Lisa Cole has had a busy year.

In fairness, I suppose everyone had a busy 2020. But Lisa, Vice President of Corporate Marketing at FARO Technologies, has been leading a full transformation of an enterprise marketing organization in a year where most of FARO’s primary customer base has been absolutely hammered.

Still, Lisa has persevered. We sat down with her recently to reflect on some of the important dynamics of last year; from aligning the organization to working with partners.

Getting Started: Calling Out Bad Customer Experiences


Lisa’s first challenge was aligning the entire organization around the thing that mattered most: the customer experience.

One approach that works particularly well is “secret shopping” an organization to really understand the experience that customers receive.

“Most people will agree that if the experiences you’re delivering to your customer are less than ideal… most people will rally around and provide you support” says Cole.

The other technique is often called the ‘wall of shame’ – a process of visualizing all of marketing’s ad hoc tactics. Putting them all up on a wall has a way of framing the larger customer experience – and hopefully, some ideas for how to fix it.

“You’re literally painting a picture to say, we can’t operate this way anymore,” says Cole, “Whether it’s the experience, whether it’s inconsistent brand or disjointed messages, or just too many. In my case, the wall of shame here at Faro was one person receiving 600 emails in a six-month timeframe and being able to visualize what that 600 emails looks like. It was enough.”

2020: Full-Blown Transformation

Two years ago, FARO’s executive leadership had come to the conclusion that a transformation was necessary – not only within the marketing department – but also the entire organization. The company’s cost of sales was higher than that of their competitors, and they needed to come up with a more effective way to market and sell.

Enter Cole, who was tasked with overseeing this transformation, and ensuring that it all came to fruition. No small challenge, but Cole preferred to see it as an opportunity. This was her chance to be a change agent – someone who recognizes an opportunity for improvement and acts on it.

But this year was obviously more change than anyone bargained for. FARO sells 3D measurement, imaging and realization technology into a few core industries: automotive, aerospace, construction and public safety.

“If you think about three of those, those are probably the hardest hit industries in terms of the economic shut-down globally.” But to Lisa, the pandemic was merely an accelerator for an existing trend: the shift away from big events and ad hoc product promotions to always-on, digital marketing.

“What’s great about being a 3D visualization company is that we were able to pivot very quickly, with virtual events. But it did mean we had to stop and start. Every plan we had was completely leveled.”

While most would lament the stress of 2020, Lisa sees the bright spots.

“It did lift some of the stakeholdering that I would have had to do over a very long period of time to change the minds, collectively internally, it took that away. It was like, ‘oh, we literally can’t do these things’.”

Transformation Requires the Right Cavalry



Many of FARO’s competitors were not prepared to move all of their marketing activities online when it became necessary to do so. “It does immediately expose a complete lack of emphasis on this always-on digital engine,” Cole says.

In making the pivot to digital, there is a tendency for some firms to throw all their money at online marketing. But FARO has taken a more nuanced, data-driven approach to how, when, and where to deploy digital marketing spending – and how best to convert that into revenue growth.

FARO’s strategy for its always-on digital engine leverages the expertise of key partners like Demand Frontier, which has taken the lead in creating a host of the company’s digital marketing touchpoints.

“We need to be able to provide our partners across the business with full visibility of what we’re doing and what kind of an impact it’s having. And, yes, (Demand Frontier) has been a key element of this,” Cole noted.


Lisa Cole is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at FARO Technologies and is proud to be a part of the mentorship program of Women In Revenue. Learn more here.