Wired for Success: The Chronicles of Zenita Henderson

Zenita Henderson | Chief Marketing Officer
Zenita Henderson | Chief Marketing Officer

In the fast-paced world of telecommunications, marketing plays a crucial role in staying competitive and reaching target audiences. This requires adapting to technological advancements, implementing real-time communication, fostering innovation, leveraging social media, and developing media savviness. By staying ahead of the curve and effectively utilizing these strategies, companies can remain competitive and reach their target audience in a rapidly changing industry.

Implementing these strategies at Segra is Zenita Henderson, the Chief Marketing Officer who stands out as a leader spearheading innovative strategies and driving growth for a prominent B2B company. Segra is a leading telecommunications company with a remarkable 125-year legacy of connectivity. The company’s broad and dense service footprint empowers it to provide cutting-edge solutions to a diverse range of customers. From healthcare and higher education organizations to carriers, enterprises and governments, Segra caters to a wide spectrum of clientele.

In this dynamic and ever-evolving landscape, Zenita Henderson plays a pivotal role in driving Segra’s marketing and business development efforts. With her passion for technology and extensive experience in the cable industry, Zenita brings a fresh perspective to the telecommunications sector. Her vision for Segra revolves around providing seamless customer experiences, leveraging data-driven insights and embracing the power of marketing automation and AI to create a lasting impact.

Under Zenita’s leadership, Segra continues to evolve, embracing change and pushing the boundaries of innovation. With her keen understanding of the value of martech, she ensures that Segra’s marketing team has the right tools and resources to excel in their endeavors.

Let’s delve into the strategies Zenita is implementing to create value for customers, employees and stakeholders that are driving Segra towards new heights of success in the competitive telecommunications landscape.

A Journey of Climbing Mountains

Zenita is a trailblazer in the cable industry and has dedicated over three decades of her life to the world of technology. Throughout her illustrious career, she has held key positions at renowned companies such as Jerrold/General Instrument, Motorola, ARRIS (now Commscope) and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE®), where she served as the Vice President of marketing and business development.

Presently, Zenita holds the esteemed position of Chief Marketing Officer at Segra, where she continues to fuel her passion for technology. Beyond her corporate role, she is a fervent advocate for community and industry relations, actively supporting various causes. Zenita champions education, arts and STEM/STEAM initiatives, firmly believing in the power of science and technology to shape the world positively. Additionally, she lends her support to healthcare, diversity and inclusion programs within the cable industry, truly embodying the spirit of giving back.

Her involvement with several organizations further underscores her commitment to making a difference. As the Executive Champion and Past President of the Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Greater Philadelphia, Zenita empowers women in the industry to break barriers and excel in their careers. Simultaneously, she serves as a dedicated board member with the Blind Institute of Technology which reflects her commitment to making the world more inclusive and accessible to all.

Zenita’s heart is also with charitable causes, as evident from her involvement in various philanthropic ventures. In the past, she has actively contributed to organizations like the Montgomery County PA chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Greater Philadelphia & South Jersey chapter of Girls Inc., Beachglow: Concerts for Charity, Inc., Inner Explorer, One Diverse Industry and the Emma Bowen Foundation’s New Media and Technology Committee.

Throughout her journey in the cable industry, Zenita faced unique challenges as a woman, often standing out for her remarkable abilities and dedication. However, this experience only fueled her passion to create more opportunities for others. Her ultimate goal is to pave the way for greater representation and diversity within the industry she loves.

Her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2014, she was inducted into the prestigious Cable TV Pioneers, a testament to her significant contributions to the field. The following year, she received the 2015 Inspire Award from WICT Greater Philadelphia, recognizing her as a true inspiration for women in the industry. Cablefax has consistently honored her as one of the Most Powerful Women in Cable and the Most Influential Minorities in Cable, acknowledging her impact on the industry.

In 2019, Zenita was the recipient of the esteemed SCTE/WICT Woman in Technology Award, a well-deserved acknowledgment of her outstanding achievements and invaluable contributions to the advancement of the cable telecommunications industry. The same year, WICT recognized her as a Woman to Watch in Technology, celebrating her continuous drive and innovation. Adding to her accolades, Marketo, an Adobe Company, included her in the #Fearless50, a select group of the top 50 marketers in the world, recognizing her fearlessness in driving marketing and digital transformation.

