#StandApart Marketer Profile: Keith Marett

C12-0924_Keith_Marett_447_RGBPut an artist in a power suit and you’ve got Keith Marett, Executive Vice-President, Marketing, Communications and Product Development for Vancouver-based, Avigilon – a leading provider of high definition surveillance solutions.

Marett got his start agency-side as an Account Manager at Grey Worldwide before hopping fence to master single-brand successes at Bell Canada and Avigilon. While at Grey, Marett oversaw major accounts including Starbucks, Suzuki and Vancity Credit Union (where he helped increase membership by 30%). At Bell, Marett oversaw an $80M national wireless advertising campaign, while ensuring continuity of brand and messaging across the entire company and its extensive retail networks.

With just three years under his belt at Avigilon, he’s helped drive the company from minor player to global force in the HD security market. Out-of-the-box marketing in traditional channels, a passion for the creative side and a desire to take the world by storm – that’s what makes Keith Marett #StandApart.


Describe your current role in 140 characters or less…

Principal designer of Avigilon’s global expansion and industry ownership. Passionate teammate of product innovators and standout go-to-market strategists.


One word that best describes how you work.

Collaborative. Everyone who knows me would agree, my biggest thing is: if we’re going to get there, we’re only going to do it as a team.


You can be a great lawyer or business person, but when you personalize what you’ve learned, expounded on it with your own sense of creativity – that’s when skills ignite into talent


What is your superpower? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?)

I’m the consummate ‘coach.’ I can see the end goal and I can get us there. My save-the-world strategy will always involve a sum of strengths. I know how to identify a person’s strong suits. I make it my business to know what they’re passionate about. And I use that knowledge to help them excel and to coax great ideas out of them within the team structure. If, at the end of the day, my job is winning, I recognize the only way to get there is through each and every player on the field.


Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path?

Both. There’s no denying, things happen. I’ve seen some of the most amazing people in my field stopped short of their full potential because of a string of bad luck. Some of my career has undoubtedly been a case of ‘right time, right place’, but I’ll take my share of the credit; I’ve been striving my whole life to get to where I am today.


What are you passionate about? I think the answer to that encompasses everything you need to know about someone


Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it?

I truly believe being an amazing individual all comes down to the creative mind. You can be a great lawyer or business person, but when you personalize what you’ve learned, expounded on it with your own sense of creativity – that’s when skills ignite into talent. And that’s what drives me. I might be on the ‘suit’ side of marketing, but I’m passionate about bringing a sense of artistry to it. It affects how I want to interact with people, how I push a team to come up with great ideas and even how and where we work. At Avigilon, there’s this incredible fluidity of thought and ideas, all areas feeding into one another. It’s that kind of thinking that motivates me most. The idea that you can take a pain-point or an opportunity, turn it on its head, see it from all angles and make it better than it was before.


Have you ever watched someone sabotage his or her own career? If so, how?

Without naming names… I once watched a local marketing manager get a little too comfortable with his ‘place’ in an organization. He had a great relationship with his boss – closer to a friendship – and he started thinking he was invincible. His decision-making became more and more questionable. He wasn’t listening to the customer or even to the team he worked with; he was listening to himself.  He made some poor choices that had negative impacts on the company. Long story short, his boss left and he found himself fully accountable for every poor decision he’d made, with not a lot of internal or external support to back him up. That might be, in part, what lead me to being such a “team” guy today.


…we’ve grown to 15 people, we’re an extremely recognizable brand in Canada, and we’re one of the most sought out employers…


Can you point to any career/life turning points that either a) provided clarity or b) served as a springboard/accelerator/ launching pad

For me, it was in my early days, in the high school environment. My parents always pushed me hard to excel in math, English, etc. My dad had a clear path for me: university and then business. But it was through my early interactions with my grandmother, who was a talented painter, where I really connected to the creative mind. That’s where my true aspirations took root, not in the pure ‘business’ side of things. I took art classes and graphic design in high school, and even kept up some of those classes on the side while completing my degree in Business Administration at SFU.  When I didn’t end up having the stock to make it as a graphic designer, I wasn’t crushed. I recognized that art didn’t need to be the absolute end goal for my career, but it could play an inherent part of the process. Or, that, indeed, art was my process. That’s what defined who I am, driving me to where I am today.


When you look back over your career to date, what are you most proud of?

I’m proudest of what we’re doing, right now, at Avigilon. When I first joined the company, I was the entire marketing department. We weren’t very well known in Vancouver, let alone on the global stage. Within a matter of 2.5 years, we’ve grown to 15 people, we’re an extremely recognizable brand in Vancouver and Canada, and we’re one of the most sought out employers to work for. To top it off, I’d now classify Avigilon as THE brand to watch globally. The Brazilian market has been a huge success for us recently, and in the United States, our biggest market, we’re doing it better and better every year. And, it’s all happening from right here, in YVR.


People that ‘hum’ and ‘ha’ at an interview– they’re not passionate


We asked someone on your team to give us a sense of what gives you the #StandApart factor. Here’s what we found out:

Keith stands apart because he is passionate about bringing together a drive for big results with his love of design. This unique pairing has helped Avigilon quickly set a new global marketing standard in our space and has put him head and shoulders above any marketer in the security industry.  – Angela St. Amour, Communications Manager, Avigilon


You’re interviewing a candidate and there’s no doubt, they’ve got it. What ingredients were you looking for? When it comes to hiring, what does you/your organization consider the special sauce?

For me, it’s all about passion. Do they have examples at their fingertips; can they articulate why they like something or why they don’t? People that ‘hum’ and ‘ha’ at an interview– they’re not passionate.

At Avigilon, we value three things our team can’t work without: passion, collaboration and the ability to make change or innovation.  The questions we ask in any given interview might change, but every meeting is intended to drill down to those three outcomes. Are you someone who’s passionate about making things better than what’s been done before? If so, you’re in.


We’re treating each and every opportunity as a live event capable of generating global awareness for the brand


Describe the best team you’ve ever led – one that was ‘firing on all cylinders’ – what made that team #StandApart?

Without question, the team I’m working with right now. We’re pushing the envelope on what we’re producing and how we’re doing it in a way that’s totally unique to our industry. Everything is coming together: from how we tackle take-to-market communications to winning press coverage all over world to being set up for standout awareness generating tactics. I watch my team tackle a tradeshow and I am blown away. We’re not just reaching the people in the room but treating each and every opportunity as a live event capable of generating global awareness for the brand.


What devices/apps/tools form part of your regular routine?

I’m 100% electronic. My iPhone is my life: my thoughts, my notes, my events – and reminders to go to those events.  A few techy-pieces that stand out are my HD Mobile App (creepy as it sounds, I like to see my wife and kids playing the backyard when I’m at the office), Songza (it keeps me sane and fills my music need) and Sugar Crush (let’s call it a guilty pleasure).


I’m 100% electronic. My iPhone is my life


How “LinkedIn” are you? Do you use it?  What role has networking played in your career?

Not at all. I’m terrible at it. People send me connection requests and I accept them – that’s about it. Actually, one of my goals for 2013 was to get more entrenched in social media. I better get on that.


If you could put one question on the list for our next #StandApart Marketer profile, what would it be? What do you want to know?

What are you passionate about? I think the answer to that encompasses everything you need to know about someone.