Building Better CMOs
Building Better CMOs
Andrea Zaretsky (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management) Transcript, Part 2
Greg Stuart: This is Building Better CMOs. Let's get back to my conversation with Andrea Zaretsky, the chief marketing officer of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and E*TRADE.

Hey, you said earlier too, I want to probe one more thing here with you a little bit.

Andrea Zaretsky: Sure.

GS: You said you talked about how to tell the story. What does that mean when you say that? As we were talking about measurement here, you used how to tell a story. I mean, there's a story in what babies mean, what the E*TRADE baby means. So I got that, but that's a different storytelling.

AZ: Not the baby narrative.

GS: Yeah, but what about-

AZ: Or the campaign analysis narrative?

GS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. What do you mean when you say that? What's a conversation you need to have with people now?

AZ: Over time, as in my journey, I found it really important to have a clear and consistent framework to tell the story of your marketing investment, and I think not everyone has the same context and background. We talked a lot about that even today. Not everyone's coming from the same place. To your point, sometimes people throw out things like click-through rate. What does it all mean? So I think if you can use a consistent, clear framework when you're evaluating a marketing initiative and use the same one every time with your finance partners and your analytics partners, that's critically important.

So on my team, what were the objectives of this marketing? So you can bring in anybody who's at the table can understand what were you trying to achieve and what were the objectives of this particular program, campaign, initiative, what were the expected success metrics? And then what have we learned and what do we know? And then, let's together agree on some recommended next steps here.

So I think just having that, laying out that analytic framework and even the methodology by which we're going to share the results is critically important, and you have to build the behavior and practice of using that same methodology time and time again. If you walk in with different ways to measure things every single time, you'll lose credibility real fast.

GS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So in other words, let's be really thoughtful of the, I don't know if it's the end user, but at least our partner on this kind of thing, that they really understand where we're going, what we're doing in the journey we're on, and ask for their involvement in that is really kind of what you're saying there.

AZ: That's right, and how you tell the stories with metrics. Are you using the same metrics every single time? Until within, let's say a year, I really want the team to show up telling the story with the broadly accepted metrics that the organization understands, and also building credibility by being open and transparent in what worked and what didn't work. I think those are really important things to share every single time.

GS: Right, right. Funny, to the degree you can talk about this... I mean, listen, you're a big public company, so there's only so far you can probably go, but I don't know, how do I ask the question? Does spending advertising money for E*TRADE matter?

I mean, I guess what is the real relationship between marketing...? I mean, you're a very customer... It's a very bottom line. Do you get customers? Do you get deposits? That's how that business in part works. Do you engage the customers so that they believe in the platform and continue to work with you as a business? Is marketing really influential on that, or do people just sort of make a decision, they wake up one day and then they go make a decision on some provider?

To the degree you talk about this, what is the correlation between advertising, marketing, and the success of the business? I mean, listen, I've seen a lot of businesses where the investment in advertising has honestly a very small, it does influence a chunk of the business, but it's a small percentage of the business. How do you look at that as it pertains to an E*TRADE that is focused on getting new customers all the time?

AZ: I think it's critical for marketers today to look at the full funnel and be able to share how the full funnel impacts business drivers and growth. So we feel really strongly that brand and advertising combined with strong digital performance marketing helps lead to successful outcomes, and so we're evaluating every piece of that spend across brand and performance to understand impact. In my business, in particular with E*TRADE, we are able to measure the impact of investment on bringing in new accounts, the profile of the clients that we are delivering, the assets, their growth over time. You mentioned lifetime value, that's another metric we'll look at.

But we have developed over time the ability to read what we can read across the investment and where it is a little bit, and we all know, working together on MMA and in marketing, top of the funnel is the most difficult to read, but because of the advent of things like the brand health tracker and brand lift studies, we're doing a better job of measuring the impact of that spend. We know how important it's that these things work together. We know through all of the modeling and mixed models, we're able to tell a better story each year about how each of the components of spend work together. But I think it's something that we just have to continue to beat the drum on, sharing openly and consistently the impact of the dollars on the growth of the business.

GS: But marketing for a business like yours really matters.

