Chief marketing officer at Eastman Kodak, Jeffrey Hayzlett revolutionized the company’s worldwide marketing operations and strategic direction, contributing to record growth, new products and an enviable global brand. Hayzlett now aims to do the same for other businesses. DirectConnect caught up with Hayzlett in between appearances for his national tour to promote his new book, The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing?
DirectConnect: What’s your life been like since leaving Kodak?
Jeffrey Hayzlett: It’s been exhilarating. I draw a great deal of energy from the people who have been coming out in droves to either book signings or the keynotes I’ve been doing. You can’t help but be inspired by these entrepreneurs, and by people who truly believe in the free enterprise system and marketing. It’s just awesome.
DirectConnect: What prompted you to write the book?
Hayzlett: I thought with…moving out of this recession, there were people who would need to do some reflective thinking, look at their businesses and ask some really hard questions. A lot of business owners and leaders need to have somebody tell them, “Look in the mirror, and the person you see in the mirror is the one who’s responsible for fixing it or doing it.”
DirectConnect: What questions are audiences asking as you travel the country?
Hayzlett: It’s about how to get the growth started. Everybody got very good at cutting. Now, it’s time to get back to growing. That takes a different mood shift and mind-set. [Setting the mood] is one of the most important things the business leader can do.
DirectConnect: What are the biggest challenges facing businesses today?
Hayzlett: Focus. There are so many opportunities connected to stepping back into growth. Where should you make your bets? What things should you do? A lot of people are trying to go to the next big thing when, quite frankly, if they just look around, there are some really good things already in their toolbox, direct marketing being one of the most important. Yet, they’re [saying], “Let’s to do social media” or “Let’s go do video.” Well, those are important – and also mobile. But a good direct mail campaign done right is one of the most effective tools there is. A good telemarketing campaign done right is [another] effective tool. So, don’t leave the traditional things for the sake of adopting the “new flavor of the month.”
DirectConnect: What’s next for you?
Hayzlett: I’m doing some consulting for a few established, major brands and a number of start-ups. I’m starting to serve on boards. I’m working on some other future, more public projects, to be announced. There have always been rumors that I’ll be doing some television and some more public focusing activity.
DMNews: Are those rumors accurate? You were on [NBC television show] The Apprentice recently.
Hayzlett: I think there’s a strong possibility that I’ll be more involved in the broadcast world. It’s an exciting time and I’m having a blast.