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Grant Johnson

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Building High Performance Marketing Teams with Customers Top of Mind

In today’s competitive software industry, it’s crucial to have a high-performing marketing team in place that’s focused on customers. As a seasoned veteran who has led marketing organizations of all sizes, I can’t emphasize this enough. Organizations which underestimate the importance of customer focus, and fail to allocate adequate resources to the cause, do so at their own detriment.

There are a handful of key marketing behaviors which maximize individual and collective contributions and ensure continuous improvement to marketing efficiency. Core competencies such as leadership, teamwork, initiative and communication top most lists. But perhaps even more important is something that you might not hear mentioned often enough in some company circles: customer focus.

Making customers and their short-term and long-term needs a primary focus of one’s investments and actions is critical to successful marketing organizations (and companies for that matter). Thinking and obsessing about, contacting and connecting with – whether in person or via social forums and communities – and “blueprinting” the value you deliver, the problems you solve, the difference you make, is essential to efficiently capturing, nurturing, and growing your customer base.

To say we have made customers a primary focus at Pega would be an understatement. Customer success is in our mission statement; it’s a fundamental belief and unwavering commitment. To continually hit on this objective, we have aligned numerous company and marketing goals to this overall charge, including some of my own personal 2011 goals. Similar to the transformational approach we take with our technology, we are constantly leveraging best practices and adapting processes to improve our effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to customers.

Launching our customer success program and undergoing a revamp of our web site that includes better highlighting of our many customer successes and all other pages are just a few examples of what we are doing to recognize and reward our customers. There will undoubtedly be many more examples as the year progresses, including PegaWORLD, our user conference taking place on June 5, which this year is themed “Driving Customer Success,” and will feature more than 30 customers sharing their success for an expected 1,600 attendees.


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A dynamic, senior-level technology executive with a proven track record building businesses on a global basis. As Chief Marketing Officer for Pegasystems in Cambridge, MA Johnson is responsible for worldwide marketing strategy and execution. He oversees corporate marketing, field marketing, industry marketing, product marketing, marketing programs, marketing communications, analyst and public relations, and global web strategy. Previously, Johnson was the Vice President of Marketing at Guidance Software (GUID) and Vice President of Marketing and served as an officer for FileNet Corp., a $400+ million enterprise software vendor acquired by IBM in 2006. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Marketing for FrontBridge, an email management vendor acquired by Microsoft. Johnson led the company’s re-naming and re-launch, built the marketing team and delivered integrated marketing programs to support significant and sustained revenue growth. He has also served as Director of Marketing for Symantec, with worldwide responsibility for the Norton brand, and as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Ethentica, an enterprise security vendor. Johnson received his bachelor of arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his master’s in business administration from Pepperdine University. He has also published several articles on best practices in high tech marketing and co-authored the book, PowerBranding™