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Mitel CMO Eric Hanson Brings the Right Skillset at the Right Time

Mitel announced the appointment of Eric Hanson as Chief Marketing Officer late last week, bringing the right skillset at exactly the right time.

Hanson joins Mitel from security vendor OneSpan, where his expertise in demand generation helped grow OneSpan’s share of voice and reputation. Hanson is also no stranger to the Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) industry, having also spent time at Fuze and helping quickly scale and grow that company before its acquisition by 8×8 in 2022.

Why do I say the right leader with the right skillset at the right time? This is a crowded market segment and a very competitive one. While in some instances, there has been a rush to embrace cloud-based UC SaaS solutions, a significant segment of the market still prefers on-prem deployments, or wants the option of private or hybrid clouds. Mitel has bucked the industry trend of shifting wholly to the SaaS model and has served its customer base well, recognized their unique needs, and has managed to hold onto that customer base.

Customer Lifecycle Management Focus Has Served Mitel Well 

Beyond equipment, Mitel’s focus on customer lifecycle management has been a significant focus for the company throughout the last handful of years — and one that I believe has served it well. Mitel leaned way in here, embracing a tailored, intelligence- and data-driven approach to customer lifecycle management throughout their partnerships and programs. At a time when organizations of all sizes have been focused on serving a distributed workforce, providing flexible, agile solutions to serve myriad needs, and working to future-proof their organizations, this obsession with customer lifecycle management focus is smart. That, and Mitel’s commitment to encouraging customers to remain engaged with the team at Mitel and other partners throughout the communications lifecycle was smart. Mitel’s new CMO will inherit a loyal customer base because of the company’s commitment to CLM.

The Opportunities Ahead for Mitel

Unified Communications is about so much more than simply PBX devices and connectivity — the UC stack must support tech stacks that have rapidly evolved and are growing increasingly complex — as well as business needs that are also rapidly evolving. In addition, intelligence is powering voice calls and video meetings and making life (and follow-up) for meeting participants easier than ever before. Vendors who go beyond a one-size-fits-all mentality who provide solutions in formats that suit individual business needs, and provide a variety of solutions that are either on-prem, in the private cloud, or are subscription-based — and which are designed to evolve, change, and grow with them — are what customers seek.

At a time when automation, conversational AI, and generative AI are playing outsized roles in delivering on the customer service front, and intelligent bots and virtual agents are improving contact center experiences, I see many opportunities ahead for Hanson and his team at Mitel.

Marketing is more about effective storytelling and messaging than anything else, and I’m not sure Mitel’s story, up to now anyway, has managed to garner the industry interest and attention it deserves. And that’s what makes this an exciting opportunity for a CMO to step into. Great storytelling is how mediocre product offerings succeed. When you have a really good product offering — which Mitel does — and pair that with a compelling passion for customer lifecycle management and a robust partner ecosystem, it sets you up well for success.

Based on his track record, Hanson knows how to maximize share of voice, and he knows how to grow market share. To me, that means he must be very good at crafting compelling brand messaging and telling those brand stories in ways that resonate with customers and partners. Based on his track record, Hanson also appears to understand the need for continuous innovation and the value of developing a partner ecosystem that benefits customers and serves them well — all of which is exactly what Mitel needs. I’m looking forward to watching what Hanson can make happen as he steps into this role.

Disclosure: theCUBE Research is a research and advisory services firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which can include those mentioned in this article. The author holds no equity positions with any company mentioned in this article. Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually, and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of theCUBE Research or SiliconANGLE Media as a whole.

Image credit: Anatolii Kovalov, iStock

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