CMO’s mission to restructure along customer lines, not products, was already in place, but the task got even harder

Lorraine Barber-Miller became chief marketing officer at Philips in March 2020 with a very big role at a very difficult time.

Her job was to re-organize the 3,000-person marketing force of the global health, wellness and grooming technology company as an integrated, digital-first, omnichannel, data-driven organization. That all started amid a pandemic that disrupted everyone’s plans, rapidly shifting retail sales to e-commerce and healthcare to telehealth.

Nevertheless, Philips completed the re-organization this past November, which saw 80% of the responsibilities and reporting lines for those 3,000 people change.

On the latest episode of the Marketer’s Brief podcast, Barber-Miller describes how she navigated the challenge, how it’s working out, and how it’s changing marketing for Philips.

“While many people would recognize Philips for its historical product innovation around consumer electronics, we have been transforming into a health technology company for several years,” Barber-Miller said. “When I joined, we didn’t have a centralized or functionalized marketing and e-commerce profession or group. And so we needed a multi-year marketing transformation effort to transition from being product-focused to being customer- and consumer-centric.”

Undergoing change of that scope required strong support from the CEO, which she had, Barber-Miller said. “However, the effort in general was being questioned by some of my peers and other leaders” after previous efforts at the company.

“So I had to create my own opportunity and couldn’t necessarily wait to align everyone,” she said. “I often believe as a business transformer, if we want to achieve anything in this world, we have to get comfortable in the uncomfortable.”

Possibly helping her on the journey, Barber-Miller also has profit-and-loss responsibilities for direct-to-business and direct-to-consumer e-commerce.

The re-organization has brought efficiencies but not headcount reductions, she said. And it’s changed marketing plans from “fragmented” and “product-specific” to integrated plans focused on consumers and customers. The effort also led to a global agency review and consolidation of work with Omnicom Group.

“We now have a standard, integrated marketing-planning process,” Barber-Miller said, “which has been a great revolution for us at Philips.”


This article first appeared

Seeking to build and grow your brand using the force of consumer insight, strategic foresight, creative disruption and technology prowess? Talk to us at +971 50 6254340 or or visit

About Author

Jack Neff

Jack Neff, editor at large, covers household and personal-care marketers, Walmart and market research. He's based near Cincinnati and has previously written for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bloomberg, and trade publications covering the food, woodworking and graphic design industries and worked in corporate communications for the E.W. Scripps Co.

Comments are closed.