Craig Hepburn: transforming marketing on a global scale

Tata Communications is at the edge-of-the-edge of the internet; they provide the technology that enables the digital transformation of many of the world’s leading companies. Dots speaker Craig Hepburn is responsible for the global transformation of Tata Communications’ marketing function.

We spoke with him about the challenges that embracing change can bring, and why they’re worth facing.

How has Tata Communications embraced change?

It’s a complex question with many facets having been addressed. In summary we have looked at several areas: company culture, ways of working, organisational design, talent and – importantly – a strong focus on outcomes over activities. With regards to company culture, we have launched our internal D.R.I.V.E. campaign that promotes Diversity, Respect, Inclusion, Values and Ethics, which all employees are encouraged to embrace in our professional careers.

Through organisational design and talent, we try to ensure we have a broad diversity of traditional and modern skills integrated into a collaborative organisational way of working. However for me the most impactful change has been to look deeply into our objectives and put a strong focus on business outcomes instead of on business activity. With so many data points and activities needed to run a modern business, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing on activity, actions and measuring inputs, losing sight of the end goal – what is working?, are we delivering value?, are the outcomes measuring success? These are the questions and focus areas we have strived to get our organisation to think about and report on.

What has been the biggest challenge so far in transforming marketing at Tata Communications?

It probably falls into 3 buckets. Firstly, designing new ways of working and processes that ensure we are addressing and including new strategic approaches to marketing through digital. This has been a journey of education and training while also bringing in new technologies, tools and embracing real time data and analytics at a strategic level for business decision making.

Secondly, managing the sheer volume of activity and redirecting this to focus on outcomes in order to be more efficient with our resources and budget. We know we can only scale our marketing and increase our investments if we are working towards delivering programs that are impactful to our customers.

Last – but my no means least – is to deliver new technology and infrastructure that provides our marketing organisation the right tools to execute world-class marketing programs. A recent great example is the launch of our new website platform that has not only enabled us to make changes six times faster than before, but has given us far greater insight into our customers’ needs and requirements.

How do you see marketing changing for global B2B organisations over the next five years?

There is no doubt in my mind that B2B will drive some key innovations in marketing. In particular, delivering highly personalised experiences for customers through AI and rapid improvements in B2B content delivery technologies and email solutions. Along with this the AdTech space is evolving very quickly with an increased focus in B2B solutions, which is not only good for business but also for customers. I also believe LinkedIn will deliver some advanced technologies and tools in the space – especially as it integrated even deeper with Microsoft; specifically Office 365 and Cortana.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

That’s easy. The team I have developed over the past 2 years. You’re only as good as the people around you. Without them I wouldn’t be able to even scratch the surface of what we have achieved. The team has the talent and the right attitude to cut through the challenges, fight for what we believe in and deliver programs to be proud of.

Are there any Dots speakers who you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?

That is the toughest question of them all! I’m honestly looking forward to hearing everyone. Every year I’m always so impressed with the quality of the speakers and the diversity of the subject matter. The speakers take you on a journey and really make you think and rethink what you believed. No pressure then! 😉

To hear more from Craig, as well as the other fantastic speakers, join us for Dots on Friday 29th September – get your ticket.