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68: For Pearle Vision’s Douglas Zarkin, marketing is very much an art and a science

Doug Zarkin on Marketing Today

In this week’s episode of “Marketing Today,” Alan talks with Douglas Zarkin, who’s been vice president and CMO at Pearle Vision since 2012. Under Zarkin’s leadership, Pearle won Effies in the Health Care Services category in 2015 and 2016. And in 2017, Zarkin and his team took home a Silver Clio for Pearle’s “Small Moments” equity campaign.

During his conversation with Alan, Zarkin touches on his drive to make an impact on the trajectory of the companies he works for, the difference between the “need to haves” and the “nice to haves,” and that while he admires the transformative power of Apple, he wonders if they’ve started to drink their own Kool-Aid (there’s a marketing metaphor for you).

And despite the fact Amazon has a lot of retailers shaking in their boots, according to Zarkin, it’s the marketers willing to face that acid test who will succeed. “Amazon is not a retail killer,” says Zarkin. “What Amazon is, is basically a mirror that any brand that is doing a mediocre job meeting the emotional and rational needs of a consumer need to be looking at themselves through.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Zarkin at the crossroads: how he came to understand the power of truly applying yourself. (1:34)
  • It’s true, Zarkin was an Avon Lady. (3:29)
  • Zarkin notes, “Retail is not dead — bad retail is dead.” (5:22)
  • For Zarkin, it’s not that happy employees mean happy customers. It’s that valued employees mean valued customers. (6:53)
  • Zarkin talks about Pearle Vision’s Effie and Clio success. (8:55)
  • Geotargeting is effective and efficient. (10:42)
  • Zarkin on the right way to use digital and big data: “Data doesn’t make decisions.” (15:34)
  • Delivering the marketing narrative. (19:36)
  • Zarkin on his admiration for the NFL brand. (21:02)