Zenita’s dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion within the industry was recognized in 2020 when Cablefax honored her as a Diversity Trailblazer. Additionally, her leadership as part of the SCTE team led to their well-deserved recognition as the ‘Best Online Event’ for transforming SCTE Cable-Tec Expo into a successful online event within a short span during the time of Covid.

A Bridge to Success in the Business Wilderness

Segra has a clear mission statement, as Zenita says, “Our purpose is to deliver a superior communications experience leveraging our next-generation fiber network and enabling our customers the freedom to grow.” She also adds, “All employees live by the Articles of Excellence and reflect those guiding principles with a customer-centric approach to business.”

Most recently, Segra’s parent company, Cox Communications, completed the acquisition of commercial fiber provider, Unite Private Networks (UPN). Combined, UPN and Segra will form a new standalone fiber company to accelerate growth in the company’s commercial fiber solutions.

Together, Segra and Unite Private Networks (UPN) own and operate a wide and dense fiber-optic infrastructure footprint that provides state-of-the-art connectivity, cybersecurity, cloud and collaboration solutions, all backed by industry-leading service and reliability.  Serving over 8,000 customers in close to 30 states combined — both companies have over 40,000 fiber route miles and have been providing customer-focused solutions for over 150 years.

From Darkness to Dawn

Zenita has long been captivated by marketing automation, even before it gained widespread popularity. Her early understanding of customer relationship management (CRM) and data utilization to showcase marketing ROI allowed her to secure increased budgets, foster significant customer experiences and boost sales. However, the pandemic prompted her to pivot, spearheading a successful digital transformation. She deftly balanced digital and in-person experiences while maintaining a focus on thought leadership, brand awareness and continued sales growth.

The Guiding Stars

Zenita states, “At Segra, our customer-centric approach to business enables success. We excel at challenges, embrace change and always strive to do the right thing.” The company’s Articles of Excellence set the tone for the culture and Segra has high standards for integrity and professionalism. Everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The culture of respect begins on day one of employment with a two-day new hire orientation, including time with the executive team. Zenita further adds, “Our employees live and work in the communities we serve and we are fully engaged and driven to succeed.” Segra’s Articles of Excellence are:

  • Stay True: Zenita believes in the importance of honesty and earning trust every day. She remains unwavering in doing what is right, following through and upholding her values.
  • Build the Bonds: Collaboration and teamwork are at the core of Zenita’s approach. She values the wisdom of others, shares her talents and believes that together, as a team, common goals can be achieved.
  • Light the Fire: Zenita is committed to continuous self-improvement and empowers those around her to reach their potential. She embraces responsible risk-taking and seeks out the right tools and information.
  • Choose to Win: No matter the task, Zenita approaches it with dedication and understanding. She strategizes and finds ways to succeed, whether it’s laying new fiber routes, closing deals, or handling routine tasks.
  • Be the Consumer: Zenita understands the importance of customers and their experiences. She listens, shows empathy and treats every conversation as valuable, going the extra mile to make interactions memorable.
  • Embrace Change: Zenita is adaptable and open-minded, always ready to find solutions and evolve with shifting circumstances. She celebrates successes and learns from setbacks.
  • Set the Pace: In her pursuit of innovation, Zenita is bold, competitive and confident. She questions the status quo, tests boundaries and fearlessly looks ahead.
  • Create a Legacy: Zenita believes in creating value for customers, employees and stakeholders. She strives to build a legacy of reliable infrastructure, continuous innovation and responsible stewardship.

The Tech-Pack

Zenita mentions, “Our website became more important than ever during and after COVID. Getting more traffic to our website and more importantly, driving the right traffic to our website is key. Our website has shifted from just an online experience to learn more about our products, to a true storefront for our products and services.” This meant leveraging SEO/SEM for the company’s online marketing content, competitor research, PPC and social media.

Constantly auditing the website to check for broken pages/links and rewriting keyword rules across the site, has helped drive organic search results. Paid ads are performing better and more form fills have been received. In 2022, Segra’s revenue grew 10 times via inbound leads from website form fills.

