4 marketing principles to live by from the brand boss at Calvin Klein & PVH

Marie Gulin-Merle September 2019 Retail

As the chief marketing officer at Calvin Klein, Inc. and the chief digital officer at PVH Corp., I’m always reminding our C-suite and my team that at least 50% of sales are now digitally influenced across industries and regions. This change in consumer behavior requires marketers to shift their mindsets in an era when digital marketing is now just marketing. To navigate this new landscape, I adhere to four marketing mindset shifts that are key to driving success.

Being relevant means making sure a brand or product message reaches the right person at the right time with the right content in the right context.

Return on relevance is the new North Star

With so much competition for people’s attention, relevance has never been more important. Being relevant means making sure a brand or product message reaches the right person at the right time with the right content in the right context. Ads personalization is a valuable tool to help achieve that relevance. But marketers must ensure they’re accounting for that relevance metric properly, as there’s often a gap in measurement. Think about it. Typically we measure either brand lift or sales lift. We rarely measure the return on relevance, which is a combination of engagement, past behaviors, and conversions. Identifying whether we provided the right content at the right time to the right customer is critical. I call it the return on relevance — ROR — and it’s the North Star that I always keep in mind in everything we do.

An example of ROR can be seen in a recent campaign we launched with YouTube’s branded content platform FameBit. We engaged 10 creators to tell their unique and personal truths as part of our “I Speak My Truth in #MyCalvins” brand campaign. Through this partnership, we were able to gauge how the content affected consumer search behavior across YouTube and Google. We could also analyze consumer sentiment via comments and likes. More importantly, we were able to track how this content drove direct sales conversions through the integrated FameBit Shopping Shelf feature. Evaluating the campaign’s ROR across engagement, past behaviors, and conversions showed us that a branded content strategy was highly effective in this case.

Four key marketing rules to drive success

Mountain summit 1. Return on relevance is the new North Star. Lock & key 2. Give people a reason to trust you. Jet 3. Build the plane while it’s in the air. People icons 4. Empower your team to teach you what you don’t know.

Give people a reason to trust you

Collecting data comes with many responsibilities for any brand and any corporation. At Calvin Klein, data privacy is top of mind, so there are three strong commitments we’re making to our customers. The first one is transparency, which simply means that we remain open and honest about how we use data. The second one is security as it relates to our commitment to apply the highest standards to keeping data safe. Accountability is the third and perhaps most important principle — because if things don’t happen the way they should, brands and companies must take responsibility.

The rapid pace with which consumer behavior is evolving underscores the need for agility and speed when managing change, technology, and marketing decisions.

Build the plane while its in the air

The rapid pace with which consumer behavior is evolving underscores the need for agility and speed when managing change, technology, and marketing decisions. To keep up, I’m constantly designing what the journey is going to look like. For instance, I’m designing three-month wins, six-month achievements, and 12-month achievements, so that I’m setting the vision for the short term and the long term. I like to think of it this way: I’m on a plane, building the plane while it’s in the air, and making sure my team’s not too overwhelmed but excited by the process.

Empower your team to teach you what you don't know

My first mentor taught me something that I keep in mind every day: Come to work like it’s your first day. That advice reminds me to never get comfortable or think that I know everything. The more you grow, the more you have to listen to new generations, and the more you have to practice the muscles of curiosity and community. Every day, I make sure I learn from my team members. Collectively, they know things I do not, and they have the instincts that are critical to navigate our volatile and disrupted landscapes.

Want to earn user trust and drive marketing results? Start with these steps