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For years, the notion of being a millennial has garnered varying degrees of responses. For Jeff Schmitz, the CMO of Zebra Technologies, the millennial mindset is what he’s attempting to instill in his clients. On this episode of Marketing Trends, Jeff sat down and chatted about how Zebra Technologies is helping the healthcare industry and essential workers everywhere operate more efficiently, how a partnership with the NFL is pushing the sport forward, and why it’s time everyone starts thinking like a millennial.

3 Takeaways:

  • Your background is not what matters, your ability to understand strategies and your company’s end-goal will make you successful

  • Complex, newer solutions focus on the end-user

  • Being millennial-minded is the art of learning how to promote and use social media

Key Quotes:

“It doesn’t really matter what your background is, but if you can understand the go-to-market motion of a company, what they’re building, why customers buy that solution versus the alternatives, you’re really setting yourselves up for a great career.” 

“When we think about marketing, yes, we want to create preference and demand in the end-users, but we also know our partners have choices and we need to market to them as much as we do the end-user.”

“The default position for a lot of marketing teams is to think about the value to the end-user. Go all the way to the end. It seems like always the most straightforward approach, but it’s not always the right approach. I think we’ve got to think not just about the end-user value, but what’s the go-to-market motion look like? How much is the channel making that choice versus the end-user.”

“In marketing, one of the things we all have to be conscious of is we all like building — maybe me more than most as an engineer. People love to build and we get tired of things sometimes before the audience does. So you need to make sure that the data is driving you to when you need to refresh something.”

“The most important thing to me is having the right team. And I feel very blessed to have a fantastic team.”

“The first focus was one, let’s make sure every decision we make in the short term has a direct tie to driving revenue. That’s number one. The second thing I want to do is let’s get the right team together. Let’s build the right culture. That was absolutely a focus.”

“Through digital, you get a chance to start to really personalize the experience that you can give your customers as they’re going through their buyer’s journey. They’re trying to do their research, and determining who they’re going to consider on their shortlist and try to compare products, which we know is happening digitally. The more we know about that customer, and how they’re progressing and how they’re engaging, the more we can present them with customized information to help them along.”

“Marketers are storytellers. At the end of the day, we can talk bits and bytes all we want and features and benefits all we want. But people remember stories.”

“I’d rather take a risk and try something then just assume that we all knew better and what the response was going to be.” 

“I can’t make you a millennial because I don’t have a time machine, but I can make you more millennial-minded.” 


Jeff Schmitz became Chief Marketing Officer in February 2016. Mr. Schmitz most recently served as Executive Vice President for multiple business units and sales at Spirent Communications where he had previously also held several senior leadership roles including Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Networks & Applications. Prior to joining Spirent, Mr. Schmitz held senior marketing positions at Rivulet Communications, Visual Networks and Tellabs Inc. Mr. Schmitz holds a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Marquette University and a master of science degree in computer science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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