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Friday, June 29th, 2012
What Marketing Transformation Looks Like: Three Stories from the TrenchesBy Dianne Kim
To conclude the Marketing Leadership Forum on June 13, ITSMA’s Jeff Sands (JS) facilitated a wrap-up discussion with a panel of marketing leaders. Pauline Weger, former Head of Marketing, Deloitte Consulting (PW), Fredrik Winterlind, Vice President, Global Marketing Branding and Communications, Black & Veatch (FW), and Asim Zaheer, Vice President, Worldwide Marketing & Business Development, Hitachi Data Systems (AZ) shared their personal stories of marketing transformation.
JS: What was happening inside your company that made you see the need for transformation?
AZ: Our customers didn’t understand who we were, what we stood for, or what offers and value propositions we brought to the table. Also, we were involved in markets and industries we should not have necessarily been involved in, and we were not meeting our growth targets. Marketing needed to help articulate the vision for the company and target its activities. We needed to be more data driven to guide decision making, and we earned a strategic role at the table as a result of that.
PW: Leadership changes prompted us to think about transformation. We had reached a certain threshold of profitability and needed to look at how we could get to the next level, the talent profile we needed, and the ways buyers buy. We realized that we needed different talent to build more strategic relationships.
FW: For us it was the bottom line. When I joined Black & Veatch, marketing consisted of a team of about 20 people. They had done 600 PowerPoint presentations and a number of press releases. That’s changed; now we are doing a very successful thought leadership campaign and, with the help of ITSMA, we have reworked and strengthened the brand. Good or bad, we look completely different from our competition today.
JS: What were some of the bigger challenges you faced? How did you address them?
AZ: I was fortunate in that there was a fair amount of support in the company for us to be successful, which helped immensely. Fundamentally, it’s all people. We turned over the organization tremendously with people who are experts in their space but are aligned with our corporate values on collaborative culture.
PW: Deloitte is a partnership, so the first challenge was to take care of [the partners’] needs and build brand in a cost-effective way. Second, we did benchmarking research around six different areas and where we would place our bets. This allowed us to make strategic decisions credibly because we could talk about it in a fact-based way. Third, we stepped back and asked ourselves how we could make bigger and bolder moves in certain areas.
FW: We threw a lot of effort into organizing an interview of our CEO with the BBC. He did not understand why he had to do it. The story on the interview appeared in the newsfeed of everybody with “energy” in their LinkedIn profile; it must have reached tens of thousands of people. Afterwards, he said, “This is not the media we grew up with.” These are very smart people, but this is not their area of expertise.
AZ: CEOs don’t understand they’re part of the marketing arm. There is a fair amount of internal education that is required.
JS: Going back to the point about getting the right people and skills in the marketing organization, how do we get there? And how do we get better at managing generational diversity?
PW: I’ve seen young folks come in with a great grasp of social media practices and a fresh, new way of thinking. However, I’m still struggling with how they share their insights in client-facing positions because they don’t have the experience. I’ve found it risky, so you need to team them with somebody that has the depth of knowledge. That adjacency of experience has been helpful.
AZ: The inclination for every manager is to hire somebody that is experienced because it is easier for them. Our approach is “seed and grow” instead of hiring people directly into senior positions. I myself got my start as an MBA hire. We recruit young people with high potential and identify them as such with the sales leaders. And then there’s no surprise later when these high-potential hires assume more responsibility.
ITSMA specializes in helping companies market and sell services and solutions more effectively. We work with the world's leading technology, communications, and professional services providers to generate increased demand, strengthen customer relationships, and improve brand differentiation.ITSMA annual program clients include business leaders such as AT&T, Cisco, Deloitte, EMC, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and Tata Consultancy Services, among others. Our comprehensive research, consulting, and training on topics including ITSMA Account Based Marketing℠, Brand Positioning, and Solutions Development provide the insight and experience companies need to improve business results. ITSMA is based near Boston, and has offices in London, Mumbai, and Tokyo. Learn more at www.itsma.com.