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Conrado says marketing-IT alignment is key for b-to-b

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In January, Eduardo Conrado was named senior VP-marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions, a new role that puts him in charge of technology as well as marketing. Previously, Conrado was senior VP-CMO at Motorola Solutions. In the following interview with BtoB, Conrado discusses the importance of marketing-IT alignment in serving customer needs, and the transition marketing is going through. BtoB: How is your new role coming along? Eduardo Conrado: The new role is going well. Aligning IT around the strategy of the company was most important. We are strategically aligned around our customers and being a solutions provider. So we have aligned our model to that strategy. It's all around collaboration and innovation, with data being at the center. We have moved data and analytics into (customer) engagement, bringing data together in a way that is useful in providing insight about the customer. BtoB: What are the keys to marketing-IT alignment? Conrado: It starts with the customer. If you start with the customer first, one of the forces that drives alignment between IT and marketing is looking at the processes a company runs in the front office for customer engagement—from websites, portals and all interactions a company has with customers around the digital front, across multiple touch points. When you look at an organization that is centered around the customer, this drives marketing and IT to create a joint strategy for developing systems of customer engagement. BtoB: How is the state of b-to-b marketing overall? Conrado: Marketing in general is doing much better than it was doing a few years ago when the life expectancy of a CMO was around 24 months. There is a new report out (from executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart) with CMO tenure now being around 46 months. So you're looking at CMOs having tenure of four years or so in a job. That demonstrates the strategic value marketing brings to a company and the impact it has on customers, driving revenue and key initiatives. Marketing itself has had a renaissance over the last four years beyond communications in most companies. It leads full circle to marketing driving a lot of action in the front office, which creates strategic value at many enterprises. BtoB: How are you expanding your mobile efforts? Conrado: Last year, we talked about a lot of our (online) properties having mobile capabilities, and that is continuing. Second, there are a lot of internal tools around systems and collaboration, and many of these have mobile capabilities. We are expanding apps to our employees so they have experiences on the desktop and mobile devices. A lot of apps we use in-house—social tools, Salesforce.com, HR systems—they all have mobile apps we're looking to activate. That's a change, having mobile and desktop coming up at the same time. Within Motorola Solutions, there is a lot of interest around creating mobile extensions around our products. For example, in the retail space, we have developed the Connected Shopper solution. Part of it is an app sitting in the customer's smartphone that connects with the wireless infrastructure at the retailer so the shopper can interact with the retailer's inventory—getting product information and doing price checks. Also, our retail customers can interact with shoppers on their smartphones based on their shopping history.
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