Building Better CMOs
Building Better CMOs
Andrea Zaretsky (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management) Transcript, Part 1
Andrea Zaretsky: Marketing, at the end of the day, there are perceptions about marketing within companies, and we all know marketing is an art and a science, and what I want to always do is make sure that the science is solid and the measurement is there because it really helps tell the story of the power of marketing as a growth lever in driving growth for the company.

Greg Stuart: Welcome to Building Better CMOs, a podcast about how marketers can get smarter and stronger. I am Greg Stuart, the CEO of the nonprofit MMA Global, and that voice you heard at the top is Andrea Zaretsky, the chief marketing officer of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and E*TRADE. She previously worked for 15 years in American Express, followed by Toys R Us and Sephora. In 2019, she became the CMO of E*TRADE, which Morgan Stanley bought a couple of years later. Today, she runs the marketing for both brands.

Today on Building Better CMOs, Andrea and I are going to talk about her career-long quest to improve measurement in marketing, how to work with someone who's not a native marketer, and why the Super Bowl is so important to Morgan Stanley and E*TRADE, and so much more.

Now this podcast is all about the challenges marketers face and unlocking the true power that marketing can have. Andrea Zaretsky is going to tell us how she did that, right after this.

Well, Andrea, so glad you could join me today for Building Better CMOs.

AZ: Thank you, Greg. So happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

GS: Yeah, this is going to be fun. So listen, we have to get right into it on this one. So E*TRADE, E*TRADE babies, I mean, probably one of the most memorable campaigns in the world today.

AZ: Wow.

GS: Very long-standing. I mean, how long has E*TRADE been doing the baby ads?

AZ: That's high praise from you, Greg. Thank you. I appreciate that. We just did our 11th Super Bowl spot with the baby. The baby's an incredible spokesperson for E*TRADE, really emblematic of the brand, irreverent, witty, clever. I feel so lucky and privileged to have the baby to work with to really amplify the mission of the company.
GS: And it's great that you all have stuck with it so long. I mean, I've seen a bunch of sort of advertisers who I think do kind of good work sometimes and then they drop it or somebody loses interest or there's a change in personnel. I think we undervalue that longevity.

AZ: I agree. I think consistency is key. We do a tremendous amount of research because we want to make sure the baby is still relevant, the baby's jokes still land, and what we hear over the past few years, time and time again, is consumers are asking for the baby to come back.

We did retire the baby for eight years. We retired the baby back in 2014, but we decided to bring the baby out of retirement after E*TRADE was acquired by Morgan Stanley and we were getting ready to relaunch the brand as E*TRADE From Morgan Stanley. And what better way to signal the next chapter of the company than to bring the baby back?

We had been hearing over the years, particularly with the dawn of social media, before every Super Bowl, consumers were saying, "Will the baby be back? Is E*TRADE going to bring the baby back?"

So we felt there was a lot of excitement, anticipation, and it was particularly fun to bring the baby back during the pandemic. It was 2020, right in the heart of it. We did a lot of research. We heard from consumers that it would be okay for E*TRADE to have some levity and be funny. E*TRADE, in terms of being authentic to its brand, it's always been a witty brand so we felt we had permission to be ourselves. And then I believe we brought the baby back in 2021 in that Super Bowl to herald the dawn of E*TRADE From Morgan Stanley. It was a great commercial called "Off the Grid" where the baby had been found living off the grid in a cabin in the woods.

GS: I remember that! It was hilarious and they begged him to come back in a helicopter, I think was the scene.
AZ: I remember the main premise and the joke that we had a lot of fun with was we felt that the baby should come back because people were starting to take their financial advice from memes. So it was time for the E*TRADE baby to come back and do his thing and get America to get off the bench and take charge of their financial lives.

GS: Listen, you weren't there when the company originally came up with this as a theme and stuff, but talk to me, I'm just kind of curious, talk to me a little bit about sort of why babies connected to financial advice makes sense. By the way, I do think it feels obvious to me, but I'm curious to the underlying research or insight that you captured that actually led you to do that.