AZ: It really matters. Being able to use advertising and digital marketing to drive interest in the firm, drive new clients in the door, and then deepen the relationship over time, we're marketing every aspect of the funnel, trying to build awareness and consideration through conversion. We believe it's incredibly important how we onboard new clients, how do we bring them into the firm, how do we introduce our offering, how do we delight them? We know the first 30, 60, 90 days are critical, so we spend a ton of time there to make sure that we are onboarding clients in the right way so they get the most value out of the relationship with the firm. And then over time, how do we use data to meet their needs, how do we learn as much as we can?

I think clients today, particularly because of Amazon, they have high expectations that we know them. We certainly know what the business they're doing with us, and we are starting to learn about them as people. Well, how do we be really smart about what we offer them as they grow and deepen their relationship with us over time? What signals do we use?

I think we've heard in research over the years, we have license to use data to be relevant what we're putting in front of a client. There was often the time around privacy and creepiness, is that okay or not? We've heard time and time again, as long as you're using the data for good and to add value to the client's life, they're totally good with it.

So we're being extremely data-driven, and we're spending an enormous amount of time once a client comes in the door and starts to build a relationship, how do we add value in an ongoing way and deepen the relationship with that customer? So, that's a really, really important area for us right now.

GS: It's interesting, I think you know from some of the work that MMA has done around marketing org that it's not going to be true in every sector, so there's some complexity to the statement I'm about to make, but just hold it as a thesis, which is that of the three main marketing strategies — direct to consumer, the kind of transaction oriented brand, and customer experience — it appears from the research that customer experience is the most valuable, the most financial return on investment oriented of the three marketing strategies. Again, a lot of complexity to that statement, so I don't want to apply that to you. But I just heard you say as a CMO, you're spending a lot of time on customer experience is kind of what just caught my attention.

AZ: You are a hundred percent right. I agree with what you said.

GS: What was the split of your time, I don't know how to ask this, like five, 10 years ago versus today around the dynamics between the three with customer experience and relationship? Changed dramatically?

AZ: I think because omnichannel has become so incredibly important and because consumer behavior has changed so much and everything is done in the palm of the hand, I think client experience. I agree with your assessment. There is nothing more important.

GS: Yeah, because the retail branches that sat outside, probably, the CMO's domain, so you maybe didn't think about customer experience 10, 15 years ago nearly as much as you have to today.

AZ: That's right. It's all about digital and just delivering the most incredible experience you can so clients can self-serve, get the information they need. You got to make it easy for them to interact with the brand and have a great experience every time. So that really shapes the brand as much as advertising. It's the experience you're having with that company and making it incredibly seamless and friction-free.

GS: Okay, so here's my big concern. This is one of those almost maybe rhetorical unanswerable questions, but if you want to take a swipe at it. You ready?

AZ: Yeah, I'm ready.

GS: So, listen, I'm a father of some of the modern measurement techniques and I'm pretty knowledgeable about this stuff, and MMA has spent a lot of time, as we just talked about, and you obviously have spent a lot of time ... as I listened to you, you have all the vernacular, have all the understanding in what you're doing. I totally get it, right? You're really on top of, in particular for, and we started here with an advertising thing.

AZ: I'm using the language you established.

GS: Well, we love having you involved because you're one of the pioneering CMOs that makes the MMA good. Okay. Here's the question where I'm going. So we're think we're getting, I'm hoping we're better with advertising measurement. I still think there's a lot of vulnerabilities, a lot of risks, there's a lot of gaps, walled gardens, blah, blah, okay. Set that aside for a moment. So you just advocated for customer experience, which in the abstract, we've measured.

AZ: Oh I love it.

GS: Okay. So you know where I'm going to go. You know what I don't think we know how to measure at all is customer experience. I've not even heard anybody honestly even raise that question with me yet, and I'm like, "It's easy to do this sort of channel measurement dynamics if you want to, but how do I integrate that to know how to invest in customer experience versus brand or some of these other things, and then what customer experience do I invest in versus other?" I have this come up a lot with my chief digital officer board.

