Like all good clients, Polycom’s Meredith Lawrence has high expectations of her vendors. Know her company’s products…understand the market and its trends…be proactive in making recommendations…and then execute effectively.
Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) has worked for Meredith for more than three years. Under her guidance, we’ve been innovative in the use of social media by defining priorities, scope of work and success benchmarks based on the unique needs of a field sales organization.
It is for this reason that I asked Meredith if she’d be open to being the first corporate marketing executive profiled for my new “Three Questions For” series.
What is the role of a marketer who is responsible for supporting the needs of a field sales organization?
Companies like Polycom invest considerable time, effort and resources to develop innovative technologies, which then serve as the foundation of our full suite of products. The corporate marketing team is focused on how this translates into a compelling brand positioning and set of messages.
I have a deep understanding of the company’s brand, and in crafting communications to the federal market I start with the customer’s needs and challenges. We talk about how we understand the unique requirements of federal audiences and then articulate how our solutions help customers rise above challenges, using key messages to drive the point home.
Last year I also focused on helping Polycom solidify its federal brand. Even though this was more of an awareness and credibility-based communications requirement, my foundation point is always customer needs.
When it comes to social media, can you separate the hype from what is practical?
Social media is a cumulative process in which awareness, readership and online following is cultivated through market-relevant content.
It’s all about drilling down to communicate the value of our solutions to the customer. For instance, Polycom’s FedUC blog focuses on the high value applications of unified communications and video teleconferencing, rather than merely hyping our products.
I measure success in a couple of important ways. We have established awareness and credibility benchmarks, and these are very much connected to how are message is being received and embraced by our customers and partners.
We’re also testing the direct impact of the social media program through the integration of tactical sales activities, such as events, Webinars and thought leadership content. Every activity and action we take on though is evaluated by how it will be perceived by our federal customers.
Please finish this sentence: I have been successful in my professional career because…
OK, this answer may surprise you. I believe my achievements at Polycom and in general are very much tied to my current and past volunteer work with charitable organizations.
I’ve gained invaluable perspective working with women and families struggling with abuse and poverty. It’s taught me immense gratitude – for my job, my family and for the opportunities afforded me each day. It has helped me approach all work situations calmly and with the knowledge that nothing is bigger than we can handle.
I’m fortunate to be part of an excellent company that shares this sense of commitment to community participation. These factors combined have led to a great outcome for Polycom in government.
Hear more from Meredith Lawrence in this video of her speaking at an event entitled “Social Media in the Public Sector.” It was hosted by Strategic Communications Group and Market Connections in October 2011.