34 marketing Ideas from Leading CMOs

34 Marketing Ideas from Top Telecom CMOs

Here are 34 marketing ideas from leading telecom marketers, taken from hours of interviews for Marketing Upside, my column in Global Telecoms Business. These musings on marketing are from the wise, to the wise.

These thought leaders address the big marketing topics: customers, purpose, branding, competitiveness, the buyers’ journey, innovation, big data and more.

Chris Williams, CMO of Amdocs gives marketing ideas
Chris Williams focuses on customers first


Chris Williams, CMO of Amdocs, focuses on what marketing must do to succeed:

  • Great marketers need the ability to listen. Marketing’s not about who shouts loudest.
  • Deliver simple, powerful messages. Tell stories, rather than overwhelming the market with speeds and feeds.
  • Stay close to customers to hear their points of view and their problems.
  • To listen to customers, use boards of advisors, councils, workshops and customer satisfaction surveys.
  • Stay abreast of technology disruptions that are taking place in other industries, many of which will make their way into your industry.
  • Work with sales to create shared definitions of what’s an opportunity and what’s a success.
  • Always keep tabs on what competitors are doing.
  • Have the courage to be creative and to innovate. Be aggressive: push new models for the company forward.
  • Complacency is a killer; you can’t rest on your laurels. Be aggressive and push forward the new model for your company.

Read my interview with Chris Williams in Global Telecoms Business.

Richard Bäcklin gives telecom marketing ideas
Richard Bäcklin focuses on purpose at TeliaSonera


Richard Bäcklin, CMO of TeliaSonera International Carrier, focuses on customers and the company’s purpose:

  • Make sure customers and employees understand your purpose.
  • Focus on the future and what users need.
  • Put customer and user needs before products and benefits.
  • Dissect and understand customers’ buying and use journeys.
  • Manage the customer experience at all touch points.
  • Win customers’ attention with relevant content and thought leadership.
  • Stress big visible initiatives rather than months of planning.

Read my interview with Richard Bäcklin here.

Suzi Williams, CMO of BT
Suzi Williams shows how to increase brand value


CMO Suzi Williams of BT teaches lessons on branding and measurement. Her team doubled the value of the BT brand.

  • While strategy and data are essential, instinct, insight and zeitgeist are important too.
  • Hire people and agencies that push you and inspire you.
  • Understand that the brand is much more than a logo — it’s a way to touch people.
  • Be clear about what the brand stands for.
  • Build a brand through the actions you take, not just the words you say.
  • Create show-stopping moments for the brand.
  • Manage tone of voice, both to make customers happy and save money.
  • Measure brand value and actively manage it, top down and bottom up.

Read my interview with Suzi Williams here.

Rita Okuthe, Safaricom
Rita Okuthe’s marketing built MPesa into the most successful mobile money in the world.


CMO Rita Okuthe of Safaricom, talked about how marketing built a breakthrough service – mobile money – in an emerging marketing, Kenya.

  • Recognize how customers already use your services.
  • Imagine how big an impact you can have on a developing economy.
  • Earn and build customers’ trust in your brand.
  • Get started with a single simple service, as easy as sending a text.
  • Make your service cheap, compared to alternatives.

Read my interview with Rita Okuthe @ROkuthe here.

Jerry Power of USC
Jerry Power offers 5 principles for marketers to apply to big data.


Jerry Power, executive director of the Institute for Communication Technology Management at the University of Southern California, focuses on making the most out of big data.

  • To use big data in marketing, build trust with customers and avoid the creepy factor.
  • Overcome organizational boundaries that hold back big data’s potential.
  • Apply both science and art to big data.
  • Use big data to increase the value delivered by marketing to the company.
  • Work across industry boundaries to get the most from your big data.

Read my interview with Jerry Power @USC_CTM here.

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