It's Not Your Father's Kodak:An Interview with Jeff Hayzlett
By Noel Ward
in 2008 Jeff Hayzlett was named Chief Marketing Officer for all of
Kodak, moving up from the role of Chief Business Development Officer.
Hayzlett, a longtime ambassador of print, has also been one of the most
visible senior executives of any large American company today. He has
spoken at a plethora of events around the globe and even made national
television appearances on "The Apprentice" where he hung out with
Hayzlett comes to his new role in an
uncomfortable economy, and faces numerous challenges as Kodak continues
its transition from its legacy of cameras and film to digital printing,
pre-press and keeping a foot in movie film, photography and
consumer-oriented photo products. While he acknowledges the realities
of the economy and the hyper-competitive markets in which Kodak plays,
he is bullish on the potential for the company to excel, even in these
less than certain times. WTT managed to hear some of Hayzlett's
thinking on the new role and Kodak's place in the market as 2009 kicks
WTT: You have been the print industry's leading
ambassador for the past several years. How have you seen attitudes
toward print changing as you travel around the world speaking and
talking with customers and Kodak's partners?
passion for printing drives Kodak’s team to devote a great deal of time
and resources to promoting the power of print as a vital part of the
communications mix to audiences around the world. Whether meeting with
printers and marketers in developing countries or industrialized
nations, we see strong support for print’s ability and agility to reach
people in a meaningful way, from mass communications to mass
Of course, we see different perspectives in
different countries and regions, depending on the stage of development
of the print industry in that area. For instance, in Asia, Eastern
Europe and the Latin America Region, conventional printing dominates.
There, print maintains its position as a preferred mass medium. In
fact, the top 15 economies that produce 86% of retail print and
packaging include China, India, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia. And rising
literacy rates in developing countries will create future demand for
In the U.S. and other markets where digital continues
to take hold, we see favorable attitudes toward print driven by its
effectiveness in reaching people on a personal level. As marketing
increasingly moves from reaching many consumers at the same time with
the same message to communicating with each person on a one-to-one
basis, applications such as personalization and TransPromo give print a
distinct advantage and keep it top-of-mind with marketers.
current difficult economic conditions provide an opportunity to
demonstrate how print-driven integrated campaigns can yield a strong
return on marketing investment. Through the use of VDP, web-to-print,
PURLs and other digital applications, print service providers can shift
the discussion with customers from cost-per-page to value of the page.
by the way, even young people prefer print. A recent survey conducted
by ICOM Information and Communications found that 57% of respondents in
the 18-34 year-old category preferred to receive product information by
direct mail, as opposed to only 27 percent preferring email and online
combined. When it comes to reaching people across all demographics,
print serves as the cornerstone of integrated communications campaigns.
WTT: What are the areas you've seen that have the
greatest opportunity for print to maintain its relevance with so many
other media competing for the attention of business and consumers?
At a time when people receive thousands of marketing messages per day
from dozens of media, print’s advantage comes from its ability to
engage people on a personal level, on their terms, and meet their
individual needs. Digitally driven techniques, such as variable data
printing, versioning and other applications created for highly targeted
recipients, offer tremendous opportunities for print to do much more
than maintain its relevance. Print has greater potential than ever to
deliver a positive return on marketing investment, helping achieve
results such as building sales and loyalty.
receiving messages from so many outlets, marketers are seeking maximize
their reach by integrating several media into their marketing mix.
Print-driven, cross-media campaigns that offer high degrees of
personalization --such as utilizing magazine ads to drive customers to
a landing page on the Web or direct mail pieces that direct recipients
to a PURL-- offer the best opportunities to achieve results.
and offset print technologies are obviously going to continue to
coexist for years to come. How do you see their places in the market
changing in the next few years? And how will one leverage the other?
Blended production environments that include conventional and digital
technologies will continue as the norm for many years to come, with
digital driving the growth areas in commercial print. We see ongoing
acceptance of digital printing for a couple of reasons. It enables
print service providers to expand their capabilities into new
offerings. We also see print service providers realizing that adding a
digital press won’t reduce their offset business and, in fact, often
expands it. In fact, a recent NPES study shows that print service
providers that adopt digital technology experience an uptick in their
offset business, demonstrating how offset and digital can work together
and leverage existing strengths. Full-color shells for direct mail
pieces, for example, often get printed in long runs via offset and
personalized using digital presses.
To help customers sort out
the various considerations and requirements involved in selecting a
digital press, whether in a blended or purely digital environment, we
encourage customers to evaluate the possible solution in terms of what
we call offset-class output. Many will say that offset class just
refers to image quality. However, offset became the gold standard of
production for print because it delivers maximum reliability,
productivity, total cost of ownership, as well as image quality. A
digital press should deliver outstanding results against each of those
attributes. And as ink jet technology continues to be increasingly
applicable for the commercial print space, we see hybrid solutions
--ink jet print heads running inline or offline with a web press to bring
VDP capabilities to the offset environment-- growing in 2009.
You're now going to be the CMO for all of Kodak. That's a big job and
while Kodak has already done a good job of making the analog to digital
transition, there is certainly plenty more to be done. What are the
JH: Certainly the biggest challenge
on the mind of any CMO these days is the economy. While we can’t
control the many circumstances that contribute to current economic
conditions, we plan to manage through them by continuing to introduce
innovative products, listen to customers, develop solutions and share
expertise. Against that backdrop, we think Kodak remains in a solid
position. We have innovative products, the company is financially
strong with a strong cash position, a modest debt balance, and despite
current lower overall demand, we continue to maintain market share in
our key businesses.
For Kodak’s commercial businesses, we will
continue to perform with excellence and partner with customers who
make, manage and move images and information. That could mean
supporting a print service provider whose growth depends on managing a
blended production environment or a large enterprise that seeks to
increase productivity through easier data management, document sharing
and retrieval. Delivering on the promise of our ink jet technology
represents another key area of emphasis.
WTT: What are the most important elements you see in building a digital brand today?
Speed and relevance top the list. We must get products faster to market
than our competitors and make sure that those solutions make a
difference in the businesses of our customers. Digital means we must be
quick, nimble, innovative, technologically savvy and ready to harness
the resources of the many companies we work with to build our brand.
WTT: Can you talk some about branding of content and how products become part of a storyline?
Sure. I mentioned that relevance represents a key element in how we’re
building a digital brand. The concept of branded content follows that
approach. It refers to our focus on finding ways to incorporate Kodak’s
products and messages into storylines in entertainment and other
content that people seek out. A good example is our participation in
“The Apprentice” in 2008 to promote the KODAK All-in-One Printer. Kodak
was mentioned every four seconds on a program that millions of people
chose to watch. That kind of awareness brings with it the type of
exposure and value you can’t get from a traditional TV commercial.
WTT: What are some of the things you'd like to see happen for Kodak?
JH: That’s an easy one: continuous growth through focus, streamlined engagement with customers, and diversity marketing. ¬
You have a record of doing things other print industry executives just
don't seem to do. This certainly gives the brand of Jeff Hayzlett a lot
of visibility, and puts you out there for all to see. Since your
relationship with Kodak is always part of your activities, what do your
activities say about Kodak?
JH: I think Kodak is the
best brand in the world and am thrilled to be in a position to share
this opinion widely. When asked about where we stand today, I like to
say that “it’s not your father’s Kodak.” Today’s Kodak is a
fast-paced, highly innovative company and a real global leader in the
digital revolution. For example, we take advantage of just about every
new media opportunity out there --blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook,
you name it-- to promote the Kodak brand. I like to think that my
activities and approaches to marketing reflect the new Kodak.