Women to Watch

Women to Watch: Lauren Flaherty, Juniper Networks

Seasoned CMO Brought Brand Recognition to Tech Company Thanks to 'New Network Is Here' Campaign, Adding a New Competitor to Old Race

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Lauren Flaherty started her job as chief marketing officer of Juniper Networks two years ago with the goal to make its salespeoples' jobs easier. What does that have to do with consumer marketing? Everything, when you're a relatively unknown tech brand in a world of heavyweights including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. For those competitors, brand recognition got their salespeople "in the door" without explanation, Ms. Flaherty said. And that 's what she wanted for Juniper.

Lauren Flaherty
Lauren Flaherty

So Ms. Flaherty began by raising the profile of a company with "enormous potential." "We had great technology, but we needed visibility in the eyes of our key targets and decision makers," she said.

She had plenty of tech-marketing experience, coming from the CMO job at Nortel, which she held for two years, and having spent 25 years before that at IBM in various marketing roles.

At Juniper, Ms. Flaherty began at the top of the marketing strategy by first outlining a new idea and framework for messaging the "New Network." She embraced the role of challenger brand, casting competitors as the status quo, old and staid, while positioning Juniper as disruptive, innovative and the future. Along with ad agency John McNeil Studio, Berkeley, Calif., the company launched "The New Network Is Here" ad campaign in fall of 2009. Other components of the marketing campaign included stepping up media and analyst relations in an "Influence the Influencers" strategy; using customer case studies including AOL, Twitter and the New York Stock Exchange in its marketing and advertising; and pushing out more digital and social-media marketing.

"It did exactly what we wanted it to do: It put a line in the sand that said yes, they are the market leaders, but they are also the status quo. It positioned us squarely as the innovators in the pack," she said. "Two years ago, the press positioned us as an interesting company, but just outside the fringe and not in the two-horse race of HP and Cisco. Now when we look at the press , it's 'market innovator' or 'Cisco-challenger,' and that 's an enormous change. ... We monitor that like an EKG," she said.

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