4 Questions with Mitel CMO Durow

by Dave Michels

Last week, Mitel announced that Wes Durow as the company’s new Chief Marketing Officer. Wes is an industry veteran with prior stints at Nortel/Avaya, Fonality, and Sonus. Wes got into marketing as an ad man, helping build brands for leading companies including American Airlines, Pace Picante Sauce, NationsBank (now Bank of America), The Dial Corporation, and GTE (now Verizon).

As Chief Marketing Officer at Mitel, Wes is responsible for driving Mitel’s global marketing and communications initiatives to increase brand consideration levels and directly contribute to the company’s growth objectives. Wes said,  “like many, I’ve been watching with fascination as Mitel has methodically and deliberately redefined the company with its pedigree of early innovation, accelerated through a series of bold moves to consolidate the enterprise space and converge adjacent sectors.”

I had the chance to ask Wes four quick questions. Wes-Durow-CMO-Mitel_w580_h387[1]

What about Mitel attracted you the most?

Mitel has always been known for innovation. Innovation was at the heart of the company when it was founded as a small start-up, and that common attribute and value persists today across the brands the company has acquired over the years. From analog to digital and now virtualization and cloud, Mitel has always been a step ahead. It’s been really interesting to watch Mitel, until recently as an outsider, as they’ve reshaped their business and emerged as driving force for consolidation and convergence of real-time communications. There is a bit of magic happening at Mitel and the vision to bridge the enterprise and mobile worlds to drive seamless levels of collaboration and communication creates an exciting opportunity for anyone aspiring to do great marketing work.

What do you believe the top priorities are for a UC CMO in 2015?

Today’s prospective UC customers have access to almost perfect levels of information.  From feature comparisons, to pricing, to deployment approaches, today’s customer  has deep knowledge at their fingertips.  This creates both a marketing challenge and an opportunity.  Since most customers are far, far down the decision-making path before they actually contact a vendor, the challenge is to intercept them at an earlier stage of their information seeking process.  To do so requires marketers to be highly effective in offering bite-sized chunks of content that helps customers make informed decisions. And just as importantly, to put those bits of insight into new paths and places where customers go looking for it.

What is most different about the enterprise communications industry today versus when you entered the segment with Nortel several years ago?

Looking back 15 years ago there was a distinct line of demarcation between voice and data networks.  A continental divide also existed between wireless and wireline networks and carrier and enterprise networks. These lines have blurred and are increasingly blending together as the market moves to IP-centric communications. Customers want vendors who can tie together their existing investments across disparate IP-PBX, desktop, smartphone and application environments in a manner that delivers a cohesive and differentiated end user experience.  In a world drawn to mobile, social and cloud technologies, the company that most effectively can break through those barriers and enable the speed and simplicity of real-time communications will win.

What gets you most excited about UC?

That is a great question, especially as I keep gravitating right back into this business. If you step back for a moment from all the tech talk about features and capabilities, at the end of the day there is something really great about helping people and companies communicate effectively in a way that changes the speed of commerce. We have the collective privilege of touching almost every dimension of how people work and collaborate. What excites me today is that emerging technologies such as WebRTC and VoLTE are now becoming the gossamer thread that can help knit together our collective points of communication.  Moreover, these technologies are making advanced, real-time communications both more practical and more intuitive. The notion of innovative click-to-connect capabilities happens today in one’s car like it is no big deal when at one time it only happened in the Batmobile. For those of us that grew up watching Jetson’s cartoons on Saturday mornings, the connected future we once only dreamed of has now become a reality and that makes our category kind of cool – in a geeky Big Bang Theory kinda way.

State of Hosted UC  (2011 interview featuring Wes Durow)

Mitel CMO Etherington Out