Alicia Tillman, the recently appointed Global CMO of SAP, is a true marketing all-star.
Tillman, who previously served as the CMO of SAP Ariba and held various executive leadership
positions at American Express, has an extremely impressive track record of building strong
brands, pioneering innovative tactics, and dramatically growing businesses.
Recently we had the opportunity to chat with Tillman about her new role, her vision for the SAP brand, and her thoughts on current marketing trends.
Check out the full Q&A below:
Q: What is your background?
A: My background is in accelerating business transformation by consistently delivering customer value and driving brand growth.
Prior to being appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer for SAP, I spent two and a half years as the CMO of SAP Ariba. I was drawn to the role because of the company’s goal to double the size of the business within five years. The challenge excited me and I knew this would give me the freedom to push the limits in creative marketing. While at SAP Ariba I lead a successful rebrand of the company to further align with SAP’s vision – to help the world run better
and improve people’s lives.
Prior to that, I spent 11 years at American Express leading their marketing and corporate communications in the company’s business travel division.
Q: How do you envision your role as SAP’s CMO?
A: I plan on taking a dynamic approach to my role as the CMO of SAP. It is my responsibility
to drive brand growth and accelerate the company’s marketing strategy and brand recognition across the globe.
With the full support of our global team, we will push the envelope when it comes to
utilizing emerging technologies to drive best-in-class customer experiences that keep the SAP brand top of mind.
One of our goals is to be a purpose driven brand, which I’ll continue to foster by strengthening our efforts in promoting a culture of gender diversity and leading the tech industry in opportunities for women.
I also plan to embark on new partnerships that elevate our brand and will hold myself
responsible for promoting our exceptional product innovation and purpose driven initiatives.
Q: What are your biggest priorities going in?
A: The SAP Brand is one of our most valuable assets. It’s also our biggest growth driver.
In fact, brand is the leading purchase driver in the enterprise software industry, accounting for a full 43% of the buyer decision-making process.
With this in mind, my biggest priority will be to continue to grow and elevate our brand.
Our brand connects people to the promise we hold close as a company to improve people’s lives. This is doubly important because not only do we want to be recognized as a top brand, we want people to associate our brand with that vision.
Q: What do you see as the role of digital channels and content in SAP’s marketing efforts?
A: Marketing is not only the steward of brand, but the voice of the customer. Our company-wide pledge, to put our customers at the heart of everything we do, is a very real and tangible commitment.
Great marketers are those who adapt to a customer-centric vs product-centric approach.
We see our digital channels and content as being an extension of our brand. We leverage these channels to provide a consistent and authentic experience that enables us to get closer to the customer than our competitors. We’re also using them to showcase who we are as a company, creating innovative campaigns that showcase SAP as the digital transformation leader that we are, and our commitment to making the world run better.
Q: Finally, which marketing trends are you watching closely right now? Which tactics, platforms, and/or ideas might have a major impact in the coming years?
A: Something I’ve not only been watching closely, but also working to implement, is the idea of purpose driven marketing.
Today’s modern brands are embracing the idea of going beyond the functional value they provide by aligning with a cause. Aligning shared values with customers to elevate your brand and make the world a better place is a huge opportunity.
I think we’ll start seeing more of this with an increasing number of brands adapting to the growing social consciousness of today’s consumers. I’ve been noticing a shift in the values that make a brand “good”, and that the most iconic brands of the future will be those that
collaborate to advance humanity.
Today’s consumers are more socially conscious than ever, and will inevitably follow the brands that are also adopting a higher purpose.
Another marketing trend I’m seeing right now is around the connected customer journey. While this is not necessarily a new idea, I believe we’ll continue to see it grow as a business imperative, as marketers continue to adapt to the growing customer need for companies to interact with them in real time.
Today’s customer wants a company that’s always thinking ahead, and knows
the next step in their journey before they do. Companies will lose out if they
are not able to provide this type of consistent and genuine experience at every
step of the journey.
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