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CMO Council Ready to Lead the Way

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Retail: The New Frontier. That may look a bit strange, as this amazing business we all work in is hardly new. But as has happened at other times in our history, retail is going through fundamental change. Among other things, we are experiencing “the rise of the CMO” as we navigate a landscape where the customer is in charge. (I’m a partnership person, so I like to look at it as the customer helping us to help them.)

Here at NRF, we are passionate about serving our great industry, and are particularly attuned to the needs of our members, so I am excited to announce a new venture that seeks to unite the retail advertising and marketing community like never before.

For more than 65 years, the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association has served as a cornerstone for this dynamic community through educational events and unique industry awards. However, as our industry has changed, so has the role retail marketers play in their organizations — and we must change with it, so that NRF can continue to provide thought leadership, insights and valuable networking to its constituents.

That’s why we have “sunsetted” RAMA and created the NRF CMO Council, which will serve as the marketing voice for the retail industry. As we move forward, we will continue to tap into all of the expertise that has come from this community over the years while facilitating new relationships.

Kathy Doyle Thomas, executive vice president of marketing/development for Half Price Books and the former RAMA chairwoman, is “very excited about joining the new NRF CMO Council. This is a great group of retail marketing leaders. With the changes in the way customers interact with the bricks-and-mortar and online store, it’s more important than ever that the Council give direction and insights to NRF on how they can provide value to the marketing community, and to participate in thought leadership for the industry.”

Kevin Brown, a longtime marketing executive who will be chairman of the CMO Council, says the transition comes at “the perfect time in the organization’s evolution. It allows us to be more inclusive, which will generate more viewpoints to help us tackle the complex marketing challenges facing our industry, be it social, mobile, local or technology.”

Like NRF’s other councils, this community will bring together the best, brightest and most creative minds in the retail advertising and marketing realm. The council is open to any NRF retail member CMO (or holder of the organization’s most senior marketing position) who wants to participate in thought leadership, networking, events and committees in the retail marketing community. If this is you, I hope you will consider participating in this dynamic group of industry leaders.

While the fundamental role of CMOs is to increase sales, their DNA is focused on how to deliver the message, build customer loyalty and best position the brand. And because the customer touches all aspects of the business, CMOs and their C-level colleagues are partnering like never before: Everyone has a role to play in how the experience is delivered, since there are so many opportunities to interact and engage with the customer.

Another benefit of joining the CMO Council is the interaction with our other NRF councils and communities. Within the NRF Communities group, we are creating networking opportunities and education that support these executives and are actively developing collaboration, research and information that address the needs of the CMO/CIO partnership, everything mobile and the protection of the brand.

As we move forward, be on the lookout for all of the great things that NRF and these marketing executives will deliver!