June 23, 2024


Built General Tough

Global CMO of SAP Discusses Intersectionality in The Business of Marketing

When we look to more growth and innovation in 2021, Alicia Tillman recognizes the business of marketing and what a time of crisis has called for from brands. As the Global CMO of SAP, Alicia shared in CMO Moves episode 150 that she believes this starts with what’s going on outside the walls of the company and describes the beautiful journey to helping recognize your brand’s value. 

The business of marketing is not just the topic for today but it is a brand new show we’re launching together in 2021 where we will go much deeper on all these topics with a whole cast of characters (CEOs, CIO, CTO, CFO, CHRs, and more). Why don’t you share what is it that really caused you to get behind this? 

Very simply put–marketing is a growth driver. Period. Marketing is responsible and depended on for so much growth within all of our companies. No matter the size of our company, the industry we are in, where we are located, what stage of our growth journey we are in—marketing is in the center of it all. There is a dependency on our function, not just from the CEO, but from the CIO, the CHR, the CFO, the CRO–there is not a function in a company that is not depending on marketing to support their growth journey.  

And we spend so much time as a marketing community to explore that. If we think about 2020 in particular, it’s fair to say that the dependency on marketing has grown even more. When we think about what this period has called for from brands, it has been about your purpose, your authenticity, the articulation of your value that is relevant during periods of crisis and when customers need you most, and what your values are and how they manifest themselves in the very products and services that you deliver. If you think about innovation and how you tell that story and how you tell that story of value, all of it is connected to growth. All of it is stemming from the function, the marketing organization within a company.  

You are a Global CMO and you have a team of 1700 marketers. That’s a lot of marketers on one day. Let’s talk about your role and why you decided to take that on with SAP. 

Number one, I think the technology industry and what technology enables for companies to achieve is the backbone of not only success, but a lot of change and how we can enable change around things that people care about in society. Technology has an incredible role to play in that, but I also sell a company in SAP that was founded nearly 50 years ago with a vision and purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. To do that through technology with a belief that in partnership with our customers, we can truly position technology to help inspire change across the environment, our economies and society. 

And I want it to be able to tell that story of how, with our over 500,000 global customers, we are in fact enabling that for them across whatever industry or whatever part of the world that they are a part of. Every company has a purpose and a mission to do something for good and have it lead to really significant change. And I spent the first year really working to build that narrative for SAP, not only in terms of how does SAP help day to day operations, how does it help companies run at their best, but essentially if you help companies run at their best with technology, then they have an ability to achieve their higher aspirations.