Simplifiers Interview: Henry Gomez, EVP – Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Behind every brand delivering simpler experiences for customers is a leader who recognizes the inherent value in keeping things simple. Here I interview leaders, often CMOs or CEOs, that we deem simplifiers. In this Simplifiers interview I speak with Henry Gomez, EVP – Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

In October of 2014, the Hewlett-Packard Company announced its intention to split into two separate entities, signaling the largest corporate demerger in history. The two resulting companies would each remain Fortune 100 industry leaders—with HP, Inc. focused on personal systems and printing, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) focused on enterprise IT.

MM: What does HPE stand for?

HG: HPE stands for simplicity, partnership and professionalism. It’s a gold standard in the technology industry with a deep background and history going back to the founding of Silicon Valley.

MM: How does HPE strive to create simple experiences?

HG: Simplifying has been a matter of survival for us, and we’re still on the journey. We used to have a saying that few people at HP could say yes but many could say no. In some ways, the company could not make decisions. We spun off separate business services into separate companies, creating HP and HPE, in an effort to eliminate internal bureaucracy and streamline decision-making. We’ve seen a great deal of efficiency from that simplification.

MM: How do you approach streamlining decision-making?

HG: We needed an organizational decision-making framework, and for that we turned to the Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed model (RACI), which we’ve found tremendously useful. Every time I enter a meeting, I identify who falls into each of these categories. Because we are so large, it’s imperative to clarify the decision-making cadence, and be clear on who has final decision-making power. At a smaller company, people can usually determine this for themselves, but at a larger company like HPE, using RACI is essential.

MM: What benefits has HPE experienced from simplifying?

HG: As a result of simplifying, we make decisions faster, which leads to accelerated sales, better innovations and happier customers, partners and employees.

By streamlining and simplifying the company and decision-making processes, we’ve made it easier for stakeholders to navigate the company and accomplish their goals. For example, we used to have a complex system for delivering price quotes to customers. We’ve simplified this process and, as a result, reduced the time from days to hours in many instances, making our customers and our sales force much happier.

MM: How do you strive to keep things simple for your marketing team?

HG: Every day I go to work with the goal of helping my team simplify processes, whether that be decision-making within the team, or getting alignment from stakeholders across the company. I strive to help my team make decisions faster and get the job done quicker with less pain.

Simplicity is often thought of as boring, but it’s just the opposite—it’s empowering.

MM: What’s a recent simple customer experience that inspired you?

HG: The best example for me of ongoing simplicity is my iPhone. I’ve had one since 2008 and have never bought another brand. It’s an incredibly simple device on every level and remains consistent even as the technology and models change.

Another simple object I rely on is my Amazon Kindle. I travel frequently and it provides tremendous convenience. It is designed to let me do one thing well – read books. And because that’s all it’s designed to do, it’s better at the task than any other digital device I own.

We live in a world that in many ways rewards complexity. Simplicity is often thought of as boring, but it’s just the opposite—it’s empowering.

MM: What’s the opportunity as it relates to simplicity in the technology industry?

HG: The opportunity lies in simplifying the way we present our technology solutions.

When I first entered the technology world, I was stunned by what I call the “techy blah blah” that pours out of meetings and presentations. There is a great deal of legitimate complexity in technology, but the technology world often goes out of its way to show off this complexity, which is confusing to everyone, especially customers.

When explaining and marketing our services, everyone should be able to understand our solutions, whether or not they’re a technologist. Enterprise customers who are making purchase decisions are increasingly not engineers; in many cases, they’re C-level executives who may not have a technology background. For example, CMOs aren’t concerned about the technical details of a server, they want to discuss the business challenge they’re trying to solve, the solution they’re looking to employ and the business opportunity they want to leverage.

MM: What can executives do to operationalize simplicity?

HG: Set an example of clear decision-making by simplifying processes that are too complex. Do this by questioning the status quo. “It’s taken us a week to get this done—why not a day?”

When you question the status quo, people will retort, “we’ve always done it this way” or “you can’t change it because something will break.” The reality is that when you change processes, things rarely break. For example, when I first became CMO, it took us four to six months to pull together marketing campaigns. I told my marketing leaders that we needed to do it within four weeks. They assured me this was impossible, but now we sometimes do it in a matter of days.

MM: What does simplicity mean to you?

HG: Clear and rapid decision-making.

MM: What’s the top piece of advice you’d give to other brands trying to simplify?

HG: Live simplicity every day. As a leader, you must diligently work on making your organization a simpler place to operate and easier for your customers and partners to do business with you.

Have the courage to question and broach what you think is important. Most companies don’t struggle because they lack technical expertise; they struggle because they lack leadership. Be courageous about what you’re thinking. Be smart about how you present your opinions to senior leadership. And know that once a decision has been made by the final decision-maker, you must sign on and help them execute on that decision.

MM: Thank you.

