Q&A with Amy Barzdukas, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Poly

Amy Barzdukas, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Poly is a marketing and communications leader with extensive experience in setting strategy, shifting perceptions, advising customers, digital marketing, revenue marketing, integrated marketing communications, and public relations in highly competitive product arenas.

Amy is known for her ability to create and execute winning turnarounds on a global scale.

MEDIA 7: What inspired you to get into marketing?
AMY BARZDUKAS:
I was always destined for marketing, even if I didn’t know it. As a child, I collected promotional brochures. I was fascinated by how the words and pictures were used to drive action. My first job was as an advertising copywriter, and I’ve never looked back.

M7: How is Poly redefining the video conferencing experience for modern businesses?
AB:
 We’re in an unprecedented time of change in our industry. Voice and video services are moving to the cloud, and companies are changing how they approach their communications needs. Poly is the largest provider of the devices – video conferencing, audio conferencing, headphones and desk phones – you use to connect to these services so you can collaborate with your colleagues. That uniquely positions us to shape the video conferencing experience, and we’re doing so in four ways.

First, Poly has made both the Zoom Rooms and the Microsoft Teams video conferencing experience better than ever with our radically simple Poly Studio X video bars that deliver these experiences with no PC or Mac required. We’ve got decades of experience in understanding what makes meetings more human – for everyone in the room and those dialing in from other locations – and we’ve packed all of that into easy-to-install, easy-to-manage, and easy-to-use all-in-one powerhouses.

Second, we are bringing the world of AV and video conferencing into the modern app economy. Our Studio X series and Poly G7500 video conferencing devices run a common platform that can be updated and enhanced through a series of regular software updates. This Poly platform, built on Android, can run applications like a smartphone does today.

Third, Poly has introduced innovation that makes any video conference better. Our new Poly MeetingAI features use AI and machine learning to address the distractions that hit your senses in a meeting. We make it easier to hear what’s being said by blocking out the annoying noises that people make while talking, and we make it easier to see what’s going on in the room with the most advanced speaker tracking and framing, and our built-in production rules.

Finally, we are pricing our solutions in a way that completely resets the calculations on what it costs to outfit a room. The Studio X30, for huddle room and smaller spaces, costs just about $2,100, including the Poly TC8 touch controller. All you add is the cloud service and a monitor, and you have a room up and running for under $2,500. That’s easily under the cost of other solutions and with better audio and video quality.


"Baby Boomers and more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise."

M7: As the CMO of Poly, what were the major challenges in rebranding and transforming two separate organizations (Plantronics and Polycom) under a single brand Poly?
AB:
One of the greatest challenges of bringing together Plantronics and Polycom was doing so in a way that honored their brand equity, history, and positive associations while establishing a new story for the new company. Plantronics was already an audio pioneer– the first headset that transmitted Neil Armstrong’s famous words during the first moon landing. Polycom was the leader in audio and video conferencing – the conference phone used by business leaders and industry captains.
We had to figure out how to build a stand-out narrative in a crowded space for the general market. For customers and partners, we found a way to carry through the legacies and histories of both companies into the new brand. And for our employees, we had to inspire them to believe in the new brand and the new combined mission. These different challenges with different stakeholders took different approaches to confront, but in the end, we brought everyone to the same conclusion that Poly was moving forward, unified and stronger.

And like any acquisition, integration takes time. We’re proud of our accomplishments since rebranding to Poly in March 2019. Since then, we’ve refreshed our video conferencing line of products, broken new ground with a mobile phone station called Elara 60 Series and showcased our continued commitment to expanding the ecosystem with partners such as Zoom, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and more. As Poly, we bring a new level of quality, simplicity, and flexibility so that every communication can easily become a place for collaboration and innovation for the enterprise.


"Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace."

M7: A recent study by Poly reveals that employees prefer noisier open offices to closed, quiet spaces. What do you think is responsible for driving these unique demands in the workplace today?
AB:
Our research shows that Gen Z and Millennials tend to prefer open offices compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers and that more than half of Gen Z say they are most productive when they were working around noise. What we’re seeing is that Gen Z and Millennials came up in an era of digitization, so they are more accustomed to the tools and technology to deal with distractions in the workplace. For example, they’re used to wearing noise-canceling headphones to block out the background noise, and similarly at home with video. They’ve been doing it all their lives!

Now that we can work from anywhere – coffee shops, airports, waiting rooms – we are more accustomed to dealing with distractions and working through them. We take that mindset into the office along with the tools we may use to address distraction, from a pair of comfortable headphones with ANC to deciding to do different types of work in different settings.

M7: What features have made Poly Studio win the 'Best of Enterprise Connect' award in the '2019 Communication/Collaboration Device'?
AB: 
Poly Studio is our answer to the need for easy-to-use video conferencing devices for smaller spaces called huddle rooms. Poly Studio is a video USB bar with premium audio and video capabilities. Its standout features include NoiseBlock, which mutes distracting background noises, Automatic Group Framing and Speaker Tracking, which zooms in to focus on the speaking participant. This board-room like audio and video transforms small meeting rooms into a center for collaboration. We’re also pleased that it was recently certified for Zoom Rooms and Microsoft Teams. The device also works with Skype for Business, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx and Amazon Chime, and virtually any cloud-based video collaboration service.


"Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging."

M7: What traits make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace?
AB:
Our in-depth expertise, tireless innovation, and emphasis on partnership make Poly a global leader in communications and a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

Poly combines legendary audio expertise with powerful video and conferencing capabilities to help our users overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance, making communication in and out of the workplace challenging. When the world was on a race to space in the ’60s, NASA approached us—Plantronics back then—with a seemingly impossible task: create a headset that would equip astronauts to communicate with Mission Control from the earth to the moon, and back again.

