edo Advisor, Kim McKesson, is currently a member of search industry leader Spencer Stuart’s global consumer goods practice specializing in the retail, apparel and luxury goods sectors. Prior to her current role, Kim served in multiple executive level marketing & merchandising positions at The Home Depot.

1. How has the role & challenges of the Chief Marketing Officer role changed within the past two few years?

KM: CMOs are actually experiencing more job stability, which is a good thing.  At Spencer Stuart we track CMO tenure and just between 2009 and 2010, it increased from 34 months to 42 months.  The steady increase in tenure means that CMOs have more time to test and learn and be effective in their approaches to reaching an ever-more sophisticated customer.  Because digital is such a data-rich world, retailers are becoming much more comfortable in a “test and learn” environment than they were even a few years ago.

2. What will be the biggest challenges for Chief Marketing Officers within the next few years?

KM: Retailers are concerned about the volume of content required to keep up with all of the segmentation options digital marketing provides.   We’ve all been talking about “one-to-one” marketing, but now that it is truly possible, how does a marketer keep up with the vast volumes of content that are required to make all of those interactions relevant with a customer?  Money that was previously budgeted for traditional media will not only be redirected to new media but will also have to support the generation of significantly more content (and content that has to be constantly updated) in order to maintain relevance with customers.

3. If you had to choose one area of marketing that will evolve most within the next 5 years what would it be and why?

KM: It sounds obvious, but I think it will have to be mobile.  It is shocking how many retailers still are not providing a great mobile shopping experience. Shoppers are going to require quick and easy access to what they want, when they want it with full online functionality.  We have a tendency to think in terms of our own experience vs. the next generation.  The next generation laughs at the idea of having to get to a computer to make an online order.

4. What is your go-to ‘app’ for keeping current with news, marketing & the world?

KM: I’m an information junkie, so picking one is difficult.  I’ll have to say Pulse because it is a great way to aggregate and organize into pages all of the information I want access to – news, business, entertainment and fashion.

5. What was the best piece of advice someone gave you within your career?

KM: After studying advertising in college and working in the function for a decade, a boss at The Home Depot recommended that I shift my career to merchandising.  I talked with a colleague about my trepidation and his advice was, “When smart people give you career advice, you should listen.”   Most people think it is the boss who gave me the great advice but it was really the colleague who told me to listen to him.  Sometimes people see potential in you that you don’t see in yourself.

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Kim McKesson, Advisor

Currently a member of search industry leader Spencer Stuart’s global consumer goods practice specializing in the retail, apparel and luxury goods sectors, Kim formerly served in multiple executive level marketing & merchandising positions at The Home Depot.

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