Kevin Iaquinto brings a fresh relationship marketing approach to Deltek’s B2B software.
By Nancy Flagg
Only six years out of college, Kevin Iaquinto co-led the marketing agency team that helped transform Claritin from an unknown prescription allergy drug into one that consumers asked for by name. During his time co-leading the account in the mid-1990s, Claritin sales skyrocketed from $800 million to $4 billion annually, as Iaquinto’s budding talent in the new art of relationship marketing took flight.
Iaquinto started his career in a grassroots political lobbying firm, but later transitioned to the RTCdirect
agency that pioneered the art of relationship marketing––an approach Iaquinto uses to this day in building long-term bonds with customers. Iaquinto’s timing in joining RTC was fortuitous because the Food and Drug Administration had just begun relaxing its rules on direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription medicine; Iaquinto was able to launch RTC’s method in the pharmaceutical industry.
Iaquinto ran accounts that marketed everything from cholesterol-lowering medication to anti-allergy drugs to toe-fungus solutions. With Claritin, he sent millions of pieces of direct mail to consumers in thousands of different versions to allergy sufferers of all kinds. The campaign was a “gangbuster success,” and became the “gold standard in direct-to-consumer marketing that prescription brands still try to emulate to this day,” according to Iaquinto.
Transforming Company Brands
Iaquinto parlayed his early success into a personal specialty: brand transformation. He began working for a number of software companies by restructuring their marketing teams and brands to better align them with customer needs and sales team objectives.
At webMethods, his brand transformation made the company attractive to potential buyers. In 2007, the company was acquired by Software AG. Iaquinto and his webMethods marketing team supplanted the Software AG team, and Iaquinto was tapped to run global marketing for the combined company.
Managing a team of 55 global marketers, he repositioned the company from a software integration provider to a “business process improvement company.” Tasked with integrating acquired companies into the brand, Iaquinto said that “being flexible to marketing approaches and cultures is key—some of the best marketing programs are created globally but versioned locally,” meaning that central programs are rolled out in versions and languages adapted to meet different countries’ needs. Iaquinto and his team, he said, played a role in doubling the company’s revenue within three years.
In 2010, Iaquinto joined Deltek as Chief Marketing Officer. He immediately re-cast Deltek with the tagline: “Know More. Do More.” This statement, according to Iaquinto, is indicative of how Deltek helps customers achieve greater insight into their business processes and sales pipeline through the Deltek’s dubbed solution suites.
Innovation- and Initiative-Bound
Deltek recently was purchased by a private equity firm for 10 times its annual profit margin. Iaquinto’s leadership approach was formed, in part, by his father, who coached young Kevin’s sports teams while serving as a Chief Financial Officer at various companies. Iaquinto also was greatly influenced by his former boss Michael Collins and by team-building advice from basketball coaching greats such as Pat Riley and Rick Pitino.
Iaquinto expects his team to take the initiative in solving marketing problems. In his words, his leadership style is predicated on “giving employees enough rope so they can either run with it or tie themselves in a knot.” And if the latter happens, he helps set them back on the right path.
The most important job of marketers is to “generate new and compelling ideas,” Iaquinto said. He gives his quarterly Great Initiative Reward to team members who take the initiative to manage new projects or who find and solve problems. The award brings team recognition and a small monetary gift.
To many people, selling business-to-business software is not very sexy, but Iaquinto takes an unconventional approach that helps to makes it more interesting and entertaining. He makes sure he “thinks like a consumer” in developing his marketing campaigns.
Coming from a consumer-focused marketing agency background, Iaquinto chalks himself up as a “frustrated consumer marketer at heart.” He knows that ultimately it is people, not companies, who make purchasing decisions; he captures audience interest through emotional appeal and consumer marketing tactics, such as compelling event marketing, flash animation, product demos and videos that both entertain and educate—what he calls “edutainment.”
At Deltek’s annual user Insight conference, Iaquinto has increased the amount of customer-led content and added top-level entertainment. Additionally, his Deltek team has produced a number of “For Dummies” books on topics of interest to users, such as how to capture more federal government business.
“Great marketing is not only about generating the initial interest,” Iaquinto said, “but building compelling hooks all along the buyer’s journey.” He is energized by the constant changes that a career in marketing brings and the never-ending quest to find the next new big idea.
Nancy Flagg is a freelance writer based in Sacramento, California.
Kevin's Key Partners:Maritz Travel (Travel Programs) | Big Picture Media & Events (Digital Identity) | Bluetext (Marketing & Communications) | Racepoint Group (Public Relations)
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