Putting the pieces together: leading global marketing at Avanade

  • Posted on June 5, 2014

I didn’t start out to be a marketer. I took on my first marketing role when I was doing an MBA in Finance and International Business while working and taking my first course in Marketing at night. A business leader said to me, “We’re creating a new solution to fix the Year 2000 problem (aka the Y2K bug).  I have $250,000. Come and do marketing for me.” And that’s how my global marketing career began.

From fax machines to digital business

Back then, the quickest way to reach a “mass” audience with direct marketing was via fax machines. Today, as CMO of Avanade, I see a much different world. Yet the fundamentals of marketing haven’t changed. We still need to understand our target audience and put our customers first. And competitive analysis and positioning are as important as ever.

What’s changed as a result of digital business is our market reach, speed, tools, pace of change and competitive landscape. Today we have more data, but we still face the challenge of analyzing the data and using it to make the right decisions. And businesses have seen a significant power shift in favor of the customer due to the consumerization of IT.

Working in global roles for many years and seeing these changes in both marketing and IT has helped me in my position at Avanade. Over the years, I’ve led or been involved in just about every global marketing aspect of a business-to-business services firm – marketing technology and consulting services, packaging and promoting business solutions for different industries, field marketing, content and thought leadership development, branding, advertising, digital marketing, media and analyst relations, and marketing for major acquisitions – you name it. So the opportunity to lead global marketing at Avanade has allowed me to put all those pieces together.

A culture that breeds success

I’ve been with Avanade for almost two years now. In September, I was given a position on the Executive Committee – where Pam Maynard, who heads up our Europe, Africa and Latin America business, and I are the first two women to serve. Compared with the challenges I’ve heard that other senior leaders have had when they join new companies, Avanade is unique. I’ve been embraced and helped to succeed. Regardless of role and level of seniority, everyone’s been willing to share their knowledge and exchange ideas about how we can improve global marketing.

Of course there have been challenges and lots of hard work. I was brought in to help Avanade take the next step in our global marketing journey – to help tie marketing more closely to the business and sales, and increase return on investment. Any change program comes with difficulties. And marketing is a topic on which you’ll never get everyone to agree. But together with my marketing colleagues, we’ve made real progress and are starting to see some exciting results.

I invite you to learn more about what makes Avanade unique.


Glenn Gutmacher

Some great points from Stella in the text and particularly in the video about the range of career possibilities, the transferrable skills that women have, and self-imposed obstacles to remove.  Women need to feel more confident about their abilities and not just apply for jobs only if they feel they have 100% of the required skills, since men will apply if they feel they have 60% of the skills (a point that Sheryl Sandberg also makes in her great book, Lean In, which Stella mentions)!

June 5, 2014

Stella Goulet

Thanks for your feedback, Glenn. We all have obstacles to overcome - self-imposed or otherwise - but it was interesting to me as I read Sheryl Sandberg's book and other research recent that some were particularly prevalent among women.

October 3, 2014

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