Notable Quotes from the Masters of Marketing

October 12, 2021

By Ken Beaulieu

The 2021 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference certainly had a different feel than those of years past. The COVID-19 pandemic kept the in-person crowd in Orlando, Fla., to a fraction of its typical size (although more than 3,000 registered to watch virtually). There was no Second Stage or world-class evening entertainment as per usual, and there was more than enough room in the General Session area and in the hallways to spread out. In fact, the intimate nature of the conference afforded choice opportunities for attendees to network with peers and sponsors without disruptions.

But make no mistake, this year's Masters conference was still the Masters.

Chief marketers and other industry movers and shakers brought their proverbial A games to the stage, offering a treasure trove of insights, best practices, and advice on becoming a force for good and a force for growth. My only frustration was not being able to type fast enough to capture every nugget of marketing gold. I came close, however. I have the overworked fingertips to prove it.

Here are 12 compelling quotes from the conference that stuck with me:

"The road to equality and inclusion starts with equal representation across the creative and media supply chain." — Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G

"Some smaller brands, especially digitally native brands, are doing it better than [large brands]. They have absolute clarity on their purpose, they are not distracted by financial goals, and their focus on the consumer is relentless." — Manoj Raghunandanan, global president of self care (OTC) at Johnson & Johnson

"Love your fans. Haters distract and dilute your ambitions to be a force for good and a force for growth. Let them go." — Morgan Flatley, SVP and chief marketing and digital customer experience officer at McDonald's

"Have the courage to do what you think is right. At the end of the day, if it doesn't go well and you did everything you could, so what? No one is going to pay you to hide. Have the right dialogue, look at your insights, work well with your partners, and be bold." — Tim Ellis, EVP and CMO at the NFL

"Marketing is in an existential crisis ... You have to invest in learning. Educate your teams. Educate yourself. You cannot delegate knowledge." — Raja Rajamannar, chief marketing and communications officer at Mastercard

"Culture will always be king. Find it, follow it, and create it, keeping purpose at the core." — Rachel Ferdinando, SVP and CMO at Frito-Lay

"The work [of marketers] is so much more complex than in the early days of marketing. If you don't have the right organizational setup, it's almost impossible to make it work." — Amy Pascal, VP and head of U.S. marketing and brand strategy at Weber

"COVID created connections among teams that didn't exist before. I hope we can preserve that sense of intimacy. Embracing colleagues and helping them solve problems is something we all can do." — Greg Revelle, CMO at Kohl's

"We can learn more from mistakes than we can from the reasons we got something right. Lean into mistakes and share mistakes so we all can learn from them. The more honest we can be about what we're not getting right, the quicker we as an industry can get to where we want." — Danielle Tiedt, CMO at YouTube

"As marketers we have to defend our spending more than ever. We're now seeing how purpose and profit can live together. It's not a tradeoff or an altruistic undertaking. [Purposeful] marketing is an accelerator to profit." — Kevin Warren, CMO at UPS

"Purpose isn't a one-time event, but a living, breathing organism that we should always be looking at and interpreting. Use purpose to guide the actions of the organization." — Suzanne Kounkel, CMO at Deloitte

"Data can inspire art. When you really listen to the data like a human, not a marketer, it can inspire something beautiful." — Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer at Ally


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