Avaya pledges new partner-focused marketing initiatives

Avaya has reorganized its marketing strategies to emphasize joint go-to-marketing initiatives with partners, with an emphasis on obtaining case studies for customers.


Morag Lucey, Avaya’s Chief Marketing Officer

SAN DIEGO — Avaya’s marketing initiatives have not always been the most effective at raising public awareness of the company’s solutions, particularly with respect to translating that awareness into solid leads for partners. Those days are done, the company said. At its Avaya Executive Forum here, it laid out a plan by which Avaya will improve its marketing and get partners more involved in joint go-to-market activities.

“You can’t fall out of bed when you’ve been sleeping on the floor,” said Steve Biondi, Avaya’s new channel chief, told partners in a reference that Avaya’s marketing potential can only go up.

The company does have concrete plans to realize that potential, however.

Morag Lucey, who recently returned to Avaya as Chief Marketing Officer, said that Avaya’s marketing has been reinvigorated, and will both improve public awareness of what the company is doing, and actively drive business to partners.

“We will improve awareness of the transition from where we were on legacy products to where we are going as a software and services company,” Lucey said. “We will  make sure people know who we are. We have been ‘the quiet company.’ We have all these great stories and we haven’t told them.”

“We are now going to be much more visible about things we are doing in things like security and the Internet of Things than we have been in the past, said Jean Turgeon, VP, Chief Technologist for Software Defined Architecture, WorldWide Sales.

“Fabric is another great example, and we will be putting out more releases about how customers have successfully deployed it,” said Gordon Blackie, President, Canada and Latin America.

Lucey said that the organization’s marketing efforts previously had been more focused on building the company’s overall brand, especially as part of its movement from New Jersey to Silicon Valley, to build its new footprint.”

“We lost sight of our purpose, which was driving demand with net-new customers and increasing stickiness with existing customers,” she said. “The metrics showed we were short in demand-gen numbers. Our social media wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t connected to other things. Our demand generation was woeful for the size of company we are. It’s a digital world today and everything is digital marketing.”

In her first 90 days back with Avaya, Lucey rebuilt the marketing organization, including bringing field marketing back into marketing from the regions.

“We had to make one marketing organization connected into the business to increase revenue,” she said.

In addition to increasing awareness of Avaya among customers, Lucey said much more effort would be given to driving demand and providing leads, and to helping partners close business. This strategy will have a segmented, vertical focus, and will use digital media to ensure we have the right content at that point where a decision is being made.”

“Our top commitment is demand generation to create leads  and results, and to do that, we have to change the way we talk about the products, to focus on business value rather than technology,” Lucey said.

While much of what Lucey is doing is really Marketing 101 at cutting-edge companies these days, tying Avaya’s marketing to joint initiatives with key partners is definitely ahead of the curve.

“Among the top partners who drive 80 per cent of the business, we should be really integrated with them from a marketing standpoint,” she said. “We can amplify our joint voice by working together. If you’ve lived in the channel, which I have, you can see how they can work with you as a true partner, and the  goal is to bring partners together and go after the market this way. The first mousetrap I want to crack is with the key top partners.”

While the marketing budget has not  been significantly increased, resources have been allocated to make more campaigns possible.

”Where we have gone quiet in the past, you will see us really ramp up,” she said, indicating that 20 campaigns in the market are now underway compared to four last year.”

Some campaigns specific to the Canadian market are about to be launched.

“I want a lot of demand generation in the market, and we will be coming out with some, like a network campaign in Canada, a wireless campaign in Canada, and one around the health care vertical,” Blackie said. These are scheduled to start later in February and in March.

Lucey said that Avaya would deliver a better integrated communications cadence, tailored to partners’ areas of interest and expertise, as well as better segmented programs and toolkits by growth area. In return, she asked that partners commit to at least one new lead gen campaign for the year, and perhaps most importantly, to provide referenceable case studies.

“We are creating a lot of case studies on our own, but you have a ton of case studies,” Lucey told partners. For every five case studies a partner provides, Avaya will pay for a call blitz day for them at five locations, which they estimate is worth $10,000. For every ten case studies provided, Avaya will run one lead generation campaign for the partner, which they estimate has a value of $25,000.

“You’ve got to get people to start giving you stories,” she said. “The days are gone where you can just lead with technology. In marketing, we have to be able to tell personal stories. The old marketing is thinking about companies. The new one is thinking about people, and with social media, it’s so much easier to learn about people.”

Case studies are critical to woo customers, said Laurent Philonenko, Avaya’s CTO.

“Nobody wants to be the first one, especially if they have  been disappointed in the past,” he said.