As the CMO of Mitel, a provider of business communications and collaboration software, a year ago I was at the beginning of a new journey with a big challenge ahead: to transform the company’s marketing function. Each month in 2013 I have written and published a journal that will provide the basis for my experiential story that I will share at DemandCon Boston. I will share our steps forward (and sometimes backward) as we went through our journey of transformation.
My talk will focus on the approaches, progress, and changes required to deliver value and be more relevant to our customers, our channel and our shareholders. My story will be experiential and illustrated with examples of both personal and learned management and marketing philosophies. The content will focus on tangible results and will reflect the real-world changes and challenges that confront nearly everyone within any marketing function today.
The First 100 Days
In my first few weeks at Mitel, I read and learned like a sponge while avoiding the temptation to jump to an answer (this represented perhaps the toughest and most important aspect of my early tenure).
Mentally prepared and armed with my 100-day agenda, I immediately went to Gemba (a Japanese term meaning the point of occurrence or impact), which, for me, meant the front line. Within the first four weeks I visited all of our offices and dozens of channel partners but, most importantly, I met with customers. These were not academic, intellectual or social exercises; I needed to conduct these interactions so that I could deliver my first project: a 30-day assessment of marketing strategy, structure, process and people. I focused on strategy and structure first.
Getting a current view of the external and internal market drivers from voice of the customer (VOC) was the first step I took. This work allowed us to document and distill those key external and internal drivers. Once that work was completed we determined what a winner looks like in our market against each driver. We then identified gaps between our current state and our future “winner” state. This gap analysis helped us identify our strategic objectives, which include the following three areas of focus:
1. Define and communicate a customer-centric brand promise;
2. Drive demand for and with our channel partners;
3. Improve our customer’s online experience.
Through our VOC research, we grasped a better understanding of our #1 most important constituency and how we can (and should) be more relevant to them. This VOC, coupled with understanding where our customers go to learn about our products, services and solutions in our space, will help us allocate resources in a way that maximizes the impact we have within our focus areas.
At the same time, we conducted a deep-dive evaluation of how well the function was structured and operating. Unfortunately, there is no magic benchmark for the right structure, the right staff size, the ideal ratio of people-to-marketing investment, or (for that matter) ideal return on investment (ROI) measures. So we used a combination of past experience (I’ve been through similar exercises many times) triangulated with IDC’s CMO 2013 Tech Marketing Barometer Study. Once you have these numbers in front of you, areas ripe for improvement present themselves quickly and clearly. We quickly discovered that the decentralized nature of our marketing function resulted in the allocation of marketing resources across the organization and throughout many functions. After the benchmarking exercise, we implemented a new organizational model designed to address our current misalignment, strengthen our focus, eliminate frustrations and align more effectively with our company strategy.
Once we plowed through the financials, the data and research and figured out the efficiency model, it was time to move on to addressing our function’s effectiveness. Join me at DemandCon Boston, where I’ll share the rest of the story during my keynote, “Transforming The Marketing Function From Being Irrelevant To Relevant–An Experiential Case Study.” I’ll complete the story with results, lessons learned, next steps and insights as to how to drive greater marketing effectiveness. I hope you’ll join me!
Martyn Etherington is responsible for all aspects of Mitel’s corporate marketing strategy and programs globally. Prior to joining Mitel, Martyn served for 10 years as Tektronix Vice President Marketing and most recently expanded responsibility for business operations and general management of the Latin America region. In this role, he provided leadership for all Tektronix marketing and business operations worldwide and was responsible for the development and execution of the companies go to market and marketing strategies that address customer requirements and meet financial goals.
With more than 25 years’ experience with multinational technology companies including IBM, Sequent Computer Systems and Digital Equipment Corporation, and a proven track record for global brand building and sales growth, Martyn is an award-winning marketing executive acknowledged for his digital marketing, brand and marketing operations expertise.