THE BLOG

RR Donnelley CMO Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators

03/17/2015 04:48 pm ET | Updated May 16, 2015

Alisa Norris, CMO of RR Donnelley will address these 4 questions;

  1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
  2. Why is this so important?
  3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
  4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?

Please send your feedback and ideas for people you would like us to interview to ernan@erdm.com

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In 2013, Alisa joined RR Donnelley, a Fortune 300 company, to lead all aspects of marketing and communications. Today she is building new marketing capabilities that support the company's transformation from one of the world's largest print services providers to a leading integrated communication services provider.

Alisa serves as an Independent Director for Standard Motor Products. She is a member of the New York City Board of Directors of Step Up Women's Network and she is a Board Member of IDEAlliance.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?

Consumers are bombarded with messages at every turn. So how do we blast through the cluttered communication landscape to nurture relationships with consumers? How do we create connected experiences between companies and the audiences they need to reach? That's the challenge today.

2. Why is this so important?

Because connected experiences drive brand loyalty, spark conversations, and inspire consumers to act. All of the channels -- print, digital, email, text, video, web, and social -- must work together to create these connected experiences for consumers.

We all know that companies are investing heavily in omni-channel communications. But how many are successfully connecting across all of the channels? And how many marketers understand the power of print -- yes, I said print -- as a critical gateway driving the connected experience? Print engages the senses. It's tactile. It's shareable. Many of us flip through the crisp pages of a vivid catalog and then hold up our mobile device to click for valuable information. Or we see a gorgeously photographed product in a stylish magazine and turn to our tablet to place an order. Maybe we click our device at a point-of-purchase display and gain exclusive benefits. The possibilities are endless! Yet too many marketers underestimate the power of print in our digital world.

3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?

Brands that fail to synchronize their channels can alienate consumers -- creating disconnected experiences and losing potential sales. This happens frequently. Here's an example from my life: For years, I looked forward to the communications -- emails, direct mail, catalogs -- from one of my favorite brands. It's a brand I have welcomed into my home, even shared with my four children. Recently my son opened the brand's catalog and noticed an unusual model building set. Under the photo it said: "Watch the Video." My son expected to click his mobile device over the ad and see the video right then and there. That would have been ideal. But the ad directed him to a URL. He lost interest and moved on. I then went to the brand's website and typed in the URL to view the video. Nothing came up. I searched the website under videos, models, building. Nothing! The brand had a great idea to connect print with their digital world -- to connect all their channels -- and failed to do so. The brand lost my purchase.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?

Every company has finite budgets. Consumers have finite attention bandwidth. Therefore, brands must synchronize all the channels to send the right message to the right person at the right time -- every time. The inbox must connect with the mailbox. The direct mail piece must match the mobile message. At RR Donnelley, a 150-year-old company that began as a printer, our focus always has been to connect people through the power of words and images. That remains true today. We intimately understand the integrated role of print as we help companies create effective multi-channel campaigns. No matter how many ways consumers will communicate, we know print will continue to be a critical gateway to extend and enhance the consumer experience.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?

I cherish the personal time that I carve out on weekends to cook with my children. One of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning is to take my four children to our local farmers' market. The children will bite into just-picked apples while I purchase beets pulled from the ground that very morning -- or maybe the ripest tomatoes or peppers. Then we pile in the car and return home to prepare a feast. We've been creating farm-to-table dinners before we even knew it was a trend!

Ernan Roman
President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp., (ERDM)

Inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame based on results companies achieve with three Customer Experience methodologies he created: Voice of Customer Relationship Research, Integrated Direct Marketing and Opt-in Marketing.

ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue for clients including IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC, Microsoft and Norton AntiVirus.

Named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the "2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries" and by Crain's B to B Magazine as one of the "100 most influential people in Business Marketing".

Ernan's latest book is titled, "Voice of the Customer Marketing". He also writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, "Ernan's Insights on Marketing Best Practices".