AZ: The key reason that the baby was introduced was to help consumers understand how E*TRADE is so easy, so easy a baby could use it. That was the whole premise. This was a different time. This was the advent of online trading. E*TRADE was the pioneer bringing... I think they executed the first online trade in the living room of a dentist in Michigan when they founded the company.

GS: Oh. E*TRADE was the very first sort of online broker trade?

AZ: Correct.

GS: Oh okay.

AZ: So has incredible history. Trade is in the name and the whole point of the baby was to say it's so easy a baby can do it. We wanted to democratize trading, democratize investing, really bring Main Street to Wall Street, and that was the dawn of the baby.

GS: And so it was so easy that a baby could do it. And I think it also sort of de-escalates the sort of fear and uncertainty that people have around investing. Correct?

AZ: Absolutely. We want to instill confidence in consumers, and we as a company, part of our mission is to give them the tools, the education, the know-how to confidently manage their finances and plan for financial health. It's as important as every other aspect of wellness in your life. Each year, we're trying to get people to get off the bench and take charge and just do something to get prepared.

GS: Now listen, you also did Super Bowl. So listen, I'm a long-standing agency media guy. I remember when the Super Bowl was a half a million. I do remember when it was a half a million dollars or 30 and now it's upwards. I have no idea what you paid so this had nothing to do with you, but the press was saying six and a half, $7 million. So that's a pretty big investment. How do you look at that investment?

AZ: There is no bigger stage than the Super Bowl. Last year, 116 million viewers. This year, record setting Super Bowl, I think the latest from Nielsen is 123 million. This is the number two televised event in history, after the man walking on the moon.

GS: Wow. This game was the biggest?

AZ: And I mean, I got to give Taylor Swift some credit for the Taylor Swift effect. I mean, she brought 2 million girls into watching football. It's the biggest stage, the biggest audience, and no better platform to bring your brand's message. So we are a big believer in the value of the Super Bowl, and what we've learned over the years is how do we really make it not a one and done.

How do we start to amplify and build anticipation before the game? How do we take it to the next level on game day? And then really important, how do we continue the momentum after the game? This year we had a new strategy. We launched Money Monday.

GS: Monday Money.

AZ: Exactly. We were really excited about that. And on Monday after that kind of a weekend, it's time to turn your attention to your finances. Whether your team won or lost, what can you do to take charge of your finances?

So Money Monday we were incredibly excited to launch. We had the baby front and center in the advertising, and it's just a moment to take some time on Monday. We had a tentpole event. We had our global chief economist, Seth Carpenter, on the line with Nicole Lapin, who is an extraordinary... She is one of the youngest reporters for Bloomberg and CNBC, and we paired them to talk about macroeconomic trends but then really distill it down for the everyday investor, and then we paired it with tools and education and ways to get started as well as a limited time offer to open a E*TRADE account.

GS: Yeah, yeah. You know what I did for my kids a couple, three, four years ago?

AZ: Tell me, Greg.

GS: I gave them money and I told them to open up an investment account.

AZ: I love that.

GS: And the reason I did that — now listen, by the way, I can't even begin to tell you some of the tragedies that have happened as a result of some of that money, but that's to be expected. I've said this a lot. Bob Pittman spoke at one of our events. You know, from iHeart Media. He said, "The only advantage of getting older is pattern recognition."

And I'm sure, I know what I know. It's like, wow, I wish I understood how to invest earlier in my life that I would start to look for the patterns that make sense for me, and so I was trying to help them with that. It's too bad there's not a course how to invest your money in high school.

AZ: I totally agree with you. I feel from a financial literacy standpoint, so important to start with school age kids. There are a number of ways to get involved. We actually are doing a partnership with the SIFMA Foundation and they go into schools and local communities and start to educate students on the importance of financial literacy. That is part of our mission as Morgan Stanley, as well as a key aspect of our Money Monday for our employees to get involved and help out with SIFMA in their local communities. We think it's critical.

GS: The good news is we're living longer. The bad news is we're living longer, and as a result of that, you're going to have a lot of financial disruption. I don't need to get into all the crazy stuff that's happened to me over my lifetime at this point, but it's like, I mean, listen, there's a lot of complexity of that and you got to start doing it and understand it and then see the patterns over time in good times and in bad.

