Summer AMA Conference Highlighted in CMO’s Notebook

Matt Weingarden, Curator
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Rob Malcolm, Summer AMA 2016
Key Takeaways
Rob Malcolm and Kim Whitler offered important thoughts for CMOs at Summer AMA in Atlanta.

​Steven Cook of was in attendance at the 2016 Summer AMA Conference. He had the chance to attend several of the event's signature Executive Jam Sessions as well as the opportunity to speak with several of the presenters. His conversation with two of those presenters: Rob Malcolm and Kim Whitler were featured in an August 18 post on​. 

Listed below are a couple of the responses from Cook's conversations with Malcolm and Whitler. For the full interviews, go to​

Rob Malcolm: Immediate Past Chair of the AMA Board of Directors and current “executive in residence” at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. You’ve spent most of your 40-year marketing career working globally. What is one of the biggest challenges CMOs and the C-suite face today?

Malcolm: My panel’s discussion was all about managing and winning in the global marketplace. My presentation was about the challenges and opportunities we’d like to understand better around building brands globally, such as developing new strategic models and frameworks to help CMOs do more rigorous thinking about global brand building to make the right big decisions.

We see lots of companies going back and forth between “think global, act local” and from centralization to decentralization. One of the challenges is that there is no framework to help evaluate where the unique value is in their particular industry, geographic spread, and business. These types of decisions have historically been driven through more cost-driven, supply-side models than actually understanding where the unique value is. For example, why is it that Kimberly-Clark is more oriented to winning locally and using global resources to help optimize local team performance, and, at the same time, its primary competitor, P&G, has been oriented to central control and driving this into the local organizations? Here are two multinational companies competing in the same geographic and product market spaces using two very different strategies.

The second issue I covered is once you’ve identified where the value is in globalization, how do you then go after that value? How do you organize? What are the capabilities, talent, and culture you need in the organization to win based on your specific strategy?

Kim A. Whitler: Assistant professor of marketing for the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.​ What is one of the important points you made that CMOs and the C-suite should know?

Whitler: I organized my talk around the myths that either executives or researchers have, and then I shared insights that debunked them. For example, there have only been a few academic studies done on whether, when, and how the CMO matters in the organization. When I talk with practicing CMOs, their perspective is based on their specific company’s and industry’s situations. The question for us to understand is when and why CMOs matter in different situations. There is a premise among some who have limited exposures to different firms and industries that all CMO roles are nearly the same.

For the full interviews, go to​​

Author Bio:

Matt Weingarden, Curator
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