Ad
Ad
Ad
Author

Olwen van Dijk-Hildebrand

Browsing

With everything that 2020 and 2021 have given us so far, namely a global pandemic, it’s easy to forget that climate change is still a threat. While it’s vital that we talk vaccines and defeating COVID-19, it’s also important that we do not lose any ground in the battle for the planet. One of the companies keeping this conversation at the forefront is Geneco, one of Singapore’s leading energy retailers. 

Joining us for this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, is Geneco’s Head of Marketing, Alex Chan, who shares the importance of green energy for Singapore and Geneco’s place on the frontlines for greener energy initiatives. With a background in marketing that cross-cuts multiple sectors and industries, Alex offers insights that help deepen our understanding of marketing, especially when it comes to marketing green energy.


Hi, Alex! Thanks for joining us in this issue of the Marketing Expert Series! Let’s start with something straightforward: tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get to where you are now? 

 

It’s my pleasure and thanks for inviting me to the Series

 

I always believe in the power of language and visual elements, and how it impacts the way one feels or think, whether it is a tv commercial or even a billboard. From then, I knew that this was an area that I always wanted to pursue, and that’s why I studied Mass Communications during my university days.    

 

I started my career in advertising agencies as account servicing. Over time, I wanted to be in the end-to-end marketing journey and be a key influence behind campaign results. Soon after, I had an opportunity to work in the marketing team of M1, a telco company, where my passion to be a marketer truly ignited. One gig led to another, I had the opportunity to work in another leading telco StarHub and other industries, such as FMCG and Chemical.

 

Over my 17 years of experience, I was also fortunate to spearhead multiple award-winning brand and marketing campaigns. And that led me to where I am right now – Geneco, a retail brand of YTL PowerSeraya, in the energy industry.

 

As I progressed in my career, I realised that the marketing landscape is dynamic and evolves incredibly quickly. There is always something to learn, skills to hone and strategies to adapt. This is one key reason that continues to fan the fire for my passion for marketing.

 

Now, you’re the Head of Marketing at Geneco, a leading electricity retailer in Singapore. What does your role entail?

To make it concise, I would like to describe the Head of Marketing role as having two key focuses: Brand-First and Digital-First.

 

This role charts the path in building the brand of Geneco. In the competitive energy market with 12 retailers, consumers are immune to an endless bombardment of tactical shout-outs with ever so slight differences in prices, plans and promotions. There is a need to balance these functional attributes and differentiate the brand with emotional attributes. This is where brand building comes in, this is where it worked well for Geneco, and we will continue to do so.

 

In the world of digitalisation, this role is also required to develop and optimise digital performance as well as social media strategies. As Geneco is a digital company without any brick-and-mortar shops, its online presence has to be built towards delivering effective direct-to-consumer results. As part of customer engagement, this role also looks after the development and enhancement of the Geneco mobile app, which was recently revamped and relaunched. Singapore has a mobile penetration of 155%, one of the highest in the world, and we see the need to leverage the mobile app as a two-way platform to continue to engage and build loyalty with our customers.

 

Energy companies are all in the process of adapting to the impact of climate change. Green policy is in fashion, so to speak, what with the Singapore government launching its new Green Plan 2030. What steps has Geneco made to align with this initiative?

First, I would like to explain the brand name ‘Geneco’, which is made of two key parts: ‘Gen’ refers to our organisation as energy experts with over 50 years of power generation experience and electricity retailing for 20 years. And ‘Eco’ represents our commitment towards building a sustainable, greener nation. The brand purpose of Geneco is ‘Power The Change’ – our brand is not just about providing electricity, we aim to have a positive impact on the social, environmental and cultural aspects that shapes the lives of Singaporeans.

 

Since Geneco launched in 2018, we have embarked on this eco-journey by offering green electricity plans to our customers. Beyond this option, we have also initiated a program called The ChangeMakers, partnering with 6 like-minded organisations, Comcrop, Cultivate Central, Food Bank Singapore, Green Nudge, Refash and Repair Kopitiam. Each of us brings our area of expertise to encourage Singaporeans to adapt their lifestyles with greener practices.

