CMOs in the crossfire: Thriving amidst marketing disruption

May 22, 2024

In a year when CMOs are dropping like flies, our Co-Founder and CEO, Meabh Quoirin, hosted a riveting discussion with marketing heavyweights Nicola Buck (CMO, BP & Castrol) and Edwin Taborda (Chief Consumer & Market Intelligence Officer, L’Oréal) at Advertising Week Europe 2024. The big question: How do you thrive in today’s cutthroat marketing landscape?

The imperative role of the CMO

meabh quoirin Foresight Factory, Nicola Buck CMO, BP & Castrol and Edwin Taborda Chief Consumer & Market Intelligence Officer, L’Oréal during advertising week

“In a world that is changing so fast, at such a pace, where nobody knows the answers, the only way to drive clarity … can be to put the customer at the center of the question.”

Buck declared with conviction that there’s never been a better time to be in Marketing, is more critical than ever. In a world of constant change, the CMO must be the voice of the customer, driving clarity and unity within their organization. Buck highlighted the excitement and challenges, noting the necessity of balancing immediate business needs with long-term brand building. The rise of full-cycle marketing and automation presents amazing opportunities but also necessitates a focus on maintaining brand relevance for future generations.

Foresight is the fuel for transformation

“It’s important to learn from the past, what we have done, where we come from, what has worked and not worked. Hindsight, insight, foresight.”

Taborda took us behind the scenes of L’Oreal’s empire—37 brands strong and still the world’s No. 1 beauty brand. He shared the secret sauce: hindsight, insight, and foresight driving L’Oreal’s transformation into a beauty tech titan.

Highlighting the evolution of the insight professional from a mere data guardian to a key driver of transformation, Taborda outlined the importance of integrating hindsight, insight, and foresight. Learning from the past, understanding current trends, and anticipating the future is critical. This approach helps organizations navigate the complexities of modern marketing and make informed decisions about the future direction of their brands.

The tightrope walks of brand relevance

“I need to take the Castrol brand into new spaces for the future.”

Buck addressed the tension between catering to fragmented, micro-targeted consumer segments and maintaining brand coherence, illustrating Castrol’s strategy to stay relevant amidst the transition to electric vehicles. By leveraging AI and data-driven insights, Castrol can both meet current customer demands and position itself for future success. Buck underscored the importance of a balanced approach: driving sales today while ensuring brand longevity.

Mastering brand harmony in a sea of diverse portfolios

“I think the most important in the end is to keep consistency with the group purpose.”

Taborda endorsed the many challenges of managing L’Oréal’s extensive brand portfolio. He stressed the importance of maintaining consistency with the group’s purpose while addressing the unique tensions and needs of each brand’s consumers. By focusing on true insights—those that reveal underlying consumer tensions—L’Oreal aims to create meaningful connections and drive long-term brand loyalty.

Embracing technology and data for the future

Both speakers saw eye to eye on the critical role of technology and data in shaping the future of marketing. Buck spoke about the potential of AI and automation to enhance marketing efficiency and effectiveness, freeing up resources for strategic, long-term brand initiatives. She also highlighted the need for seamless integration of data across platforms to provide a comprehensive view of the customer, enabling more personalized and relevant marketing efforts.

Taborda echoed these sentiments, sharing L’Oréal’s ambition to become a beauty tech powerhouse and highlighting the company’s vision of using technology to revolutionize consumer engagement and product development. Let’s not forget it was the L’Oréal Groupe CEO, Nicolas Hieronimus, who took center stage at CES 2024, to project how technology will increasingly power the industry.

Navigating the maze – your key takeaways

In closing, the session sounded the horn to CMOs, urging them to confront the tempest of modern marketing with resolve and ingenuity. By wielding foresight to fuel transformation, threading the needle between immediacy and longevity, and harnessing the boundless potential of technology, CMOs can chart a course towards enduring relevance and prosperity in an ever-evolving marketplace.

Ready to bring on your brand’s renaissance?

meabh quoirin Foresight Factory, Nicola Buck CMO, BP & Castrol and Edwin Taborda Chief Consumer & Market Intelligence Officer, L’Oréal during advertising week

Thanks so much to both speakers for their inspiration, passion and insight. If you’re ready to steer your business toward transformational growth, reach out to us at Foresight Factory.


Written by Meabh Quoirin

Meabh Quoirin is the CEO and Co-Owner of Foresight Factory. She is also a LinkedIn Influencer and one of their nominated Top Voices. Meabh’s expertise lies in interpreting behaviours and signals to uncover what matters most to consumers today and tomorrow. A bi-lingual and experienced public speaker, Meabh is a key voice in the world of foresights and analytics. Meabh is a guest lecturer at Dublin University, sits on the Advisory Board of Advertising Week and regularly speaks at high profile industry events such as Ted X.

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