Stephen Quinn, Walmart CMO, keeps half an eye cocked toward a wide-screen social media listening dashboard on his office wall so he can constantly monitor his brand’s real-time messaging. But the flood of stats that move across the screen represents equal parts hands-on data intelligence and, well, window dressing. The fact is, while Quinn is a technology-savvy marketing chief, his job is so much more expansive than Twitter and Facebook that he, like any peer in such a role for a huge company, needs a tech/social version of himself—a digital doppelgänger, if you will—to shepherd the big-box retailer’s digital and social-based efforts. And for that, he leans on media and digital vp Wanda Young to keep Walmart at the forefront of digital—and, in particular, mobile.
“She has been critical to our organization, and to me personally, when it comes to leading in that new world,” Quinn says. “It’s one thing to conceptually—as the head of marketing—understand these things. But it’s quite another to have somebody who can actually translate [marketing goals] to our technology people.”
In this era of constant disruption—brought on in part by 24/7 communication—that digital/social executive is as essential as an arm or leg—or maybe a vital organ—to keep brands on message and out of trouble. Here’s a short list of five digital tandems who are winning the game of marketing innovation in their own distinct ways.