Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories WRAL Tech Wire will be publishing that feature women in technology, the issues they face in their jobs, their views about the state of technology in the Triangle, as well as their thoughts about how to get more women involved in IT.
MORRISVILLE, N.C. – Suzanne Miglucci knew she was signing on for a globe-encompassing job when she signed as as the new chief marketing officer at e-commerce services provider ChannelAdvisor.
After all, e-commerce is 24×7, 365 days and ChannelAdvisor works with clients worldwide.
“We have a close eye on the health of the world economy,” Miglucci tells WRAL Tech Wire when asked what business issues keep her awake at night.
“ChannelAdvisor is a growing entity, and we are actively expanding our international presence. We have an obligation to our shareholders and employees that we’ll expand in a judicious and carefully planned manner – moving to the right geographies at the right time to meet market demands.
“Making the right decisions in a volatile economy is an interesting mix of art and science, and one that is top of mind.”
Miglucci, a veteran marketing and business development executive, was announced as ChannelAdvisor’s CMO last week. She is a familiar face in Triangle technology circles, however, having worked in the past with SciQuest and Arsenal Digital Solutions. She left SAP to join ChannelAdvisor.
In a Q&A, WRAL Tech Wire asked Miglucci not only about her new job but also about why she likes working in the Triangle, how to get more women involved in technology, and about the “do’s and don’ts” or marketing.
Miglucci most recently worked at global software firm SAP where she was senior director of global procurement solution marketing.
Congratulations on the new position. Why did you decide to leave SAP for ChannelAdvisor? What appealed most to you about the CA post?
ChannelAdvisor is well-poised for today’s competitive and ever-changing online retail market. With its one-two punch of subject matter expertise and award-winning e-commerce platform, ChannelAdvisor helps retailers increase revenue and gain share of wallet. My background is in closely adjacent industries – SaaS platforms and e-procurement technology — which happen to dovetail perfectly with ChannelAdvisor’s current growth strategy. It feels like a perfect fit , and I’m thrilled to be part of the ChannelAdvisor team.
I understand that you worked for SAP in Cary. Is staying in the Triangle important to you and if so why?
I worked for SAP Global Marketing, which is an SAP subsidiary headquartered out of Walldorf Germany; I worked remotely from my home in Raleigh. I’ve been here in the Triangle for more than 12 years, and I love the area.
I’m pleased to have found a company that shares my values and interests right here in the Triangle, and that I’m able to work locally with a team of professionals that rival the likes of any I’ve worked with on a global basis.
You also worked at SciQuest and Arsenal Digital over a 15-year career. What have you liked – and not liked – about the Triangle technology community?
The Triangle has a very tight-knit and collaborative technology community. It helps tremendously when you’re recruiting new talent and when you’re seeking business advice. You never have to venture too far to find great resources.
In your opinion, what are the top best practices for CMOs?
- Know your market and your customer
- Build a solid brand platform with your customers’ success at the core
- Construct a diversified and integrated marketing plan with clear, measurable outcomes
- Sell thought leadership, not products
- Communicate your plan to employees and partners so they understand their role in your company’s success
- Deploy, test, measure, optimize and repeat
What are the issues want to avoid?
- Knee-jerk reactions
- Neglecting current customers in favor of wooing new customers
- Losing sight of the larger picture
- Failing to constantly innovate
In what areas of best practices have there been no changes or relatively few over that time? How has increasing importance of e-commerce affected those best practices?
At the very core of marketing is effective communication. That has never changed and likely never will. If you’re able to share your company’s value proposition in a clear and sensible way to your prospects, you’re already doing better than many.
The e-commerce space is becoming increasingly fragmented as retailers are able to reach out to more customers on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Shopping, as well as across global borders. We strive to help retailers navigate the e-commerce landscape by educating them on the changing landscape, keeping them fully informed of how developments in the market will impact their businesses and by providing software solutions that enable them to take advantage of these new sources of demand.
This level of open dialogue positions ChannelAdvisor as a trusted advisor, and keeps us front-and-center with customers and prospects.
Looking forward, what are the coming changes especially in e-commerce for online sales and marketing – more mobile? Location-based services?
Current estimates suggest that by 2015 there will be three to four times more mobile users than PC users, so mobile adoption is certainly a trend that retailers—or any consumer-facing business—cannot ignore. Some 90 percent of searches still begin on Google, and often local results are surfaced, so providing accurate, local information to Google is crucial.
Another trend in the e-commerce space that we’re tracking is the explosion of third-party marketplaces, largely due to the overwhelming success of Amazon. Retailers such as Sears, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Best Buy and others are opening their online shopping sites to third-party retailers to increase their selection and provide shoppers the most choices from a price perspective. The real winner here is the consumer, who will benefit from increased selection and lower prices.
The paucity of women in top roles at technology companies continues to be a source of concern, as The AP noted in a story about Silicon Valley which Tech Wire published recently. Do women in tech get a fair opportunity in the Triangle, based on your experiences over the past 15 years?
I think that any individual who strives to achieve a top role can get there if they’re dedicated, tenacious and steadfast in their goals.
Let’s not sugar coat it – the Triangle is a small community, and the competition can be fierce at the top ranks.
It’s the folks that set aggressive personal growth goals, take risks, learn from mistakes, and continuously strive for the next rung on the ladder that make it to the top … regardless of gender.