I mean, who's prepared? We all kind of pull back when the whole world goes down, like 2008, and yet that's not really the right reaction a lot of these cases, so yeah, yeah, complicated.

AZ: Yeah. Even if you think about current events, the stock market remains on a roller coaster.

GS: Oh my god, yeah. Higher than ever.

AZ: Significant headwinds, inflation, it's dropped but it remains sticky. There's just a lot for investors to contend with, no doubt. So it couldn't be more important to have a trusted financial services provider. It's really paramount. For every wealth and life stage and for those self-directed investor on through someone who wants to work with a financial advisor, we meet consumers where they are and we want to get them ready and planning.

GS: You're doing good and important work then. Okay, I want to get into the value of the Super Bowl, but I'm going to do that in our next conversation here. I did want to do one other thing funny with you. Ready for this?

AZ: Sure, yes.

GS: How the hell do you do the baby ads? I mean, you don't really interview for babies? You don't cast for babies that really talk, do you?

AZ: Oh, we cast for babies, yeah.

GS: You cast for babies, but not ones that talk and walk and play pickleball, right? I mean, that's not possible.

AZ: And I think if you've looked at the spots over the last few years, we're doing a lot more movement. It started with the baby in a crib or the baby in a high chair.

GS: Right, right. It was just a headshot before. Right.

AZ: With the incredible advancements with technology and AI, we're now able to make the baby a lot more mobile and even play pickleball. So we do do casting for babies. We have a cast.

And we have "Baby" and "Baby's Friends," so we do look for the right babies. With babies, you never know what kind of day they're going to have so we have backup babies at every shoot. You can imagine how fun that is on set.

GS: Oh my god. Oh, I can't even... Oh geez.

AZ: We have baby wranglers and we have parents and we have a whole host of babies. And then with what I think you'd probably be most interested in is, it's gotten easier and easier. The hardest part working with the babies is movement and mouth animation. This is the first year we used AI to help us animate the mouth, particularly for the digital and video that we did to compliment the commercial, and I think next year will get even easier.

It is incredible. It is the longest pull in developing the commercial is animating the mouths of the babies, and with the digital and social video, the AI that we experimented with, we could do it same-day. It is unbelievable how incredibly powerful AI tools are.

Morgan Stanley does have an incredible relationship with OpenAI. We have an exclusive partnership with them within the financial services category and we've launched a number of tools this year. Marketing is definitely the next foray, and we'd love to use it to deploy a use case such as this, the baby.

GS: Yeah. We talked earlier, I think you thought Morgan Stanley E*TRADE was one of the very first to get in and actually have a partnership, exclusive partnership with OpenAI, right?

AZ: That's right. Yes. I think Jeff McMillan, my fabulous colleague and partner who's our chief data analyst and innovation officer, developed a relationship early on with OpenAI and has launched, already, numerous products with them that are helping us be more efficient, empowering our financial advisors, helping our service organization, and we're just scratching the surface and we're just at the beginning.

GS: Yeah. No, I really got the impression you guys... I've now talked to most of the MMA members and you sit on the board so you know who I'm talking about. I talked to them. There's a lot of work around using generative AI for understanding sales and service and support and really crystallizing and summarizing a lot of that. You guys were obviously very early.

AZ: A huge unlock.

GS: Huge.

AZ: We have an unbelievable wealth of thought leadership at our disposal to help us with clients, sharing perspective on everything investing and the markets. We've now enabled our financial advisors, with incredible speed, to quickly sort through that library and figure out the right content for a conversation with their client. We're also using it with consent of our clients to record conversations and provide very fast summaries. So there's so much power there.

GS: So much.

AZ: It's unbelievable, and we're so excited, so excited about it.

GS: Yeah, this is one of those, everybody wins. Okay, so let's shift here a little bit, Andrea.

So as the listener hopefully by this chance knows, it comes to the part of the session where I ask you a very fundamental question. It's kind of the thesis of really the MMA which is trying to unlock the power in marketing that we might not recognize. In order to do that, we've got to admit that there's things that we're not maybe either best at, that we're not great at, that we haven't evolved enough to really fully understand.

