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2015: another fresh start; another program built (and building)

During 2012 and 2013 I had a great run through the modern marketing technology tools available at EMC.  For several years I had run a flagship Customer Engagement program at EMC and now we were embedding our program into Customer Journey and simultaneous funnel analysis through the Marketing Sciences program which we had established and hosted inside the Executive Briefing Center in Silicon Valley.

At EMC I learned many skills to build a highly productive internal program that touched over $2bn in revenue at some point along the customer journey.  Apparently, nearly 10% of all EMC’s revenue touched our office and staff of just five people based in Santa Clara at sometime during the year.  We had great fun, great exposure and it was exciting.  But we didn’t own any of it.

So this time last year I got the opportunity to build my own program, carrying my own targets for an EMC partner, Kovarus, based in the San Francisco Bay Area with regional offices in Sacramento, Seattle and Denver.  We knuckled down with a small team to bootstrap a new marketing function for a business that doubled in size in 2012, grew a further 50% 2013 and added almost 40% in 2014.  My job was to bring together the bit parts and build a sustainable marketing program for one of the fastest growing private businesses in the United States.

We’ve had some great early successes and we’ve also learned a lot along the way.  The experience got me thinking about some of the things we did well not just at Kovarus, but also in previous roles and how previous experience gave me somewhat of an ‘Outlier’ advantage in tackling new challenges in this role.  For some of the things that tripped us up, having to carry a marketing-generated revenue goal for the company allowed us to generate proposals, fail or succeed rapidly and drive change with determination where needed.

In general the experience has lead me to focus – personally – on two areas of particular interest:

  1. Connected Thinking (always a favorite of mine)
  2. Learning what we’re good at, what that means and how we supplement our skills.  (I’m not a big believer in us all heroically conquering the things we’re just not great at.  That’s the stuff of heroes, not teams).

Because we all think differently, I think it serves a purpose to highlight the three sides of my thought process as I look at building successful programs and achieving our goals.  They are:

  1. Lay out a mind-map of everything we need to do, build a process that supports it and declare the time line for achieving it.  We won’t get everything built in natural order, but we’ll build the program to comfortably incorporate the parts we develop later:  Plan for the future.
  2. Quickly determine what are the roadblocks along the way and how to move beyond them.
  3. Collaborate, partner, be open: don’t be a roadblock.

There’s no rocket science here – I do think if you look after these three, the complex parts of work will become simpler to manage because you have a process, you’re vigilant and you’re open to ideas from other sources.

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