Today’s ‘Day in the Life’ features Ruth Rowan, the CMO of global technology services company, NTT Ltd. Here’s more on Ruth’s role, along with some of her predictions and advice for the future.

Ruth Rowan

Please describe your job: What do you do?

As the CMO, I am responsible for NTT Ltd.’s overall marketing and communications strategy and program execution globally. This includes everything from overseeing our brand differentiation to improving our client engagement and ensuring we’re optimising our owned channels to their full potential. As we’re a global business, this can be very complex, involving lots of different clients and operating across a variety of time zones.

Talk us through a typical day…

Before the pandemic, no day was ever the same. More often than not I’d be travelling to meet and work with our teams or clients from around the world – which is a huge privilege and one of the things I love the most about my job.

My focus recently, however, has been on ensuring our clients and employees know they’re listened to and supported during this period of immense change. We have shown our clients how we can pivot to help their businesses remain successful. I have also been working with my teams to identify the opportunities we can take to better support our business and empower our staff.

How do you maintain an effective work/life balance?

I think getting outside can help everyone switch off from work – I have a dog which means I go for regular walks. I’m also a keen runner and have taken up embroidery in recent months, which I find relaxing!

It’s been more challenging for everyone to balance work and life over the last year – and I think it’s important to address that.

Our ‘Family is Part of the Team’ campaign celebrated the fact that work and personal lives blurred when people started working at home all the time. Everyone was apologising for dogs barking or children appearing in the background of calls so I wanted to ensure everyone knew that we were all in this together. We showcased photos of our team members working with their families and focused on being empathetic to everyone’s different working environments.

How has strategy changed at your company?

Many companies believed they have to rip up their plans and start again, but for us, we have had to be more agile and change the way we execute. Right now, it’s the channels we communicate over and how we engage with one another that is different.

Overall our priorities have stayed the same. We will always be, for example, a technology services company. As we mature as a business, we want to be able to expand the range of services that we sell to our clients to ensure we’re able to cater to their changing needs.

Throughout 2021, I hope that we can spend more time together. This will help us to realise that we have learnt a lot and apply much of this to how we execute in a slightly different way.

How has customer behaviour (or your clients’ customer behaviour) changed during the pandemic?

The biggest change for B2B companies over the Covid period has been the accelerated transition to digital. Digitalisation has played a large role in our sector for the last ten years, but the pandemic has fast tracked this trend.

Before this year, businesses would have been visiting their clients in their offices, hosting and attending events and working together in person. Suddenly the industry has had to shift their focus to the digital space. It has been a learning curve in terms of content, speaker training and how we all use the platforms. It has been fascinating to see the industry adapt.

What do you predict for the future?

Sustainability will remain top of the agenda for businesses. Every company needs to ensure it is reducing its impact on the environment and helping to create a better future. This corporate behaviour will become even more important to customers when they are choosing who to partner with. They want to know that they are working with a responsible brand and will rightly hold businesses accountable.

What advice would you give a marketer right now?

My first piece of advice would be to stay really focused on your customers. We know that every single one of us is changing – but if you stay really close to what’s important to your customers, you will do the right thing. It doesn’t matter who your target audience is, if you can understand who they are and what they need, you will be successful.

Secondly, this year there has been a huge shift towards authenticity. Consumers are looking to spend money with organisations that are giving back and have a sense of purpose. As marketers, it’s important that we’re able to communicate this message to our customers.