And so the question for you, Andrea, is what do you think marketers, CMOs, broadly, any way you want to go at that, what do you think they don't really fully get right about marketing? What do you think they don't fully appreciate?

In your many years, and listen, you started at one of the best marketing orgs in the world, you started at American Express, but there's still things we don't know. What do you think we're just not great at yet, that we probably need to be?

AZ: I think about this a lot, and it's such a great question, Greg. The thing that I have tried to improve for myself and my team over the entire course of my career is measurement. Marketing, at the end of the day, there are perceptions about marketing within companies, and we all know marketing is an art and a science, and what I want to always do is make sure that the science is solid and the measurement is there because it really helps tell the story of the power of marketing as a growth lever in driving growth for the company.

So from the beginning, it's been really important for me to understand how to use analytics, how to make sure that we're setting up the right test and control, how do we ensure that we're getting learnings and cascading them, and then how do we scale wins to truly drive growth for the company?

So from the beginning with my team, I've been working side by side with our analytics and data organizations across each of the companies I've worked in to really help upskill, figure out, I would say three things.

One, how do we have consistency? What are the benchmarks? What is our methodology for test versus control? What is the common understanding of ROI or ROAS or LTV? Is that widely known? Is it accepted? Is it understood by marketers, analytics, and finance? So number one would be consistency.

Number two is skill set. Analytics hasn't always been a top skill for marketers when they're studying it in school. I think it's become more and more apparent how important data is and how data-driven everything needs to be, but how do I make sure that we have the top skills, we have the training, we need to be more analytical with everything we do.

Throughout the years I've been trying to do this, whether it's lunch and learn agendas, ensuring we have master classes around analytics and measurement, and then I would say very importantly is our partnership with the MMA and making sure we're deploying at all times the webinars, all of the great insights and learnings for our marketing organization.

And then third is how do we speak in a language that's understood by finance and how do we continue that strong partnership with analytics and data, how do we prove the case for the budget? Year in and year out, particularly in environments like this and economies like this, it's incredibly important for us to make sure that we're measuring the impact of what we're doing in a way that's understandable, aligned with, and accepted by the finance organization.

So I spent a lot of time there setting up the learning agenda and making sure there's broad understanding of how we're measuring, making sure we're communicating very openly and transparently how things are going. I think those are all key. It's a constant battle and we are on the journey and we're not there yet.

GS: Yeah. Well, listen, it would be super remiss of you not to appreciate that given the type of organization you work in. So I appreciate that, although I wonder how many times that gets ignored. Especially given how powerful the brand is and the kind of brand advertising you do, I mean, you could see an organization, any financial organization, I don't want to pick on Morgan Stanley, I don't know them, but they could be kind of resistant to brand-oriented positioning ads sometimes, right?

AZ: Absolutely. I think I'm fortunate that both brand and performance are critical in this business. In particular, I think we're shining a light today on E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley. At the end of the day, it's as much brand as performance in terms of the marketing we do. For brand, like other marketers across all the verticals that we both work with, Greg, at MMA and others, we're looking at brand health trackers to understand awareness. Are we making traction on the consideration set? Is this a brand that you would want to use? We are measuring consistently over the years our brand health, and we believe all of the advertising 100% impacts that over time. Our perceptions of the brand are critical and I think we're getting better in terms of common understanding of those metrics.

We do brand lift studies, particularly within the digital media that we're doing. Are we making a difference? Is there an impact? With E*TRADE, we are looking to drive accounts. We are looking to open all types of accounts and bring assets into the firm. We are able, fortunately, to use advanced testing to prove the case of the media that we're investing. That's the easier part of the story to tell where there is clear attribution. With the conversion, lower funnel tactics that we use on a day in and day out basis, that part's easier to tell. Like you said, the brand, it takes longer to educate and longer to tell that story and get buy-in.

GS: Just a kind of a side question here, where are you in terms of being able to connect brand lift studies to actual... I mean, yours is acquisition performance, not necessarily sales performance I guess, but performance... How good are those connections today? Because for most companies, they don't have that yet.

