Kodak’s Hazlett Sees Big Picture: He Values Digital, Preaches Print

July 15, 2007


“Print is never going away,” says Jeff Hayzlett, vice president and chief marketing officer of the Graphic Communications Group at Rochester, N.Y.-based Eastman Kodak Co.

Hayzlett’s no dinosaur. He’s no technophobe either. He’s as state-of-the-art as anyone in Silicon Valley. He believes online media are powerful tools. He simply has done his homework and is convinced a mix of media will best serve marketers well into the future.

“Look at CMO spending,” argues Hayzlett. “About 50% of that spend is in print.” Hayzlett isn’t knocking the Internet. He believes Google is a potent and effective force, but he knows his customers—some of the nation’s top marketing organizations—need both digital and traditional technologies.

“Direct mail is greater in terms of spending for a CMO than broadcast,” Hayzlett claims. “It’s a $900 billion-dollar industry. The Internet is 2.8% of CMO spending. Does the Internet have a play? Absolutely, without question,” he says.

Hayzlett believes printed tools like catalogues complement online media. “There are more catalogues printed today than ever before,” Hayzlett says. “The Internet didn’t wipe them out.”

I caught up to Hayzlett as he was about to give a talk to NASCAR sponsors in Charlotte, N.C. I have to admit I was skeptical. Hayzlett is the ultimate ambassador of the printed medium. In this Web 2.0 world, I was hard-pressed to comprehend how anyone could dedicate themselves to printed media.

Hayzlett won me over. He convinced me that print is here to stay and that Kodak—in the fourth year of a five-year transition plan—is a potent digital force.

“What’s become important is the narrowcast market,” Hayzlett says. “The market of one and the relevance of one.” After meeting with the sponsors of NASCAR, he’ll make his case to the marketers at Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc. He’ll describe the effectiveness of printed color brochures to sway and close a purchase decision. He’ll remind Home Depot of the timeliness, relevance, cost-effectiveness and intrusiveness of customized printed mailings. “We’ll be talking about how they interact and utilize print to build relevant relationships with the customer,” Hayzlett adds.

This month Hayzlett receives a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from Frost & Sullivan Inc., based out of San Antonio, for spurring excellence in sales and marketing. He is uncharacteristically shy when it comes to discussing the award.

“I hope it doesn’t mean my life is over,” jokes Hayzlett, who quickly points to his team’s efforts. “It’s a beautiful recognition for Kodak and the others I’ve worked with over the years,” Hayzlett adds. “It’s their award. They’re the ones that have shaped me.”

“I’m not your typical-looking marketing guy that comes walking down the street,” says the 46-year-old Hayzlett. The South Dakota native stands 6’ 3”, weighs 280 pounds and wears cowboy boots. He started his career in marketing and communications on Capitol Hill working for Sen. George McGovern and then congressman and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

In Washington, Hayzlett fought hard for legislation supporting term limits and seat belts. A natural-born organizer, he rallied religious groups to support causes at the local, state and federal level. He went on to a career in business development and marketing in the graphic communications industry. He was named CMO of Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group—which represents nearly half of the company’s $13.3 billion in revenue—in April 2006 following three years as a consultant to the company.

While Hayzlett evangelizes print, he’s a committed change agent. He knows the power of the digital revolution, and he’s helping Kodak retool. Through Hayzlett’s efforts, Kodak is re-engineering its product offerings to capitalize on the digital revolution to generate revenue and profits in a world where few consumers buy film anymore.

The strategy appears to be working.

“When you look at our company four years ago, we were 95% … nondigital. Today 97% of our company is digital. Today we are driving commercial print factories,” Hayzlett says. “Our work is about elevating print and visual communications and driving more commerce and creativity.”

“When was the last time you bought film?” he asks. “We needed to invent new business models, new products, new technologies and a different culture. Of the 40,000 people at Kodak, only 20% are part of what used to be the old core company.”
Hayzlett’s business unit is in the vanguard of that change. He serves the global commercial printing community. “We sell them Kodak technology ranging from printing plates, plate setters, our software, our color management systems, our work flow systems or even our digital presses,” he says. “We touch 40% of all commercially printed documents in the world. We don’t believe that’s enough. Our goal is to grow.”

“Four years ago, Kodak wasn’t even in that business,” adds Hayzlett, who helped orchestrate a number of acquisitions that expanded Kodak’s digital technology lines.

I asked Hayzlett, if print is such a powerful medium for marketers, why is Google’s share price soaring?

“If I knew that, my stock portfolio would be doing a lot better,” he jokes. “People are looking for great companies that give them great service that are relevant to them. Google does that. You can type in anything and get 900 responses. That’s a huge value.”
While Hayzlett values the digital revolution, he remains the consummate print evangelist.

“You can’t carry electronic media with you and conveniently read it on a train or a plane. You can’t hold it over your head in the rain. You can still do that with a book, a magazine or a catalog,” Hayzlett says.

Michael Krauss is president of Market Strategy Group, based in Chicago, and can be reached at Michael.Krauss@Mkt-strat.com or news@ama.org.



 ©2007 Marion Consulting Partners