Jared Walls: Welcome to the Marketing Stir Podcast by Stirista, probably the most entertaining marketing podcast you’re going to put in your ears. I’m Jared Walls, associate producer, and Stirista’s creative copy manager. The goal of this podcast is to chat with industry leaders to get their take on the current challenges in the market, but also have a little fun along the way. In this episode, Vincent and Ajay talked to Fredrik Carlegren, Vice President of Global Marketing at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. They discussed digital transformation, the challenges of marketing in different regions, and how to resonate with someone on LinkedIn. Ajay’s impressed by a workout regimen, and Vincent is excited about visiting San Antonio. Give it a listen.
Vincent Pietrafesa: All right ladies and gentlemen, it’s me, Vincent Pietrafesa. I’m happy, and I’ve got a Hawaiian shirt on. That must mean one thing and one thing only, it is another episode of Stirista’s, The Marketing Stir. So great to be back here. What an exciting day for many reasons, mainly for our guest and the company that our guest works at. We’ll get to him in a moment. But first, who is Stirista? Who are these people behind this podcast? Well, Stirista, we’re an identity marketing company. We own our own business to business data, business to consumer data. We help people utilize that data to target new customers. Who doesn’t want new customers? We also have our own DSP that allows us to execute media, display, connected TV, account- based marketing through that. That’s enough about Stirista, that just paid the bills for the podcast. Probably not, I just like saying that. That’s what people in radio say. But it is so great to be back here, and it is so great to be with this next person, my co- host. I will see him in person. I’m going to give him a big hug when I see him. He might not want it, but I’m going to give him one. Ladies and gentlemen, I call him the San Antonio slayer, Mr. Ajay Gupta. What’s up Ajay?
Ajay Gupta: Hey Vincent. We actually have our first out- of- town hire, our VP of marketing, Will, in the office today. I actually haven’t seen him yet, but he’s been with us for a year, but I had not met him and hopefully will in the next hour here.
Vincent Pietrafesa: It’s crazy. Well, you have to tell me about Will. I haven’t met him either, but I know he’s also an amateur bodybuilder and supposed to have like a 50-inch chest and like a 32-inch waist. That’s crazy. I don’t have any of that. I have this here, a 46-inch chest and shoulders, but I am not a 32, good friends out there.
Ajay Gupta: Yeah. He just added me on Instagram, something I use pretty rarely, and I got the full- on visual of Will and his bodybuilding ability.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Well, good. Well, I’ll take your word for it.
Ajay Gupta: Yeah, I never thought I would see my VP of marketing without clothes, but we got there.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, VP of marketing. Shout out to Will Kunkel, he and his team allow this to go on and really back us. We have so many listeners. How could you say no anyway, Will? Anyway, but good. I can’t wait to meet. I’m going to meet him June 10th and then I’m coming back down to San Antonio. It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be great. Looking forward to seeing all my coworkers out there. But awesome, awesome. Ajay, speaking of awesome. We’ve got an amazing guest today from an amazing company, Toshiba. Heard of them? Yeah, you have, many facets of Toshiba. But we’re going to get down because a lot of people think different things when you hear Toshiba. Some people, electronics, vehicles, but there’s so much more. That’s why we wanted to have this next guest on. Please, a warm Marketing Stir welcome to the Vice President of Global Marketing at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, a new area I want to learn about. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Fredrik Carlegren. What’s going on Fredrik.
Fredrik Carlegren: Hey Vincent, Ajay. How are you doing? Really happy to be here. Thanks for having me. I’m doing great today.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. Awesome. I love it. I love it. Love the background there. You got Toshiba. That’s a natural background or you created it?
Fredrik Carlegren: This is what you call a real-world background, not one of those virtual backgrounds. We’re in the office like you were talking about and it feels pretty good.
Vincent Pietrafesa: I love it. I love it. Where are your offices located?
Fredrik Carlegren: We are inaudible beautiful Raleigh- Durham area of North Carolina.
