The Unexpected CMO

Cadillac’s Melissa Grady is living proof that the CMO role is changing.

Grady rose through the ranks at several auto, insurance and tech brands before landing at Cadillac as head of performance. One year later she was CMO, advancing a cutting-edge data strategy. This week on AdExchanger Talks, she explains her rapid rise and Cadillac’s proprietary audience model.

Cadillac’s unique segmentation journey started with its agency partner – Dentsu Aegis Network. Through its M1 platform, Dentsu has a database that spans the entire United States. Using that file as a starting point, Melissa’s team built a Cadillac propensity model which they dubbed “future owners.”

Grady wanted to use this segment to approach the upfronts differently, but it didn’t stop with traditional TV buying.

“Having this audience approach allows us to not only buy linear differently, but now we have a segment that we can bring to addressable,” she says. “Now instead of trying to do modeling, we go to our addressable partners and say, ‘Here’s our audience. This is what we want to activate.’”

The strategy has also changed Grady’s attitude toward look-alike modeling and digital buying as a whole.

“Five years ago, I loved look-alike models. I would rank everyone based on how their look-alike model worked,” she says. “The issue with that is you don’t know what drove success in the model. You’re using someone else’s data and you’re using partners with different models.

“That’s not the conversation we’re having anymore,” she continues. “I don’t need look-alike models, I don’t need your data. Here’s my audience. How are you going to help increase reach and frequency? And how can you help me show up differently?”

Also in this episode: Career advice for marketers, automotive disruption, marketing innovation in 2020.

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