Advice from the “Celebrity CMO”

June 14, 2010

By Adrienne Tallacksen

I recently had the opportunity to see Jeffrey Hayzlett, now former CMO of Eastman Kodak, speak at an industry event for a second time. His presentation was one of the most popular at ANA’s 2009 Masters of Marketing Conference last year, and he spoke again at a recent forum of the Mobile Marketing Association. Hayzlett is an engaging and dynamic speaker who is known as the “Celebrity CMO” and who challenges marketers to be leaders and grow the bottom line. If they’re not doing those things, why are they even around, he asks. Hayzlett introduced a couple of new themes in his most recent speech.


The 118 Speech: This is the new elevator pitch. Marketers have to have a value proposition, and they have to be able to sell it. The average adult attention span is just eight seconds; the average elevator ride in New York City is 110 seconds. With the 118 speech, you’ve got eight seconds to hook your listeners and 110 seconds to sell your value proposition.

Be a Change Agent: When asked how people who haven’t yet reached the rank of CMO can be change agents in their organizations, Hayzlett told the story of the weekend he spent cleaning carpets at his company and then tearing up the carpets after finding beautiful marble floors underneath all because he was told that it was too expensive to get the carpets cleaned. Don’t just stand around saying “woe is me, I’m not powerful enough to change anything.” If clean carpets are what’s needed to grow the bottom line, get a six-pack and some friends and spend the weekend cleaning the carpets. Hayzlett advises marketers to be the change they want to see, and if they get fired for doing the right thing, all the better.


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