SAP CMO Jonathan Becher shares insight through Executive in Residence program
When 75 percent of your job consists of global travel, the constant pace can wear down even the most energetic road warrior. So why did Jonathan Becher, the chief marketing officer (CMO) of global software giant SAP, feel so energized by his participation in Kellogg’s Executive in Residence program on September 25?
“While I lead a global brand, I only see the world through a particular lens,” said Becher. “The more I can learn from what other people are thinking about, the better I’m going to be. So if you get a lot of smart people together in a room, that’s my favorite place to be.” Through the Executive in Residence program, he was able to spend a full day at Kellogg in spirited conversations with lots of smart people. During a career that spans more than two decades, he has served in a number of executive roles, including CEO, president, and CMO, enabling him to bring a unique, well-rounded perspective to a range of topics. Becher kicked off his itinerary with a presentation on SAP’s brand transformation over the past decade as well as its efforts to become a more customer-focused organization.
“We were thrilled to have someone of Jonathan’s caliber here for the Executive in Residence program,” said Gregory Carpenter, the faculty director of the Kellogg Markets and Customers Initiative (KMCI). “Marketing has never been more dynamic and challenging, and his insight was an invaluable addition to our ongoing research and thought leadership.”
In his role at SAP, he has spearheaded the organization’s transition to a marketing model that targets individual consumers rather than executives at the enterprise level. Following a series of one-on-one meetings with Kellogg faculty, Becher shared lessons and insights with students. As part of his remarks, he discussed the potential of data analytics, highlighting its value with detailed examples or recent product rollouts.
Kellogg launched the Executive in Residence program in February 2012. Becher follows in the footsteps of Dag Kittlaus, the co-founder and former CEO of Siri, who participated in the inaugural Executive in Residence session. Becher also attended the Marketing Leadership Summit at the Allen Center the following day. That event brought together more than 100 practitioners and faculty to discuss the many challenges of leading a customer-focused organization.