AZ: I think some of the early ways to understand that is definitely things like J.D. Power. There's a lot of client satisfaction surveys that are deployed, after a phone interaction, on site, after you do something digitally, after a chat experience. Companies are using a lot of that quantitative data, post-transaction survey to try to get a sense of, I think, discreet specific experiences. But more broadly, I think there could be much more in the way of measurement of your holistic experience with a firm or a company or a brand not specific to a particular transaction over time, and is it improving, is it keeping you loyal, does it make you want to do more business with the firm because they make it so easy and delightful. I feel like there's definitely more measurement that can be done in that area to help it inform us where we should focus. Every marketer is partnering on a technology roadmap of things to develop and where to invest to make that client experience incredible. It would be great to have more information to know where to invest, what really matters to clients and consumers.

GS: Listen, we can do measurement, like click... Listen, I'm going to say the dirty word, click-through has given us opportunity or click opportunities when digital has given us some sense of belief. But listen, there is zero relationship between click-through and sales performance. It does not exist. I've done more than enough studies on that. I'm very clear that for everything I've ever seen, that's the case. Okay. So we can measure the individual experiences, but you're right, what we don't have, and I don't think we're anywhere near and I'm not heard of anybody's so if anybody's got it, please tell me, but we don't have attribution across both touch points and messaging.

AZ: I think that's right on. Definitely, there would be an unlock there. That would be really valuable to help inform us where to spend time.

GS: It would be really valuable.

AZ: I totally love, I think that's right on.

GS: Okay. Well, listen, I don't know. I probably am hearing some of these things when I talk to the board. They don't really bubble to everybody, and then all of a sudden you realize that there's some zeitgeist that this is the thing we need to go focus on. Think about that a little bit because that one sounds really complicated.

AZ: Even if you think about our teenage kids, think about how different they're interacting with companies today and how you have to build the right experiences for them, it's going to change dramatically and it's going to become more and more digital.

GS: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And I'll tell you, one of the most interesting I heard too, just by the way, which we all know and understand now, is I remember we had the CMO of Citibank speak at one of our events 10-plus years ago and I'll never forget when she said. She said, "We know for a fact that customer satisfaction for those who use our mobile product versus those who come into our branch is significantly higher."

AZ: Interesting.

GS: And I went, "Wow, that's a lot people and a lot of capital expenditure behind buildings when the mobile's better." Now I don't think that's always the case. There's probably a different dynamic, I'm sure, a more complicated question, but I remember that was a real aha moment for her.

AZ: Yeah, I totally hear you.

GS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, not all the case, I mean, we got to prove the whole thing everywhere so omnichannel, like you said. Okay. Here, let's shift gears a little bit.

AZ: Sure.

GS: So listen, super interesting measurement. I just, I love the excitement that you bring to that topic.

AZ: Yes.

GS: Listen, you and I talked a little bit the other day just around the dynamics, and I often like to sort of ask guests here, as you look back on your career now, what did it take to you to get to the C-suite? And then secondary, I'm going to go into a little bit, what do you think it really takes to get there? And you really did set out... Did you set to become a CMO? Is that right? You were really determined for that?

AZ: I did. It's funny.

GS: That's very funny. I love it. You could admit it. It's okay.

AZ: Yeah, no. True.

GS: I mean, I wanted to be a CEO, so I'm okay with that.

AZ: I was pretty methodical. My first job, I thought I wanted to be a journalist, and my first job was at The New York Times, and that was a really formative experience.

GS: Right. Amazing.

AZ: I was going to be a reporter or an editor, and I was a clerk, which is back in the day what they called your post-college rotational job there. My last clerkship was on publishing's firewall, and it was on the subscription advertising part of the business, and something just clicked for me, and I was like, "I kind of like this."

I had a great mentor at the time who said, "You should go to business school and do marketing." I said, "What's marketing?" I really didn't know much about it. I definitely didn't study it. I was English major. And so on a whim, I looked into business school, I took the GMAT, I applied, and actually The New York Times sponsored me for that first year of business school. I continued to work because I wasn't a hundred percent sure what I was doing.

GS: Wow.

AZ: But what I realized is everything I loved about journalism, which is coming up with the headline, shaping public opinion, and influencing, and figuring out how to get attention are all the things that really go into marketing too, so it was a very translatable skill set.

