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BMA-Colorado hosts night of inspiration

By Michele Bollig, marketing manager-Ricoh

Eduardo Conrado
Katherine Button Bell
Eileen Zicchino

Do you ever wonder what inspires top marketing teams to produce incredible results? On Mar. 11, the Colorado chapter of the Business Marketing Association presented a keynote called “To Inspire: The Evolving Role of a Marketer.”

Three top marketers who sit on the BMA National Board got together in Denver to discuss what inspiration means to them and how they inspire their peers. Their message to all marketers was clear: Marketing is about creating a human connection. To do that effectively, we must continually be willing to change.

“What made you successful in the past holds you back today,” said Eduardo Conrado, BMA chairman and senior VP-marketing and information technology at Motorola Solutions. He leads a global team that is responsible for 60% of Motorola’s revenue. Conrado’s title – which has him overseeing both marketing and IT – is one indicator of the change he sees coming for many marketers.

“Where you put IT determines the value you get from [the department],” he said. If IT is under finance, they will focus on costs. If IT is under operations, they will focus on efficiency. Put IT under marketing, and they will focus on customer engagement. The two largest investments for a company are research and development and IT, so why not leverage both to provide exceptional customer engagement?

Conrado also believes we need to think of marketing as the new HR, transforming our companies from the inside out to move forward.

Katherine Button Bell, incoming 2013-2014 BMA chairwoman, agrees. She spoke about her experience leading global marketing and corporate branding for Emerson Electric Co. As VP-CMO of the company, she wants to inspire her employee base by making sure employees are informed of the overall corporate direction, the reasons that certain decisions are made and the future of the company. Who can better communicate passion about your business than the people who work for you?   

“We are going to live in beta as we keep going,” she tells her employees. Employees who are engaged and energized are better equipped to produce great products and to delight customers, setting a company apart from its competitors.

Eileen Zicchino, managing director and CMO of JP Morgan Chase Treasury Services, said that marketing is a people business. The way that you manage people can either help you or hurt you.

Eileen shared tips for managing people from all directions:

Manage up. Make your boss’ life easier.

Manage sideways. Break out of your silo, and work with other departments. For example, think of ways to help make product managers successful. Talk to the services people — they have the best stories of how they have helped customers.

Manage out. Ask customers what they like and don’t like about your marketing. And treat your vendors well. They can help you through their connections in the community.

At the end of the day, inspiration is all about people. Most of us are in marketing because we get our energy from other people, so what better way can we spend our time than inspiring those around us? Marketing now must be the glue, bringing people together to collaborate, transform and focus on providing an exceptional customer experience.

Sandra Zoratti, VP-marketing for Ricoh, wrote about the inspiration she gained from the event. Click here to read her article in ColoradoBiz.

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