we as marketers are in the driver’s seat. There are things as marketers that AI can’t replace. Let’s use it to spark new ideas and bring our lived experiences to the table to unleash the possibilities of what AI can do to help.
“If AI is the engine, we as marketers are in the driver’s seat. There are things as marketers that AI can’t replace. Let’s use it to spark new ideas, bring our lived experiences to the table, and unleash the possibilities of what AI can do to help. “— Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, Vice President of YouTube Ads Marketing at Google
Marie Gulin-Merle: There were previous revolutions. This is not our first BBQ! First, there was the internet, mobile, etc. Google has been ready for this moment. Back in 2016, our CEO declared Google as an AI first company. Now AI is mainstream, but we’ve been using AI for a long time at Google, and so have our clients. However, we are now entering the new wave of Gen AI, which is changing how we ideate and produce content, and will help with the value chain in marketing.
When it comes to navigating AI, ask yourself these questions:
- What marketing tasks do you wish you had more time for?
- Do you think you’re spending too much time on a task that AI could do?
- What is it that AI cannot do and only marketers can do?
This is about automating the low-value work so marketers can go back to the art of marketing. AI is not a trend; it’s the next wave. Look at it as something that can bring value to you and free up space for you to do work machines cannot do.
Never Lose Sight of Your North Star
Marie Gulin-Merle: I’m always going back to the why. Why am I doing something? Does it matter? Should we really be doing what we are doing? It’s easy to have tunnel vision. But when it comes to prioritizing what matters, the why is what I try to anchor on. And when I’m not aligned with what I’m doing, talking about it with my manager, or peers really helps. We all have those days where we can’t connect the what with the why. It’s about making patterns and ensuring you’re aligned with your values and using that as your North Star.
Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle: My advice is to meet the moment. What’s in front of us is a future marketers can co-create. This opens up possibilities for innovation and new thinking. Think about how you want to meet this moment as a marketer, and where you want to take your business and thrive as a marketer.
Meet the Visionaries
Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, VP YouTube Ads Marketing at Google: Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle is a “culture-shifting exec” (Glamour 2019) who has developed transformative and digital-first brand strategies that deliver sustainable growth for top beauty brands like L’Oreal, Maybelline, and La Roche-Posay. She is a people-first leader focused on building diverse, empowered teams and fostering inclusive cultures that inspire new ways of thinking and collaborating to unlock “the magic”. Nelson-Bogle is currently VP, YouTube Ads Marketing at Google. Before Google, she served as General Manager of New Business Ventures at L’Oreal USA, Deputy General Manager at L’Oreal Paris, and SVP of Maybelline New York. She has been recognized by Glamour as a 2019 Glamour Women of the Year and by ESSENCE as an ESSENCE Black Women in Beauty.
Marie Gulin-Merle, CMO at Google Ads: With over 25 years of marketing and digital transformation experience, Marie Gulin-Merle’s goal is to help businesses around the world get online, thrive, and grow through the transformative power of digital technologies. Her responsibilities include running go-to-market for Google’s $250B Ads business and marketing products. Prior to joining Google, Marie was the Chief Marketing Officer of Calvin Klein Inc and Chief Digital Officer of its parent company, PVH Corp. She also previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer for L’Oréal USA. Marie’s achievements have been recognized by numerous organizations, including: “Power Player in Marketing and Advertising” by Ad Age in November 2017; WWD’s “10 Most In-Demand Execs in Digital Beauty, Fashion and E-Commerce” list in 2016; Ad Age’s “40 Under 40” list; Business Insider’s “Most Innovative CMOs in the World” list in 2016 and 2017; and Consumer Goods’ 2018 CMO of the Year.
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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