Vincent Pietrafesa: That’s right. I love Raleigh- Durham. I’ve got some family out there. What a battle between Duke and UNC. That’s a whole other podcast right there. But it’s awesome to see you again, Fredrik. Look, for those of you, Toshiba, right? Huge company. People know it for different reasons. What I love, and the reason we wanted you on the podcast, is just to understand your particular division. I’d love to hear more about the division there, and I love to hear more about your role specifically.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah, thanks, Vincent. I consider myself really fortunate to be part of Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. We serve some of the most successful, well- known retail brands in the country and even around inaudible top 25 global retailers and all the other matter of retailers with their in- store technology from point of sale, self-checkout, software solutions. A full range of services from installation, deployment, professional services. Really, we focus on, at the end of the day, helping empower our clients to face this new digital transformation that’s happening in retail. I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit about that because it’s, the retail industry as a whole is quite fascinating, and we get to be in really helping our clients be successful in what’s happening here in the industry. My role in particular if we focus on the customers is to, I like to think about it as taking and listening to the voice, transforming that into the value that we can show them in terms of how we can help them through the marketing efforts. We do everything from a lot of inaudible customer events and activity and then I’m responsible for all of the outbound marketing initiatives here from a communications event, the product channel marketing, as enablement, training and education, and a technical team as well, working in supporting our business partner community. We have a lot of great partners as well that we work with. Never is there an inaudible to the next inaudible.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Exactly. Fredrik, we’re definitely going to talk about digital transformation. We’re definitely going to talk about, especially how it pertains to this past year and moving forward for retail. But let’s take a step back. Let’s go not so way back, but let’s go back to when you started it in marketing. One of the questions we always love asking is, because sometimes it’s not always a traditional path and if it is that’s the minority, going marketing to marketing. Tell us about how you started in this business.
Fredrik Carlegren: First of all, I like that you mentioned that it wasn’t all that long ago. That makes me feel good. It doesn’t feel long ago, to be honest with you. Just given the pace of things, it’s surprising sometimes when you actually look back and try to plot it on a timeline. I went to, in college I started getting interested in marketing, but there was actually not a marketing degree at the school that inaudible. I did a combination of economics and psychology and looking back I say, blend those two together and you pretty much have a marketer. I took a bit of a non- traditional college route, a job that had nothing to do with marketing in the lovely City of Chicago, and had a fabulous few years for a really solid company. But the urge to do marketing was pretty strong. I went back to school a little bit, took some classes in the evenings, and then decided what I really wanted to do was go back and really focus on marketing. I went to Thunderbird School of Global Management out in Arizona, got my degree there and was fortunate to land a few great internships, one with Ericsson Mobile Communications in Stockholm focusing on some of their smartphone technologies and then with IBM and part of their marketing leadership development program. I got some really great B2B through that, finished up my degree, and ended up joining IBM. Had a number of inaudible from the product marketing side, even a stint in sales as well. I think it’s really important, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it again here too. The alignment inaudible marketing is so vital that it was really great to have that be part of my experience as well. Yeah, like you said, everybody’s got a bit of a non- traditional route and if time permitted, we could get into some of the how I bounced around opportunity to the next. Not always linear in the way I described it there either, but at the end of the day it’s worked out great and led me to where I am today.
Ajay Gupta: Fredrik, how do you view your target audience? Toshiba has obviously changed over the last several years as well, but would love to understand who you’re trying to target on a day- to- day basis.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. Our division is strictly B2B, and we work across different retail segments. We have a lot of clients and a lot of folks in what we call the high-volume retail segment. You might think about that as grocers, general merchants, even convenience stores. Anything that’s high volume is an area that we have quite a few customers and focus on. But we do serve other segments as well. We have customers within more of the specialty retail segment, hospitality. About half of our business roughly is to the larger retailers, the big-name retailers that you’re familiar with and shop probably on a weekly basis. But then we also have a huge number of business partners, channel reseller partners around the world that serve other tiers and segments of the market. Yeah, that’s the bigger split. Direct to a lot of the large retailers and then a significant business partner channel community that serves a lot of our other clients together with us.
