Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Michael Mendenhall

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Hewlett-Packard


There’s no question that Michael Mendenhall was visible in 2009.  He tirelessly criss-crossed the globe to offer keynote perspectives at top marketing events ranging from the CMO Summit to the Cannes Ad Festival to the Carnegie Council’s Global Policy Innovation Program to IAB, ANA and 4As annual corporate meetings.  If true leaders are confident in sharing innovative ideas and visions of an industry’s future, then Michael Mendenhall is utterly fearless at a time when risk-taking is occurring far less frequently.

Not only is Mendenhall easily conversant on topics from sustainability to brand leadership to transparency & accountability to R&D innovation to new digital platforms, but in two and a half short years with HP, he has unquestionably transformed how the company markets its brands, spends its global media budget and thinks about ‘consumer ecosystems.’
HP is the world’s largest IT company and serves more than one billion customers in over 170 countries on six continents.  Yet, Mendenhall was able to wrap his arms around the sprawling tech giant to help make it a study in global best practices with its mission to “invent technologies and services that drive business value, create social benefit and improve the lives of customers – with a focus on affecting the greatest number of people possible.”
HP also simplified its customer segments to just three main groups – households, small to medium businesses and large enterprises.  The company’s core businesses also fall into three main areas: The Personal Systems Group (business and consumer PCs, mobile computing devices and workstations), The Imaging and Printing Group (inkjet, LaserJet and commercial printing, printing supplies) and Enterprise Business (servers, storage, enterprise services and software).
HP’s numbers are staggering.  The company ships more than 1 million printers per week and 48 million PCs per year.  One out of every three servers shipped worldwide is an HP.  The company manages over 200 data centers, 380,000 servers, 5.4 million desktops, and 17 million IP addresses. More than sixty percent of the company’s revenues originate outside of North America.
Its triumph, though, has much to do with how the company easily enables consumers to act differently in an information age where power is truly in the hands of the end user.  Under Mendenhall’s direction, HP is now a leader in using digital media as a primary means of interacting with its customers as it allows for greater engagement and co-creation.  Mendenhall often refers to this as “harnessing the talent of our customers to help to build our brand.”
The company has also made it easy to evaluate products and make smart tech decisions for individual needs by seamlessly linking to independent sources for product reviews.  Smart shoppers may now make this a regular part of their online behavior, but it also underscores the commitment of a manufacturer to making the best brands possible.

Two years ago some thought that Michael Mendenhall may be an unlikely candidate to head marketing at a technology company after a 17-year career with Walt Disney Company.  Perhaps he did bring some of the Disney magic to HP.  Yet, it didn’t come with a “wish upon a star.”  Mendenhall is well-grounded in understanding and driving today’s best marketing practices and is to be applauded for his energy and his results.


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