Rachel Cain has been with Eastman for nine years and has been an advocate for growth and improvement during her entire tenure. She was integral in gaining buy-in to invest the time, funds and resources necessary for a digital integration of unheard-of proportions. And even more importantly, she led a hybrid IT/MarCom team to complete their mission. Rachel led the charge on the marketing transformation and has driven some impressive results, having already exceeded the initial goal for 2020. The company has specifically seen marked improvements in ROI and is using this foundational work to inform and propel the next phase of transformation for the company.
Can you share any particular achievements you are most proud of in your current role?
I’m most proud of my role as the owner of our Marketing Communications function within our CRM. That project – and the tool we now support as a result of it – helped cement the Sales Enablement role of Marketing Communications within the company and has impacted the choices we’ve made ever since. When you can make metrics-based decisions for your MarCom tactics, you’re enabling the company to perform at a higher level. I’ve always said you must build some sort of an analog version of the process or body of work in order to later automate it. It’s the short-term pain for the long-term gain. Cliché, but true. Defining a Leads function for the company wasn’t something I ever thought I would be doing, but it’s such an integral part of business today, truly enabling customers and our internal clients to succeed. We built a program that since its inception has brought in more than $4M in the lead pipeline and allowed us to adjust and make metrics-based decisions as we plan for the future.
Can you share any details about how your team, or individuals on your team, have helped drive innovation? How have you maintained your collaboration and innovation despite the current WFH reality?
As soon as the team went into lockdown in March, we began doing daily stand-up meetings (a nod to agile) mostly to stay up to date. It has opened a lot more collaboration than we had anticipated. And in fact, our Creative/Digital Teams are closer than they have ever been before. It turns out, COVID-19 leveled the playing field for teams around the world. Suddenly, global teams from all walks of life are in the same boat. I believe the virus was a way for the team to truly see each other more as individuals, now with something critical about their well-beings, their families, in common. The WFH has afforded team members to come together and to rally around the work at hand. I’ve noticed the work is more focused, intentional and innovative. And more importantly, team members care about each other’s wellbeing. They haven’t even noticed how much more productive (or agile) they’ve become. An added benefit is that the team is truly poised now to become more agile for the future. So, in a way, WFH has fast-tracked the adoption of the agile approach.
In the midst of Covid-19, what are some lessons you’ve learned that will impact or influence the future of your work?
I’ve learned Crisis planning is critical, not just Crisis Communications planning. Team challenges shifted to broadband issues, connectivity and kindergarten Zoom meeting conflicts. Overcommunication, daily stand-up meetings and cross-training will be critical as we move forward. Those things won’t be going anywhere. I’ll be including my global team members in more conversations to intentionally diversify projects and conversations to ensure we don’t lose that collaboration and POV as we go forward. I believe we’ll be hard-pressed to make the case for a cubicle now that we’ve all been educated on airborne pathogens, and I’m anticipating pushback on “office life” moving forward.
What sources for inspiration help you stay excited and invigorated in your work?
I live in a small town in Northeast Tennessee. There’s not a whole lot here except the Appalachian Mountains, great music and Eastman. We’re highly tenacious people who make products that enhance the lives of people every day. We make materials for many of the products you see or touch on any given day. Eastman is consistently innovating our portfolio of products and the products themselves. Our commitment to the people of the company, its communities and the products we make is unwavering. We’ve been around for 100 years. We’ll certainly be around for another 100. And I’m excited to be a part of driving our sustained success well into the future.
Vat Tann is an award-winning content developer and marketing executive who oversaw Papa & Barkley’s customer experience. Since he joined Papa & Barkley in January of 2019, Vat has crafted inspiring and elevated programs that won the hearts and minds of customers in a highly regulated and volatile sector. He accomplished this by empowering his high-performing teams and taking an education-first approach to support retailers and engage with consumers. Vat hopes to demystify and destigmatize the cannabis plant, enabling consumers to make informed choices about their cannabis consumption and unlock the plant’s true healing potential.