London SES Keynote – Jeffrey Hayzlett – Celebrity CMO

London SES Keynote – Jeffrey Hayzlett – Celebrity CMO

22nd February 2011

The keynote was delivered by Jeff Hayzlett and was one of the most inspiring marketing talks that I’ve personally heard. He was faced with the challenge of transforming Kodak from a film company that was doing 15 billion dollars in consumer film 5 years ago. No one buys film any more so they needed to radically rethink their business to adapt to the 21st century.

You need to establish your proof of life

Why are you in the game, what do you do and what makes you interesting? Passion is not a substitute for planning. The same problems exist if you have a $15,000 budget or a $15 million budget.

What is your 118?

Your 118 is the new elevator pitch. You need to be quick to get your message across there’s no point in a 30 page powerpoint presentation. Your 118 breaks down to 8 seconds to catch the average adult’s attention span and 110 seconds to explain and sell it. Longer than that and you’re wasting your time and it’s not your true 118.

Big macs are worth the wait.

Make sure you set clear conditions of satisfaction. You need to be clear about setting them. If you’re constantly changing the goal posts you will alienate your customer base.

Cause Tension within your organisation

Hayzlett says his main objective was to cause tension. HR and legal needed to make sure he didn’t fall off the chair but his job to make sure that he was on the edge of it. To transform a business means you need to push the envelope constantly.

Be who you are

You can only ever most as fast as your slowest component. Do things fast and make them happen. Identify people in your organisation that aren’t fast enough and change them. You love them but you’ll miss them. The average CMO lasts for 18 months, there is no time to wait for slow people.

No one is going to die

Do things, change things, try new things. Mistakes are part of the learning process make sure you make and learn from them. During a battle with a major competitor on black ink Kodak embarked on a social campaign. It was massively successful in social and thousands of people texted into the competition but when they rolled it out it in cinema it failed spectacularly as everyone turned off their phone as they walked in. No one died and mistakes happen.


Get back to the core of who you are. Ask employees what do we do, tell us the companies’ story from their perspective. Kodak isn’t a film company, or an inkjet company, or a camera company. Kodak is a memories company. They make emotional technology. That is Kodaks 118.

Brand Transformation

Shifting the view from traditional and not high tech to digital but still keeping the focus on trust and reliability was key. Set standards and enforce them. Your website looks like a yard sale. Your 118 isn’t represented. Bringing in the best pictures and showing them full screen on the front page brought them back to their core.

Get social

Four Es of Social
1) Engage
2) Educate
3) Excite
4) Evangelize

By listening to the conversations and using them resulted in a twitter suggestion about a product enhancement being implemented that resulted in the next iteration of the product outselling the competition 10 to 1.

The new numbers

Focus on eyeballs and ears versus hearts and minds. Evian baby viral didn’t increase sales. Build a community and feed that.

Engagement is the new ROI

They crowd sourced the naming of a new camera. The ZI8 became the playtouch and the people that came up with the name are pictured in every box and won an awesome prize. This was all off the back of a product naming failure that was widely criticised.

Define your 118 and roll that out into every aspect of your business. Market that and you can’t help but succeed.


Written By
Louis Venter is the founding director and CEO of MediaVision, a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) company specialising in all areas of search. His particular interests are organic search marketing, paid search marketing, conversion strategy and online PR.
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