3 Lessons for Marketing Excellence (Part 3)

This is part three of a Marketing Excellence series drawn from a members-only interview of TopRight CEO Dave Sutton with CEO-CFO Interviews a weekly publication featuring in-depth interviews with top corporate executives.  See parts one and two here.

bullseyeCEOCFO: What have you learned over time? What has changed in your approach?


Dave: One of the biggest things is the importance of being technically savvy and data savvy. When I first came into the industry twenty plus years ago, marketing was really a creative art and it was a softer set of capabilities that did not rely a tremendous amount on analytics. It was rare to find a marketing department that also had a staff of data scientists, analytics people and technologically inclined people working side-by-side with the marketing creative team.

The biggest shift that we have seen, that has […]

3 Lessons for Marketing Excellence (Part 2)

This is part two of a Marketing Excellence series drawn from a members-only interview of TopRight CEO Dave Sutton with CEO-CFO Interviews a weekly publication featuring in-depth interviews with top corporate executives.  See part one here.

bullseyeCEOCFO: When operationalizing a marketing strategy, how do you measure gut-feel, personal bias as well as experience and trends when you are looking forward?


Dave:  Part of our job requires us to look both backwards and forward. Many of the initial hypotheses that we generate are based on backward looking facts, historical performance of a brand, historical performance of a company and trying to draw some conclusions around what challenges them and what opportunities are not being captured. We also do a lot of primary research – trying to understand today’s customer, what motivates them what triggers their intent to purchase. We also […]

3 Lessons for Marketing Excellence (Part 1)

This is part one of a Marketing Excellence series drawn from a members-only interview of TopRight CEO Dave Sutton with CEO-CFO Interviews a weekly publication featuring in-depth interviews with top corporate executives.

bullseyeCEOCFO: When you are working with a company and developing a marketing or business strategy, what might you look at which others do not realize is important to add in the mix?

Dave: One of the challenges that many of our clients face is that many of their people have grown up inside of the business. If you are a consumer packaged goods specialist, a telecommunications specialist or an automotive industry specialist, everything that you know about sales and marketing emanates from your experience within that industry. One of the first things we do is recognize and bring the voice of the customer into the discussion. What we mean by […]

4 Ways Nonprofits Can Benefit from Audience Insights

STriking whitepaperUnfortunately, although both the marketing and development teams in many nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are communicating about the same benefits, they rarely act in concert. While some high-functioning NPOs are the exception, marketing and development working hand-in-hand is rare when it should be the rule.

One area of collaboration that can have immediate benefit for both teams and the NPO overall is in the area of audience insights – literally, knowledge about important audiences.  These insights – formal and informal – are a core part of both functions, and knowledge must be shared effectively between them.   We encourage every NPO – and every for profit, too – to explore the opportunity to expand and better stratify knowledge about key audiences, particularly those with influence to important circles.

The following four areas will provide a strong starting place for creating a consistent […]

You’ve Got Mail!

you've got mailIn a recent speech at the National Postal Forum, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General and Chief Executive Officer of the Postal Service, promoted opportunities for the mailing industry to leverage the rapid adoption of digital and mobile technology by today’s consumers.

For the past 5+ years, every consumer trend report has pointed to the fact that sales and marketing communications will continue to converge on mobile devices and away from physical delivery of messages.   While many marketers still find value in direct mail for some situations, it’s not surprising that Brennan is advancing the idea that direct mail can serve as a powerful complement to digital marketing campaigns and play a more prominent role in multi-channel marketing efforts.  “When we extend that physical experience of mail into a mobile experience, mail delivers much greater value for the sender […]

4 Marketing Mistakes Start-ups Can’t Afford to Make

This article originally appeared in the CNBC “How I did it” column on March 5, 2015 through TopRight CEO Dave Sutton’s membership in the CNBC-YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) Chief Executive Network.


plantTopRight Strategic Marketing was founded in 2006 by a group of former chief marketing officers and marketing strategists from companies including McKinsey and Booz & Co. In the early years, we experienced modest success in the market, but the business was difficult to scale, with our growth limited to leveraging our existing client relationships.

Simply put, we refused to take a spoonful of our own medicine, and we botched our own marketing plan. We overspent, under-delivered and implemented inefficient and overly complex solutions.

It wasn’t until 2011 that TopRight began to practice what it preaches. That year, we rethought our digital marketing strategy and over-weighted investments in emerging marketing technologies. The result: […]

Un-Happy Hour

imagesThe industry’s biggest players, Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, whose mega-brands have dominated America’s tap handles and supermarket shelves for decades, are being battered by a new wave of competition from inside and outside the beer market and starting to lose their grip. Liquor brands are share stealing, especially among the coveted young-adult demographic. As a result, beer has seen its piece of the total alcohol market fall below 50% last year, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S.

Beer brands have become far too one-dimensional and reliant on TV for driving consumer awareness and consumption. What we call lackluster advertising. For a category once known for some of the best TV ads, hits over the past few years have been too few. Only one beer campaign has achieved pop-culture acclaim in recent years —

The Chevy Love Story

General Motor’s Chevrolet Division has been making headlines this Summer with advertising for their new return policy for 2012 and 2013 model year Chevys.

The marketing spin: If you don’t love your new Chevy, you can return it.

Be sure to pay close attention to the fine print in the offer: the return policy only applies to those “Summer Lovers” who purchase a Chevy between July 10th and September 4th, 2012. Buyers must keep the vehicle for at least 30 days before filing a return claim, then have only an additional 30 days to file; once 60 days pass, time’s up, you’re married. To file a claim, heartbroken buyers must provide Chevrolet with the original bill of sale, driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. […]

From Brand to Reputation

If you really think about it, a brand is nothing more than a container for the promises and benefits that your company makes and delivers to your target audience. Therefore, branding is really about managing your company’s reputation. If you make a promise, you better deliver on it. Break a promise and your reputation will suffer. Just like a personal reputation, a brand reputation is formed based on the behaviors and actions of the company (or a person within the company) and how those behaviors and actions are perceived by the target audience. Since most people understand what a personal reputation is, it makes it easier to understand what “branding” is all about.

In today’s socially-networked world, it is imperative for brand owners to actively monitor Social Media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well […]

ROI Bowl 2012?

Well, it’s that time of year again… advertisers are ponying up for a chance to win over the hearts and minds of the 100-million-plus football fans who will be tuning-in for this year’s Super Bowl featuring the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The price of admission?… A cool $3.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime. As in year’s past, I’m shocked that this level of spending continues to go unchecked.

During the last 45 Super Bowls, Budweiser has been the most visible and memorable advertiser – routinely winning the “Monday Morning Water Cooler Chit-Chat Trophy”. From the halftime Bud Bowls, to the iconic Clydesdales, to the True “Wuzzup” guys… the Budweiser brand has left an indelible mark on the Super Bowl and the advertising world.

However, a