 

Since the multi-agencies announced SG Green Plan 2030 earlier this year, Geneco is even more driven to work towards the 2030 vision with its green targets.

 

The first initiative we had was on Earth Day, 22 April. We announced the launch of our comprehensive solar installation solutions for residential, commercial and industrial customers, to help offset carbon dioxide emissions. On the same day, at Windsor Nature Park, we planted the first 50 of 250 trees that we have committed over 5 years. This initiative is under the NParks’ One Million Tree movement, and which is part of the SG Green Plan as well. 

 

The next key initiative, and which I am very excited to share is the launch Power Eco Add-on – Singapore’s First-and-Only green add-on for an electricity plan.

 

Can you elaborate a little on this? How has it been received so far?

 

At Geneco, we always challenge ourselves and strive to create impactful ways to empower customers to Power The Change for the environment. Along with SG Green Plan 2030, we are even more committed to encourage and ease Singaporeans in embarking on a journey towards building a greener home for all. 

 

Through the study on how Singaporeans responded towards climate change, we had the insight that while 80% of Singaporeans do care about the environment, 75% felt they lack options to act sustainably and 56% felt sustainability choice was of poor value.

 

And we were determined to make that change and worked on an innovative product that is the first of its kind – Power Eco Add-on.

 

Not only we simplified 6 plans to just 3 plans, but we also addressed the pain points of customers with 5 key differentiating benefits:

 

    • Flexibility – It allows customers to choose between Carbon Credits or Renewable Energy Certificates.
    • Affordability – Customers is able to select the level of green contribution from 25/50/75/100%, which starts from just 40cts more per month.
    • Impact – Customers can help to offset/avoid up to 3920kg of carbon dioxide emissions and that’s an equivalent to 192 rain trees absorbing in a year. 
    • Simplicity – Customer’s sign-up journey takes less than 5mins
    • Certified – A digital certificate will be sent to the customers for their green contributions

We coincided with our launch on National Day, not just to celebrate our Garden City’s 56th birthday, but also to reinforce our commitment to the SG Green Plan. We hope to rally Singaporeans to ‘Go Green Your Way’, which is the campaign tagline, and do their part for the nation.

 

And in just a month, we are heartened to see 10 times more customers who chose this green add-on actively as compared to the past. This result is exceptionally encouraging as it shows the growing commitment that Singaporeans has. It also reflects that the green path to SG Green Plan 2030 is a promising one.   

 

 

Being more focused on green initiatives, I imagine your marketing strategies and approaches have shifted as well. Could you tell us a bit more about what marketing activities you’ve been using to engage your customers and partners? Have there been any marketing challenges?

 

If we think about it, the need to protect the environment is not a recent trend or topic. Years ago, our nation has quite a few green initiatives, such as the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. And as shared earlier, though 80% of Singaporeans are aware and do care about the environment, such green practices have not been adopted widely over the years.

 

One of the key attributes is that the green topic is not a popular one for an engaging conversation, let alone to evoke any action. 

 

Since its inception, Geneco has always strived to be a responsible organisation. We always seek to understand what challenges our customers are facing and how we can ease and encourage them into adopting a greener lifestyle.

 

For example, to amplify the Power Eco Add-on campaign, we looked for partners that not only understand and are aligned to our purpose but also have a wide reach for us to leverage and increase the campaign awareness.

 

We eventually collaborated with the ever-popular bubble tea chain Playmade, as the design of Power Eco Add-on’s varying green contributions is in the likes of the sugar level choices concept for bubble tea. With the strong bubble tea culture in Singapore, this partnership will allow us to reach out to more Singaporeans through our gamification and initiatives together.

In addition, we also engaged prominent social media KOLs, who range from eco-warriors to those who just started their sustainable journey, to talk about their own green lifestyles and then explain the benefits of Power Eco Add-on.

 

Through these collaborations, we believe that we are able to reach out to the masses, create meaningful conversations and open up new narratives on a sustainable future.

Let’s switch it up a bit now. You’re a successful marketer with a variety of experiences across a different number of well-known brands. How have your career experiences shaped you as a marketer?

I am very thankful for the opportunities I had as each industry has its own learning curves, customer behaviours and marketing strategies.

