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LATIN AMERICAN TRENDSETTERS: Avaya's Roberto Ricossa, Sees Marketing’s Role as Critical to Sales Growth

Avaya's Roberto Ricossa, Sees Marketing's Role as Critical to Sales Growth

Roberto Ricossa, Marketing Vice President for Avaya, is responsible for defining and leading the Marketing Strategy throughout the Americas International Region, which includes Latin America and Canada. He is quick to point out that marketing can no longer be considered a "secondary" role in any company.

"A Marketer's greatest opportunity today is to capitalize on how organizations are starting to recognize the value that Marketing can generate to various lines of business and to a company's bottom line. Top executives from CEOs, CFOs to Sales Leaders are realizing the impact that a well-oiled marketing engine can have on all company results. It is our role to maximize this and clearly articulate the value proposition that marketing can demonstrate when aligned with the sales organization."

Interestingly, with almost two decades of experience, Roberto Ricossa believes that priorities of marketing have changed today. Although branding continues to be of tremendous importance, he sees "managing innovation" and "understanding the opportunities and expectations of sales" as now critical to delivering on Return on Marketing Investment.

In his marketing role at Avaya, Roberto Ricossa reports into the sales department. He has demonstrated how a strong alignment between marketing and sales can produce measureable results. His work has not only accelerated key revenue growth, but it has raised the perception of marketing within the company. Yet this kind of successful internal relationship comes with constant dialogue; shared vision, strategic direction and tactics; meticulous planning; and, of course, budgeting with ongoing assessment.

"Today," says Ricossa, "Top-level executives from the CEO to the CFO have had more exposure to good marketing and can recognize a beneficial plan when it's presented. However, when you help sales produce double-digit growth, marketing is no longer viewed as playing a support role, but is seen as an essential function in contributing to the company's overall well-being."

"If I could change anything in business today," he asserts, "I would start with a company's P&L and move marketing from an expense to an investment. This is more than semantics. ROI is at the heart of any successful business; effective marketing operates today with the expectations of an investment within a given timeframe."

He also believes the marketing is playing a leading role as the Latin American market experiences overall growth. The key, though, "is realizing that even though every market is different, we have to be able to identify the similarities among countries and maximize our efforts by obtaining economies of scale on pan-regional initiatives with a core essence, but with a local flavor tailored to the pertinent audience."

Roberto Ricossa, born in Mexico City, has 17+ years in the international telecom industry with such leading companies such as Avaya, Nortel and Anixter. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the Ibero University in Mexico, and has several management diplomas and certifications from renowned institutions like The Kellogg School of Management. In 2011, he was named one of The Internationalist's LATIN AMERICAN 50.