So I decided, you know what? Marketing does click for me. I wanted to go to a company where it was at the center and customer was at the center which was American Express, and while at Amex I learned what a CMO was. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know this was even a job, but I learned quickly there what a fantastic role that is, and I was very methodical in terms of the advice I'd give is, I wanted to learn as many areas of marketing as I could in those early years.

I learned acquisition marketing first. How do you sell the value story or value proposition of the company? How do you bring in new clients? Then I moved on to product management. When the client's already there, how do you deepen the relationship, how do you build winning value propositions to grow relationships and loyalty over time? Then I got into digital and cross-sell and sales. In every aspect of marketing, I was really deliberate. I wanted just to understand everything I could, including brand and advertising. That was kind of where I went last, if you can believe it. I really was a performance marketer who got deeper on brand later. So I kind of started with the analytical approach first, and I thought that was just such a fantastic role and I loved that the CMO combined both brand and performance. It was like creative plus extremely rigorous, and so that really appealed to me and it was my hope one day to get there.

GS: Part of your approach then was to create in essence your own professional development, your own sort of training program to be well-schooled in all aspects of marketing is what I think I heard you say. I love that.

AZ: Yeah. And in the 2010 social media, what was that all about, and digital became really important. So went deep in those areas, knowing that it would be important just to sort of have a general education in all the important aspects of marketing, and then I jumped out to get some different experience. I had done financial services for 15 years. I always liked retail. It was very appealing to me. Did two stints in retail. What I learned is that my marketing skills were very translatable and it doesn't matter the vertical, the skills are the skills, and I thought that was fantastic and really helpful to understand that playbook works no matter what category. I'm sure there's nuances, but that was really helpful, and then went back to my first love and joined E*TRADE as CMO.

GS: Well, and I think too, I mean, I think as I've talked to my friends in retail and CMOs in retail, I mean, listen, you get a report on your, metaphorically, a report on your desk every morning that tells you how you did yesterday.

AZ: That was wild. Yes, you are 100% right. The pressure in retail, unbelievable. The pace of innovation though, incredibly exciting. I loved my days at Sephora. So disruptive, so innovative, so first to market with omnichannel techniques. What you do in the store you are able to see in your app and vice versa. I think they were a huge leader in building omnichannel practices and client experience. So I really got an appreciation in those years of how important that is.

GS: You kind of represent sort of what I think is sort of a marketer, what I wonder, and I've not talked to the board about this, but what I wonder is the marketer of the future. We need to define here are the skill sets and here is the knowledge base and the experiences you need to have to be a full-on CMO and marketer which are required to understand all those things. I mean, they do that, a lot of professions make you go through training. I think we've gotten complexity. We need that now. We need a professional certification of some kind.

AZ: I could not agree more, for sure.

GS: And even then still, like you said, it's so dynamic and so changing all the time that we need retraining all the time. I don't really feel like I see a lot of that going on sometimes. There's people showing up doing their thing.

AZ: I agree. It's true. I actually, I did take a pause my last years at Amex, I did go back and do some continuing education in marketing because the field had changed so much.

GS: Oh, you did? Interesting.

AZ: I did. I did it on the side and it was very stimulating and interesting, and it helped me understand, like you said, the new playbook, the new measurement, the new metrics. It was important to upskill. I think it's really important for marketers, however they can find it, through an industry association like yours or otherwise.

GS: Yeah, really smart. So listen, so that's an important part of managing the basic skills of the job and staying on top of your industry as a basic level. There can be some real pressure in some of these. Everybody feels pressure within companies, big and small, in different departments. Your CEO's got pressure on her or him and the board has pressure on them. The CFO, I mean, everybody's got some dynamic, has something going on. I mean, do you love that? Do you go, "Oh my god, I wish we could do it a little bit differently," or do you say, "No, here's how I prepare for battle in that"? I don't know. How do you look at that? I'm curious.

AZ: I think you do have to prepare for battle. You have to be competitive and you got to want to win, and I think that's part of the mentality. You want to continue to do better. You want to leave the place better than when you found it. You want to find wins. You want to drive growth. You want the company to succeed. You want your clients to win. So you just have to have that sort of competitive spark and winning mindset. I think it's really important. And then keep a healthy perspective, and I think it's really important to focus on culture too. You want your team to want to wake up and run in and feel good about the work they do, feel appreciated, feel recognized. So all that's critical.