Ajay Gupta: What are some of the channels that you use when marketing, and are there particular methodologies like ABM that you’re using?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. That’s something that we’re definitely focused on, is more ABM- driven. We’re fortunate to have some very significant large customers that really, for us, require a deep inaudible from both parties. Where we’re working very closely one- on- one in how we’re going to continue to help them evolve. Then clearly one of the things we’re trying to do is new opportunities and accounts so that we may not have the same relationship or history. One of the things that’s really important in retail, especially since a lot of our focus is on the traditional brick and mortar physical store inaudible a little bit of inaudible too. The inaudible used to be is definitely integrated as part of an overall journey that the consumers have with those brands. But at the end of the day, retail is heavily based on trust. That’s probably not unique to the retail industry, but we’re really dealing with mission critical operations. Where we’re dealing with anything related to the point of sale and the transactions in the store. It does become really important to focus on what’s specifically happening in a particular segment. Different segments are much different than others. We have to be able to target from a marketing standpoint to what’s unique to that particular segment, what’s happening there, and how we can help address and help them understand what Toshiba can do for them. We become very segment- specific and tier- specific to some degree in terms of the size. But at the end of the day, a lot of the business needs are very similar between the very large retailers and other retailers in terms of what they want to do. Sometimes it’s just the level of IT or resource that they have in- house versus what they expect from a partner. From that perspective, we really try to be their strategic partner with our clients, as opposed to a vendor inaudible distinction for us and the way we try to think about how we’re adding value to the clients that we serve. That’s a little bit about how we think about our market.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Fredrik, I always loved asking marketing professionals, especially in global marketing like you are, how… you don’t have to give me a ton of examples, but just a few that stand out to you about how you’re marketing differently in different regions.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. That’s an interesting question, and obviously you have me on so I’m going to share my perspective because that varies greatly depending on the type of company that inaudible and what your brand stands for. For us being part of, our parent company is Toshiba Tech, we’re part of the broader Toshiba Corporation. There’s a global standard and story inaudible to manage our brand and the consistency that we strive to have across all geographies. We really try to make sure that that consistency and the brand, the story, the message, the themes really are understood and communicated well. But then there has to be local autonomy. We have certain decisions that we make at headquarters, but we really look for geography marketing teams to the feet on the street, to tailor and personalize that. Obviously, that, depending on what it is that we’re doing, what type of campaign event, that differs. But for as much as possible, we actually do try to keep pretty consistent. The localization of that is more about, well, what products and services are most important to those clients in a particular country or region? They get to pick which campaigns, or they get to pick which approach or events will help best address the client needs that they’re serving. It’s always an interesting balance between the geographies wanting probably more full autonomy, but still sticking within the constructs of the bigger brand that we have. That for us, even though we are a standalone Toshiba entity with autonomy of how we manage the brand, we also have the corporate guidelines to address. It becomes this hierarchy of how we manage through the logo and the brand requirements for corporate and how then we manage that down to our geography.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Fredrik, we touched upon it in the beginning there and I knew we were going to talk about it, the digital transformation of retailers. How has that been for Toshiba the last year, 2020? Were a lot of the companies that you already worked with set up for success during this time? As well as, has there been a new increased demand from some of these retailers because of, ” Oh, wait, we really didn’t have our right footing when it came to digital transforming.” Talk to me about that.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. It has been a fascinating year. It’s hard to use any word that’s remotely positive to describe the last year. I mean, it’s obviously been hard in a lot of ways. What I have been really encouraged by from an industry standpoint is how quickly retailers have been inaudible adapt. Overnight with these operations that had a very consistent inaudible having to ship that fairly quickly, overnight in some cases. The agility that retailers had was quite inaudible. Some of that was maybe done quickly without optimizing that business model or process. But the impact was significant. What I like about retail is we can all relate to it. You and I, we all go shopping. Everybody listening has been into a store. They know what it’s like and they saw the changes that clients needed to go through. You look at grocery, you saw a huge increase because people didn’t go to restaurants anymore. What are you going to do? Of course, you’re going to buy groceries and you’re going to prepare food or make food at home. The demand and the surges that took place were certainly a big part of what our clients needed to respond to. But the part that you were describing around the digital transformation was interesting too because there was a clear distinction between retailers who had gotten ahead of the curve and were already well down the path of things like curbside pickup, delivery, even in- store self- service right. Self-checkout has been around a long time, but with the pandemic it became a pretty significant asset to be able to offer self- service where consumers want the ability to be as touchless as possible, contactless as possible, inaudible standpoint. It wasn’t just about self- checkout or self- service for other reasons. There was a delineation between those who had already thought about or were planning ahead for what are the infrastructure requirements needed you have to prepare so you can start deploying new capabilities. Some had instead responded with implementing other third-party solutions and obviously inaudible and things like Instacart and other capabilities and solutions in the marketplace that serve the immediate need to be able to help consumers shop in different ways. We’ve done some interesting studies on this too. We’ll probably get to a little bit around what those trends are from the consumer standpoint that are likely to continue even as we now enter what maybe a little bit more back to what you call inaudible.
