Awards case study: Learn how Kathy Seegebrecht won 'Marketer of the year' through digital transformation

Find out how Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Seegebrecht won the award for 'Marketer of the year' for spearheading digital transformation at UL

About the marketing candidate

Kathy Seegebrecht is the SVP and Chief Marketing Officer at UL. Kathy’s responsibilities include branding, demand generation, customer advocacy, corporate social responsibility, global communications and marketing operations, to name a few. She has helped to evolve and define UL’s brand and its role to empower trust and, in doing so, to solve critical challenges and help innovators around the world to discover new possibilities and deliver what matters — safety, quality, security, sustainability and confidence.

The brand they work for

UL is disrupting the Testing, Inspection and Certification category it pioneered 125 years ago. Kathy and UL have reframed the category by positioning UL as “the global safety science company,” helping to drive UL’s digital transformation and, as a result, extending its leadership. In the process, Kathy and her team have undertaken – and successfully met – myriad challenges:

  • To grow globally (especially outside North America)
  • To increase brand relevance through smarter brand strategy and thought leadership
  • To tie this to demand generation
  • To streamline a brand grown through multiple acquisitions
  • To project innovation and re-define “Testing, Inspection and Certification” as a new, more relevant and value-rich “Safety Science” category
  • To associate the UL brand with superior confidence and trust in order to drive differentiation and growth.

Significant career achievements

Since joining UL, Kathy has:

  • Created extensive in-house capability for insights, creative services, content marketing, digital and social media and lead generation – elevating marketing’s impact and profile across the organisation
  • Been named Marketer of the Year in 2019 by ANA Business Marketing
  • Been named Marketer of the Year in 2019 by The Drum B2B Awards

Achievements in the last 12 months

Kathy staged major initiatives to create a new, customer-focused UL and address each of UL’s challenges:

1. Prime the pump via thought leadership and branded content 

Launched Perspectives, a content platform for research and actionable insights. Perspectives’ ‘secret sauce’ is the use of AI to drive relevance and content consumption.

2. Become customer-centric by enhancing the brand/digital CX

Launched a vastly streamlined brand/digital architecture based on nine core customer needs and five sets of strategic solutions. The new launched this year manifests this architecture.

3. Re-assert brand relevance by launching UL’s first-ever global brand campaign

“The World Runs on Trust” showcases how UL empowers trust and keeps the world spinning toward a secure, safe and sustainable future.

Kathy has also partnered with UL’s CEO and its Chief Digital Officer to drive digital reinvention and create a new UL based on customer needs.

Strategic vision and/or impact on the business

The net effect of all these efforts: UL’s massively expanded ability to deliver the level of marketing required to maintain leadership in a hotly contested, rapidly transforming Testing, Inspection and Certification category. Kathy’s effort reaped massive rewards:

Prime the pump: With150,000+ visits since mid-2018, Perspectives has increased brand engagement by 32%, generating nearly 2,000 leads. Overall, 1.45X more marketing leads have been converted into opportunities than previously with collaboration and alignment with sales helping to drive improved lead quality and results.

Become customer-centric: A “laundry list” of offerings is now five strategic solution sets based on nine key needs. 300+ digital properties are now half that number. The new has eliminated the rest while increasing traffic by 11.4% post-launch.

Re-assert brand relevance: “The World Runs on Trust” has soft-launched to exuberant response. The Board’s on board. We go big starting May.

Impact on other employees and departments

On a parallel track to all her other efforts, Kathy spearheaded digital marketing  transformation and formed an entirely new organisation. Specifically she has:

  • “De-siloed” and integrated Strategic Communications, Brand, Customer Advocacy, Corporate Communications, PR, Social Media and Content
  • Taken on responsibility for CSR and expanded its agenda to encompass social and environmental sustainability
  • Architected new regional marketing, digital and demand generation teams
  • Built an internal creative services team (now numbering 28) responsible for corporate brand, customer experience, campaigns and photography/videography
  • Built a sports marketing group to professionalize and optimize UL’s global LPGA and USA Rugby sponsorships
  • Streamlined UL’s martech stack to reduce cost and increase impact
  • Grown her organisation overall from 12 to 95 to provide end-to-end, brand-to-demand marketing globally

Elevation Awards 

The B2B Marketing Elevation Awards is the US sister awards programme of the B2B Marketing Awards held annually in London. This submission won for 'Marketer of the year'.

Find out who made the shortlist here!

Elevation awards