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When I left my home to attend SAP SAPPHIRE NOW the trees in my neighborhood were mostly bare; just starting to grow leaves and when I returned four days later, they were thick and healthy. Change had come quickly.

Change came equally fast for CMOs attending SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference. They may have arrived thinking about the ol’ ERP player, driving the CIOs technology vision, but – within a few short days – they learned how their most innovative peers are redefining how marketing functions in the new experience-driven economy. Today's innovative marketers are proactively defining entirely new marketing models by engaging with SAP’s “Business-to-Business-to-Consumer” capabilities.

Société de transport de Montréal (STM) – which I first blogged about late last year, continues to be a poster child of what’s possible. At SAPPHIRE NOW, STM’s Head of Marketing, Pierre Bourbonniere proudly took to the stage and outlined the ground-breaking customer experience strategy he is leading to comprehensively:

  • Drive customer satisfaction
  • Grow the customer base and frequency of customer participation
  • Create entirely new revenue streams to drive business success

The story, which has been talked about globally, received significant praise because it enables STM to engage with its customers ‘in the moment’ – giving them precise, customized, relevant information to make a decision. To do this effectively, STM needs to know more than just who its customer is – STM must also understand where its customer is and what his/her needs are at the time.

The STM initiative also demonstrates how CMOs can proactively shift from brand champions to growth champion.

In my view, as a long-time marketer, the STM story is compelling because it addresses the most pressing – and vexing – scenario facing CMOs. The issue is NOT about creating a new vehicle for one-to-one engagement – that’s (already) just table stakes. Innovative marketers have moved beyond mass loyalty to create next generation customer programs that may include loyalty components, but are focused on creating continuous, individual engagement.

It is in this arena that SAP is helping CMOs to help their customer love them more!

While there’s still a lot of change to come in this space, the organizations/CMOs that come out winners will be those that best address the “Four C’s of Consumer Trust”:


Your customer understands precisely how their data will be used.


Your customer can choose, and modify, what to share and what not to share.


Your customer is confident in your ability to keep his data private and secure.


Your customer understands what he gets for the amount of info shared.

Bill McDermott’s SAPPHIRE NOW declaration that “SAP is the market leader in ‘Business-to-Business-to-Consumer’ software” clearly communicated that SAP can help CMOs deliver against the Four C’s of Customer Trust better than any other software company.  This is true because of SAP’s strength in Cloud Computing, its industry leading mobile security and application platform and, without a doubt, the unmatched HANA in-memory platform for big data analytics at the ‘speed of thought.’

STM is just one example of how SAP is helping organizations to provide a strong customer experience and manage the trust requirements of consumers. To get the point across, the SAPPHIRE NOW show floor was stacked with examples of top global brands doing incredible real-time data analysis and impressive 'segment of one' profiling with SAP. From the uber-cool Player Scouting application developed with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to the massive amounts of data being instantaneously crunched instantly by NBA fans, to the deeply-meaningful possibilities being created in healthcare with SAP’s unprecedented genome analysis.

This opens a new world of possibilties for CMOs -- giving them new reasons to consider a co-innovation agenda with SAP. The message was certainly clear that SAP can help organizations:

a) stay perpetually connected to their customers;

b) provide their customers with a strong and compelling engagement model that accommodates the ‘Four C’s of Trust’; and,

c) analyze big data more completely and engage with customers ‘in the moment’ while building a new business model that tightly integrates with the rest of the business infrastructure.

As a marketer, I’m only disappointed that Adidas already took the “anything’s possible” tagline!