Conversation with Epicor, Image credit PIxabay\TumisuJenny Victor is the CMO of Epicor. She joined the company in September 2022, and Enterprise Times had the opportunity to talk to her about why she joined and the challenges at the global ERP vendor. She also shares her views on the evolving role of the CMO and the balance between the art and science of marketing.

The elevator pitch on Epicor

Jenny Victor, CMO , Epicor
Jenny Victor, CMO , Epicor

“Epicor is a company that helps the essential businesses drive forward. We’re specifically focused on the make, move sellers in helping them manage their business, inventories, distribution, and warehouses so that they can optimise and be competitive within their markets.

“We also have an opportunity within our expertise in the Australia/New Zealand region, where we have been able to develop the Senior Living Services or care business that we have and really help them. It is an extension of what Epicor does for the make, move and sellers.”

Why Epicor

Victor joined Epicor in 2022. What attracted you to the opportunity?

“They were looking for a CMO that does what I love to do. As I mentioned, Epicor is focused on supporting make, move sellers or the essential businesses. They were working to drive them into the cloud and are investing in the portfolio to innovate and modernise the solutions available to our specific target industries. They were looking for someone to step in as the CMO to do the same for their go-to-market efforts. For marketing, to introduce new opportunities and modernise some of our go-to-market. That’s what I have been doing and what I love to do.

“I also had the benefit of working for Steve Murphy at OpenText when he was President of OpenText. So when an opportunity comes to you, and you already have great confidence in the CEO, it makes it more appealing. Then add to that my interactions with Lisa Pope and the fact that we had a female president were also very appealing.”

You’ve had access to the data for a few months now? What have you discovered about Epicor that was above your expectations, and where do you see room for improvement?

“I thought I knew a lot about Epicor before I joined. I had done my research on it. But one of the things that really stood out to me was just how strong our retention rate is with our customers. What that translates into is that we have a very long tenure with our customers. The average is about 13 years with our customers across our portfolio.

“What’s been exciting about that, for me, is not only do we have these customers that have been with us a long time, but we have a lot of customers that have grown with us over that period. So we truly do grow together.

“We say that our solutions have been made with our customers for our customers, as the brand promise. It truly is what takes place. I see that because, unlike other companies, when we talk about the Industry Focus, we built that industry focus by working with our customers, which really does stand out.

“I met with several of our customers shortly after I joined at the Fall Cloud council meeting. One of them talked about how they saw using Bistrack, our building supply solution, as a competitive differentiator for them because of how specific it was to their industry. They grew through acquisition, and because of that IT industry expertise in the product, it helped them manage those acquisitions more effectively, to help them grow more effectively. That whole customer interaction that led to the tenure surprised me.

“I think the opportunity is that we don’t get this story out into the market as broadly as we can. We can share more around those customer successes to demonstrate how we partner with our customers for their success over time.”

On challenges

What is your greatest challenge this year?

“My greatest challenge is to move as quickly as possible with some of our key initiatives without breaking anything. Epicor marketing has a lot of opportunity to grow and expand and get more effective in our marketing. There’s a lot I want to do. I need to keep a decent pace so we don’t move faster than we should.”

You talked about what you love in marketing. How would you describe yourself as a CMO?

“I am a data centric CMO. I do love my data. Part of my experience in coming up to this role is that I’ve worked across a variety of different parts of marketing. So I see how all these different components of marketing can really come together to make our go-to-market strategy very effective. I like making sure that we’re looking at the data, I like making sure that we have the right story to tell, that we understand how to tell that story, that we have a way to make it consumable, and the market can take it in, in an effective way. And that we do follow up with it as well.

“I think one of the things we must be aware of in today’s environment, especially when you move to subscription models and ongoing ARR business structures, is that Marketing’s relationship doesn’t end once we hand it over to sales. We really do need to pick it up from a customer marketing standpoint and keep that engagement going through the lifecycle of that customer.”

So, Gartner’s view that CMOs are becoming chief customer officers and dealing with customer success is something you acknowledge.

“If you ever Google the customer lifecycle journey for a SaaS business model, it’s an infinity cycle. Now, I think it needs to be. You have to have the right kind of communications and education at multiple steps, both on the sales and retention sides.”

On Metrics

What metrics do you use to measure success within your team, and what’s your favourite KPI?

“I don’t have a favourite KPI. I was very fortunate to have a pretty savvy revenue ops leader at a previous company that introduced me to a periodic table of marketing stats (A very interesting blog that offers four), showing the flow of key metrics across the multiple marketing functions.