Ajay Gupta: Fredrik, so a follow- up on that. We’d love to actually hear what some of the trends that you see based on your recent customer survey that are here to stay.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. We just completed a US customer survey just a couple of weeks ago. We’re doing another one now here in… actually it’s going on right now. But we wanted to see, yeah, inaudible of the way that consumers have shopped over the last year do they expect to continue, or how much are we going to revert back to the traditional ways that we shopped before? About 40% of our respondents are what we call digital shifters. They’ve made a big shift. Not just once in a while, but they’ve made a big shift to, ” I’m going digital. I’m ordering online, I’m delivery.” All the new use cases and the new ways that the consumer shop. 90% of them say that they’re going to stick with that. They’re not going to go back. They, delivery. Delivery is certainly on the increase versus other things that we maybe were used to pre- pandemic like buy online pickup in the store. Now that the more the delivery and the bring it to me economy. With that bring it to me economy in place now, the thought of buying it online through a digital means but still having to go into the store to pick it up, well, that’s great for retailers. Consumers are saying, ” We don’t want to do that anymore. We’ve seen the other side and we want to stick to that.” Certainly other things around, related to what we’re talking about, self- service. Consumers are talking about convenience and safety being top of mind. That doesn’t just mean you’re cleaning things either. That just means, hey, is it easy for me to see before I walk into a store what the inventory levels is in real- time so that I know if you have. Otherwise, I’m just not going to bother going into your store. Let me know inaudible. Those are some of the things that we’re seeing. There’s no doubt, the shift is there and it’s going to continue and retail will adapt. I think if you step back and then look at the industry as a whole, what that means is that some of the most valuable consumers out there, digital consumers, are a little bit up for grabs. This notion of customer loyalty and how retailers manage and maintain loyal customers. With this big shift to digital, those who do that well inaudible and continue to show how they’re making that shopping experience easier, they could potentially grab some share through this too. That’s an inaudible to watch and an important conversation that we have with our clients on how they make sure that they are meeting those consumer expectations.
Ajay Gupta: Yeah. That makes sense to me. I’m one of those guys that still likes to go to the grocery store and pick out their own fruits and vegetables.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. You’re not alone in that. I mean, that’s pretty common and especially when it comes to produce and things like that.
Ajay Gupta: Yeah. But I will say during the initial stages of pandemic when nobody was sure what was going on, I definitely tended to order more online than before. With that said, what’s your opinion on the value of physical stores as more people are turning into online shopping, or may not revert back to the physical store?
Fredrik Carlegren: I might be a little bit biased given who we work with and our clients and industry that I’m in. But to me, the physical store is still, just plays such a significant role in communities. I mean, not just… they’re the heart of a lot of communities and I’m not just talking about the big retailers. I’m talking about retail in general, the physical store in general. It’s the backbone of so much of what our communities are made out of. You’ve got some big retailers like inaudible for example, where I think they’re within five minutes of 80% of the US population. I mean, there’s other retailers that have that kind of breadth. Then there’s the inaudible smaller retailers who are just the lifeblood of the community. What sets, I think, the store apart at the end of the day are things like, and this is also based on the consumer survey and why those who go into a store continue to go into a store. A lot of it comes down to quality and being able to see, and pick up, and know that what you’re buying is actually what you’re buying. A couple of years ago I bought something online for my nephew. It was a little, like a silverware plate set. He was big into construction, so it had a construction theme. I got a confused message a couple of days later about, “Well, yeah. I mean, he liked it.” But I was like, ” Well, I thought it would be right up his alley,” and, ” Well, yeah, I mean.” Then it got to, it had bugs and it was a totally different theme sent. They’d sent the wrong one. That happens, I mean. But in the physical world you avoid some of that, you know what the quality is, you know what you’re picking up is what it is. Merchandising and displays is a big part of that too. A lot of consumers want to see how things actually fit together, work together, how the designs… Take IKEA for example. I’m Swedish, so I got to plug IKEA in here at some point. I think that’s part of my-
Vincent Pietrafesa: It’s a rule. It’s a rule. Yeah.
