5 Questions with Adam Holyk, Senior Vice President &
Chief Marketing Officer at Walgreens

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KF: What do you think is the biggest challenge marketers of tomorrow will face and what three functional skills would you tell aspiring marketers to focus on in order to be successful in the shape-shifting world of marketing?

AH: Consumer behaviors are changing very rapidly and more than any time in the past, dramatically influencing how and where they engage with brands. A relentless focus on the customer complemented with a clear brand strategy, and operating a consistent testing and learning mindset will be critical to stay relevant through this change.

KF: While marketing increasingly leverages digital technology to understand and facilitate customer interaction, how do you maintain human/personal touch to the customer experience?

AH: Digital technology certainly is a critical piece to our strategy to stay ahead of where we see consumer behavior changing, and also understanding consumer preferences today. We continue to transform our business to meet the evolving needs of consumers, and how we deliver expertise and care for our customers is our differentiator. Ultimately, the way we are talking about “experiences” is across our entire business, from engaging customers via our digital channels to their interactions with our team members in-store.

Customers have benefited from Walgreens' outstanding customer service and exceptional care since 1901, treating every customer as a guest was a key tenet of our founder. We are committed to evolve to deliver care for the next 100 years.

KF: The function of the CMO is constantly changing, what do you think the role of the CMO will look like 5 years from now?

AH: The CMO role is evolving beyond brand and in the future will become even more multi-disciplinary, requiring a combined leadership and integration of marketing, omni-channel customer experience and data analytics. Brand leadership will need to show up for customers across all touch points of the organization.

KF: As a well-known household name, how important is it for your company to stay connected to cultural moments and events and what are the potential pitfalls and payoffs that come along with it?

AH: Walgreens is an integral part of thousands of communities across the U.S. and a brand people know and trust. Staying connected to key events is critical as a member of the communities we serve, for many different reasons. One of the most notable ways is to provide needed support during unexpected events.

For example, some recent extraordinary stories of care were demonstrated in the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Maria – moments when our team members went above and beyond to help their community during a critical time of need, by providing important services like emergency prescription refills and vaccinations for first responders. These stories are representative of our brand’s purpose to champion the health and well-being of every community in America.

KF: Walgreens helps its customers maintain health and wellness, what is your favorite activity that keeps you healthy?

AH: Championing the health and well-being of communities across America is at the heart of the Walgreens brand. Personally, I am an avid cyclist and enjoying spending hours riding up the north shore in Chicago and whenever possible when I travel.

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