Fifty years later, we share the same mission today: to create powerful connections that unify people the world over. We’re designing technology for the different ways people work – open offices, remote locations, mobile-first workers. We are the largest provider of headsets, video and audio-conferencing devices that you use to communicate and collaborate for your work, whatever that may be. And we continue to innovate with products like Poly Studio X that change how people collaborate.
Through partnerships with industry leaders like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Zoom, Poly takes an open-architecture approach that allows users to seamlessly connect across all the best technologies. Whenever and wherever people connect with these services, we will be there to provide the best-in-class audio, video and voice technology to make the experience that much better.

M7: What’s your superpower or spirit animal?
AB: 
My superpower is the ability to read amazingly quickly, thanks to the experimental elementary school I attended. I don’t know how anyone gets through their workload without it, honestly. My spirit animal? I told my husband the other day that I think it is Tom Petty. I’m a huge fan. If you have a problem, there is a Tom Petty song that can solve it, or at least make it more fun.

ABOUT POLY

Plantronics, Inc. (“Poly” – formerly Plantronics and Polycom) (NYSE: PLT) is a global communications company that powers meaningful human connection and collaboration. Poly combines legendary audio expertise and powerful video and conferencing capabilities to overcome the distractions, complexity, and distance that make communication in and out of the workplace challenging. Poly believes in solutions that make life easier when they work together and with our partner’s services. Our headsets, software, desk phones, audio and video conferencing, analytics and services are used worldwide and are a leading choice for every kind of workspace.

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Buyer Intent Data

ON24 Recognizes 2023’s Leaders in Digital Engagement

Business Wire | January 24, 2024

A recent Forrester survey found that more than 60% of B2B buyers base their final purchase decision solely on the digital content and experiences companies provide. That’s why thousands of B2B companies choose ON24 (NYSE: ONTF), a leading digital engagement platform for B2B sales and marketing that helps enterprises generate data-driven insights and deliver cost-effective revenue growth. Today, ON24, announced the industry-leading digital experiences of 2023 that drove ROI for their organizations. “At ON24, our goal is to propel business success through digital engagement, with our customers at the core. We take pride in helping our customers drive deeper engagement with their target audiences and extract meaningful insights that result in revenue growth,” said Callan Young, CMO, ON24. “It is our honor to recognize the leading organizations that exemplify excellence in leveraging our platform to create digital experiences that not only meet but surpass their audience’s expectations.” The following organizations were recognized for delivering outstanding digital experiences on the ON24 platform in 2023: Danfossdrove product growth and customer retention by leveraging distributor, reseller and customer data to optimize its webinar and digital engagement program. FloQastinfluenced 82% of event pipeline in Q3 and created 120+ new active opportunities by routing high-quality leads from in-experience demo requests directly to sales. Global X ETFsincreased qualified, high-value leads in Australia by 22%, by integrating ON24 engagement data with their CRM and using the platform’s personalization capabilities. Informaticascaled a live event into a hybrid experience across three key regions simultaneously, driving registration and delivering a consistent customer experience on a global scale. Infopro Digitalincreased conversion rates and registrations by automating processes on the ON24 platform and making real-time adjustments based on customer feedback. Kasperskydrove product adoption and business growth by creating new relationships with prospects and fostering existing relationships with customers. KnowBe4generated over $300k in pipeline through an ON24-powered digital experience. The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)achieved 100% participant satisfaction for its unique and impactful digital experience powered by the ON24 platform. PowerSchoolachieved record-breaking registration rates, 75 CTA clicks, over 400 poll responses and 300+ content downloads during an educational experience with ON24. S&P Globaldoubled marketing qualified leads and boosted engagement by designing an ON24 digital experience personalized to different customer segments. Tata Consultancy Servicesdrove revenue growth with record-high registrations for their webinar on ON24, resulting in 70% attendee participation across 30 countries. Texthelpsourced leads during a webinar series and converted at least 70% of them into marketing-qualified leads within 30 days. TOPdeskincreased revenue and improved its customer engagement by 7% YoY and extended the shelf life of its content with an on-demand hub. TravelMediaGroupclosed three deals from a single digital experience by creating a seamless and engaging customer experience on ON24. UCBachieved a 50%+ attendee conversion rate by enhancing the HCP’s experience and integrating ON24 engagement data with its business intelligence system. UnitedHealthcareachieved an 80% cost savings, increased attendee score and engagement with a new digital engagement strategy and an always-on content hub. Wood PLCsourced leads, increased audience engagement and automated continuing professional education credits on ON24, across different time zones. ZoomInfosurpassed webinar benchmarks by generating a record number of marketing-qualified leads and 190 scheduled demos, resulting in 10 closed-won deals. To learn more about 2023’s leaders in digital engagement, watch the on-demand webinar here. About ON24 ON24 is on a mission to re-imagine how companies engage, understand and build relationships with their audience in a digital world. Through our leading sales and marketing platform for digital engagement integrated with generative AI, businesses use our portfolio of webinar, virtual event and content experiences to drive engagement and generate first-party data, delivering ​revenue growth across the enterprise – from demand generation to customer success to partner enablement. ON24 powers digital engagement for industry-leading customers worldwide, including 3 of the 5 largest global technology companies, 3 of the 6 largest US banks, 3 of the 5 largest global healthcare companies, and 3 of the 5 largest global industrial manufacturers, enabling organizations to reach millions of professionals a month for billions of engagement minutes per year with all the first-party data being captured, generated and integrated from one place. ON24 is headquartered in San Francisco with global offices in North America, EMEA, and APAC. For more information, visit www.ON24.com.

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