Fredrik Carlegren: inaudible perfect example of you get to see what the entire space looks like. You can do some of that online too, but there is a consumer preference inaudible. You get a better sense for that in a physical store. I think those are a couple quality- related, just the way consumers like to engage. The other thing that… when I think about online and digital, and you think about the buying online part. But let’s not forget that behind that’s a lot of analog stuff. That item still needs to be inaudible there’s a lot of automation in that process. But we ship so, shipping delays, storms, and things impacting that whole part of the supply chain. It’s not like digital is fully digital where it just shows up on your front door magically. Stores still play an important part of that central inaudible. We haven’t even touched on the fact that there’s some things that you just run out of or medicines or things that you just need right away. You just want to be more sure. I mean, physical stores are here, they are going to continue to be a big part of our communities and our economies, no question about that.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, I agree with you there because for me I love going into a store. I love trying things on, certain fits. Am I an extra-large, am I a double X in some things? It’s crazy. I love going into the stores. I do think, and we had a few retailers on the podcast. What they were talking about, Fredrik is like, okay then let’s make that store, like you said too, a really good experience. ” What could we do to make this experience better for you?” I live in New York City, I’m spoiled by some of these flagship stores. I feel like I’m there and a ninja pops down and like, ” Here, sir, try this on. This is your fit.” I’m like, ” Wow! This is amazing.” I feel like I have that, but I love the in- store experience. I also love going to outlets, like Tanger Outlets. I love going to a mall because you don’t really have those in New York City. For me it’s nostalgia, all in one place. This is crazy. I don’t have to take a subway. Oh yeah, I think they’re definitely here to stay. But then there are some essentials that I will order online. Having small kids, it’s easier with the diapers and having that on a constant flow. No, I agree.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah, inaudible not exactly your typical retail environment compared to the rest of the country, but it is certainly home to a lot of flagship amazing store experiences. We have the annual National Retail Federation Show up there every January and crosstalk-
Vincent Pietrafesa: Javits, right?
Fredrik Carlegren: …inaudible talked about before, I had the pleasure of living up there for a few years myself. There are some amazing experiences and quite a few retailers, especially those who come internationally, have spent a lot of time touring there just to get inspiration from what’s happening and how to take some of that inspiration and work it into their own operations.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah. That’s also something I love doing, talk about traveling. I love going into little markets, especially supermarkets, in other cities and towns just to see the products, how they market. Toshiba working with a lot of supermarkets, those were the essential businesses. But how do you think marketing’s changing for some of that? How do you think this pandemic has affected those essential businesses moving forward?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. It’s a good question. I think, at the end of the day, it has to follow the expectations for the consumers in some ways. I think you’re going to continue to see the progression of this digital transformation journey for a central retailer. They’re going to, even though we talked about the physical store and then we almost, in our discussion here, made it seem like the online and delivery is separate and it’s not. I mean, retailers are going to inaudible as well how to meet the needs of the consumers no matter when, where, and how they want to transact with you. Even though you are within a few miles of their physical location, it doesn’t mean you there. You may want it delivered. That’s an example of something that we’re working on with a lot of our clients on how to help them piece together those elements that maybe are not part of their core traditional competency, things like last mile delivery. What does that really take? Yes. I mean, there are options out there like Instacart. But at the end of the day, it’s also really important for these customers to retain that relationship with their consumers. Helping them do that, still offering these other capabilities. We spend a lot of our time not only investing in some of our own commerce platforms, but also third-party partners. They’re going to try to really work to help clients move forward on that digital journey so that they can more easily do the things that today are, maybe they’re inaudible. They have to be more, they have to be profitable as well. Our clients really have to find sustainable ways to operate and serve their consumers.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Fredrik, talk to me about, because I was reading about your new commerce platform. Can you tell our listeners about that?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. We, earlier this year, launched the Elera Commerce Platform. Elera comes straight from the word accelerate, which is really at the heart of what we’re trying to do, which is help our clients accelerate in how they deliver new capabilities and serve their consumers. If you think about it from a non- technical standpoint, what we’re really trying to do is bridge a little bit of this physical and online world and bring those together so that even the physical traditional retailers can deliver more of these digital capabilities faster and easier. The platform itself consists of both, I’m going to get too techie here for Marketing Stir Podcast, but micro services. That’s a software capability, it’s very agile in terms of how you can deploy capabilities. But there’s also IoT and edge devices, sensors and computer vision capabilities that we’re building into it. As well as, very important from a marketing standpoint, it’s the data. The data analytics, the data side of it. Because all of those three elements have to work together ultimately. That’s really what we’re focused on is bringing all the elements inaudible in a way that makes sense for our clients.