GS: You saw last year we had announced the stat from the professors involved in the marketing org work for the MMA that they had found the net promoter score for marketing departments. And so listen, averages are averages. I want to be kind of careful about numbers here a little bit because it doesn't ... my research guy says all the time, he says, "If you're in a bathtub and your hair's on fire, on average, you're fine." So averages don't really mean anything, right? That his point.

AZ: That's amazing. That's a good one. I love that.

GS: I love to repeat that one. It's such a visual representation of the idea. Okay. So an average one, but the average net promoter score for marketing departments, in other words — everybody knows on net promoter score works. "Would you recommend your marketing department," was exactly how the question got us, "would you recommend your marketing department to a friend or colleague?" And the average net promoter score there was a negative 2%.

AZ: Oof.

GS: I know. Isn't that brutal? I mean, I find that both disheartening and room for opportunity.

AZ: Yes.

GS: But it's sometimes true. It feels like marketing's not sort of found its center in some regards or something. I don't know. Maybe every other department of the company feels the same way. I don't know.

AZ: I know, I'd be curious about that, but I think what it does say is how important leadership is and how important culture is. We spend a lot of time talking about driving growth and bring in clients and deepening relationships, but at the end of the day, you got to build a culture that people want to work in. They need to feel included. They need to feel like they're on the team. They need to know their work matters. So particularly in this stage of my career, I'm spending as much time on making sure we have strong leadership, we have a sense of belonging, we have inclusivity, we have a really good culture. I think that's so, so important, and just more focus on that would help hopefully bring that score you just quoted into the positive territory.

GS: Well, by the way-

AZ: It's as important as everything else we talked about.

GS: Just to be clear, the companies in the top 20 percentile of that are in the 40% positive which means-

AZ: Thank goodness.

GS: Well, but wait, wait, wait.

AZ: We're moving up to positive territory. Negative two gave me a little pause.

GS: But the lower 20% are down in the negative 40s obviously, given that.

AZ: Oof.

GS: I know, I know, I know. Well, listen, we've got some-

AZ: I wonder how much, I would be curious, like other departments — and also, the times we're in. Like this particular period of time or the time of the survey, it's been tough.

GS: Yeah. And the complexity of that question too is that we can't say, do they like marketing? That's the thing I'd like to get to. The marketing department, is it the company? Is it the leadership, the CMO? Is it the job that they're doing at the moment? Is it the state of the company that... There's a lot of factors to come in when they answer a question, your department, your marketing department.

AZ: Yeah, I agree, complex.

GS: It's not a perfect question, but it does give some state of where I think some marketers are. It's just some areas for us to really improve against. Because you're right, we want-

AZ: Hopefully they feel empowered. I think at the end of the day, marketers have to feel empowered.

GS: Well, it's funny you say that. So in the marketing org work that we've done, if you've caught some of the themes of some of that, we start out trying to measure fit of capabilities to marketing strategy. That's the number one driver of if you get that right, that's what most drives performance of the company. That's what all the research and the data shows that fit is what matters.

The challenge though that we found in the professionals going in and working with some of the member companies around this is that we don't even get to the fit measurement fix because there's no alignment around marketing mission.

AZ: Oh wow.

GS: I've heard significant, and I don't know if you've heard at all on the board calls or some of our meetings, but it's pretty dramatic that we've not tackled or aligned around a mission first and then had that adopted. It's a variation of your — you treated culture as kind of a positive element of business, which it is, how do we make everybody positive about it, but there's this other dynamic, are we all rowing in the same direction? Kind of what's come up.

AZ: I think that's really-

GS: It's a big deal.

AZ: That makes sense. Like mission and purpose and alignment around that and knowledge of it. It couldn't be more important.

GS: And have people adopted it? Well, listen, I have a quick lightning round here. I got I think just two.

AZ: Let's do it, Greg.

