In January, Kevin Joyce took over the reins as the Chief Marketing Officer for Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group in the wake of Jeff Hayzlett’s move to the corporate office. Earlier he had been named as a corporate vice president for Kodak. WhatTheyThink spoke with Joyce in the run-up to On Demand to learn what, if any, different strategies we might see from Kodak during his tenure and to get a view of what Kodak is planning for On Demand and beyond.
WTT: Kevin, thanks for speaking with us today. Now that you have a couple of months under your belt in your new positions, we were interested in understanding what your key strategic objectives will be for Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group.
At the highest level, my objective in the CMO role, internally and externally, is to introduce something I define as the business of marketing into this position.
KJ: My dad always told me you have 90 days to identify objectives and start making progress or people will start losing interest in your new role. That has always been in the back of my mind anytime I have taken on a new role in life. In this case, it was pretty clear when I raised my hand to take this position what I wanted to do. At the highest level, my objective in the CMO role, internally and externally, is to introduce something I define as the business of marketing into this position. One of the things that has always amazed me is that very few people have a clear, crisp definition of what a CMO does. It seems to be one of those terms, like workflow or enterprise, that can mean different things to everyone. I have found myself spending a great deal of time giving people a clear explanation of what I see as the role of the CMO and the role of marketing and what I characterize as the business of marketing. Marketing is more than branding and PR. But it is often considered as a discretionary that a corporation can reduce with hard times. That is likely why the average CMO tenure is 23 months—a statistic I had not heard when I took this job.
WTT: Can you explain more about what you mean by the business of marketing?
KJ: It is the notion of marketing as a critical business function inside the industry and inside Kodak. There are two tracks I will pursue, one internal and one external, that really converge. Inside Kodak, marketing is the one function that crosses the three major functional groups of the corporation, product groups, regions and the corporate sector. The role of marketing is to be the neural system that allows you understand the requirements in the marketplace—what the customer needs—and to make sure that data gets as cleanly and transparently as possible to the product groups and R&D to ensure that there is viable business case for us to produce a solution that fulfills that market need. Too often in companies, an aggressive and proactive sales representative can be very vocal on behalf of a specific customer to get a product created, but that might not be the best business case for the corporation. You want to make sure there is a consistent operational rhythm that allows you to sense the needs of the market and translate that into product development plans that address the broadest customer needs. As the CMO, I need to work cross-functionally with the product groups, regions and corporate center to make sure we have the right infrastructure and process in place to decide how we will deliver solutions to our customers. That is a very different approach than has historically been taken by marketing at Kodak. It is not an easy task, but it is one that Antonio Perez (CEO and Chairman of Kodak) and Phil Faraci (President and Chief Operating Office of Kodak) are fully on board with.
One goal I have is to really walk the walk to help our industry move upstream and create more value by becoming more comfortable with the business of marketing.
WTT: How does that objective play out externally?
KJ: At the highest level, it is the same exact thing, the business of marketing. I actually went back and read the interview you and I had last year, and this concept falls very much in line with what we talked about at the end of that interview. Many of the tools we use inside Kodak to maximize where we are spending our marketing dollars and to maximize returns, including workflow, output and campaign tools, can be used by our customers as well. One goal I have is to really walk the walk to help our industry move upstream and create more value by becoming more comfortable with the business of marketing. We, as an industry, have defined ourselves by a manufacturing process called printing. But unless individual service providers recognize what role we are playing in the food chain with Fortune 1000 companies and start adding additional services, and quantify and clarify what value print brings in today’s campaigns, we will continue to be perceived as a commodity. And that will mean that value will be extracted from our industry. The benefit to us is that if we can make our industry more valuable, Kodak will gain more value. It is always the customer first; if we move them upstream with Kodak tools, then both of us make more money.
WTT: Have you been talking to other marketing professionals along these lines and do you have a feel for where they think print fits?
KJ: I have had the chance to speak at a couple of non-printing events even in the first two months in my new role, with C-level folks from companies like Intel, RIM, and IBM. In talking with them about the challenges they face, I was encouraged at the prospects for our industry and how Kodak could help.
I get concerned when we as an industry spend a lot of our time and energy trying to justify print. The fact that we do this puts us on the defensive.
WTT: What are some of the values you think we as an industry can bring?
KJ: There is a subtle, but very important distinction that we need to make, one that makes people nervous about when I talk about it. I get concerned when we as an industry spend a lot of our time and energy trying to justify print. The fact that we do this puts us on the defensive. What we need to do is have a much better understanding of the role print plays in the business of marketing. As print service providers talking to a client about printing an object, we need to spend a lot more time understanding what is the objective of that piece, what business role it plays for that customer. If you are selling to Caterpillar, for example, and you get a call from corporate asking to print 5,000 backhoe brochures, the first question you should ask is why. What is the objective of that request? Is it customer acquisition, customer retention, demand generation? Once you understand what role printing is playing within an entire campaign, I believe we can start adding more value. I also believe that when we ask those questions, we will be surprised when we do not get a clear answer about why they want to print that object. That is a good thing. Our industry is quite sophisticated in the management of data. Once we get our heads around the overall campaign objectives, we can advise our customers on how best to leverage print within that context. With the tools and solutions we continue to offer our customers, they have the opportunity to have a credible discussion much farther upstream.
WTT: Do you think this will present a challenge for the industry?