AZ: We've been in the business for some time working really closely with Mediahub, our fantastic agency, to connect brand lift with measurement and attribution. I think we're on the journey. Every year, the tools get better, we're able to tell more of that story, but it's not perfect. With walled gardens still, it's not a perfect science, but we're doing a better job each year. It's a growing field. And we're getting more intelligence all the time.

GS: In some regard too, and so let's go back up to the sort of big question. In some regards, this is not a new topic for marketers. In fact, the first think tank we created within MMA was the marketing attribution think tank.

AZ: Yeah, that's right, that's right.

GS: Okay. But there's a part of me that's like, "Why the hell aren't we better at this yet?" Don't you find it a little funny that we're just not as a marketing industry as good as we need to be?

AZ: I agree with you, but I think we've made so much progress, so that gives me a little bit of comfort. When I think about starting out, and I've been doing this over 20 years, when I think just about the last decade how far we've come from where marketing was to where marketing is with the... I mean, there's been so much change around us with social media and all of the digital and ad tech partners. Every year, I do think we get better so I'll try to be a little more glass half full about it. I wish we were even further. I have no doubt we'll get there.

GS: Why do you think it's so hard? You said some of that, you said skill sets, which I want to talk about that one, but yeah.

AZ: I'll go back to the three things I said initially. Consistency, I don't think we have consistency in how we're measuring, how we're telling the story, and I think companies also are a little bit homegrown and proprietary in how they look at things. So particularly when you move from company to company, there's different metrics, there's different measurement, there's different legacy alignment and understanding. Because it's so fast-changing and we're also advancing and developing, there's not a broad understanding of how we're using metrics and how we're telling that story from company to company, vertical to vertical, year to year. So I think it's hard for people to keep up with us within the companies.

On the skill set side, 100%. It's a growing, it's a constant need for education, the field is changing rapidly, how we're treating our marketers continues to evolve. So I think that's definitely something that we need to continue to improve on and make sure that we have analytical marketers across all of our teams, and then how we tell the story internally, that continues to evolve. At the end of the day, companies are busy. There's a lot going on. Marketing doesn't always have its moment in the center of a conversation.

GS: Well, I told you this the other day. We had done an exercise here trying to... MMA's very MTA-friendly. We think it is the measurement system of the future, and I happened to have been lucky enough to actually be a co-partner with a guy named Rex Briggs to create and help the industry adopt that methodology back in the early 2000s, so I'm a big, big fan.

AZ: You guys have done a spectacular job. I love the work you've done with Rex.

GS: Yeah. No, and Rex has been amazing for some of the stuff. We can talk about some of that, but I'll tell you though how hard it was. I mean, when Rex first developed... We didn't call it multi-touch attribution at the time. That's what it was.

When he first developed that though, I basically had raised a bunch of money through the IAB to go help marketers to adopt that method. We didn't get our first marketer to even considered doing a study around that. It was McDonald's. It took us a little over six months to get it. In fact, I remember I went to my wife at one point, I says, "This will either be the most important work I've almost ever done, or it will be the end of my career if the board doesn't give me more time to figure this out and get a marketer to adopt." So it's just very challenging. It was very hard.

AZ: That was high stakes, Greg, and an early time.

GS: It was. And people didn't believe, there was a lot, like people didn't believe internet could be measured. They didn't believe marketing could be measured. They certainly didn't believe the brand could be measured, which is another sort of complex question.

I mentioned this to you the other day, the MMA went back and talked to a lot of the MTA companies here about seven, eight years ago, we did our first, we did a request for information from all of them, and I mentioned this to you, right?

AZ: Yes.

GS: We talked to 19 companies do MTA.

AZ: Wow.

GS: There were 25 different analytical techniques. Everything from double propensity modeling to single propensity to mark-off to... I mean, there was a variety of businesses and techniques.

AZ: And now you have your answer.

GS: We didn't really have the answer. I mean, that was kind of it.

AZ: Why we're not further.

GS: Yeah, no consistency. Yeah.

AZ: That's right. That's like the major issue.