This is this an ongoing Simplifiers series. See interviews with CMO at Twitter,Leslie Berland; CMO at Blue Apron, Jared Cluff; SVP, Global Brand Management at American Express, Clayton Ruebensaal; EVP and Group President at Verizon Wireless, Ronan Dunne, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Cofra Holding Ltd, former CEO of C&A China, Lawrence Brenninkmeyer; CMO at The Recording Academy, Evan Greene; CMO at Mary Kay, Sheryl Adkins-GreenHead of Marketing at Home Centre, Rohit Singh BhatiaSVP, CMO of Aflac, Gail GaluppoSVP and CMO at Cambia Health Solutions, Carol KruseManaging Director of The Nature Conservancy, Geof Rochester, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer of Motorola Solutions, Eduardo Conrado, EVP; SVP, Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer at Abbott, Elaine Leavenworth, GE CMO, Linda Boff; McLaren Automotive Head of Brand Marketing, Stephen Lambert; Ascension Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Nick Ragone; Hertz CMO, Matt Jauchius; Direct Line Group Marketing Director, Mark Evans; McDonald’s CMO, Deborah Wahl; Jet.com President, Liza Landsman and VP Marketing, Sumaiya Balbale; Target CMO, Jeff Jones; Spotify CMO, Seth Farbman; Ally Financial CMO, Andrea Riley; Gannett CMO, Andy Yost; CVS Health CMO, Norman De Greve; Dunkin’ Brands CMO, John Costello; Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh; Southwest Airlines CMO, Kevin Krone; and Google CMO, Lorraine Twohill.

Know a simplifier or would like to be included in the series? Please recommend an executive for my next interview: mmolloy@siegelgale.com

Margaret Molloy is global CMO and head of business development at Siegel+Gale. Follow her on Twitter: @MargaretMolloy and Instagram:@MargaretMMolloy

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Has the Bottom Fallen Out of the Broadcast TV Ratings?


The latest batch of broadcast TV’s currency data has been crunched, and while a handful of shows are doing their bit in the war against audience erosion, the Big Four networks’s share of sellable ratings points continues to shrink at an alarming clip.

According to Nielsen, C3 ratings last month dropped 16 percent versus the year-ago period, as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox combined for an average primetime draw of just 2.07 million adults age 18-49, down from the 2.47 million members of the demo that watched the ads in November 2016. And while the nets faced some tough year-to-year comps — Fox was coming off a record-setting World Series, and results were somewhat overshadowed by last November’s election — this also marked the seventh month in which C3 ratings fell by double-digit percentages.

Developed as a compromise measure back in 2007, C3 blends a very rough estimate of average commercial ratings with three days of time-shifted viewing; as such, it offers networks, buyers and advertisers the best approximation of actual ad deliveries. Networks began negotiating against C7 deliveries five years after the original currency was adopted.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Amazon Pushes Deeper Into Sports With NBA’s G League on Twitch


Twitch Interactive, a video-streaming platform owned by Amazon.com, will show games from the National Basketball Association’s G League, pushing the online retailer deeper into live sports content.

Twitch, which attracts 15 million average daily viewers globally, will show about six games each week from the G League. The basketball league has 26 minor-league teams affiliated with NBA franchises such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. Twitch, mostly used to stream video games, adds interactive features such as chat rooms to the sports-watching experience.

Amazon purchased rights to stream Thursday night National Football League games this season to enhance its live content. The Twitch NBA deal could lead to e-commerce functions, such as ordering a jersey from Amazon while watching a game.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

7 Must-See Media Takes on Doug Jones’ Alabama Victory


1. In a Politico post headlined, “Trump suffers ‘big black eye’ in Alabama,” Eliana Johnson writes,

Doug Jones didn’t just defeat Roy Moore in Alabama’s Senate race on Tuesday nighthe administered the most crushing and embarrassing political blow of President Donald Trump’s young presidency. Jones’ win meant that Trump, who had endorsed Luther Strange in the Republican primary before backing Moore in the general election, threw his weight behind the losing candidate not once, but twice, in the Alabama race.

2. “Twitter thanks #BlackWomen for voting for Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama Senate election,” per USA Today. Mary Bowerman writes,

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Advertiser Survey Shows Upheaval in Industry


Hey, Martin Sorrell: Here’s the good news. A new survey of hundreds of marketing executives by Advertiser Perceptions ranks WPP the best agency holding company.

Now for the bad news. Accenture, Deloitte and IBM all made the top two quartiles in the digital portion of the survey and Ken Pearlman, CEO of Advertiser Perceptions, says one in three respondents are considering kicking business to consulting firms’ digital units. Additionally, 27 percent of marketers surveyed say the use Facebook and Google for services that were once the domain of their traditional agencies. And 30 percent are likely to bring media planning and buying in-house.

