As a global IT distributor with a client base that includes companies like Apple, Cisco, Microsoft and Samsung, Ingram Micro Canada has a reputation for improving the productivity of business partners. According to Director of Marketing Jennifer Villers, it all comes down to a willingness to embrace new technologies in order to remain relevant.
A recognized marketing leader, Villers shared some of her top areas of focus for 2021 during a recent interview with ITWC President Fawn Annan, conducted as part of the CMO Talks podcast series. Topping her list of priorities was experience, including the experience of customers and vendor partners, as well as Ingram Micro Canada employees.
Being prepared for change is another pandemic-inspired focal point for Villers in the coming year. “We have to continue to turn on a dime if something new is thrown our way or different government regulations come out,” she said. “It’s important to be ready for that.”
Responding to a question from Annan about the longevity of virtual and hybrid approaches, Villers felt strongly that a return to live events would not diminish the current trend toward digital marketing. “I would say that nothing will go back to the way it was before,” she said. “I have a feeling that digital will become even more prevalent.”
In this continuum of change, it will be critical to make a good impression and make it quickly enough to catch the attention of the younger generation. “If you don’t get their attention right away, you might not get it at all,” said Villers.
She also pointed to the tremendous potential in e-commerce as a revenue stream and identified AI tools as an important strategic investment, saying that Ingram Micro Canada is interested in any digital marketing tools that will make the experience easier.
Villers feels fortunate to have a strong leadership team and to work closely with the sales leader, vendor management leader, HR and an advisory group made up of key channel partners that come together to exchange best practices and strategize. “For us, they are like the voice of the customer,” she said. “When we want to try something different, they’re the ones we go to first.”
When asked by Annan to share her checklist for satisfying customer expectations, Villers referenced the key Net Promoter Score question: Would you recommend this company to others? “It’s a very important question,” she said. “I think that that’s one of the most important things that I would want to know.”
When she joined the company 22 years ago, Villers would never have guessed that within two decades, data and intelligence would drive the way the company goes to market and she conducts marketing campaigns. “Today, it’s essentially the backbone of everything we do,” she said.
As the market continues to evolve, she is excited about the new tools and intelligence coming her way. Looking ahead, she sees great promise in an emerging approach called smarketing – the integration of sales and marketing processes. “Essentially we walk hand-in-hand,” she said. “Sales needs marketing and we need sales. That’s our future. We have to work together to be smarketers.”