GS: These are easy. So what is the marketing, either it could be company or person, you do most admire? Is there somebody out there that you really thought was great or a company whose work you go, "Oh my god, I wish we could do work like that," or something. I don't know. Pick what you want.

AZ: I really love the mission and purpose of Dove. They were first to the party with incredible body positivity, marketing and messaging, even in this most recent Super Bowl. I love what they're doing partnering with Nike.

GS: What'd you think about that Super Bowl ad?

AZ: Love it.

GS: It was pretty dramatic, yeah.

AZ: I absolutely love it, instilling confidence in girls and the cautionary tale about what happens along the way. I think that is such an important work and done beautifully. I'm admiring them right now very much.

GS: Yeah, real culture change there too.

AZ: Oh yeah.

GS: Very powerful. And as a father of daughters, I have a huge amount of appreciation for the things they're doing. I don't remember the stat exactly, but they talked about how many girls don't continue on sports until high school age as their bodies change, I think was the thesis of what it was trying to say, and I thought-

AZ: The girls looking in the mirror, I felt it. I felt it in my... When she was checking herself out, I was like, oh... What a moment they captured.

GS: I know. I'm sure as a woman you... Exactly. They really do get that right. I'd heard or seen a video with Ginni Rometty, the former CEO of IBM, the other day. She told a story about how she was offered a big job and she said to the person, she goes, "I don't think I'm ready for this job. I don't know if I'm really there." And so she was kind of being interviewed. It was an internal kind of thing. And if I heard the story right, what I think she said, she goes, "Well, let me go home and talk to my husband." She came back the next day and says, "I'm going to take the job." And the guy said, "Okay, the job is yours, but by the way, don't ever say that you're going to talk to your husband again."

AZ: Oh wow.

GS: And let me be clear that because I'm want to be careful about the point I'm trying to make here, what I heard her say is that, she was making the point that women don't always agree that they can go do that next job, that men tend to not question that, and so there was this self-doubt that she had-

AZ: A hundred percent.

GS: ... that was also combined with then she had to go talk to her husband about it, which listen, I do talk to my spouse, everybody should talk to their spouse about what they're going to do if they're going to make a big move. But I just, I thought it was really interesting. It's a very interesting dynamic in the world today, and I say that as a father of daughters.

AZ: I think we talk a lot about it here at work as well and in all the women's leadership programs I have had the benefit of joining. I do think there's a confidence gap on the way up. There's less role models that women see at the top, like the C-suite and the board configuration. I know there's tremendous movement and effort to change that, but I definitely see it, and I'm part of the crew that's trying to combat that, and borrowing Sheryl's "Lean In" words, I mean, it's really important that women do that and don't take themselves out of the running. They need to know that they can compete and they can do a fabulous job.

GS: Yeah. No, listen, I think the world's moving in a lot of positive, hopefully in a lot of positive places, a lot of positive directions and a lot of different places, I should say.

Andrea, this has been great. I knew I was going to love talking to you. It's just, it's so much fun. You're so authentic in what you're trying to do and how you look at the world. You know what's interesting too is I know as much as you've really thought this all through. You're thinking about it all the time, and that's probably the measure of any sort of great leader-

AZ: Thank you so much, Greg.

GS: ... is to re-evaluate are we on the right track and where we're going. So I can't thank you enough.

AZ: I so appreciate our relationship and our partnership. The work you're doing is incredible and helping all of us in the industry in so many, so many ways. So I really appreciate you and I appreciate the time.

GS: Oh, you're too generous. Thank you very much.

Thanks again to Andrea Zaretsky from Morgan Stanley for coming on Building Better CMOs. Check the description of this episode for links to connect with Andrea.

If you want to know more about the MMA's work to unlock the power of marketing, visit, or you can attend any one at the 34-plus conferences in the 15 countries where MMA operates or write to me,

Thank you so much for listening. Tap the link in the description to leave us a review, and if you're new to the show, please follow or subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, iHeart, or wherever you get your podcast, and you can find links to those places and more at

Our producer and podcast consultant is Eric Johnson from Our project manager is Lili Mahoney, artwork by Jason Chase, and a very special thanks to Lacera Smith for making it all happen.

This is Greg Stuart. I'll see you all in two weeks.

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