What was the most unpredicted factor that affected how you manage your brand in the past decade?
Ten years ago companies were largely able to control the agenda and the conversation about their brand. Today, anyone who thinks they can carefully control their brand is naïve. The internet completely changed everything about how consumers view their role and the power they have over a brand. The internet has been a great equalizer. This power shift means that we can no longer talk at our customers; we must talk with them.
How do you see the marketing of brands changing in the next five to 10 years?
The distinction between B2B and B2C brands is becoming irrelevant. Behind every business “B” is a person who expects a consumer-like experience. SAP is a B2B company, but if we continue to think of ourselves as B2B we won’t be successful. We must evolve our mindset from B2B to B2P: Business-to-People. This change in approach needs to start now, and it will be part of a larger culture change in the near term.
What advice do you have for marketers at other companies who are facing similar challenges that you face?
At the end of the day brand is about the experience. The days of vertical focus on branding, advertising, events, demand generation and public relations are over. Tying these pieces together in a meaningful way to create a linear experience is more critical than the individual components. In order to create this linear brand experience you must first understand what makes the customer tick and then work backwards.
Martin "Marty" Homlish is Global Chief Marketing Officer and corporate officer for SAP AG, as well as President and CEO of SAP Global Marketing, Inc. Homlish is responsible for the management of SAP’s single voice to the market and provides leadership that aligns the field and product organizations to ensure SAP delivers a best-in-class total customer experience to its clients.
During Homlish's tenure, SAP has received numerous marketing awards. In 2004, Homlish was named "Chief Marketing Officer of the Year" by BusinessWeek and the CMO Council. He was also named a "Top Marketer" by B2B Magazine in its "Best of 2009" issue. In addition, in recognition of excellence and innovation in brand leadership, Homlish received the Jury Award for Global Brand Leadership’s Big Thinker during Columbia University’s BRITE conference in 2008.
Homlish sits on the boards of the Columbia Center for Global Branding, Music Conservatory of Westchester and the New York Stock Exchange Marketing Advisory Board. He is also a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
Homlish earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Goddard College in 1974. He continued his education at Babson College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. Prior to joining SAP, Homlish spent 15 years at Sony Corporation in several strategic roles.