Jerri DeVard is a realist. When the senior vice president and CMO of ADT looks at the vast playing field that is monitored security and home automation, she knows she can’t boost the visibility of the company’s pioneering solutions simply by outspending her competitors. She must outsmart and out-create them. And that can-do attitude, DeVard contends, will make her stronger as a marketer.
“I’m sure there are people out there who shrug when they think of ADT, wondering if security is a big deal, or if we’re doing anything relevant or interesting,” DeVard says. “I’m the one who gets to say, ‘Yeah, we are!’ I’m fueled by the opportunity to share the cool stuff we’re doing. I’m proud that we’re not resting on our legacy or leadership position. We’re disrupting ourselves before others do it for us.”
DeVard, who will speak at the ANA Brand Masters Conference, Feb. 3 - 5 in Hollywood, Fla., discusses ADT’s latest marketing campaign and how she has changed the culture of the marketing organization.
Q. Your new marketing campaign, “In My Mind’s Eye,” has been praised inside and outside your industry for its creativity and cohesiveness across channels. What have you found most surprising about this campaign, compared to others you’ve directed in the past?
A. We don’t have the luxury some other marketers do, where you can put out brand creative and hope it drives consideration and preference. The success of our campaigns at ADT are measured every single day. From the CEO on down, we all get daily reports showing us how we’re doing at the top of the funnel. Our work has to drive actual purchase intent. It’s also very clear that every touchpoint with our company is a manifestation of the ADT brand, so we’ve created a new customer journey that more closely connects marketing with the other customer-facing functions at ADT. This enables us to align the messages of the new campaign with care center interactions, welcome calls, and education content. It’s a degree of integration you don’t see in every marketing campaign, and it’s critical to our long-term success.
Q. What changes/shifts have you made, based on consumer/customer feedback and data analysis, to improve the campaign’s performance?
A. We’ve increased the volume of the customer data we analyze to optimize what’s currently in the marketplace and, generally speaking, better inform our decision-making. For example, we have the ability to be more predictive when our customers might be likely to leave us. Based on this information, we can be proactive in how we interact with them and adjust our outreach in a way that really services their needs and, ultimately, retains them. We’ve also used lead-response metrics — really, the ultimate form of customer feedback — to better optimize the creative elements of the campaign to make sure we’ve got the right balance of brand enhancement and engagement that will drive business performance.
Q. How are you using digital to engage audiences in innovative ways?
A. Digital has always been core to our marketing approach, but now we have a new suite of tools at our disposal to sharpen our approach to personalized targeting, experience testing, and understanding our customers’ behavior online. For example, we use granular social analytics to present unique ads to people based on their previous interactions with us and a propensity to buy. Once we’ve generated interest and brought them to our dotcom experience, we can present them with multiple A/B tests around offer, messaging, and creative that will tell us what resonates best and, ultimately, what will generate more leads. We’re also using feedback technologies like eye tracker studies and heat mapping to learn how people engage throughout their journey with us online.
Q. You have been on the job at ADT for just under two years. How have you changed the culture within the marketing organization, and how did you elevate marketing as a growth driver within the C-suite?
A. It’s an interesting challenge to increase the appetite for change in a culture that has always been rewarded by doing what’s worked in the past. But I always say if you’re doing what you did last year, you’re playing safe baseball. Our customer and category are evolving too fast for that to work anymore. Establishing a clear vision was the first step. I wanted my team to think differently about the job to be done: driving growth in the midst of industry transformation, versus servicing the sales channel for an established company in a static category. I challenged them to think bigger and embrace a degree of risk taking. I also stressed the importance of individual accountability — to the business and to each other. That’s the sense of ownership that inspires the thinking and creativity ADT needs to grow its leadership in a landscape getting more competitive every day.
I think the fact we took bold action early on really rallied the team — the development of our Best Offer Ever program, our brand positioning work, and the launch of our new advertising campaign. It allowed us to put our commitment into action, shifting away from a “we can’t do that” mindset to one of “how can we find a way to make this work?” It demonstrated our ability to evolve our function, but also to deliver results. This was a big factor in elevating the credibility of the function internally, demonstrating that marketing can drive not just growth, but smarter growth. How do we attract customers who are more profitable over time? How do we create brand experiences that improve retention?