Brigette Jackson on how to tailor your strategy to the market

Brigette Jackson

Brigette Jackson, general manager, T-Mobile USA Michigan/Indiana region

Brigette Jackson is a Detroit native, but when she took over as the vice president and general manager in charge of T-Mobile USA Inc.’s Michigan/Indiana region last January, she didn’t allow that fact to become a justification for making assumptions about the market she was going to serve.

“I had been gone for a number of years,” she says. “I had some experience of my own, from things I had gathered on return visits, but I hadn’t been a resident.”

Jackson quickly saw the need for a market strategy that could help her and T-Mobile’s 620 regional employees connect the company’s products and services with customers in Michigan and Indiana. To make the concept a reality, she needed to build a leadership team with detailed knowledge of the region, and enable them to develop branding and marketing strategies that would increase T-Mobile’s profile in Michigan and Indiana.

Smart Business spoke with Jackson about how to construct a go-forward strategy and how to construct a team to help carry it out.

Define your goals. I think the No. 1 challenge was bringing us together as one leadership unit and really identifying our business goals, making sure we’re completely aligned in retail and partner sales, and our business sales channel. Then, it was creating marketing strategies, implementing operational tools [and] strategy systems that would allow us to work as one entity and one group. That included reporting, financial data and really bringing us together. It was important for me that everyone was knowledgeable about everyone’s business, so that when we sat down together as a team, we could make the right decisions.

That took about 30 to 45 days for everyone to pull this together. We had a strategy meeting in Chicago, and we stayed true to our strategy based on everyone’s knowledge of the market. So that has been a huge win for us overall.

Build your team. When I was hiring for my team, I looked for experience, but I also looked for someone who had a pretty diverse background in sales. It didn’t have to necessarily be in retail or just partner sales or business sales. I wanted someone with a generally strong background of sales success and the ability to drive for results through people. I also looked for someone who had a proven track record through strategies or different programs that they’ve implemented or created, where they could really show success from those programs.

I looked for folks that would complement the region overall, someone who has a working knowledge of both Michigan and Indiana, so that they could make the right decisions for the area, because we’re here to really get the word out and share what we’re doing. And because we’ve spent a tremendous amount of time on our network, we have an engineering team here as well. We brought them in and worked with them, too.

Analyze the market. We had some market analysis completed prior to my arrival, which was a great place for us to start, along with the knowledge of the team.

We sat down and we looked at some of the market analysis, and we combined it with the knowledge of the team and built a strategy off of that around who is our customer, who is our customer base, what are they looking for, what is important to our customers, and also make sure we have a strategy from a brand recognition standpoint to really get the word out to our customers as to who we are and the products and services that we offer. We have targeted areas and specific plans and strategies to attack them. We have some work to do yet, but we have been successful so far.

Company facts:

Name: T-Mobile USA Inc.

Headquarters: Bellevue, Wash.

Michigan/Indiana regional headquarters: Detroit

Products and services: Cell phone and wireless Internet service, cell phone and wireless Internet device sales.

How to reach: T-Mobile USA Inc., (800) 866-2453 or