Martyn Etherington, VP-worldwide marketing, Tektronix

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Tektronix's top marketing executive, Martyn Etherington, has been beating the relevancy drum at the test, measurement and monitoring company for more than four years. But this past year, his diligence was put to the test with the launch of more than 10 tier-one products.

That meant ensuring that 10 marketing messages synched; 10 product launches went out via proper channels; and 10 sets of engineers, designers, salespeople and marketers were all on the same page.

To do that, Etherington kept marketing focused on being relevant—to customers, the channels and the overall business—and tapped Tektronix's own marketing metric device, a dashboard product (created in 2003) to define and track specific marketing goals and their effectiveness. Research firm IDC recognized Tektronix with a CMO Best Practices Award this past spring in recognition of the dashboard marketing tool.

"I've worked hard the last four years to change marketing here from activity-based to outcome-based, asking, `What are we trying to drive or achieve?' Then link it to the product. And only then start to talk about creative or advertising," Etherington said.

He is also a firm believer in listening to the customer to stay relevant. He said he shies away from focusing too much on advertising. He'd rather focus on what Tektronix research found is most effective. No. 1 is the Internet, followed closely by word-of-mouth.

"Advertising appears at No. 15 or No. 16," he said. "It forces my team to market to a strategic objective, and to figure out what promotional activity will affect the outcome."

And so he has increased spending on public relations and the Internet. Those efforts include work on search engine optimization and developing "world-class" content for the Tektronix Web site.

The company has also been moving to more competitive messages in its marketing materials to capture market share, especially in categories where it faces an entrenched, dominant supplier. For instance, in the signal sources device category, Tektronix moved decisively to grow its 8% share beginning in August 2005 with marketing and sales materials that compared Tektronix with its larger competitors. The company's share in the signal sources category is now estimated at more than 30%, Etherington said.

Before joining Tektronix, Etherington was VP-marketing at Sliceware and Emerald Solutions. He also spent 10 years as a marketing executive at Sequent and with IBM Corp. after its acquisition of Sequent. —B.S.B.

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