Act-On: What is your role there?
James: Officially, I’m the Director of Global Digital Corporate Communications and responsible for the company’s digital strategy, web portfolio, and social media. But my real mission is to empower employees and integrate businesses. When I worked for Disney, they emphasized collaborating effectively, and I brought that here. I tear down silos and eliminate red tape, so people can come together and deliver results.
Act-On: That can’t be easy, in a company as large as yours.
James: It’s not. We’re a $6.1 billion company with more than 25,000 employees located in more than 50 countries around the world. And we have nearly 50 global websites.
Working as a united team is a challenge in general, but even more so for marketing because of our wide range of products. Customers looking for vinyl to wrap cars are very different than those who need labels for perishable foods, so our communications have to be highly targeted. And our buying cycles, in some cases, can last up to 1-2 years, which means campaigns might have to run for long periods of time.
Act-On: A lot of enterprise companies face the same complexity.
James: When your business is this broad, you have to develop clear personas for every product line, understand their pain points, and nurture them with highly targeted content. Anything less is a waste of time.
The Benefits of Consolidating Licenses
Act-On: That’s something marketing automation can address, and I know Avery Dennison had Act-On in place when you joined the company. What challenges did you encounter?
James: Each business unit was managing their own license, which was operationally inefficient and expensive. And no one had visibility into another group’s campaigns, which increased the possibility that an approach that failed in one part of the company might unknowingly be repeated in another. The inverse was true as well. We had no mechanism to share and replicate success.
We also weren’t leveraging the full platform. One of Act-On’s most powerful features is the ability to create automated programs, but we didn’t have any running. We were missing a tremendous opportunity to capture and nurture leads.
Act-On: You really turned things around. Where did you start?
James: The first thing I did was to consolidate our licenses and leverage Act-On’s federated model. Instead of disparate instances spread throughout the company, we established a parent account for my corporate team, and child accounts for each of the business units.
That adjustment was pretty straightforward, but it triggered a sea change. Each business unit could work independently, while allowing my group to retain oversight to ensure brand consistency. Employees who previously had to manage the individual licenses were now free to develop marketing communications, which added more value to the company and was a much better use of their time. We even saved a great deal of money. In the first phase, we reduced our overall licensing costs by 37%.