As a keynote speaker at Forrester's Marketing Forum in early April, I got a backstage pass to talk with some of today's most forward-thinking marketing leaders. Here are two of my favorites speeches from the event.

Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy and communications at Kraft Foods, left us with some memorable lessons about shaking up a buttoned-down global marketing behemoth.

  • Find your swagger. Don't settle for safe and boring. Do something that will make people say, "I want to be a part of that."
  • Be sly. Why waste time and effort battling the entrenched silos when you can just go around the silos?
  • Be reckless. Do more pilots. Many will fail, and that's okay — because when you find a winner, nothing scales quicker than success.
  • Play house. Go on some dates with some new agencies. But treat them like you're looking for a relationship, not a one-night stand.

Jim Trebilcock, EVP of marketing at Doctor Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG), and Ross Martin, EVP at MTV Scratch, helped traditional marketers understand how they should "drop it." Their venture to take regionally distributed SunDrop from zero to hero with America's youth in Q1 of this year brought the audience to their feet. My takeways are that marketing leaders need to:

  • Drop the culture gap. The culture of DPSG, who is based in Plano, Texas, and NYC-based MTV Scratch couldn't be more opposite. But MTV's digital natives learned the beverage distribution business, while DPSG's digital immigrants embraced the hip-hop stylings of Snoop Dogg. And now they are making beverage history.
  • Drop the excuses. Jim said the last thing he ever wants to be remembered for is being complacent. Don't accept that distribution can't expand beyond three states. Don't accept that your brand doesn't have a Facebook page or Twitter account. Don't accept that you can't reinvent your agency relationship.
  • Drop a big idea. You know an idea is big when your brand goes from not having a YouTube channel to having more than 2.5 million views in a month. But you know you've got a great idea when distributors are trying to one-up each other with aisle displays.

It was awesome to see these marketing leaders throwing down the gauntlet to their fellow peers to embrace a new mindset. In fact, it echoes the keynote that I delivered where I called on CMOs to embrace a new mental model to overcome the five bad habits of marketing. We call it ADAPT — the five habits of highly adaptive marketers. It's the result of ongoing research I've been conducting over the past nine months to understand what makes some CMOs more successful than others in periods of great change.

I invite you to join the conversation in our community discussion.