The report, dubbed “Choosing the Right Ad Agency,” shows just how rapidly the ad industry is changing and covers nearly 100 agencies rated by more than 600 U.S. marketing executives across some of the country’s largest advertisers, says Advertiser Perceptions CEO Ken Pearlman. While Pearlman declined to disclose specific marketers that participated in the survey, he says they included most of Ad Age’s 200 Leading National Advertisers. All marketers in the survey have advertising budgets of more than $5 million, with 80 percent having budgets of more than $10 million, 58 percent having budgets larger than $25 million, 34 percent have budgets larger than $50 million and 16 percent have more than $100 million to spend.

Continue reading at AdAge.com

Making dollar out of downtime

As schedules become more packed, real leisure time has become sparse and more precious than ever. Ironically, the rise of mobile means consumers may be more efficient in spending money, but the distractions are overwhelming, making downtime more frantic than it should be. How can brands help? By providing a product or service that enriches leisure time rather than diluting it.

How consumers spend their free time and their cash has changed since millennials came into the picture. As The Observer puts it: “It’s not cool to show off your logo or handbag. Now, the way you brag is flaunting your healthy lifestyle, so it’s a selfie at SoulCycle, a 10 dollar green juice or geotagging a hike.” We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: it’s all about experiences.

Because of this, the fitness industry is booming; nowadays working out is considered a treat rather than a chore. The new influx of boutique gyms in big cities are catering to the needs of millennials who prefer a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system rather than committing to a membership. Consumers’ relationship with fitness is changing; they want bespoke classes, the best instructors in the business and the snazziest equipment out there. Each workout session has to be good enough for an Instagram post. According to Courier: “Eating healthy food, taking part in group fitness activity and choosing where to live based on whether young people can walk or cycle to work is now mainstream and seen as a marked shift from previous generations.” Health is a huge priority for millennials and if their precious leisure time is spent working out, it better be worth it.

What do consumers look to when they have a free minute? In the queue, before bed, during the ads – straight to their smartphones. As Campaign put it: “One of today’s great paradoxes is that mobile technology makes life more efficient and productive, yet it generates enough distraction so it seems there is less free time.” Brands need to capitalise on this by making sure their website is slick and mobile ready. Even the tourism industry has turned ‘mobile first’ as more consumers are not only shopping from their smartphone, but they’re booking holidays too. (Yes, this probably means late at night in bed). Every step of the customer journey in booking travel must guarantee connectivity to allow a good dollop of social bragging. According to Campaign: “Facebook reports the second most shared activity as being a ’travelled to’ event.”

As for hospitality, leisure time doesn’t necessarily mean eating out; now supermarket brands have made it acceptable to eat in. M&S does this well with their hugely popular £10 dine-in deal. The way people consume entertainment has changed too; the rise of Netflix means on-demand TV is the chosen format, rather than passively flicking through channels and therefore wasting valuable time.

What’s the best way to make dollar from downtime? Most importantly, make sure your content fits the consumers’ needs and desires. According to Campaign: “Millennials use cell phones for moments of relief, so brands should consider making their messaging short and snackable.” Whilst they’re scoring their social scrolling hit, if you can shave minutes off, they’ll love you for it. It’s also about timing; see how food brands capitalise on pre-lunch hunger pangs with mouthwatering recipes, whilst fitness brands bombard consumers with inspiring workout videos first thing.

In a world where we’re scrambling for more seconds, leisure time is an opportunity for brands to swoop in to act as help, not a hindrance. People are forever looking for ways to live, shop and work more efficiently, and now is a great time for brands to monopolise on the addiction to mobile whilst maintaining integrity through relevant content and a worthwhile product.

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Audi: No drama, just intelligence

Car technology is continuing to make a big impact on the way we drive. Over the last few years, the way we get from A to B has evolved dramatically, from onboard technology to warn us of the dangers up ahead, to safety systems which can take over in case of an incident. But despite the benefits of AI in cars, UK drivers are still a little skeptical.

So when Audi tasked us with breaking-away from the traditional ‘Jetsons’-style approach to car-tech marketing, we relished the challenge. What quickly became clear was that innovative advances in technology are no longer talking points enough to get through to the car buyers, as quite simply – everyone is doing it. Instead, what causes automotive audiences to take notice and engage, is seeing how the technology fits into their everyday lives and the real potential it has to transform society.

And so with the aim of communicating Audi Intelligence through a compelling and relatable story on social, we developed a series of six short films to showcase a selection of the most advanced tech available in Audi cars.

Shot with a dramatic opening sequence, each short film was crafted to build anticipation for a traditional action movie-style car ad ending – before the car’s AI takes over to end the sequence in a real-life drama-free setting.

The final series was distributed across Audi’s UK Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels throughout the summer, helping bring excitement back to AI car technology – while grounding it in real-world settings, relatable to a modern car audience. The videos reached 5.7 million people and helped inform the autonomous car debate online – check out the full series here.

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