“It allows me to start to see relationships, if I see red flags, or if I see good green, how that affects other key stats across the organisation. It also allows me to show my team how to start looking at marketing more holistically, not just the one point they’re focused on. Marketing can be much more effective when it’s an integrated and cohesive programme, and you need all the different parts working together.”

Marketing can be much more effective when it’s an integrated and cohesive programme, and you need all the different parts working together.

Looking forward

What’s your main priority for 2023?

“My main priority for 2023 is to get in a position to expand our digital presence globally. Right now, we know people are self-educating across various digital channels, types of assets and devices. We have a real opportunity at Epicor to up our digital marketing game. We need to continue to explore how we will get that content into the hands of our target market of our customers at the right time and across the right channels. This is really where we need to focus for this year.”

What do you hope to achieve by the end of the year?

“I have two big goals that I am driving. I call them my big rocks for the year. One is to get that digital infrastructure in place to scale our digital presence globally. A lot of content comes with that, and we need to think through that content strategy.

“The second part concerns building a good, integrated, cohesive marketing programme. I joined a team that was really good and strong. We have a lot of good capabilities in what we do within marketing. But we weren’t working together in harmony. I liken it to an orchestra, where each instrument sounds beautiful and is lovely to listen to. But when you bring them together in harmony, the amplification and impact is much bigger and bolder. We need to do that from a marketing programme.

“I’m working with my team to adjust their thinking and modernise their approach so that we build off of one another. The great part is they’re excited to do it, and we’re well underway.”

On the Art and Science of Marketing

What’s your view of the balance between the art and science of marketing?

“I think it’s really important that they go together hand in hand. You have to have a strong balance between them. Because it’s the science that tells you who to target, when to target and what to say to that target, but it’s the art that captures the interest of that target. Really good art helps you cut through the noise and stand out so that the science side of things, the content side of things, can be consumed and acted upon.”

As you are data-centric, how do you ensure the art piece is still there?

“I had to teach myself what the brand is supposed to do and what impact the art is supposed to have, so I can ask the right questions and give the right guidance. The art side is hard because it’s so opinion-based, and everybody has an opinion. But it does need to be effective. And it does need to tie to science. Over my career, I’ve spent enough time with the creatives to learn how to ask the right questions.”

What do you think the biggest challenge for the CMO is generally today?

I think one of the interesting elements about the CMO role is it needs to evolve the way business models are evolving. I think we touched on this a little bit earlier. If you think about that infinity customer lifecycle and what that means for marketing, or if you want to specifically look at customer marketing, we’ve had to evolve to change how we communicate with customers.

“A reference is wonderful, but an advocate is valuable. So you have to go to the next step with that customer. The CMO role has to ensure it’s aligned with whatever the business model the company is driving towards and implementing. It can’t just be a static relationship with sales anymore. It needs to be much more engaged with finance, support and product.”

On Chief

You’ve been a member of Chief since 2021. Chief is a private membership network that connects and supports women executive leaders. What benefits has that delivered for you?

“I can speak to my own experience with Chief. Chief for me has been an opportunity to create a network of women in my similar role. So one of the interesting things is when you get to a more senior role within the company, your team becomes the other people in the senior roles for other silos in the company or other parts of the company. Rarely are you connecting with people engaged in the same type of challenges with your same responsibilities.

“Chief has given me a forum to connect with other CMOs, learn what they’re doing and what they’re up against. It also helps you stay current with some of the innovations within the space and marketing, when I get to spend that time with the other CMOs.

“In addition to that, I’ve had the opportunity to take some of the leadership, education, communications and materials and share them with the women in my teams. I did that at my last company, and I’m meeting with the women’s group at our Minneapolis office at the end of April. We’ll spend some time with them to pay it forward a bit, which is good. So it’s helping develop future women leaders.”

The book Question

What was the latest book you read? And what was your business take out from it?

“The latest book that I listened to, I’m an audible person, was, “Yes Chef,” which is Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir. (Amazon (Aus, UK, US)). I loved his story, from being born in Ethiopia and being adopted by a Swedish couple. It shows how you want to be dedicated to what you do. You want to be passionate about what you will do. But you may need to pivot along the way because there might be circumstances you can’t control.

“For him, he wanted to be a professional soccer player. And he would never be big enough, especially being the Ethiopian kid in Sweden. So he pivoted to the next thing he loved, which was cooking. He learned to cook with his grandmother.

“Make sure you’re passionate about it, and make sure you’re going to invest the time and be successful in it. But be ready to pivot and adjust to things you can’t control.”


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