Let’s assume you as a business were able to build the finest range of solutions at the best prices, but what if hardly people know about it. This is where marketing comes into play. If you don’t have a strategic marketing plan for your business, scaling up against the competition is a next to impossible task.
Undoubtedly, marketing is a critical component that attracts customers to your business, but it is not just limited to that. It allows you to build relationships with the customers and drives the growth of your business.
In this technology-driven world, what your business needs is an ardent marketer who holds sway over your customers; taps the potential of evolving technologies to reach and influence them; shapes their values, investments, choices, and decisions; and give you a powerful competitive edge. Infinidat found the CMO, Eric Herzog, that delivers that advantage.
With an enriching experience of 35 years and proven success in the enterprise storage industry, Eric has come a long way in his leadership journey. He has spearheaded all aspects of marketing, product management, and business development in both start-ups and Global Fortune 500 companies.
We at Insights Success caught up with Eric to learn more about his journey and how he is driving the growth of Infinidat.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Infinidat. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
My tenure has spanned over 35 years in the computer storage industry. It has spanned several different functions, not just marketing, and has included both start-ups (7) and Fortune 500 companies (4). In addition to all facets of marketing from product marketing to technical marketing to channel marketing to corporate marketing to PR and AR, I have also served in several VP level roles running Product Management, Sales, Support and Services, Manufacturing and Operations, HR, and, even, at a start-up, being CFO. This hybridness of big and small companies and functions outside of marketing has helped me fashion a marketing approach that is team-centric, functionally inclusive (both of all the various marketing functions but with non-marketing functions as well), and broad in focus. The biggest challenge I have had was when I moved out of product management, and some companies I interviewed with insisted on a marketing degree or MBA. But I was able to get beyond that in my first Director of Marketing job and have grown in all aspects of marketing ever since.
Tell us something more about Infinidat its mission and vision.
Infinidat is in the Enterprise Storage marketplace. Our mission is to deliver the best enterprise storage solutions for primary storage, secondary storage, and cyber-resilient storage. We have been very successful in the Global Fortune 2000. And our competition are all much larger companies, with most of them being, themselves, Fortune 500 companies. But our vision of building a storage system solution that is built from the ground-up using Artificial Intelligence technology has resonated extremely will with our enterprise customers. This has resulted in tremendous competitive advantage in real-world application performance, dramatic savings for our customers in CAPEX, OPEX, and operational management for their storage estate, and several features that our much larger competitors do not yet have.
Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Marketing niche through your expertise in the market.
With my expertise spanning large Fortune 500 entities, as well as start-ups, I have been able to fashion a marketing approach that is focused not just on powerful marketing, but also how marketing is an integral part of the sales process and the overall company. Marketing should not be niched and any marketing executive needs to be sure marketing has a powerful seat at the corporate table.
Describe in detail the values and the work culture that drives your organization.
I have 3 mantras that I inculcate into my teams – whether it be a team in a start-up or in a Fortune 500 company
- Always Raise the Bar. No matter what you do, being in high technology is like being in sports – every fiscal quarter is like a new athletic season. If you don’t constantly strive for perfection, you won’t even be mediocre. That drive helps your team Raise the Bar
- To steal from the famous book about Intel – “Only the Paranoid Survive”. This means it is all about the competition. How to out-market them, outsell them, how to out-position them. Always knowing your competition is critical. As the famous Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu noted: “To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” With that knowledge, you can always defeat your enemy and continually out-market them.
- Business is a team sport. All the marketing functions must work together to deliver a re-enforced marketing approach. This makes all elements of the marketing mix amplify each other, convey the same powerful messages, and deliver leads and deal progression to help the sales teams and your channel execute the sales plan and drive revenue and profit.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
In all my companies, I had had my team leverage all technology enhancements possible, from marketing automation to – years ago – working to leverage the Web well before it was the “in thing” to do, to optimizing social media. The key is to ensure that the technology enhances the marketing and is not the end-all. Technology is a vehicle to push marketing forward, but your teams must still do strong marketing – messaging, positioning, competitive knowledge, and understanding your customers. Then, leverage the technology to make that broader, deeper, and more impactful. But letting the technology drive the ship is not the answer – great marketing is the answer that leverages the technology tools available to marketing.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the Marketing industry?
In many industries, people think marketing is ads, tradeshows, and datasheets. While that is clearly part of it, marketing is very broad and, particularly in the technology sector, that spans strategic marketing, product marketing, technical marketing, solutions marketing, and, in companies that leverage business/ecosystem partners, channel marketing as well. Too often, companies do not realize the span and complexity of a well-run and well-executed marketing organization.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the Marketing industry? How is Infinidat preparing to be a part of that change?
The next big change in marketing is the ability to cross leverage all aspects of marketing to drive revenue and profit. Infinidat is already doing that by delivering the vision I have laid out above and tight integration with sales.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for Infinidat?
Given my breadth of cross-functional non-marketing expertise, my next step is for a COO, CEO, or GM role. For Infinidat, the goal is to continue our multiple double-digit growth per quarter, continue to stay ahead of the competition, deliver our message to a broader audience, and the work with our sales teams and our channel to achieve our revenue targets.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the Marketing sector?
Marketing must be integral to the company. Never have marketing be a siloed function that is not tied tightly to sales and company objectives.