With great power comes great responsibility. When Lexmark acquired Kofax—an automation software company—in 2015, the now-global business was burdened with the task of streamlining its marketing functions. Kofax CMO Grant Johnson was tabbed for the job. It was Johnson’s duty to institute a centralized marketing plan that the company’s worldwide sectors could follow.
Grant Johnson talks about his formula for creating a unified, global marketing strategy in part two of his interview on the Renegade Thinkers Unite podcast (You can listen to the episode here.) Host Drew Neisser, accompanied by Inc. magazine author Bill Carmody, ask Johnson about his trials and triumphs. If you missed part one of this episode, you can listen to it here.
Here are some sample questions and answers from the podcast:
Drew: What’s your proudest accomplishment as a marketer at Kofax?
Grant: Bringing everyone together into a single, global marketing organization working with a common purpose to deliver a truly integrated marketing plan in 2017. I’ve been at Kofax for three and a half years and I started the process of uniting a very diverse and distributed organization in October, 2016 and then aligning all marketing functions, including channel, product and industry marketing, digital marketing and social media, demand generation, corporate marketing and communications to this new integrated approach.
Drew: What were the key steps in bringing that program to fruition?
Grant: To understand how this program was brought to fruition, I need to first provide a perspective on the organizational structure I inherited before this program idea came to mind. Lexmark purchased Kofax for about $1 Billion in May 2015. They had an existing enterprise software group comprised of Perceptive Software, purchased in 2010 and ReadSoft, purchased late in 2014, as the two primary brands. A few months after the CEO of Kofax was made President of Lexmark Enterprise Software, I was asked to take on the entire global software marketing organization.
The first step was to meet the various leaders and teams and review global marketing programs to understand what I had, what was similar or different, and what gaps existed. Kofax is based in Irvine, CA, Perceptive is based in Lenexa, near Kansas City and ReadSoft was headquartered in Sweden, and each company had somewhat divergent approaches to marketing, along with some natural cultural differences you would expect.
We already had a division-wide integration process underway to unify systems, processes and procedures under a consistent approach, so I just added a new work stream entitled “marketing best practices.” This became a great way to gather the people, review the work processes, systems and programs and inventory what we had across the three initially disparate groups.
Drew: What were some of the biggest hurdles to overcome?
Grant: Because people were used to doing things in different ways, they had to learn as well as “unlearn” certain habits or practices. A key step to getting this new process going was actually creating a blueprint for how integrated marketing would work at Kofax. We consulted with a few outside firms like Sirius Decisions to ensure we could leverage insights from how others are doing integrated marketing successfully. In putting together the various functional components of the plan, I came up with the idea to put our entire 2017 plan on a page. There were a few reasons to do this. One was to break down the functional silos, say in channel, field and product marketing, so everyone could see how their part was connected to a holistic approach. I had observed what I call “random acts of marketing,” not necessarily intentional, but nevertheless, discrete and disjointed in their impact in the market. This integrated approach improved our collaboration and cohesion – so integrated marketing became the glue for the organization.
We’ve all know the phrase “getting everyone on the same page.” In this case, that fact that every group could see how they were contributing to and impacting the integrated plan helped literally get them on the same page they could refer to, communicate and understand.
Drew: What is great work and how do you know it’s great work?
Grant: It connects, it responds, it resonates. People shout about it in the halls, they forward it to each other, customers comment on it. It’s so easy to do something that just works. You have to be willing to take some risks. I have to have the ability to say yes or no. What’s it’s like is taking a beautiful distinctive object and every person who touches it sands it down and what you get is something that nobody can object to and nobody likes.
When getting many moving parts to work together, simplicity is the way to go. Complications—whether they’re between branches or within your own office—can hurt your business. Coordinating your efforts, however, will give your organization a greater chance to thrive.
Meet the Guest
Grant Johnson is the CMO of Kofax, a global automation provider for businesses. It is Johnson’s ongoing objective to start meaningful brand-based conversations between his company and clients on social media. His proudest accomplishment as a marketer is bringing his team members together into a single, global marketing organization with a common purpose to deliver a truly integrated marketing plan in 2017. Johnson holds an MBA in Business Administration, Management, and Operations from Pepperdine University.
What You'll Learn
- How to unify all employees within your organization.
- How to harness the power of teamwork.
- How to integrate positive habits into your marketing strategy, while unlearning ineffective ones.
- Why simplifying your marketing goals is critical.
Quotes from Grant Johnson
- I have a motto, which is, “do great work that works.” If it doesn’t work, stop doing it.
- You have to set a goal; otherwise, you’ll just stay still.
- You have to do a few things well. If you do many things, by definition, you can’t measure them effectively and you can’t do them as well.
- I have to have the ability to say yes or no. What’s it’s like is taking a beautiful distinctive object and every person who touches it sands it down, and what you get is something that nobody can object to and nobody likes.