“Chief Outsiders has delivered significant value to OMEGA Engineering at a critical time during its transition from a traditional company to a modern and forward-looking commercial organization.” Joe Vorih, CEO, OMEGA Engineering
To understand its customers better, OMEGA Engineering initially brought in Chief Outsiders CMO, Yvonne Brown, for a brief engagement. During a period of leadership change, her role expanded to support strategic planning and head up marketing and customer service as interim CMO. When needed, Brown seamlessly brought in other Chief Outsiders consultants to keep OMEGA on track. Brown’s leadership, combined with the depth of Chief Outsiders’ resources, successfully guided OMEGA through the transition. The company is now well on its way to strengthening marketing infrastructure and improving ROI.
Industrial E-commerce Pioneer
Started at the kitchen table in 1962, OMEGA Engineering has grown into a global manufacturer and distributor of process measurement and control sensors and instrumentation, with offices in 11 countries and 24 country-specific websites.
OMEGA is one of the first companies to employ e-commerce to sell process measurement and control sensors and instrumentation directly to industrial customers. Clients include a broad range of companies—from aerospace to food processing, electronics, automotive, universities and small repair shops.
“It’s been over 15 years since we started selling online, and it’s become a very substantial piece of our business,” said Joe Vorih, CEO. “This makes OMEGA uniquely positioned to leverage new technology to bring solutions directly to our customers.”
In April 2016, OMEGA brought in Chief Outsiders CMO, Yvonne Brown, to understand its customer base to improve its marketing ROI.
“We engaged Chief Outsiders when we realized that, to reform and redirect the company, we needed to get closer to our customers to understand what they do and how we could serve them even better,” reported Vorih. “As an e-commerce company, it took a fresh view and a fresh set of tools to solicit that information and bring it together in a way that was useful to us.”
The nature and scope of the engagement changed quickly when OMEGA appointed Vorih as CEO and charged him with developing a plan to achieve the next level of growth. Faced with a tight schedule, Vorih turned to Brown for support in strategic planning.
What had started as a focused project to understand customer personas grew into an assessment of marketing practices, including comparing best-in-class digital and traditional marketing, with the ultimate goal of recommending strategies for growth.
“My role was to help OMEGA understand the requirements to reach growth goals from a marketing perspective,” said Brown.
Accelerated Strategic Planning
Working closely with leadership, talking to customers and evaluating best-in-class practices, Brown developed a consensus on a customer-assessment approach and proposed strategic recommendations.
“The recommendations became an excellent foundation for the off-site strategic planning sessions,” reported Brown. “They highlighted the top-level issues that needed to be resolved to achieve the company’s growth objectives, including issues with culture, ROI, organization, infrastructure, branding and staffing.”
“We got invaluable insights and useful, actionable information presented in a way that integrated into our business,” stated Vorih. “So it wasn’t hard to use Yvonne’s recommendations or reports.”
To stay on schedule, Brown brought in another Chief Outsiders CMO and digital marketing expert, Sean Klunder, to jointly conduct a digital marketing assessment. This initiative included a competitive evaluation of website technology, e-commerce functionality and social media.
“Yvonne pulled from her colleagues as needed to make sure that they could support our tight deadline,” said Vorih.
Part of the Team
Vorih quickly realized that he was going to need much more assistance to evaluate, plan and execute a change in OMEGA’s marketing infrastructure. “What normally would have taken several months, we had to do in 30 days,” he stated. “I asked Yvonne to become our interim CMO, and with Yvonne’s leadership and functional assistance, that process was accelerated.”
As a full-time interim CMO, Brown became a member of the executive team responsible for managing a staff of 85 marketing, ecommerce, customer service and technical support employees. Part of that responsibility included assistance in the search for a permanent CMO.
“I asked her to act like part of our staff as our marketing leader and she’s done exactly that,” said Vorih. “She's taken the initiative and done everything as if she were a member of the company.”
During the initial phase of the engagement, Brown worked remotely, spending a day or two every other week on site. As interim CMO, she worked at company headquarters three or four days a week, traveling to other corporate sites to attend leadership meetings and strategy sessions.
During her three months as interim CMO, Brown immediately began to implement short term initiatives to grow revenues and improve return on investment, including:
- Setting strategic marketing priorities
- Increasing ROI on print and digital advertising spend
- Improving product launches
- Improving the customer support infrastructure
- Developing more insightful thought leadership content
- Breaking down the silos across global marketing teams
- Outlining organizational changes
According to Vorih,
“Yvonne took the mantle as the marketing lead for the company, drove planning and deployed that into the team. She handled the entire marketing process, all the way from analysis to strategy to planning to execution.”
Filled Leadership Gaps
Faced with the loss of marketing leadership, Chief Outsiders enabled OMEGA to tap Brown as an interim CMO and not skip a beat.
“We were working at a very fast pace, and Yvonne’s capable execution allowed us to take our time to find a permanent CMO while moving forward at full speed,” stated Vorih. “The quality of her work has been excellent! It’s been thoughtful, complete and timely. That was particularly difficult because the mandate changed continually during this time of transition.”
Improved Marketing ROI
The period from the first consulting project, to Brown serving as the interim CMO, to handing off to the permanent CMO, covered about nine months. Even with the leadership changes and evolving mandate, OMEGA has already increased the success of its marketing efforts, including digital spend and direct mail, a major focus in recent months.
“It's been a fantastic relationship!” Vorih said. “I was impressed with how Yvonne transitioned seamlessly from a specific project to being an integral member of the team. That made it very easy to work with her as the value that we were getting increased.”
Agility and Value
Now that the permanent CMO is in place, Brown has been asked to stay on in a part-time role to lead the implementation of specific strategic projects.
“The ability to flex and scale is a very powerful asset. The range of services that Chief Outsiders offers, the talent pool that they draw from, and frankly the way of doing business is different. I would absolutely recommend to other CEOs that they engage Chief Outsiders, and frankly, I will again,” concluded Vorih.