• CMO interview: Abigail Gabriel Schneider Electric
  • CMO interview: Abigail Gabriel Schneider Electric

    Marketing the FANG (Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google) brands has challenges, but there is the benefit that the technologies they offer are well known and largely understood. Marketing an essential technology that underpins the activities of every FANG is highly rewarding though. 

    Abigail Gabriel is VP of Marketing Strategy for the Secure Power Business of Schneider Electric in the USA and told TechMarketers about the role. 

    "As VP of Marketing, I lead teams responsible for marketing strategy, execution, sales operations, pricing, digital customer experience and web for our Secure Power business," she says. "The Secure Power business specialises in critical power products and solutions for datacentres and other applications where power continuity and quality are essential, typical customer include hospitals and industry." 

    Schneider Electric focuses on providing technology for energy management and recovery and is a dominant force datacentre power management. With energy generation changing Gabriel says Schneider Electric is well placed to be a central player in the latest ways that power will be distributed. 

    "The change in our world is more profound than ever, driven by a new scale and speed of urbanization, digitization and industrialization and connected energy for the first time, challenges us to redefine the way we live our lives," Gabriel says.

    The message

    Content is playing an increasingly important role in technology marketing and in particular for high end infrastructure technology. Gabriel and team have understandably focused on the value of content: 

    "Highly targeted, persona-driven digital content marketing programs with real customer stories and expert guidance as well as tools to help guide decision-making," have been the core focus at Schneider Electric.  

    "Given the sophistication of our portfolio, we serve our customers best with deep engagement opportunities through experiential marketing. Our Innovation Summits bring together the latest innovation and leading-edge technology in energy management and automation with today's thought leaders, visionaries, partners, experts, and customers to explore the most influential topics in our industry," Gabriel says of the opportunities for live event.  In 2018 Schneider Electric hosted 15 Innovation Summits around the world for a reported 19,000 customers. 

    The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) has given some vendors lots of airtime to discuss connected refrigerators, but for infrastructure technology providers such as Schneider Electric is a major opportunity. Schneider Electric is focusing on its ExoStruxure, an architecture platform for IoT. 

    "We share that all-consuming interest and know the future is digital," Gabriel says. And the rise of digital business models comes with both opportunities and threats. "Cybersecurity is an important marketing opportunity for our company because we understand how important an issue it is for our customers. It is an important part of our company culture and embedded into the specialized services to help our customers address cybersecurity risks and opportunities," she says. 

    "As Schneider Electric is committed to digitization and recognizes the impact that digital transformation will have on the world, we also recognize that this future requires a secure foundation of "digital trust".  Effective cybersecurity is a key part of that digital trust," Gabriel adds.  

    It is no surprise that the cybersecurity division of Schneider Electric has grown in recent years: "we focus on our customers' Operational Technology needs and their unique technical and business environments," and that needs focus means that Schneider Electric does not just provide advice on its own equipment.

    Principles 

    Back in 2002 Schneider Electric put ethics into its code of conduct, then in 2008, it launched its "Responsibility & Ethical Dynamics" program to promote employee engagement. Gabriel says the program serves as an indicator of ethical performance in sustainability performance. 

    "We accept no compromise when it comes to ethics, and this goes well beyond simple compliance with regulatory or legal requirements. By doing so we become more sustainable and more responsible. It motivates us, year after year, to adopt exemplary ethical behavior at all levels of the organisation," she says. 

    Changing shape 

    "Building a strong team is perhaps the most important aspect of my role. As quickly as the world is changing, so must our skills and talent. A digital mind-set is at the heart of our high-performance culture which we achieve by being straight-forward, open, passionate, effective and constantly challenging the status quo," Gabriel says of being a CMO.   

    "The challenge of understanding the ever-changing customer mindset, the challenges of their day-to-day life," are cited by Gabriel as the motivating aspects of the role.  Measuring marketing is therefore one of the main areas of interest for Gabriel. 

    "As marketers we want to ensure we deliver the right message, to the right customer at the right time in their customer journey. In other words we want marketing to provide real value to customers - first and always. This can only be done with good customer data and that requires an investment and commitment to constant improvement," she says. 

    Digitization is especially true in marketing as customers' preferences for how, when, what information they receive from organisations like Schneider Electric are changing. And, there's more pressure on their time and focus than ever before. As the world becomes even more increasingly digital, building intimacy between customers and our company takes on new forms and pushes us to maximize the value to the customer in each and every touchpoint," she says of her focus. 

    Gabriel joined American Power Conversion (APC) in 2005 as marketing manager for the alliance relationship with IBM. 

    "That first experience had me hooked as I learned from some of the best in the B2B tech marketing world," she says of the role. Schneider Electric acquired APC in 2007.

    Gabriel has developed her skills throughout her career, she earned a Bachelor of Science from Boston College and studied an MBA at the Institute in Paris. 

    "My time outside of work is spent with my family. I'm a mother of two young daughters, so when I'm not in the office, you'll find me attending gymnastics meets and soccer practice, gardening and enjoying the ocean in my home state of Rhode Island." 

     

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    About Mark Chillingworth

    Mark Chillingworth is Contributing Editor to Tech Marketers and one of Europe's leading CIO Editors

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