For example, some companies focus on tactical approaches; others focus more on brand building. Some companies are smaller scale with a different set of priorities, while the bigger companies have a different set of challenges. Some companies’ core business depends on having physical stores or presence; others are going digital-only.  I was fortunate to be exposed to these experiences, which made me learn and re-learn and helped in shaping my skill sets as a marketer. 

 But what made a significant difference was that I had many inspiring mentors throughout my career. They didn’t just teach me about marketing but also guided me on how to be a more rounded individual, collaborative team player and a better leader. Some of them made an effort by translating their thoughts to me; while others inspired me by the way they led, approached and resolved matters. 

 These are valuable learnings, which will stay with me as a marketer and as an individual. 

 

Looking back at your career, is there any experience that you feel had a bigger impact on your life as a whole? Or do you feel like they all add up?

 

There are definitely key moments in different stages of my career that influenced my journey. As I look back and beyond my own experiences, it culminates into two key takeaways that I will always reflect on – the constant need for self and skill improvement.

 

Marketing has evolved rapidly over the years, advanced by technology. The media landscape has been significantly disrupted, renowned companies who led in the past have been overtaken by e-commerce platforms, customers have vastly different consumer habits now, and with the Covid-19 pandemic, these changes are accelerated – the list goes on.

 

What I feel is important, during these waves of changes, is to hold on to our marketing basics, as these foundations will never waver. Then complement these foundations by learning constantly whenever there are new opportunities, and keep applying what we have learnt. Only then, I feel we can build ourselves upwards and be stronger marketers.

 

Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers specialists? 

I hope to give three pieces of advice and hope these will resonate with them.

Stay on top of the latest, whether they are trends, topics or happenings. It can be over casual conversations with your agency partners or connections with your peers in different industries; to be relevant is everything in this field.

Stay curious in the ever-evolving marketing landscape. Learning never stops, whether you are a marketer of 10 months or 10 years, there is always something new to add to your expertise. 

Most of all, stay passionate. No matter how challenging it gets, remember why you chose Marketing and keep the fire burning bright. It will only make you stronger over time.

Thanks for spending some time with us, Alex! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you?

Thanks for having me. For those who might have more questions or simply want to connect, they can easily find me via LinkedIn; I will be happy to share more. 

 


The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions showcases the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in the next issue of the Marketing Expert Series please reach out to us via email.

If you are interested in building your own company’s digital advertising or online presence, get in touch with us today, and find out how you can optimize your digital marketing strategies.

Strategic marketing and branding is one of the leading sectors in marketing today. Gone are the days of ‘set and forget’ marketing tactics or ‘hope for the best’ strategies; nowadays, it’s all about strategic insights and taking action on collated data. One of the affects of this shift is that marketers must now have at the very least a good awareness of the impact of their work – and, hopefully, an ability to understand that impact.

As we’ve seen before throughout the Marketing Expert Series, marketers come from all sorts of backgrounds and paths. For some, jumping into the world of marketing is no surprise: a logical step from their background or education that just makes sense. One such individual is our Expert for this issue, Bernard Yong, the Head of Strategic Marketing and Brand Experience at Mah Sing Group, one of Malaysia’s leading property developers. With an affinity for data and analytics, and with a Bachelor’s in Software Engineering, it’s no surprise really that Bernard found his way into marketing, bypassing the IT industry altogether.

Join us for this issue of the Marketing Expert Series to gain a deeper insight into the world of property development marketing and strategic marketing and branding.


Welcome, Bernard! Thanks for joining us in this issue of the Marketing Expert Series! Let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get to where you are now? 

My background actually is in Computer Science, more specifically in software engineering – I have a Bachelors. However, I haven’t touched a single line of code ever since I graduated back in 2002. I guess at that time, a career in programming just didn’t strike my fancy. After graduating, I did a stint of corporate advisory (with an international accounting firm), where we advised clients on fund-raising and listings.

I first got into property in 2006. Although I had no background nor experience whatsoever in property at that time, I’ve always had a personal interest in property as a product, as an investment vehicle, and as an embodiment of someone’s dreams and aspirations. My role was as Marketing Manager, handling high-end strata projects in Kuala Lumpur.