KJ: Yes, it will, but one well worth taking on. I have managed far too many sales people in my career, and I know they like to stay in their comfort zone. This is an uncomfortable situation, and it is not clear what the right answers are—it is a work in process. If sales professionals can take on the attitude that they are going to dynamically learn the best approach, customer by customer, they can be successful. Any company, including Kodak, who tells you they know exactly where this market is going, risks losing credibility. None of us know how this will end up. But by just getting out there and learning, we will be ahead of the game.
Where you see Kodak going is to provide more workflow applications, solutions and services that will help the printer move upstream to provide more campaign management tools, analytical tools, storefronts, and to help their customers really understand the results of a given campaign, whether web or print or a combination of the two
WTT: How does the Kodak portfolio play into this picture?
KJ: The focus and sizzle of our portfolio historically, at Kodak and in much of the rest of the industry, has always been around the output devices, whether they are Speedmasters, CTP devices, the NexPress, the Versamark, or whatever. Those are very important pieces of the puzzle because without them you could not provide a complete solution, so you don’t want to minimize them. But we have to put, at least in the beginning, even more emphasis on workflow. Where you see Kodak going is to provide more workflow applications, solutions and services that will help the printer move upstream to provide more campaign management tools, analytical tools, storefronts, and to help their customers really understand the results of a given campaign, whether web or print or a combination of the two.
WTT: So this is what we can expect from Kodak at On Demand?
KJ: Yes, On Demand will follow exactly that strategy for us. You have to have a strong portfolio of output devices, like the next generation of NexPress presses that we recently launched, as well as inkjet solution you will see at drupa. But we will not be showing the iron at the show, following the tradition we started last year. We need to show our customers that those are table stakes that you have to have, and we have those. But we will be showing them virtually, using 3D interactive. The whole notion that visitors to our booth are having a virtual tour of output devices puts them right in mindset. We can focus more of our attention, then, on VDP editing tools, storefronts, the next version of Prinergy—workflow tools that provide productivity and revenue generation. This is critical to our industry, placing as much focus on revenue generation as we have on productivity. So far, workflow has been very focused on productivity, and what you will see from Kodak at On Demand is an increased focus on the ability for this next generation of tools to both improve productivity and generate revenue.
WTT: At the pre-drupa briefing, Kodak stated the company would be standardizing on the Creo PODS front end. In the past, you have been using front ends from other partners as well, like EFI. Can you comment on that?
KJ: The Creo Color Server is an important part of Kodak’s Unified Workflow. We will continue to market to third parties, and it will play a more prominent role in our own solutions. Our preference is to have as much Kodak content in the solutions we market as possible. If someone prefers EFI or some other competitive workflow solution, we will certainly accommodate that need.
WTT: Can you give us some customer examples that demonstrate the business of marketing at work?
KJ: Sure, one in Australia, one in Finland and one in the U.S. First, KCL in Finland is a research company for the paper and pulp industry. They acquired a Versamark. So here is a company providing a marketing service for an industry that has decided to make an acquisition of production equipment that has ability to leverage the data and information they provide their industry, expanding their business and their value to their customers as a service bureau. There is no better example of the business of marketing. The second one, from Australia, is the largest book printer there, McPherson. They were a large user of competitive consumables, output devices and workflow. They recently purchased one of the largest Prinergy installations in Australia because they saw the opportunity that the portal products and productivity in Prinergy gave them. It is very difficult to switch workflow, and to displace a competitor at the largest book manufacturer on the continent is a major statement that they believe Prinergy can offer a critical foundation for the future of their business. The third one, here in Indiana, is a printer called CraftLine, a general commercial printer that needed to expand its VDP solutions. They purchased a NexPress 3000. It is worth mentioning that they were not looking at Kodak initially, but, when they came to On Demand last year, our having limited equipment in our booth and our emphasis on our workflow strategy was the catalyst for their purchase. These are clear examples of the business of marketing at work.
2008 will be quite a refreshing year for most of Kodak, because the focus is not on downsizing, but about growth
WTT: I understand Jeff Hayzlett recently starred on The Apprentice. That was quite an investment for Kodak. What is the story?
KJ: When you enter a new role and the seat is still warm from your predecessor, you learn the difference between them and you. One thing Jeff excels at is understanding how to put your finger on the pulse and get attention. No one can get attention better than Jeff, and if it gives attention to Kodak, that is a good thing. Coming from the graphics side, I don’t think we are as sensitive to this, but you have to recognize the monumental effort inside Kodak to transform itself into a digital company. 2008 will be quite a refreshing year for most of Kodak, because the focus is not on downsizing, but about growth. Jeff’s appearance on The Apprentice is something people internally could get excited about and externally it sends the clear signal that Kodak is a much different company today. The fact that Kodak spent the funds to be on prime time with a bunch of celebrities shows we are getting over this internally focused transformational stage and looking outside. It was a great morale booster for our employees and our customers took notice as well – immediately following the airing of the episode sales of our Kodak EasyShare inkjet printers spiked. The awareness we got about our inkjet business served a strong and positive internal and external purpose. These types of things will help people see Kodak in a whole different light.
WTT: Kevin, thanks for speaking with us today. Is there anything else you would like to add before we close?
KJ: The one other thing I want to mention to you is two that underlying the business of marketing, there is something I am very passionate about—mass customization. By that I mean that never before has the individual had so much influence on what products an services the world creates. This is a wonderful thing for the world, empowering for the individual, but that brings challenges to companies in how they determine what products to produce. This is a role our industry can play in continuing to empower individuals through mass customization. This is a concept that is not well understood, and I would love to talk more about this topic in the future.
WTT: We will look forward to that.