At least, that’s how I’m reading this potentially game-changing news of the re-org that CMO Richard Davies has undertaken.  He’s trimmed staff by 20% and gone from 65 agencies down to 6.  More interesting is this, via Advertising Age:

Perhaps an even bigger departure for Newell’s marketing department under Mr. Davies is the unprecedented authority for market research, which also reports to him. While Mr. Davies wants product concepts and ad ideas tested with consumers, he’s also given researchers authority to tell marketers an idea isn’t even worth testing yet.

Mr. Davies believes such power should be the rule rather than the exception, because researchers are the voice of the consumer.

So what we have here is a strong-willed CMO who has consolidated the ranks and given unusual authority to market research as the voice of the consumer.  When you bring the voice of the consumer in, you’re closer to bringing in contemporary culture and making it a more central part of the marketing planning and execution process.  Will more companies follow suit?  It depends on how Mr. Davies ends his year, and if he’s on an upward trajectory for 2015 in terms of sales, volume, market share.

If Newell is successful in the marketplace, then Davies’ approach will be validated.  It puts the voice of the consumer significantly closer to the communications dollars.  It’s not quite having Grant McCracken’s Chief Culture Officer in fact, but it’s progress.

Watch this space.

Posted by Rob Fields

  • Indy Neogy

    Key question for the CMO – how well do your market researchers understand culture? Indeed, how good are they at detecting the latent needs of the consumers in general?