• TechMarketers Q&A with Kevin Brown, Senior Vice President, EcoStruxure Solutions
  • TechMarketers Q&A with Kevin Brown, Senior Vice President, EcoStruxure Solutions

    TechMarketers Q&A with Kevin Brown, Senior Vice President, EcoStruxure Solutions

    TechMarketers Q&A with Kevin Brown, Senior Vice President, EcoStruxure Solutions and Chief Marketing Officer, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric

    Q: Describe your company and the products you are marketing.

    A: Schneider Electric is the leader of digital transformation in energy management and automation and the Secure Power Division provides complete infrastructure solutions for data centers, distributed IT environments, and industrial applications. Essentially, we are a dominant force in critical power products and data center solutions and other applications where power continuity and quality are essential. Schneider Electric really is the most local of global companies because our customers reap all the advantages of our international reach while benefiting from empowered local teams.

    Our marketing teams focus on targeted customer segments and, with our broad portfolio of products and services, we are helping those segments with every aspect of energy management. In short, we are helping customers deploy resilient, secure, and energy efficient infrastructure solutions whether at the edge or in the cloud. 

    At Schneider Electric, we see an all-electric, all-digital world as the only way to meet the carbon and sustainability challenges the world faces. We not only help our customers navigate the change, we help them master it and be ready for the next wave.

    Kevin Brown

    Q: What would you like to see improve in technology marketing? 

    A: Technology can be complex and confusing, and I see too many people selling technology for technology's sake. We want our customers to harness technology and use it to achieve their business goals. For example, we don't want to talk about AI for the sake of AI. We want our customers to see the potential of AI to understand the value of their data and the benefit it brings to their businesses. 

    I emphasize to our teams that it's part of our job to make our customers more knowledgeable about technology and its benefits. That is why we invest in the right tools and content to take the complex and make it understandable and straightforward. We research and write White Papers with best practices and tools for designing and optimizing data centers. We create Reference Designs and TradeOff Tools to demystify technology and help customers figure out the approach that is best for them. We offer these materials free of charge to everyone because of our commitment to trying to help the industry embrace new technologies.

    Q: Is there an over reliance on KPIs in technology marketing? 

    A: The issue I believe we have is not that there is an over reliance on KPIs, but we need to ask if we are focused on the right KPIs. I find that we have an abundance of KPIs to help guide the business in the relative short term. What we are working on is defining the KPIs that help us identify the early signals on where we should be going. For example, when edge computing first started to emerge, we embraced it early and candidly. We didn't have great KPIs to judge whether we were on the right path. So, we need to find the right mix of KPIs - ones that are driving us in the short term and separate KPIs to help us with the longer-term trends.

    Q: What is the most important element of creating a great marketing team? 

    A: The CMO role is new to me but leading great teams is not. I believe the most important element of creating a great team is finding the right people with the necessary expertise and diverse mindsets then provide them with a clear vision of what you are trying to accomplish. I've found that if you help them to prioritize, get their buy in, and motivate them to succeed, then they can meet almost any challenge. 

    John D. Rockefeller said, "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great." It is my job to empower the team to do what they do best and go for the great.

    Q: Which company and its marketing do you find inspiring? 

    A: That's a tough question because I find many companies inspiring for their marketing, their tech, and much more. Two standouts are Adobe and Garmin.

    I really admire Adobe and how it transformed from selling software as a one-time product to a cloud-based, monthly subscription model. Nowadays, we take subscription models for granted but when Adobe made the pivot, it was not commonplace. They were making a digital transformation before most businesses even understood what that meant. Adobe's leaders saw the value in moving to a business model that required technological innovation, optimized user data, and provided steady revenue. They took a risk, disrupted the norm, and marketed the transformation effectively. It paid off.

    Likewise, I am inspired by Garmin for being innovative and nimble in how it moved beyond navigational devices for cars to smartwatches, fitness trackers, and more. The company knows its target audience and how to reach it, making expert use of: social media and videos that capture a sense of outdoor adventure; digital influencers who evaluate products from every possible angle; and a website that's simple to buy from and navigate. Garmin watches are must-haves for fitness enthusiasts - I have a few - and they tell me everything from my heart rate to how well I slept last night. I don't know if I will ever need all the functionality they provide but I still buy a new watch every couple of years to get new and improved features. Their marketing is that impactful. 

    Q: How do you relax? 

    A: I relax by spending time with my family. I like to run and ski and I'm also an avid reader. I'm drawn to books outside of business or technology that might help me see something in a new way or even think about it differently. One book that has stayed with me is The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt. It delves into the reasons why people make the decisions they do. Let's just say, it's not what you might expect.

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