May 3, 2021

Forrester: Customer obsession to drive growth post-pandemic

Forrester
customerobsessed
Leadership
CXtransformation
Kate Birch
2 min
With a focus on customer obsession, new research product portfolio Forrester Decisions claims to help companies drive growth a post-pandemic world
With a focus on customer obsession, new research product portfolio Forrester Decisions claims to help companies drive growth a post-pandemic world...

Renowned for helping companies accelerate growth, research and advisory firm Forrester has announced a brand-new research product portfolio that’s been designed to help leaders shorten the distance between bold vision and superior business impact. 

Created in light of the pandemic and the huge changes in consumer behaviours, experiences, work, and technology that’s happened, this new research product titled Forrester Decisions centres on the increasing need for businesses to be customer-obsessed. 

Why being customer-obsessed is key post-pandemic

According to Forrester, it is the customer-obsessed organisations, those businesses that put customers at the centre of their leadership, strategy and operations, that are growing revenue and profits, and are engaging employees and retaining customers at more than twice the rate of others. 

And this is where Forrester Decisions comes in, offering customer-obsessed insights, best practices, and guidance to help organisations innovate with technology, design experiences that drive loyalty and secure that oh-so-valuable brand devotion. 

Set to launch in August 2021, the research portfolio will help executives, functional leaders, and their teams – across technology, marketing, customer experience, sales, and product management – plan and pursue their most pressing intiatives for driving growth in a post-pandemic world. And organisations “anticipate those market-changing trends and tackle today’s priorities”, according to Forrester’s CEO George F. Colony. 

What Forrester Decisions will give leaders

This new service combines Forrester's proven track record of providing objective, visionary thought leadership with industry-leading frameworks, models, and methodologies gained through the company's acquisition of SiriusDecisions. Every Forrester Decisions service is built to address business priorities specific to a functional discipline, empowering leaders and their teams to move quickly, de-risk decisions, and save time and money through the following 

  • Bold vision research Stay ahead of changing customer and market dynamics, plan for the future, and set strategy with research such as customer insights, trends and predictions, forecasts, and technology and service provider landscapes.
  • Curated tools and frameworks Conquer priorities and deliver on strategies with proven models, toolkits, and plug-and-play templates. Examples include the Forrester B2B Revenue Waterfall, to prioritise buyer engagement and maximize deal conversions; the CX Management Maturity Model, to plot maturity on the journey to CX transformation; and the Future Fit Technology Strategy Model, to build adaptive, creative, and resilient enterprises.
  • Hands-on guidance Accelerate progress and de-risk decisions with a curated and tailored experience that includes dedicated best-practice guidance sessions from Forrester experts.

The new portfolio will also offer an enhanced digital platform, with tools for team members to collaborate within their function and across the organisation, as well as new data and certification course content.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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