GS: My favorite one was, I don't know if I can mention her name. Can I say this? I don't know. It's a CMO that we all know very well who was at... yeah, I won't mention the company because that would give it away.

AZ: Madam X?

GS: Yeah, Madam X. There we go. Well, that actually sounds like it's Linda Yaccarino, so I don't want to do that either, but...

AZ: That's funny. That was a good one. That was quick.

GS: It wasn't Linda, but one of her big favorite CMOs sat in the board of the MMA. I'll never forget, she pulled me aside. She'd come in a new company and she met with their... She goes, "I met with the search team. They were up 23%. I met with the email team. They were plus 17%. I met with the programmatic team. They were up 12%."

She goes, "I brought them all back into a conference room after I met with them." I says, "Listen, it's really great how well you're doing, and it's amazing. I mean, it's incredible. I hear each one of your successes. Why the hell is the damn business down 5%?"

And it's kind of like, I mean, listen, you work in a financial institution, so I'm sure they're very oriented to that. You're lucky that there's an acceptance, but I think there's a general reluctance to us to take responsibility sometimes to really try to figure how to validate measurement within the companies, don't you think sometimes?

AZ: You hit the nail on the head, Greg. That's definitely — I've seen that throughout my travels in different companies and different verticals. I would say more so in retail I have seen that. If all of this is working so well, retail where they're looking at sales day in and day out, particularly e-commerce, I remember sitting at two e-commerce plays, it's hard for you to triangulate what you're seeing with the marketing and what we're seeing with sales. I think there's also attrition. You have to look at all aspects of the funnel. They may be bringing in, but what are we losing, and how is the funnel working for each of these companies? But yeah, that is a huge area of need to be able to triangulate or tell the story in a way that makes sense.

GS: Have you been able to get organized sufficiently internally to really sort of provide training for marketers, or do you know what you'd like your marketing team to really fully understand and know? Boy, that's a very wide-ranging question.

AZ: Yeah, and it's changed over time.

GS: Oh, it has.

AZ: Absolutely. Whatever the latest and greatest is, I think probably I'm not alone in saying a ton of our marketers are spending time on AI right now to figure out how do we deploy it for efficiency and speed to market. That's a huge area of focus, and I'm sure all of my peer MMA board members, companies as well, and we're all working on AI, we're all trying to stay ahead and figure out how to deploy it equally.

We're spending time on measurement. How do we make sure we have consistency in our measurement? How are we looking across at our portfolio of marketing initiatives and telling that story? Last year to a year and a half ago, we were all looking at the metaverse. So I think everyone's trying to stay current, figure out how to deploy the latest and greatest for the benefit of the company and the clients.

GS: Yeah, I mean, listen, it's one of our challenges. We're a little attracted, marketers, because there're a cultural relevancy, we're a little attracted to shiny objects.

AZ: You're so right.

GS: So we have a little bit of issue. I think we're getting a little distracted sometimes. But then also too, just to be fair to them, I think the business change so much. I mean, listen, the kind of analytics you might use in measuring Meta versus Google Search versus... I mean, there's so much going on there and not all those systems are set up to connect every other tool you have to give you the data you need to make the decisions, right?

AZ: A hundred percent, yeah. We want to make sure we're looking at the top trends. We're staying close to our agency partners. We're staying close to MMA just to figure out how do we get the latest and greatest training, education, information to our marketers to make them the best they can be.

It's constant, constant growth path, I would say, and important, and it's also dynamic and exciting. The reason I love marketing is because of how fast-paced and dynamic and changing it is. I've always been restless, so it's a perfect fit for me, and I think it attracts people who have that restless curiosity as well, and that's why we're so passionate about it.

GS: Yeah. No, I got that. I totally agree with you. I love that about the — you have to figure out something new all the time.

Let me go back to a thing here too. So you sit within a financially oriented company, as we sort of mentioned now 10 times, sort of obviously. What about the relationship with the CFO and the finance team? What do you think you can do to be most helpful to them or to partner with them, or how do you think that relationship is in general working, and then what have you specifically noticed?

AZ: It is one of the most important relationships a CMO can have is with the CFO, for sure, in the finance organization. So I would say from the beginning at American Express, I really grew up at American Express. I was there for 15 years and I had nine roles there, and I think we worked hand in hand with finance, and I think what marketers can do for finance is, in partnership with analytics and data too, sometimes... How do we forecast? How do we share insights? How do we be really honest about what's working and not working so that we can be really accurate with our forecasting? Nobody likes surprises. And how do we learn quickly? How do we set up a test kitchen, experiment and read results in a way that's broadly acceptable to finance so that we can find wins that we can scale?

At the end of the day, the job is figuring out what works so that we can scale it and drive growth for the business, and I think you have to have finance at the table from the beginning of an initiative through analysis, through figuring out what we've learned and how best to deploy it. It is critical. It is important. Finance wants consistency, stability, understanding of clear expectations, and no surprises. So it's really, really important to work hand in hand with that organization and try to be as transparent as possible and learn together what's going to work.

GS: Over the history of your career, you probably had a variety of finance cultures that you've dealt with. Amex is a very advertising culture. I've worked with American Express, so I totally get that. But not all finance people are either marketing-savvy or marketing-appreciative, right? How do you work with some of that, or what advice would you have for people in your experience?

AZ: I think it doesn't even need to be finance. It could be any of my cross-functional partners I could put in that bucket of not a native marketer, not close to marketing, how do you build a relationship, and I think it's important to just bring those folks along on the journey. Education is key. Partnership and co-creation is key. If you can build something together, I think everyone then has a vested stake in its success. So I think that's just partnership and relationship building at large. Whether it's finance or any other critical business partner for the marketing organization, having them at the table early, bringing them along, co-creating, celebrating quick wins together, being real when something doesn't work, being honest and open about failures and failing fast, and then figuring out how to scale together and celebrate together.

I really try to treat my business partners as one team. We want to work across functional teams. We try to do that in each of the companies, in each of the verticals, definitely depending on the company and the mission and the maturity. Finance and marketing are sort of in different phases, but simple relationship 101 and partnership skills.

GS: It was interesting to me, we've talked about this at the MMA board level, that the global board had specifically asked us to figure out how to create a common language between marketers, CMO, and CFOs to figure out how to kind of take and re-categorize what marketing does. We tend to talk in these terms like "likes" and "clicks" and stuff that has loose interpretation to the value of the business.

AZ: Totally. So true.

GS: I want to be careful here, I don't want to insult anyone when I say that.

AZ: No, I'm with you.

GS: We talk their language.

AZ: Outcomes.

GS: Yeah, exactly. Well, this project — how do you really align marketing to what the finance people expect to have and talk their language? And I think we're just a little over a year in the journey in that. But it really, it was surprising to me when the board had really pushed us to develop a common way of doing that across all marketers.

AZ: That is so critical, and I have sat a million meetings about this. I think you have to talk about it as front-end metrics, leading indicators, engagement measures, and those are all really important, and it kind of can give you a sense of how an initiative is going to do or a campaign, but at the end of the day, it's all about outcomes. What are the outcomes? Was a sale made? Was it profitable? Was the investment profitable or not? So I think we try to really show the full circle of metrics, leading indicators, and then really the truth which is the outcomes and conversion and at what margins.

GS: You touch on it there, what is it over time, because we think that answer lies in the work that we've done so far is around lifetime value.

AZ: I love that.

GS: We will be presenting what I think is a crystallized vision of that at MMA's CMO & CEO Summit in the third weekend in July.

AZ: And then I'll be using that, Greg. I'll be using that heavily.

GS: I would hope so. I mean, that's the idea. The idea was to create a standard. You know what would be interesting too, Andrea, I should follow up you separately on this a little bit too, because we are looking for, I was just thinking as I was listening to you, marketers who work well with their CFOs, with their finance teams, because at the end of the day, we need to create something that both of us believe in, that both parties believe in, not that marketing's thrown on the wall or that finance is forced on us, I guess, if it's impractical. So I think I'll follow up and maybe have a conversation with you about that.

AZ: I would love that. I will use that, and it'll be really well received here.

GS: Let's take a quick break. We'll be back right after this with Andrea Zaretsky.

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