The Grayson Report


January 7, 2011

Each of us lives several hundred years in a decade.” - Marshall McLuhan

WELCOME to the start of a new decade. But before we jump in, let’s review the tremendous upheaval that has taken place in several common job functions during the past 10 years. Marketing: At the top of any top 10 marketing list would have to be the evolving/expanding role of the chief marketing officer (CMO). While many vice presidents of marketing had enlarged roles towards the end of the 1990s, the new “c-suite marketer” has responsibility for corporate, product and the marketing execution. This can stretch over the finance department, the call center or product development—wherever a customer or consumer touches the company. But not everyone is cut out to be CMO. According to Spencer Stuart, one of the leading executive search firms, the average tenure of CMOs in 2009 was 28.4 months. Apparently the job has grown— but not the candidates.

Consider the career path that leads to the c-level marketing job. Almost by definition it starts with some form of product management. That position will make him or her knowledgeable about the various functions described as the marketing mix—product, positioning, display, advertising, pricing—but what about social media with all of its iterations and traps? What about that exploding bottle video on YouTube?

Suzanne & Bob Grayson, Grayson Associates
Suzanne and Bob Grayson are respected, professional marketers, having spent their careers with the leading companies in the beauty industry before starting their successful consulting business in the early 1970s.

Their consulting clients have included Avon, Bristol- Myers, Estée Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Revlon and Cover Girl, among others. They reside in San Juan Capistrano, CA and maintain an office in New York City. For more information, they can be reached at or

It’s now the CMO’s responsibility. And maybe, just maybe, understanding social media is more important than focusing on Nielsen ratings. It might be that the CMO job is just too big to be handled by one person—and should be “The Office of Corporate Marketing.”

The other nine areas may be a bit more obvious, but they form a kind of check list of things that now must be considered, budgeted and executed under the direction of the CMO.

Advertising: The seismic shift from traditional media to cyberspace, and how to manage the message and the money. Social Media: Explosive. A potential loss of control of the message is the downside, and the resulting impact on brand image will be difficult to fathom. Metrics: We can now measure just about everything. But does that mean we forsake savvy judgment for rulers? Online Videos: Who said that there’s no such thing as a free “lunch?” Globalization: That small international division of 10 years ago now drives the company. And the real payoff may come when what is learned in Namibia and Bali can be utilized in the UK and the U.S. Green Marketing: Sometimes it’s not easy to measure the incremental benefits, but it is getting to be very important to the consumer. When the ripple becomes a stream then a river, you had better have a sturdy boat.

Cause Marketing: See Green Marketing above.

Focus on Search: Your potential consumer is out there somewhere and he or she has most likely used the internet for his or her own information. Gotcha! Consumer-Centrics: The new hand in product development!

Each element requires mastery for impact, growth and profitability. The net? With almost everyone—certainly the top five— having equal access to technology, welcome to the decade of the media masters!

Hope Springs Eternal

If you seek a rosy future, there is no better time than the start of a new year. It is also a propitious time to wrap-up loose ends. That brings us to the introduction of the new Burberry line of cosmetics into Nordstrom in South Coast Plaza, Orange County, CA. A reporter from The Orange County Register interviewed one of the executives at Groupe Clarins USA, which represents Burberry in the U.S. We’ll paraphrase the interview and omit the name of the interviewee to protect the innocent. We are represented by “GA.”

Q: U.S. department store sales fell to $3.2 billion in 2009, a 5% drop from 2008. Why is Burberry opening a makeup counter now?

A: This is a perfect moment to introduce a beauty collection as the brand is growing. GA:Huh? Maybe their trench coats are growing (few branded ones). But there are plenty of great luxury beauty brands out there.

Q: Why did you pick cosmetics for expansion as opposed to some other category?

A: The cosmetics line was designed as a natural extension of the Burberry Girl. GA: So the target market is the Burberry Girl seeker who identifies with that trench coat. Guess that’s why the makeup shades are titled Trench 1 through Trench 9.

Q: How did Burberry decide on pricing?

A: Burberry is a prestige luxury brand and our collection is priced as such. This collection offers all customers an entry point into the world of luxury.

The new Burberry cosmetics line is ho hum.

GA: Gee, we thought that Chanel had that spot all it to itself.

Q: And what are the best selling products so far?

A: Compact Foundation Trench #7, Liquid Foundation Trench #7, Natural Blush #2, Lip Cover #5, and Lip Glow #7....for the woman who wishes to enhance her beauty with effortless elegance.

GA: So, to sum up: Permission-to-Believe is based on the Burberry image, and Permission- to-Buy is based on the assumption that rare elegance can be transferred from trench coats to beauty products.

We are strong believers that there is always room for new ideas and products. And you need only look in cyberspace to find plenty of very interesting (but underfunded) new products that make their case with believable creativity. Sorry Burberry, nice, is not good enough these days. (Foundation, $55; Lipstick, $30; Mascara, $28.)

☹ Glad I Didn’t Do That

Urban Decay refers to itself as “beauty with an edge.” The copy reads, “Get this skin. Our Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder will blow your mind.” If you know what that means, please let us know. Question: Do you think that razor sharp is a relevant image for the face? Also, explain why the art director dropped in the fancy U D letters to dominate the page–and why the CMO signed off on it; yes, the art director won again.

Finally, consumers don’t buy concepts; they buy product benefits, real or imagined. This one went over the edge.
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