Companies like Wiley don’t survive for over 200 years without constantly innovating. Clay Stobaugh, CMO of Wiley, shares with us a marketing-led innovation program within the enterprise.
When he first arrived at Wiley over seven years ago, he built out Wiley’s digital capabilities within a global center of excellence, called the Market Revenue Center which brought marketing automation, Salesforce, SEO, social media, and digital analytics to Wiley. After successfully scaling these capabilities across Wiley, he transferred the tool-sets into the various business units at Wiley.
Today, he is focused on three areas:
- Enterprise services which include creative services, global conferences, PR, data protection under GDPR, brand management, and innovation initiatives.
- Customer insights, encompassing customer data, voice of customer, journey mapping, and customer research.
- Global branding including brand positioning, thought leadership and government affairs.
Clay Stobaugh arrived at Wiley after spending 15 years in startups, spanning a variety of industries. His background includes experience in consumer-packaged goods, spending six years on Madison Avenue, and gaining international expertise launching Nespresso for Nestle.
He is excited by the new innovation program at Wiley. In our interview we discuss innovation, culture, and the customer experience.
Tell us about the innovation program
We have innovation that happens within business units, and we’ve also launched an innovation program that cuts across our global footprint, which is every continent in the world.
Our most recent innovation program had over 600 colleagues in 30-plus teams participate, generating, over 50 proposals. This was a completely voluntary program, too. We had six proposals become finalists. These went on to be sponsored by the ELT in order to move them forward.
We lead the teams in design sprints, and we brought colleagues in from over a dozen global locations. We had IT colleagues sitting next to those in editorial, marketing, sales, operations, etc.
Once the six finalist programs were selected we had a global innovation day event. At this event, hosted by our CEO everyone was brought onboard with the work of the teams. The finalists shared their programs and we identified the business leaders who would be sponsoring them. It was a great celebration of their work and an opportunity to formally recognize the finalists.
What advice do you have for leaders who want to lead innovation?
You need people coming together across the departments, like a startup. If you start innovation in one department, it usually fails. It needs to be at an organizational level, not departmental. You need people coming together.
There are additional benefits including creation and enrichment of culture by empowering colleagues to be innovative and shape the future of the business. We are enhancing our brand by invoking innovation, making it a part of our DNA.
We’re also building out more capabilities. This will include development teams who help with first-round testing, second round testing, and a review board to validate progress and whether to move the work to commercialization or pivot it to something different.
The runway was built by volunteers. My job is to support, facilitate, and guide them—it’s also my job not to get in the way.
What innovation challenges are CMOs facing today?
We hear it time and time again, the challenges revolve around innovating on measurable results and transforming marketing from a cost center into a revenue center.
When it comes to measuring results it’s important to partner with IT, Sales and everyone who can help better understand and engage with our customers.
This is a key element, knowing the customer and knowing the research on the customer. There are multiple types of research, including primary and secondary, voice of customer, qualitative, and quantitative. All of this data represents the ultimate voice of the customer. It helps you add value to any conversation about the customer.
If you know your customer data, then you know your brand positioning, value propositions, and reasons to believe are credible.
All too often people say they know the customer. But what they have is a perception of the customer, and not the facts of the customer—they don’t know the customer themselves personally.
We do a lot of customer research, which I’ve executed across the organization, so we have facts. This is the level of customer fluency that lets you add value to a conversation.
We also look at trends in our brand health, tracking it terms of how our brand is resonating with target audiences.
What is marketing’s role in improving the customer experience at Wiley?
Marketing leads it. We have a corporate team of a half dozen people all trained in voice of the customer work and research. Each of them works with a business unit and engages with that unit, working with them as a subject matter expert and facilitator. We help people within the business units to come together and deploy journey mapping, personas and voice of the customer work. It’s owned by the business unit, but marketing has the subject matter expertise and helps facilitate it.
Our business units are vertically integrated, they run their own programs. But there are common needs, like voice of customer, journey mapping, conference management, and brand management. We also manage the digital commerce platform and we support them with thought leadership, including through our online platform called the Wiley Network.
Where do you see the future of the CMO role?
The CMO has the broadest hunting license of any C-level role. The CMO has a hunting license to do the many things I described above. The CMO is only limited by their experience and their appetite.
If you’re adding value to the organization then you’re part of the conversation. We all hear stories about the short tenures of CMOs. If you look back in time to the 90’s, they were largely creative CMOs who weren’t driven by the numbers and weren’t digital. That was the first wave of CMO turnover. Then the digital native CMOs came in, but they didn’t have the business experience as much as they had the platform/tool-set experience.
They are now starting to mature and a lot of their focus has gone beyond marketing. They now have the opportunity to raise the periscope and do more cross-functionally.
What should CMOs be thinking about when it comes to preparing for the future.
Never stop learning as a CMO and as a member of the C-suite. Being able to solve new problems is a unique skill set.
I like to think about the question: What will the skill set be that the CMO needs to have in 10 years?
Looking in the rear-view mirror, today’s CMOs are coming up through digital platform capabilities, customer experience, research, and eCommerce. The skills you have today are not necessarily the skills that meet the requirements of tomorrow. What are the tool-sets and skill sets you need to develop to prepare for the future?