Since November, Penny Baldwin has been CMO-exec VP of the security division of McAfee Inc., a global computer security software company headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. She arrived at McAfee after spending three years at Yahoo Inc., where she served as senior VP-global integrated marketing and brand management, and also had a short stint as interim CMO.
BtoB: Your final year at Yahoo was tumultuous, marked by significant executive turnover. What takeaways did you bring from Yahoo to McAfee?
Penny Baldwin: I learned a tremendous amount at Yahoo about having to engage across the entire marketing mix and every channel. It was solid training for what I'm addressing now, with half of our business coming from the consumer market and half from b2b. On top of that was my responsibility for brand management; that's key here at McAfee.
BtoB: McAfee is pretty well-known. What are your branding objectives?
Baldwin: We have high levels of brand recognition but a relatively shallow depth of understanding. First, we have a very broad global product portfolio of security solutions, from laptops and mobile devices to data centers and everything in between. And at the enterprise level, it's fuzzy the further you get from the C-suite and the executives who are increasingly engaged in security and intellectual protection. The conversation has to expand and elevate at the same time.
BtoB: What are you planning to do to address these issues?
Baldwin: I want to put the emphasis on real-time marketing. A lot of the security industry relies on historical data to figure out real-time problems, and marketing has to function in the same way as well. We need to evolve the capabilities of the organization, harnessing the beauty of digital channels to respond to the marketplace far more quickly and in a more modern way. We plan to place a lot of reliance on social media, search engine optimization and paid search. We'll also leverage the power of customer service and support, which is one of the best ways to drive higher satisfaction by handling issues and complaints quickly and positively.
BtoB: How will you address McAfee's international markets?
Baldwin: Our marketplace varies in every country, and it's a complete challenge to say the least. But there are clear pockets of opportunity, some core geographics with great potential. That's so particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. There, we're really investing in long-term business growth.
BtoB: What sorts of programs will you be running?
Baldwin: First, our tagline will not change: “Safe never sleeps.” It tests well, and it's motivating with employees as well. But there's more to be done to bring the brand promise to life and make it meaningful. We'll be introducing a number of new products this year that are strong proof points of that brand promise. Also, although we sell both direct and through channels we'll put more emphasis on direct sales with high-level companies and senior business pros this year, and will rely on the channel for small-to-midsize businesses. And we'll orchestrate a lot with computer OEMs, in particular Dell Inc., to ship computers with bundled security solutions. We have a revenue-share deal with Dell, and that will help us with customer acquisition and renewable revenue streams.
BtoB: What key marketing challenges is McAfee facing?
Baldwin: One of the things to grapple with in the security category is not to scare people into a purchase decision. The fine line here is being cognizant of the bad guys who pose computer security risks but not to use fear-mongering to promote your brand. There are two messaging sides to this coin: One, making it clear that McAfee means “protection with purpose,” that we're enabling customers to operate more confidently with our protection. That's the positive aspect. At the same time, we have to be experts in worldwide threats and the solutions we build and provide.