Chief Marketing Officers from various industries gathered in Chicago on March 14th for Argyle Executive Forum’s 2014 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum to discuss effective marketing strategies and innovative practices for the upcoming 2014 year.

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Gunjan Aggarwal, Vice President and Head of Human Resources, North America at Ericsson recently joined a panel at Argyle Executive Forum's 2014 Human Capital Leadership Forum: Spring Event in San Francisco, titled "Talent Strategy and Keeping Employees Engaged." Today, Aggarwal further discusses Ericsson's talent on a global scale.

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Ken Wilcox, EVP of Customer Service & Sales at Republic Services, and Phil Moehlenpah, Managing Director of Worldwide Services for FedEx Services, both articulate the importance of big data and analytics and how to best utilize this growth as a way to improve business practices and drive customer engagement.

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Colette LaForce, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at AMD, discusses AMD’s employee-led brand transformation, the evolving role of the CMO, and what excites her most about the future of AMD.

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On February 11, 2014, human resources professionals joined the 2014 Redefining Employee Engagement in Today’s Results-Driven World Virtual Event. Argyle Executive Forum brought together HR professionals to discuss changes in employee engagement and how HR professionals can best adapt to these changes in order to ensure successful HR practices. Perspectives were given by Gary Harrison-Ducros, Vice President Labor Relations for Frito-Lay; Donna Howard, Chief Human Resources Officer for Sonic Healthcare USA; Sumeet Kapoor, Senior Vice President HR Strategy & Change Management for Huntington Bank; and Razor Suleman, Founder & Chief People Officer for Achievers.

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Abstract below, session transcript available here.

Madison Riley, the head of North American retail and consumer products group with Kurt Salmon, recently addressed an audience of retail-based company representatives in New York.  The subject of his speech was the changing complexion of the retail space as the consumer experience fluctuates. Riley sees changes like the unprecedented customization that the internet allows as changing the fundamental ways in which consumers act: “The consumer space is evolving quickly.  Just how much it’s changing, the pace of change, and technology and consumer attitudes and behaviors are moving in an ever-faster clip.  Our point of view is that it’s going to continue.” As the internet matures, companies like Nike, Vans, and Converse can offer a product made on-demand for an individual consumer, which necessitates change in storefront models as well.

What the modern consumer wants, according to Riley, is three-fold. First, the consumer demands access. Since he is able to find so many products on the web, he expects those same products to be available in retail outlets. Second, there is information. Riley estimates that the information that constitutes the world wide web could fill 36 libraries of congress, which means that the consumer is better-informed than ever before. Last, is connection. Modern consumers expect to garner an emotional connection to the goods and brands that they buy. “Then you layer on top of that what’s happening with e-commerce, mobility, television and catalog, which has always been around – tremendous access that the consumer has to your products and services.”

This changing landscape in the retail world has moved the power from the seller to the consumer.  Where pre-internet, retailers were able to work more or less in a seasonal fashion, the advent of web-based sales has created a consumer climate in which people expect a constant selection of new goods. “The power that is in the consumer today versus the power that was really residing with brands and retailers in the past, there’s been a fundamental shift.” Now brands like Zara and H&M have to constantly overhaul their inventory every few months.

Perhaps the biggest shift, according to Riley, is that consumers tend to look for consumer experiences, rather than just products. The emotional connection that modern consumers derive from the experience of shopping in certain places over others, The North Face instead of The Sports Authority, for example, makes providing an experience an integral part of retail strategy: “I mean, if you think about your own purchases, we buy something material and over time, the glow of that can fade, unless it’s wrapped in some kind of a customer experience, both before, during and after the sale.”

What makes this new retail world exhilarating for Riley is the inability to judge its potential: “If you think about the fact that things are changing so rapidly and we don’t really know how to predict exactly what will be different six months, 12 months, 18 months or 24 months from now, it’s much more about that issue of the process.”

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