Canon B2B marketing director Adam Poole discusses the growth of marketing technology, data analytics and customer orientation.
Q. You’ve been with Canon since 1998 – how have you seen the business and the role of marketing within it evolve during that time?
The Canon organisation, and the marketing function within the business, has evolved greatly from when I joined in 1998. At this time, we were very much a marketing organisation that was orientated around the products we manufactured in Japan, and much of the activities were based around product lifecycle management.
We have witnessed an exciting change in the buying process where the customer is increasingly in control, resulting in marketing playing an ever increasing role in the success of B2B organisations. This has encouraged us to look at new ways of operating with the use of marketing technology, with a greater focus on industry understanding and content creation supported by far improved sales enablement activities and platforms.
One constant has been the strong and positive culture that runs through the Canon organisation and that is a huge credit to the people that work here.
Q. How important is data and analytics to your company and your marketing decisions?
Extremely important – data and analytics has helped to bring more commerciality to marketing as a function in many businesses, and in Canon we are no different.
Effectiveness and ROI are much easier to gauge – from the performance of our inbound demand generation programmes, to analysing how customers or prospects are interacting with our social content, to the ability to measure how long our sales channels take to act upon the leads we load into our salesforce environment.
It even benefits us at a very basic level, such as reviewing the P&L performance of our products and services.
Q. What have been the biggest career highs for you in the company?
I have been very lucky to work across a wide range of roles within Canon and with a great number of very talented colleagues and leaders, who have given me great opportunities.
… data and analytics has helped to bring more commerciality to marketing
Back in 2008 I was head of professional marketing for Canon and worked alongside the sales leader for the division. We effectively launched a new business unit with novel technology and a new team to a brand new market.
It’s always a fantastic opportunity to work in such an entrepreneurial way and launch a new business within the structure of a global organisation. It was a great learning curve for me and to this day it’s one of the most successful units within the Canon UK & Ireland organisation.
I think my new role – to lead the creation of a new B2B Marketing and Sales Excellence function – could supersede this though.
Q. Do you think marketing/marketers are given enough credit for driving the business?
The change we have seen in B2B organisations, and the customers we are looking to serve, has presented marketing with a real opportunity to demonstrate enormous value and drive the business.
The very nature of marketing is anchored in strategy and commercial judgement, and these competencies should provide a great opportunity for marketers to be critical members of leadership teams in any forward thinking organisation.
We are very fortunate in Canon that the shift we have seen in our business and the orientation we have around our customers naturally places marketing at the heart of what we do. I am working very closely with the other directors and the managing director, who also has a marketing background, to drive the business forward.
Q. What are your goals for the brand?
We have to reposition the Canon brand in the market. We are a very well-known and respected market leader in imaging and print, but the breadth and capabilities of our services, products and people reach far beyond these core capabilities.
The very nature of marketing is anchored in strategy and commercial judgement, and these competencies should provide a great opportunity for marketers to be critical members of leadership teams
We are helping organisations to optimise and enhance key business processes like purchase to pay. We are also supporting our clients to acquire new customers and grow revenue streams, and our medical imaging technology as an example of specialist industry capability is revolutionising clinical and patient services.
However, these successes aren’t always shared and we have to amplify the credibility and awareness of the Canon B2B portfolio at a much greater pace.