Ajay Gupta: Fredrik, one of our staple questions on this podcast is, especially given your title and where you work, I’m sure you get a lot of unsolicited emails and LinkedIn messages. What are some of the messages that you respond to and what are some messages that really annoy you?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. Good question. I actually looked recently to see what I have responded to. Vincent, you’re one of the few actually that’s broken through that barrier, so congratulations on that because it is not an easy bar to break through. The honest answer is, I answer very few of those. To me it has to resonate with me personally. Unfortunately, it’s too obvious in many of these messages that it is just trying to sell and position what you can do as opposed to really why it matters to me or what specifically is in it for me. I mean, I hate to be selfish, but you get so many of these messages out there that it’s sometimes hard to distinguish. The default is that I’m probably not interested. If I’m interested, I’m probably going to go try to find you. If you’re fortunate, maybe at least remember a message and if I’m thinking about something later, I’ll try to go back and find it. I think at the end of the day what breaks through are the things that are genuine, that seem not just personalized with my name, but really understands and takes the time to say, ” Here is why I’m reaching out to you as an individual, not because of your title.” That to me is the distinction between through or not. Emails are equally hard. I mean, and unfortunately with the business schedules that a lot of us have, certainly myself included, it really has to be genuine, authentic, and an area that I already have an interest or know that I want to explore. When this pandemic hit and things were going more online and virtual inaudible really inaudible, ” This is a tough time. We know that you’re probably trying to figure this out and maybe we can help you.” That resonated with me. I wanted to understand what they were talking about because it was a clear pain point that they were trying to address so it resonated a little bit more. But I think that’s the key, otherwise it unfortunately is going to not get too much of my attention.
Ajay Gupta: Well, I’m glad we managed to get you on here because we have tried our best, I think we’ve recorded 85 episodes now, to make it as little salesy as possible. It’s really about having a conversation and getting to know the guests. I’m happy that you made it or that we made it through your inbox.
Fredrik Carlegren: inaudible. Nice job on that, thanks.
Ajay Gupta: Fredrik, you’ve been at Toshiba for quite some time now. What’s been one particular moment that’s really stood out for you that you really feel proud about?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah, well, that’s a good question. I have been here for a while now. The moments that I love, that really stand out are things like those National Retail Federation shows. I know it’s just an event per se, and there’s many events and maybe it’s not specifically NRF, although it kind of is. It’s a hallmark for the industry, and it’s the start of the year, it’s January, everybody’s excited and comes together for it. It’s this combination, from a marketing standpoint, of really being able to tell our story. Just the storytelling, the creative, I love that process of ensuring that we’re getting that message through. But then seeing so many of our clients, and our partners, and colleagues from the country all come together in one place. Maybe I’m a little nostalgic about that now too, given the fact that we didn’t do that last year. Hopefully we will be able to do it in 2020. But to me, those kinds of experiences where everything comes together, your team, your partners, your customers, your story and solutions, it’s all on display in these three days of energy. It’s six months, nine months of planning ahead of it to make that a reality. I love those moments. Those are personal favorites and something I’ll always enjoy.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, we love that. Being in New York here, like you said, there’s always so many conferences that go right at the Javits Center, which I think that one was that you’re referring to. At Stirista we love traveling as well, seeing our customers, going to trade shows. But yeah, I mean, slowly, I think that’s coming back. I’m coming up to San Antonio, I’m seeing some clients now, ” Hey, let’s have that drink. We haven’t met yet. You’re a great partner.” That sort of thing is opening up, so I’m looking forward to that as well. Fredrik, I want to talk to you about this because you mentioned it in the beginning, and we were actually joking about our VP of marketing. What our VP of marketing does a great job of is bringing sales and marketing together. It’s all one team. Now, you don’t hear that often. We had some podcasts where people were like, ” No, we barely talk. This is, we’re separate,” blah, blah, blah. But, talk to us about if you’re doing that at Toshiba, how you’re doing it, what’s the importance of it, and did your stint in sales help that?
