Sales 2.0 Conference Insider Preview:
Q&A with Keynote Speaker Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak CMO
Name: Jeffrey Hayzlett
Title: Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President, Eastman Kodak
Nickname: "The Cowboy"
Responsibilities: Worldwide marketing operations, including the design and implementation of all marketing strategies, investments, policies, and processes. Manages a marketing team of 700 and approximately 20,000 employees around the globe. Reports directly to Kodak Chairman and CEO Antonio M. Perez.
Claim to fame: Helping to position Kodak's iconic brand for success in the new millennium by embracing social media (see his frequently updated Twitter feed) and making strategic, high-profile appearances (including The Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump and the red carpet at the 2009 Academy Awards).
Sales20Conf: As more companies engage with customers via social media, some of the feedback is inevitably going to be negative, right?
Hayzlett: Absolutely. Someone sent out [a tweet] the other day that read, “I’m returning a printer to Kodak UK, and Jeff Hayzlett can shove it up his USB.”
Hayzlett: That got my attention, right? So obviously, he had a problem with the product, and I applaud the fact that he spoke up, because I could [then] send him a direct message – which I did. I said, “Nice to meet you. What seems to be the problem?” Turned out we had an easy fix for him, and now a few tweets later he’s talking about how happy he is to be engaged with us as a customer. That’s what social media allows us to do. That’s what listening allows us to do. In fact, we just put in a new person called the “Chief Listener” here in the company.
Sales20Conf: Is this like your Chief Blogger position?
Hayzlett: Exactly. We were among the first Fortune 500 companies to name a Chief Blogger. Now we have a Chief Listener. So this is somebody who watches these conversations online across the whole company – not just on Twitter, but on Facebook and blogs – and helps us to route them into the appropriate departments and groups in order to respond to customers’ needs. Like an air traffic controller.
Sales20Conf: It sounds like a hybrid customer service job.
Hayzlett: Well, I’d even add more than that, because we listen to what our customers say about products and use that to innovate. That cuts out a lot of money that I’d normally have to take out to do surveys and research and everything else. My biggest challenge is time. This helps me squeeze time. You know, waterproofing our video camera came from these conversations. People were talking about their cameras breaking down at soccer games or at hockey matches because rain was affecting their ability to capture Kodak moments. We don’t want that to happen. So we said, “They’re asking for waterproof.” And that’s exactly what we did.
Sales20Conf: One of the things you’ve said about your role at Kodak is that you’re trying to create tension wherever you go. What’s the value of doing that?
Hayzlett: Mostly it’s about raising the bar. It’s to challenge systems and to give people the permission to go out and make mistakes. That’s a big part of what I’ve been allowed to do. I’ve empowered the team to make mistakes as fast as they possibly can.
Sales20Conf: Why is that?
Hayzlett: Because no one’s gonna die. And the faster you make ’em, the quicker we get ’em out of the way.
Sales20Conf: Tell us one thing you’re looking forward to about the Sales 2.0 Conference in San Francisco on March 8th and 9th.
Hayzlett: Just the fact that I get to mix with some of the best salespeople and professionals in the world. I love sales. I like selling things, and I like talking about selling things. And I’ve done it all my life, and I don’t think there’s anything better I could ever do.
Join Jeffrey Hayzlett and our other awesome speakers (The Facebook Era author Clara Shih, Mark Woollen of Oracle, Brett Queener of Salesforce.com, and more), at the Sales 2.0 Conference on March 8–9, 2010, at The Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.
Hayzlett’s forthcoming book is The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing?