Bring It to Market: Lessons from IBM’s David Jaye

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Bring It to Market is a bi-weekly series at Hype where we share marketing advice from top Chief Marketing Officers.

David Jaye, Executive Marketing & Business Strategy Lead at IBM, has held senior marketing roles at multiple agencies and Google and most recently served as CMO at the Weather Company. Jaye oversaw marketing at the world’s largest private weather enterprise, which delivers more the 30 billion individual forecasts daily to 2.2 billion locations.

Telling the story of the company that owns both the top app on all major mobile platforms globally and the 7th most data rich website in the world, Jaye had to be constantly versatile in the delivery of that message:

“I think the challenge for marketers is being able to tell those stories in various formats and in very fragmented ways, and that’s a constant challenge.”

But how do you tell those stories with purpose? And, as you personally climb the corporate ladder, what’s the best way to stay focused? Jaye shares the following CMO insights during his time at the Weather Company.

Skip the aspirational message

“I think it’s very difficult for brands today to stand for an aspirational message alone. I think car companies have commoditized that. What I mean by an aspirational message is ‘take our product and it’s a gateway to a lifestyle change’. I think the brands that break through are the brands that actually solve a problem.”

Be a “solution brand”

“When I talk about a solution brand, the purpose of our brand isn’t to provide you the most accurate weather. Yes, that’s a function of it… The purpose of our brand is to give you the ability to make the best decision you can possibly make that’s weather related.

I think when you start to look out there, you start to see that brands have started to move away from the aspirational and have started to move into what I’m referring to as ‘purpose-built’. There’s a reason they exist in your life. Nike is no longer about just do it. Nike is about doing it. Nike stands for running. The purpose for it in my life is to help me run.

I think the challenge for marketers is being able to tell those stories in various formats and in very fragmented ways, and that’s a constant challenge.”

Look at your baseline

“A lot of it is where do we spend our money and how do we best use it and how do we best map that to the goals of the company, the audience goals and a number of other key metrics. Where we start is we always establish baseline. What’s our cost for acquisition? Then everything else flows from there.

If we do any brand activity, it should impact our cost per acquisition. We look at it as this is our baseline and then what are we doing along the way that’s evolving that baseline ultimately.

When you look at my team’s configuration, you look at what we do with partners. Everything is focused in on that. It is really focused on how do we create the best messaging to the optimal audience in a way that pays our bills, but also make sure that it’s building equity, building a larger relationship.”

See Marketing as a craft, not a job

“If you view your job as a job, you only succeed so far. If you view marketing as a craft, it propels you forward. The difference between the two to me is a craft is somewhere you’re constantly open to the fact you don’t know everything.

It’s okay to say, “I don’t know that. You need to recommend for me what works best there.” I think people who look at a job, they’re afraid of admitting what they potentially don’t know. I think that’s a challenge. If you look at it as a craft, it really becomes a learning platform.”

Stay focused

“[Stay] very focused. When you look at innovation, don’t chase the thing, like make it fold into what your overarching strategy is. I think, again, that’s part of the craft because as a craft, you’re looking to build things that exist beyond your existence.

If you have that aspiration and you have that desire and you have that approach, it can be extremely, extremely beneficial in not just how you grow, whether it’s to be head of marketing. It’s really in anything that you look to do.”