Lauren Flaherty oversees all of Juniper Networks global marketing activities and is leading a transformation that is successfully reshaping the company's image and position in the high-performance networking market. Within a year of taking on the CMO role, she helped launch the rebranding of the company and introduced a marketing platform that is enabling major growth initiatives and mobilizing internal change.
“At Juniper, we don't just sell products; we offer a different point of view.” She asserts, “We’re not chasing trends, we truly believe in what we’re talking about. We focused our branding efforts on the customers and partners that were most critical to our growth. Unlike some of our competitors, Juniper doesn’t to force a migration path on its customers and partners; it works with them on business strategy and rolls out products and services to address those needs. That’s why we hold twice yearly CXO events and regular discussions with our customers and partners to listen to their issues, set the agenda and shares our networking philosophy.”
Lauren admits that the key lesson she’s taken from 25 years leading marketing organizations is that to ensure success, it is imperative to align the sales and brand marketing goals with those of the business. In fact, marketers should go even further than alignment, as the goals should ultimately personify those that which are guiding the company.
“Upon joining Juniper last year, I realized the company was sitting on a goldmine of product innovation and engineering excellence. Nevertheless we still had marketing challenges to overcome, and an existing campaign that had outlived its usefulness.
Being the new person on the block—I kept asking: ‘Why are we doing this?’ I couldn't get a straight answer, and to me, that was good enough reason to stop the effort. If your own company doesn't know why they are rebranding - how are you supposed to be taken seriously externally?
Several factors have gone into the marketing transformation that has occurred at Juniper, but none has been more critical to success than the alignment with business goals. Lauren makes a point to meet with CEO Kevin Johnson every 90 to 120 days to review goals, get his perspective on the business, and use that information as the basis for goal setting. “From there we can have the confidence that we're reaching our audiences with consistent messages over the long term. Doing so has earned the trust of our partners, customers, investors, employees, analysts and the media.”
Prior to joining Juniper, Lauren Flaherty served as CMO of Nortel Networks from 2006-2008 where she created a fully integrated marketing function that represented all lines of business and established Nortel’s first Global Marketing Board. Before Nortel, she spent 26 years at IBM in a variety of product marketing leadership positions, including software and servers. She also led many company-wide initiatives, such as Solutions for a small planet, e-business, on demand business, and marketing targeting key segments for small-and-medium businesses (SMBs).