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397: Ricoh Knows Happy Employees Lead to Happy Customers with CMO Lauren Sallata

Lauren Sallata is using her 20+ years of experience as a marketing professional and executive leader… to moonlight as a roadie, manager, and webmaster for her son’s band, Sunrise Cries?  Well, yes, but she is also applying them to her role as Chief Marketing Officer for Ricoh North America and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Consumer Technology Association. Lauren joined Ricoh in June 2021 after leaving her position as CMO at Panasonic Corporation, where she led North American marketing while also being involved in global strategy in Japan. Before that, she spent several years as the Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Xerox and a Senior Marketing Manager at Verizon Business. She saw the move to Ricoh as a great way to leverage her experience and was excited by the challenge of bringing Ricoh into its next chapter as a digital services company.

In this episode, Alan and Lauren discuss the transformations she’s overseeing at Ricoh, how she’s driving change through people and culture, and why she thinks CMO should stand for Change Management Officer. She also talks about the use cases for AI at Ricoh, the future of mass customization of workstyles, tips for leading a multigenerational workforce, and the importance of evolving to stay competitive in marketing.

Ricoh itself is evolving from its location-dependent heritage portfolio to a future of work that is about accessing information and communicating from anywhere. Over the past two and a half years, Lauren and her team have been focused on growing their customer-centric business strategy, transforming the organization, and revamping their portfolio and go-to-market so they can capture and create value for their 14,000 customers in North America. A large part of this new portfolio is dedicated to technologies that empower businesses of all sizes to enable a remote workforce. Ricoh is also partnering with low-code platforms that are infused with AI and machine learning to allow them to build automation into their customers’ business processes to drive transformation.

Lauren is passionate about driving this change in the company by leading with the customer in mind and always maintaining a digital-first mindset. She tells us this process has to start internally since people and culture are always at the center of change. Ricoh has found that things like quarterly guest speakers, management training, and full buy-in from the entire executive team have helped drive that culture. These initiatives have resulted in a year-on-year increase of 16% in employee confidence. Another change Ricoh has leaned into is the launch of its first brand awareness campaign.

With Ricoh, there cannot be too much information, and the TMI campaign is marrying their heritage with the aspirational future and breaking through with millennial buyers, influencers, and Gen Z talent. The Ricoh marketing team has won several awards for the strategy and execution of this campaign and has seen a 35-point increase in overall awareness. In addition to the boost in customers, the TMI brand awareness campaign has also positively impacted employment statistics, engagement scores, and teamwork and growth metrics.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Ricoh is shifting to keep up with the natural evolution of workspaces
  • What it means to lead with a customer-first and digital-first mindset through culture
  • The internal and external impacts of the TMI Campaign

Key Highlights: 

  • [02:20] Moonlighting as a rock band roadie, manager, and webmaster
  • [04:10] How she ended up with Ricoh
  • [06:00] From office supplies to the WFH end-to-end solution
  • [08:30] CMO: Change Management Officer
  • [11:35] Seeing everything through the customer’s first lens
  • [12:40] Driving change through people and culture
  • [14:45] Leading across generations
  • [16:20] A vertical marketing strategy coupled with account-based marketing
  • [17:50] Making ABM work practically
  • [19:10] Why does Ricoh love TMI?
  • [23:10] The AI portion of the show
  • [25:35] The debate around the future of work
  • [28:10] You must evolve to stay competitive.

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