Zenita says, “We have accelerated the sales process and worked with IT and sales to update our lead to logo process in our CRM to track the complete sales cycle.” This was done by connecting automated email systems and other tools to its CRM so that sales can launch an email from their Outlook and then the email is automatically tracked to follow the entire prospect-to-customer journey.

Talking about team effort in this, Zenita annotates “My team instituted search marketing and retargeted display ads as well as more paid social, event and account targeted/geofenced display ads.” She also adds, “Our team has taken the lead nurturing another level by developing tailored campaigns to form relationships with prospects and customers, providing targeted information through every step of their journey with us.” The team follows the buying intent and proactively shares the high engagement and intent prospects from our CRM tools with our sales team.

The use of marketing to target those that read the company’s emails or visited its website multiple times, but did not complete a web form and/or started to complete a form but did not submit. This helped discover a new revenue source from this segment and generated a few hundred thousand dollars in sales within the first few months of 2023.

Zenita says, “My team also uses a location-based automation tool that identifies businesses and buildings nationwide that are located on fiber routes on which we are building.” It helps the team gain insights into businesses that are viable prospects for sales outreach and create targeted marketing campaigns to drive sales of its products and services. Working closely with IT to launch the on-prem CRM to the cloud, providing mobile access and automating customer messaging and advertising across the customer service portal.

Rising to the Challenge

Data is king!” Zenita Henderson exclaims as she passionately discusses the importance of data in her business endeavors. Her team dedicates significant effort to pulling and analyzing data, meticulously following the sales process and observing customer experiences throughout the organization. However, Zenita envisions a future where advances in AI will revolutionize their operations.

With the integration of AI, Zenita sees tremendous potential for enhancing customer experiences, increasing sales productivity and significantly reducing research and design time. The power of AI-driven insights excites her, as it promises to unlock new possibilities and efficiencies in their business.

As she looks ahead, Zenita is eager to embrace AI as a valuable tool that will not only save time and resources but also drive the growth and success of her team and company. With data-driven intelligence at their fingertips, she is confident that they can chart a path of continuous improvement and innovation.

Aim High, Achieve Higher

I envision myself in a position to impact our customers’ success as they onboard our products and services,” Zenita Henderson shares her future aspirations for Segra, brimming with determination and ambition. Her vision encompasses a range of improvements aimed at providing an exceptional customer experience. Some of them are listed below

  • A seamless and perfect customer service delivery experience.
  • Power BI dashboards are updated dynamically.
  • All of Segra’s CRM tools are connected with one pane of glass to see the entire customer journey.
  • Automated messaging of updates throughout the customer journey–starting at the ordering process through installation.
  • Self-service/online ordering access to standard products and services.
  • Automated assignment and notification of leads from web form fill.

Bequeathing Wisdom

Zenita Henderson, an enthusiastic advocate for marketing, describes the field as an exciting realm that offers unique opportunities to collaborate with various departments within the company. She remarks, “Marketing is an exciting field and the one area of the business where you will get to work with and have exposure to every department across the company.” Her passion for marketing stems from its ability to serve as a central hub, connecting and influencing multiple facets of the organization.

Emphasizing the significance of having the right tools for success, Zenita urges marketers to prioritize CRM tools. She advises, “Also, be sure to have the right CRM tools to do your job.” Understanding the pivotal role of technology in modern marketing, she recognizes the importance of equipping oneself with the appropriate resources to thrive in the fast-paced marketing landscape.

Zenita’s wisdom extends to the realm of budget allocation. Recognizing the value marketing brings to the organization, she passionately encourages marketers to advocate for their martech budget. She firmly believes, “Fight for your martech budget in order to be of value to your organization.” Understanding that marketing technology is instrumental in driving success and delivering value, she encourages marketers to proactively champion their budgetary needs.

As an influential figure in marketing, Zenita’s insights serve as a guiding light for aspiring marketers. Her emphasis on collaboration, technology and advocating for resources underscores the strategic mindset necessary for impactful marketing endeavors. With her expertise and passion, Zenita continues to leave a lasting impression on the marketing landscape, inspiring others to embrace the limitless possibilities within the field.