Gabrielle Cichero was appointed Senior Director, Marketing for Polycom Asia Pacific and Japan in May 2016. Based in Sydney, she will oversee the overall marketing programs for the region as well as help grow the Polycom business.
An active volunteer, she spends her free time at the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, working in the Comms Room, supporting and helping people in emergency situations.
In this Q&A, she discusses her plans for her regional team, successful marketing strategies and how she balances work and family responsibilities.
What are your top priorities in your new role?
My top priority is to grow the Polycom business. Polycom has an incredible opportunity in Asia Pacific. There is no geography more connected in the world and no other region has seized the advantages of that connectivity in the same way, with yet more scope to grow. Polycom’s ability to drive productivity through technology creates equality of opportunity for people and businesses, so continuing to demonstrate that and grow our business is my priority.
I am excited to join the team and look forward to evolving a Polycom story through marketing that is as innovative as our technology.
What are your main expectations from your team?
I expect them to desire to be the best marketers in the world! I want my team to embrace our customers and build stories about the amazing possibilities that our technology brings. We are a technology company but our solutions make a difference in people’s lives.
Marketing to me is a blend of art and science. By that I mean being creative about crafting a story while putting best practice marketing principles to work to tell that story to the right people - connecting with our customers, and creating partnerships that build value across the ecosystem.
Could you tell us what interested you in Polycom?
Initially, I was interested in the promise of Polycom - the power of true collaboration. Just think of all the people in the world who spend hours in unproductive meetings and very long phone calls, where they are not truly connecting.
In every communication experience that you have, so much is visual in our expressions and body language. Every time you lose that, you lose the possibility of connection. What I love about Polycom is that the company makes the possibility a reality, bringing true connections quickly into business.
Collaboration brings opportunity – be it to school children in rural villages who can receive an education via HD video conferencing, or medical students in remote communities to receive ongoing training.
It doesn’t matter what the geopolitical or social environments are, collaboration provides that opportunity and that’s the promise of Polycom to me.
Polycom also has an enviable culture. We speak externally of unleashing the power of human collaboration, innovation and defying distance, but everyone in Polycom lives and breathes this every day. I’ve learnt we demonstrate the possibility and advantages of how technology can make people work together in a better way when they truly embrace it – through every connection, every day.
What do you think B2B technology marketers need to know about the evolving marketing landscape? How has this changed in the last 3-5 years?
First, while B2B marketing is about ‘business to business’, all marketing is about “people to people”. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that. As an industry, we have become very good at mastering the science of marketing, but at the end of the day, every conversation has to end with influencing or connecting to a person.
Whilst business relationships can be long lasting and valuable, they lack the ease of “stickiness” or emotional attachment a consumer can feel. So you have to find a way to drive that motivation and continue to deliver value.
Secondly, the metrics around Marketing are much more advanced and scientific than they were even five years ago. When I first started in my career, it wasn’t easy to define the contribution of marketing to the sales cycle and the business.
Technology marketing has now evolved its own science & discipline, helping us measure that contribution and also providing an ability to test, execute and adjust quickly. Using analytics helps to craft better stories and make adjustments quickly. That customer intimacy and insight based on technology platforms has been one of the biggest trends.
How do you think technology is shaping the future of marketing?
In a perfect world, technology should be able to make connections deeper. You can apply a lot of technology but it’s not until you analyse the intelligence from it and can apply that in a meaningful way that it really delivers value.
Technology has the ability to answer questions like - How do you understand different motivations and different cultures when you’re selling the same thing? What’s the right message to the right people and how can we connect with them in the best way? How do we deliver a richer experience with the right information, the right time, and the right way? How are we improving contributions to the business every day?
Technology will continue to allow us to know more about what we do. However, the decisions we take from that, require the expertise and imagination of people.
How can vendors like Polycom support partners in lead generation and marketing efforts?
Partners are essential to help us serve our customers better and make them more successful. They often bring a deep understanding of their customers’ business and their needs. Often, partners also bring local expertise and cultural knowledge. Given the diversity and breadth of Asia Pacific, we could not anticipate and deliver on our customers’ needs without them.
A partnership needs to be a collaborative effort. The Polycom brand, and our investment in it acts as a pull factor that delivers leads and interest to our partners. On the push side of the marketing equation, we also support them through easy to adopt campaigns designed for partners to localize and deploy.
It’s how we work together to deliver real business value to our customers that is the most important element and Polycom is committed to that.
How important is customer experience to a brand?
Customers telling your story is the most authentic and powerful way to build a brand.In technology, the desire to do that comes from a great user experience, so every experience is critical. It’s why Polycom is constantly looking for ways to make our solutions simpler to use – so they can focus on connecting, and associate that connection with the Polycom brand.
How do you manage a family and an executive career?
Life is about priorities. I’m focused on work when I’m there and my family when I’m with them. I am very lucky to have an amazing husband. We have been married for more than 20 years and have a 12 year old son. We always want each other to develop and grow and reach our full potential, just as I do with my Polycom team.
The key is balance and kindness. Sometimes the house may be untidy but the dinner table will always be a place for conversation!