Company: Eastman Kodak Co.
Years in current job: less than 1
Quote: “In tough times you have to focus on the value proposition. The fluff, the funny campaigns, go out the window.”
Jeff Hayzlett, VP-CMO of Eastman Kodak Co. since Jan. 1, has been busy over the past 10 months consolidating and extending the changes he helped spearhead during the preceding year in his then-role of VP-chief business development officer. Hayz-lett has been integral to remaking the venerable brand into a major b-to-b marketer, establishing a “rapid response” marketing team to take quick advantage of emerging opportunities and pushing aggressively into social media.
“It's like most CMOs today, in that we're all doing a lot more with a lot less,” Hayzlett said. “It's all put us in a different world. The focus has changed on really getting intense on what we do and doing it better.”
Making do with “a lot less” isn't Kodak's fate alone these days. But it didn't help that the economy worsened as the company was undergoing its transformation into a b-to-b marketer of graphic arts and commercial printing products. Kodak's second-quarter sales slid 29% to $1.8 billion compared with the year-earlier period.
But, as Hayzlett noted, “Minus 25 is the new plus 5.” Looking to consolidate relationships with commercial customers and prospects, Hayzlett this summer kicked off a broad ad campaign focusing on business relationships. “It's Time for You and Kodak” was a change from previous outreaches, which focused more on products.
“We have 100,000 b-to-b customers today worldwide, and both they and our resellers know our products,” Hayzlett said. “We're building on trust. We don't need to show them a faster version of the same thing. We want to spend more time sitting down with customers and building our business.”
Also new has been a sharpened focus on the printing industry—specifically commercial, packaging and transactional printers—as well as publishers and enterprise customers. Hayzlett is also looking at China and Germany as potent new markets for Kodak's Flexcel NX digital printing system for rough packaging, such as corrugated boxes.
To accomplish all this and more, Hayzlett is firmly committed to using social media as a central component of Kodak's communications. Hayzlett himself is one of the most-followed C-level Twitterers, and the quick turn-around of ideas and suggestions that social media provides is giving Kodak a critical edge, he said.
“We recently were catching criticism about a product's name, and we didn't feel great about it,” he said. “So in a matter of two days we put together a social media campaign with Twitter and blogs asking for suggestions. We received thousands of submitted names. That's using crowd-sourcing to do some great work.”
Doing things better at Kodak has caught people's attention. At the Business Marketing Association's annual conference in July, Hayz-lett received the 2009 G.D. Crain Jr. Award, recognizing him for career achievement in b-to-b marketing communications and exceptional service to the association. The award is named in honor of the founder of Crain Communications Inc., which publishes BtoB.
“I always consider things through the quick filter of "Will it drive sales; is it appropriate for our target market; and is it complementary with our corporate values?' ” Hayz-lett said. “It's all about the value we can bring through these three things.”