The Masonite Team and The New Brand Reality

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Meet Jennifer Renaud

Jennifer Renaud, SVP and CMO of Masonite, has spent her career building brands at large enterprise companies like Microsoft and Oracle. She is currently tackling evolving a 100-year-old brand, Masonite, and changing what doors mean to consumers. 

*The following content has been adapted from V12’s Movers and Shakers Podcast

The Masonite Team and The New Brand Reality

Host: How is your team gotten composed as you’ve sort of built it to kind of meet your new brand reality? Are there experienced door and building supply people? How does the team look today?

Jennifer: I would say experience building supply, experienced channel marketing, experienced retail marketing, experienced marketing operations, experienced external communications. You know, really taking people who are probably best in their industry and teaching them this industry. The principles are largely the same so it’s very similar.

When I worked at one of the agencies, one of my clients was Pillsbury. Way back when, I can’t say I know anything about their structure now, but they had consumer marketing and customer marketing.

They were going after anyone who eats, which is everyone, and then the retailers who could sell their products. You always want that perfect marriage to happen. So, if you think about a major event happening, like Super Bowl Sunday and you have all your friends over. Pillsbury is going to be out marketing Super Bowl Sunday food items and retailers are going to make sure that that food is at the front of the store. So, when you walk in, you say, “Oh, I’m so going to make that item for my whole family.” Because that’s happening, and I think it’s very much the same when it comes to what we’re doing here at Masonite. So, when I think about the people, I’m hiring, I want people who have those kinds of thought processes and look at the challenges we have today and think about new ways to address the challenges.

Host: Indeed. Well, one of those challenges may be, or may have been at the beginning, how you allocate Masonite’s precious marketing dollars toward all of these various ends. I’m curious about how the spending or the customer influence budgeting has changed as you as you’ve adopted this new model.

Jennifer:  We’re absolutely putting more investment into direct-to-consumer type marketing activities. I would say for us it’s been a big test and learn strategy. You know, see what works and what doesn’t, because we are trying things that we haven’t really tried before as a company.

But I would also say the other thing that we get focused on, and we do chuckle about this all the time, is order of operations.

You know, there’s a mathematical equation for order of operations, and it’s very easy to say there are a lot of cool things that we can do. We look at the order in which they need to get done, in order to spend properly and really understand the end result that we’re driving for. From a marketing perspective, we figure out the objective and stay highly focused on that because it’s very easy to get lost in activities. I like to make sure that we’re always saying ultra-focused on our objectives so that we know what we’re trying to drive. And the objective is the business objective, by the way.

Host: Exactly. Our team also grapples with this and we’ve had to create a system of KPIs that we look at that are all about the business outcome. So, are you, are you looking at a marketing dashboard or a set of measures that you use to keep track of your progress in this regard?

Jennifer: Absolutely. From a CMO dashboard perspective, I’m absolutely looking at what are the business objectives that I’m trying to drive. That’s not something I will share specifically, but there are five really key things that I care about and I’m asking about those all the time. And if it’s not shifting, then I want to dive deeper into the activities that we’re engaging in to do that.

For example, helping people reset objectives. Like, I just sat for two hours with a couple of people on the team and we really just talked about, what are the objective that we’re trying to drive here, and how are we going to make sure that we achieve it. Because the other thing I want people to understand is, it’s a whole village of people here. It’s a huge company. There are lots of people who can get involved in getting the job done. Are we getting everyone involved who should get the job done and play the role that they need to play? 

Using my quarterbacking sports analogy, if I’m looking at offensive coordinator, is everyone set up for the play that they need to run and do it in the order they need to do it?

Host: This is interesting. Has the role of marketing in Masonite’s culture changed? You’re talking about reaching out into various parts of the company. Because, I think it’s probably very easy for B2B remarketing to just sort of be over there. Right, and doesn’t have a lot of engagement with the rest of the company. Is your marketing evolving?

Jennifer: It is absolutely evolving. It would happen at any company that’s really changing how it’s thinking about its engagement with different audiences. As a result, the marketing team has grown. I would say our primary focus, if you think about the audience having really been into the channel for a very long time and now shifting to what it looks like or it’s not in channel. It is a big cultural shift for the business and it’s something that requires from an internal marketing perspective that we’re really working hard to communicate what we’re doing differently.

It’s not easy. I have to admit, marketers are the worst at marketing what they do internally. I mean, we’re trying very hard to be good at it because we really like the other part, and we don’t want to do this part, but it’s a really key part of being successful in making the cultural shift. I admit, it’s the hardest thing, and it’s the thing I’m going to work the longest on being able to get right.

Host: Well, for sure. And I think having those business based KPIs probably lets you communicate on an equal footing with any of the other department leaders. 

Jennifer: With the other business leaders, absolutely.

But, when we talk about the audience segmentation that we do in marketing to go grow our business, you have to do the same level of audience segmentation inside a company to understand what messages you need to communicate and to whom and why. So, why is marketing valuable to a seller and why is marketing valuable to a business leader? Why is marketing valuable to you? And the investor relations team, why is marketing valuable to anyone and operations, anyone who’s working in our plants and making our doors. There’s an important part of what they’re doing that actually creates the customer experience that exists today. So, how do we work together to create that experience for our customers?

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