Visa’s Kim Kadlec on why marketers need to ‘poke and break things’ | M&M Global

Visa’s Kim Kadlec on why marketers need to ‘poke and break things’

The marketing sector needs to “re-position” itself as an enabler of change, rather simply a costly function, according to Visa’s senior vice president, global marketing, Kim Kadlec.

Kim Kadlec (right), being interviewed at FOMG17
Kim Kadlec (right), being interviewed at FOMG17

Speaking to MediaLink chairman Wenda Harris Millard at today’s Festival of Media Global 2017 in Rome, Kadlec said it is her ambition for Visa to become “the most impactful data-led marketer in the world”.

However, to reach this goal, Kadlec acknowledged the perception of marketing within organisations must be transformed from that of an “expense”, to something guiding vast areas of the business – from product development to acquisition strategy.

“[Marketers] need to have courage to poke and break things with an optimistic expectation that better things will come from it,” she said.

Kadlec – who joined Visa from Publicis Groupe last year – described a recent meeting involving the company’s marketing, data and IT team to form a plan for its 2018 fiscal year. What has started out as a clash of three differing perspectives had been resolved over the course of the meeting, she said.

“We spent eight hours joining the dots [and] we left the room with an aligned set of priorities for the next year. I felt excited about it. It takes talking to people,” said the former AOL and Johnson & Johnson executive.

Fundamentally, Kadlec argued that industry professionals need to “re-position” marketing to be seen as “less of a function [and] more of an enabler”.

Despite having emerged “shell-shocked” from “heated” meetings with other divisions within Visa, Kadlec insisted the disagreements had spurred “amazing” partnerships across the business.

“If you do it right, you start to unearth some nuggets on how to connect. There is a lot of opportunity there,” she added.

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