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Marketing Brand Purpose SAP

3 Actionable Insights with… SAP global CMO Alicia Tillman


By Kenneth Hein | US Editor

August 20, 2020 | 4 min read

The Drum’s 3 Actionable Insights series asks industry leaders to give their thoughts on the actions our readers should take immediately.

Headshot of Alicia Tillman

SAP global CMO Alicia Tillman

What does it take for a global B2B brand to succeed today? SAP’s Alicia Tillman, who was named by Forbes as one of the most influential CMOs in the world, shares her actionable insights that will help marketers lead the way forward during this moment and beyond.

Multinational enterprise software company SAP was founded 48 years ago with a purpose of helping the world run better and to improve people’s lives. As businesses struggle with the daily challenges of the ongoing pandemic, those objectives need to be met more than ever. Global chief marketer Alicia Tillman, who has grown SAP’s brand value has grown to more than $18bn during her tenure, takes time out to talk to The Drum about how marketers must evolve to meet clients’ needs. Here are the three top actions that Tillman recommends:

1. Maintain a daily, global perspective about your customers’ needs.

“Know what’s going on outside of the walls of your company. Even though we are all experiencing a global pandemic, the effect of it is different by geography and region, and it evolves by the day. Understand the effect it has on the customer you serve. And then know what you have in your company that can best serve them — how it’s valuable and how you position it effectively so they know you’re there to help, how you can help and what they need to do to be able to embrace your help.”

2. Use the gains made in digital to ‘reverse order’ future plans.

“This period proves we can lead with digital. It’s almost like we are reverse ordering. This is what marketers have been calling for: wanting to be more digitally savvy and sophisticated and not as dependent on traditional tactics. It is easy to go back to the way things were, especially if we are exhausted by so many of the current factors. Provided we can stay motivated and we can stay the course and are seeing the benefits of this change, I think this can really be a defining moment in terms of how we can take B2B marketing to a whole new level.”

3. Become the ‘chief voice of the customer’.

“Be a voice for the customer to make sure you’re innovating in the right way, but also be a voice for the customer to make sure that you’re using your company resources appropriately to create the change that people really want to see in the world. As a marketer, we have the responsibility of ensuring that the company purpose is very defined and that we have a clear voice on issues that matter to people. Marketers need to make certain that we are putting to work the resources, the capability and the means of our companies to really create the change that’s needed in the economy, in society and in the environment. The companies that accept that responsibility are the ones that customers will choose to invest in. The best role in a company for leading and being the steward for ensuring that happens is a marketer.”

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