In my wanderings around the World Wide Web, I one day stumbled across CMO.Deloitte.com. Deloitte, as you may or may (shockingly) not know, provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands, including 80% of the Fortune 500.
Given my familiarity (in a past life) with Deloitte’s auditing services, I was understandably nonplussed by my discovery. Why on Earth would Deloitte be addressing CMOs?
To get to the bottom of things, I reached out to Diana O’Brien, Chief Marketing Officer for Deloitte LLP. Our conversation went as follows:
What was the thinking behind the launch of CMO.Deloitte.com? What need do you see it addressing?
We wanted to create a platform to offer our perspective on the current and future issues that matter most to marketing professionals and CMOs. Alongside relevant and authoritative data, CMOs are looking for deeper technology and industry insights. They crave thoughtful content they can share internally, as well as the opportunity to participate in the conversation.
We envision the site as a hub that empowers CMOs, connects them to the latest trends and valuable subject matter expertise, and raises awareness of the ways Deloitte can help them throughout their journey.
You’ve only recently become a CMO. What have you found surprising about the role?
CMOs are playing a new, and to me, a very exciting leadership role within their organizations. Today, brand, reputation, culture, and customer experience are all intertwined. Every touch point with clients and interaction in the marketplace creates a brand experience. Our workforce, clients, and stakeholders are all potential brand ambassadors and we need to look at them as a constituency we can enable and empower.
I see my role as building the organization’s reputation, developing stronger client insights and relationships, innovating new marketing approaches, and ultimately fostering business growth. And, in order to do this effectively, I need to work with our business leaders and hand-in-hand with our CIO, CFO, and CRO to develop digital strategies, use data to gain a deeper understanding of our clients, garner insights, and proactively manage and lead from a risk perspective.
How has your past experience with talent and leadership development influenced your approach to the CMO role?
My experiences working directly with clients as a principal of Deloitte Consulting LLP, serving as the managing principal of Deloitte University – our leadership center for the development of our professionals and clients – and leading talent development for our organization, have shaped the way I approach my work every day. As CMO, I am responsible for translating our culture, core beliefs, and capabilities into our brand promise and arming all of our professionals so that they can articulate that promise every day. To do this, I need to provide experiences and create a culture that empowers our professionals to thrive. I believe that a good leader has to help people find their own authentic path so they can become competent leaders themselves.
How critical is it for people in marketing functions at B2B companies to have client-facing roles?
A deep understanding of our clients and their needs, as well as our offerings, capabilities, and assets, is imperative for marketers who want to be successful and to have an impact. At a professional services firm like Deloitte, almost all of our employees have the opportunity to interact with current or potential clients – whether that be directly by managing a client relationship, or indirectly by interacting with clients or potential clients at events, via social media, or out in the marketplace. Our professionals, including our marketers, understand that they are delivering our brand and a customer experience in every interaction.
To effectively serve as brand ambassadors, our professionals need to focus on creating authentic connections, build relationships with clients and others who influence our brand, and provide high-impact experiences in every interaction.
LinkedIn tells me you are also responsible for Market Development at Deloitte. What does that entail?
Yes, I lead a group that we call Market Development, which encompasses our marketing & communications capabilities, as well as our industry and marketplace go-to-market channels – including sales, relationship management, and client portfolios strategy and management – client experience programs, thought leadership creation and public policy, government affairs, and corporate citizenship. The combined power of these capabilities enables the development and curation of client insight, the ability to deliver our brand, and an environment in which to create memorable client experiences.
Wow. That’s a lot! I can’t believe you even had time to answer my questions! Thanks!
Diana O’Brien is the Chief Marketing Officer of Deloitte LLP and advisory partner for several clients. As CMO, Diana’s focus is on building the firm’s reputation, developing stronger client insight and relationships, innovating marketing approaches, and ultimately fostering the growth of Deloitte’s businesses.
Since joining Deloitte in 1985, Diana has been a champion of creating the experiences and culture that empower leaders to thrive. She was the first managing principal for Deloitte University, the managing principal for talent development, served as the DTTL global client portfolio leader responsible for Deloitte’s global clients & industries program, and led Deloitte Consulting’s Life Sciences practice.
Outside of Deloitte, Diana supports several charities related to autism and is the chairman and founder of IMPACT Autism.