Ian Forrest, the current CMO of GE Capital, was on campus a few days ago as part of the 2013 Middle Market Summit. A handful of marketing students were able to sit down with Ian to learn about marketing in a global economy. Luckily for me, I was able to learn from his well of knowledge.
Not only did Ian talk about how to be a great marketer, but he highlighted the importance of being a great leader. Here are a few highlights that I took away from my hour with this fantastic business leader.
- There are no global brands, only global marketers. Brands can be known throughout the world, but they may differentiate depending on location. A marketing manager in the Unites States will not be able to market effectively in the German market without living there and experiencing the culture. Marketers need to understand the importance of how consumer behavior and insights differ throughout the world.
- Brands have lost the power, consumers hold the upper hand. Consumers have many options within the marketplace. Gone are the days where brands can afford to make mistakes with their consumers. Products and brand comparisons can take place instantly using smartphones, tablets, computers, and other technologies utilized by consumers. Marketing managers must consider the power of consumers when constructing the marketing mix.
- Pricing is becoming more and more transparent. Similar to the prior point, consumers can figure out more and more if a product is priced competitively in the market. Proceed with caution when setting a pricing strategy because customers will search for the value.
- Most insights are found in the long tail, not the majority. The insights that really matter are not found within the majority of the market. Differentiation doesn’t come through core customers, but through the incremental gains in new clients and customers.
This list is not an exhaustive list of everything he shared, just a few tidbits that stood out to me. Fisher continues to provide me with opportunities to help me develop myself as not only a good marketer, but also a great leader. This event was one of those times. It really doesn’t get much better than this.