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah, no question. First of all, marketing is an outside- in function. Our job is not to take what we do and just try to inaudible out to the world. It has to be grounded in customer partner market value. Start with that outside- in perspective. That comes from our clients and our prospects. If you don’t have the alignment with sales, and there’s other ways to get that voice of customer that’s so important, you’re going to have a breakage point. We’re very aligned here. We have, not just at the executive level, but down throughout the teams, we have regular inaudible both to understand what’s happening in an account-by-account view, overall strategies, overall plays, and things that we’re going to do. It is really critical that we’re in sync, and it goes both ways. I hope and I think that for us it’s not just that sales needs marketing, but marketing needs sales. I mean, it’s a mutual, official relationship in order to ensure that we’re doing and focusing our efforts and energies in the right place. But ultimately what we want to do help obviously be successful. No question then that the stint in sales help that. I actually hire certain members of my team in different functions. I like to hire people with sales backgrounds as well. It’s a really important part of being able to relate to what it’s like to go out there, be in front of customers, especially when you’re talking about accounts and prospects, and you don’t have the relationship with. How do you break through and have that initial conversation? What can marketing do from a pure outbound perspective, or also just from an enablement standpoint? To arm our sellers with the right materials to go in there and ask the right questions, anticipate the objections, understand our differentiation versus our competition. How are we arming them to be successful? How are we giving them the tools to be successful? That’s a lot of what, how I like to think about marketing’s function is make sales successful.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, I like that. That’s good advice. Because again, a lot of people who are listening to this podcast are in marketing and in sales. A lot of times that is the feedback we get from our listeners, ” Hey, how are companies aligning like that?” We appreciate that. We’re almost out of time, but let’s get to know you more Fredrik. I’d love to learn a little bit more about, what are some of your hobbies, your interests? I know you have two kids like me. We were talking, let me know what you enjoy doing on the weekend and then leave us with a closing thought.
Fredrik Carlegren: Sure. Yeah. I do, I have two great kids that take a lot of my time and energy, but in the best possible way. Undoubtedly, they get a lot of my attention. This week we’re actually starting music lessons together. Well, kind of together. My son is taking DJ lessons, my daughter on a piano, and I said, well, if I’m going to inaudible them for a lesson, take something too. I’m going to see if I can pick up guitar. I’ve never played guitar before in my life. Somehow though the kids don’t think it’s cool to anticipate that we may get together as a band one day. They didn’t think that was a cool idea so that may not happen. Cooking, traveling, hiking. Gosh, I really hope I can start to do some traveling again. But those are all things that I enjoy too. It’s being outdoors, especially a lot of us at least spend a lot of time in the office and a lot of time in front of our computers. It’s really nice to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, especially down here in North Carolina where it’s so beautiful, a lot of great hiking spots, the inaudible is not too far away.
Vincent Pietrafesa: That’s awesome. One final, just a closing thought, anything you’d like to share to the audience.
Fredrik Carlegren: Yeah. Thinking about inaudible. Putting all that together, life is short. I think about, from a personal standpoint, you’ve got to create memories and create memories for yourselves, create memories for your kids. I’ve done some crazy things in my life looking back, from bungee jumping, and skydiving, inaudible with the bulls, and swimming with sharks, and all kinds of stuff that I haven’t done on a regular basis. Those are the stories that you tell 20, 30 years later. Those are the things that get you excited about thinking about your next trip, ” What am I going to inaudible going to be memorable? What are my kids going to remember?” I think when you take that and apply it to our inaudible day- to- day, we come to the office, we meet and maybe inaudible over and inaudible. Things can feel repetitive. Just think about, how are you going to create a memory? You mentioned these NRF events and how special those are, but those are once a year. What are we doing day in day out? How do we create memories that our clients are going to hold on to? When they think about Toshiba, they’re going to recall that one great experience they had, or hopefully more than one over the course of time. But I think that’s what I would say is, both personally and professionally, just think about that.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Yeah, no, I like that, that balance. It’s all I hear. If this pandemic has taught you anything it’s a little more balanced throughout this process, work- life- family. Get to know your coworkers a little more, do some events. Yeah, no, I love that. I love that. And deejaying, I didn’t know that there was a class for deejaying. That’s pretty cool.
Fredrik Carlegren: Who knew? Yeah.
Vincent Pietrafesa: Who knew? I’ll tell you what, you won’t catch me swimming with any sharks, no way. But the other stuff, that’s cool, that’s great. Fredrik, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for spending your time with us here on the Marketing Stir. Again, ladies and gentlemen, that’s Fredrik Carlegren. He is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. I am Vincent Pietrafesa, that is Ajay Gupta, and this has been another episode of The Marketing Stir. Thank you so much for listening. We appreciate it. Have a great day.