Boardroom Insight

Consulting Sector News and Trends

A post-acquisition tech marketing interview with Compugen’s Kara Rudy

Photo courtesy of Compugen

Compugen, Canada’s largest privately-held and operated IT services provider, announced the acquisition of a marketing consultancy called MarketDesign Consulting last month. The company named MarketDesign’s founder, Kara Rudy, as its vice president of marketing and the CMO of its U.S. subsidiary. The deal was preceded by a brand refresh that Rudy and her team helped Compugen carry out last year.

Boardroom Insight caught up with Rudy to get the inside perspective on the news. We asked about Compugen’s rebrand, which it turns out was a large-scale, multi-stakeholder project that involved a sizable percentage of the firm’s workforce. Rudy also gave us a glimpse into some of the industry trends that are shaping marketing leaders’ 2024 agenda in the enterprise technology world.

Boardroom Insight: Thanks for chatting with us and congratulations on the new role. You worked on a fairly major brand refresh at Compugen last year. How did that process unfold?

Kara Rudy: We began by launching a company-wide survey giving everyone in the organization the opportunity to share their take on Compugen’s past, present, and future. With a ~30% response rate, we moved into smaller, half-day workshop sessions with representation from each department throughout the organization made up of team members with various roles, responsibilities, and tenure. From this workshop and the information captured, the tagline, positioning statements, logo, font, colors, and graphic elements were born.

Next, recognizing our renewed focus and commitment as a Technology Ally, 15 additional workshops were held where a small group of sales, service, and operations team members were invited to the conversation. Through the lens of the Storybrand philosophy, we revisited our line card, our core practice areas, our ideal customer profile and buyer personas, and restructured the entire go-to-market approach into what we now call the Compugen World View. 

The executive team played a pivotal role, delivering regular communications on brand updates to staff, customers, and partners. This consistent messaging created a shared understanding of the company’s evolution and vision for the future. 

To facilitate staff engagement, we developed a dedicated portal housing all brand elements including tactics, new stationary, graphics, social media messages to cascade, presentations, and pitch decks. We ran a series of informational sessions to roll-out the new messaging throughout the company to ensure understanding and adoption through all levels of the organization. 

Next, the brand work culminated into the capstone of this project which was the modernization of our website. The overhaul featured simplified navigation, new messages, a migration to HubSpot CMS, and a customer-centric approach aligned with our core values. Crucially, the rebranding effort prioritized inclusivity, accessibility, and bilingualism with both English and French languages supported.

Every department and role within Compugen was considered, emphasizing that everyone plays a part in realizing new possibilities through an experience-by design approach. The success of our rebranding strategy lies in its comprehensive and inclusive nature. The national rollout ensured that every team member, regardless of location, felt connected to the effort and its purpose. The bilingual approach and commitment to diversity underscored our belief that realizing new possibilities is a collective effort. The modernized website and consistent messaging across all channels reinforced our commitment to a customer-centric approach, solidifying Compugen’s position as a visionary leader in the ever-evolving technology landscape.

Boardroom Insight: IT service providers tend to layer a fairly large amount of educational content into their marketing. Explaining how a new GenAI product from a partner vendor works and so on. How does marketing figure out what’s the right mix of education and sales when developing the quarterly content schedule?

Kara Rudy: As a marketing-led, sales-driven organization, we are huge proponents of the inbound approach, prioritizing content marketing and consultative selling, particularly at the top of the funnel. We are continually working to align marketing, sales, and service teams with data and insights to create content that brings in the right audience and resonates with their questions and areas of interest. From there, making sure we have the right journey in place to influence speed to sale is a key priority.

Boardroom Insight: Every IT vendor has its own set of marketing materials and selling points. What role does the product messaging of a consultancy’s partner vendors play in its marketing strategy?

Kara Rudy: Oftentimes the OEM brand recognition in the market is strong and their product marketing content library is more robust than yours. So, it’s up to your company to leverage those assets but build on layers that are unique to your brand’s unique value proposition and thought leadership perspective. 

Developing and maintaining a robust channel strategy is essential in our world—funding is dependent on that—and to us, it’s a mutually beneficial partnership. For example, at Compugen, we have developed pillar pages on our website with several of our key manufacturing partners to promote the collective value both companies bring to our clients while featuring recent and relevant blogs, case studies, and offers.

Boardroom Insight: Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, what trends are going to influence marketing priorities in the B2B tech world?

Kara Rudy: Not surprisingly, AI will be one of the hottest topics of conversation this year as marketers continue to experiment with tools that help us work smarter and execute faster.