By @SimonCocking

@PAdamsNY voted Top 100 CMO’s in the World. Head of Global Consumer Marketing at PayPal. Former Head of Marketing, Victoria’s Secret, Citi, Chase. CMO / Advisor / mComm / Brand / Digital / Strategy and Engagement.


Well done on being one of the ‘Top 100 Innovative CMO’s in the World’ and ‘Top CMO’s on Twitter’. What innovations were you most happy with?

Thanks. That was a great honor. Cool to be named among so many impactful marketing leaders.

I’m most happy with innovation that is more atypical. For example, innovation around how to best leverage cross-functional work teams and empower them to drive high performance initiatives. We are doing some interesting work around that at PayPal.

I have been part of quite a bit of what you would call typical innovation as well.  Initiatives like Enhanced Customer Engagement that is driven by multi-input personalization to create literally a 1:1 custom experience. Creating the first digital flip book (that rivaled our iconic catalogue) for Victoria’s Secret.  Testing video on page in a print catalogue. Or being one of the first luxury retailers to launch mobile or social as a true engagement and commerce platform. I could go on and on ….

What makes a good / successful / awesome CMO on Twitter?

Being fairly active, available and responsive. Having a point of view. Ensuring that you are open to others perspectives. I engage in a multitude of topics – professional, personal, entertainment – so variety is important to me.

What led you into what you are now doing?

What led me to PayPal?  I had just ended a 5 year stint as Head of Marketing, Victoria’s Secret. My plan was simple …. grow my consulting agency The SUM Marketing Group, focus on a couple of Advisory Board roles with some great start-ups (Adore Me and Swimsuits For All) and devote a good amount of time to my own start-up called The Review.

Like all well crafted plans – this one didn’t go exactly as I had expected. I developed and sold my start-up in less than 6 months and found myself totally immersed in growing  my agency. About the time that I was considering signing my first large contract (with a major apparel retailer) – PayPal contacted me.

From the very first conversation I was intrigued by how PayPal wanted to transform the brand, expand well beyond being a digital wallet, become much more consumer facing and ultimately provide a new way for people to manage their money.

PayPal seemed to be a company that behaved like a start-up (in all the right ways) but performed like a well established, stable, profitable, growing organization. The best of both worlds! And I get to shape the consumer experience / interaction / approach. What’s not to love!

How has the role of CMO changed over your time in the business?

Early in my career there really wasn’t such a term as Chief Marketing Officer. Today – everyone is a CMO. It’s a pretty diluted / over used title. That said, the Head of Marketing / CMO role has changed tremendously over the years. Today’s marketer has to be tech savy and very connected to the technology and product / merchant teams. Success depends on it.

Also – a successful CMO or CDO must be performance driven. Understand engagement, relationship development and how to ultimately increase share of wallet. Long gone are the brand only – ATL – creative folks who cannot immerse themselves in the numbers, ROI and performance.

Storytelling for brands. What are the challenges in a crowded market? Can we have too many stories?

Story telling is very tightly connected to your brand story. A great brand is a story well told. If you stay true to your brand and know your customer (relevance) and make sure your content and experience are supportive of both – you are always telling a meaningful story.

Can you tell or have too many stories? Yes. For some consumers. You really have to let your knowledge of your customers influence not only your content but volume and frequency.

What are your tips / strategies to get your brands heard when so much content is being created these days, in so many formats, by so many people?

Relevance. Relevance is the intersection of what a brand wants to say and what a consumer wants to hear. If you abide by that simple rule – you will always cut through.

How much time does it take to stay on top of your social media digital footprint? Where else are you active as well as twitter?

Social is part of my every day. Amount of time I spend depends what’s going on in my day – work, family. I like to keep connected – it’s enjoyable and somewhat relaxing.

You can find me @PAdamsNY on FB, Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn, EyeEM and Twitter.

You have more followers on Twitter  than LinkedIn, is this a reflection of which one brings you the most value / engagement / business?

Not really. I joined LinkedIn a couple of years before Twitter. Up until recently, LinkedIn was a more passive engagement for me – I really didn’t invest a lot of time.

That changed for me last year.  On LinkedIn, I started publishing articles on topics that are of interest to me – so I am really enjoying the interaction around that.

Top tips to companies trying to do well on social media?

It must be organic, not self serving and something that is brand additive. Must be interactive and very responsive.

Most people look to a brands social channel to settle a service issue, get special offers or access exclusive content. Keep in mind why the consumer is there and remember It’s a channel / a touch point and should be treated as such.

How big a part of their marketing strategy should social media be? (varying by sector too, or not?)

Social should be embedded in the marketing strategy and plan.  It can be both a service tool, brand enhancer and commerce driver.

Your consumer base or intended base should really dictate how embedded social is in all of your marketing strategies. Got to go where the customer is!

Anything else to add / we should have asked you?

Hmmm.  I could go on forever but will save that for a part 2!

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