From there, I moved from strength to strength, and have been in property – in one form or another – ever since. My initial years were focused on sales & marketing, and I made the switch to specialize in Branding and Strategic Marketing when I made the move to TRX City Sdn Bhd back in 2012. Moving away from the core of sales and marketing, into branding and B2B initiatives, was a great learning experience.

I joined my current company in 2017, and my portfolio – besides handling branding & strategic marketing – expanded in 2020 to include the nascent Experience Management division – which I basically kickstarted. The purpose of this new division is to drive increased customer satisfaction amongst our buyers.

Were you always interested in marketing? How did you find your way into this career?

I’ve always had an interest in marketing. During my 20s, I embarked on quite a number of start-ups and business ventures (part-time), ranging from an online clothing retailer to an aggregator of property news. As with any start-up, a robust understanding of marketing was a must, and all these learnings complemented and added value to what I was doing in my day job.

Currently, you’re the Head of Strategic Marketing and Brand Experience at Mah Sing Group. What sort of work does Mah Sing do and what role do you play there?

Mah Sing is one of Malaysia’s largest property developers, and my role is multifold as I head two departments within the organization.

One of my departments – Branding & Strategic Marketing (BSM for short), is the steward of the brand, focusing on driving positive brand perception, awareness and recall. This department also handles all group-related marketing initiatives, ranging from group sales campaigns to partnerships and sponsorships. We’re also tasked with improving overall marketing efficiency for the group, in terms of increased conversions, reduced CPAs, and improving overall marketing ROI.

My second department, which is Experience Management (XM), serves to improve customer experience and satisfaction with regards to our business. We kickstarted a ‘Voice of Customer’ program, where we obtain real-time feedback from customers, and use it to measure out NPS and CSAT scores. With this in place, we’ve then had to work to develop the right KPIs, set up the right organizational structures, obtain the buy-in from key stakeholders, in order to drive change and improvements.

Property development is an interesting industry. What sort of challenges do you face and how do you overcome them?

Yes, it’s an interesting industry. The main challenges now are, and I’ll keep it brief:

  1. The awareness and discovery phases of marketing are increasingly taking place online. This may not seem like a big deal for most industries, but property is still a very bricks-and-mortar physical product. Customers mostly still want to see the physical product (in our case, it’ll be the show unit), before they sign on the dotted line. So, it is this straddling off online and offline, or online-to-offline (O2O as they call it), and striking the right balance, which poses an interesting challenge. We overcome this by building up our online offerings and channels, as we’ve always been strong offline. By building up, I mean ensuring that the sales process is digitized so that it can be monitored and tracked, focusing on increasing the effectiveness of our web assets, shifting more spend to digital marketing, and training and upskilling our team to sell across different modes of communication.
  2. In Malaysia, the property market is going through a soft patch. Structural issues mostly – oversupply caused by many years of rampant development, economic slowdown caused by COVID-19, stagnation in wages and compressed affordability, etc. We’ve responded by shifting our product offerings over the years, to focus more on mass affordable properties. 91% of our recent products are priced below RM700K. The days of selling million-ringgit properties are for now at least, put on hold in view of buyer preference and sentiment.

Let’s talk about you personally, you’re a successful marketer with a lot of experience in branding and creating strong customer experiences. How have your career experiences shaped you as a marketer?

I think all our experiences, be it career or personal, help shape who we are as a professional. There were many lessons learned, and yes mistakes made. I think given my background in IT, and my fondness for data and analytics, I’ve evolved into a marketer who is very much focused on performance.

No matter what we roll out, my question to my team is always “Well, how did it do? Did it meet our objectives?”. The days of execution for execution’s sake, or as the famous saying goes “Half of our marketing budget is going to waste, the problem is I don’t know which half”, are long gone. Marketing is becoming increasingly data-centric, and attributable, and that has greatly informed the way I approach marketing, and even branding in general.

Looking back at your career, is there any experience that you feel had a bigger impact on your life as a whole? Or do you feel like they all add up?

They definitely all add up. I can name one experience which really made me pause and evaluate myself and my approach to leadership. There was one incident where my department suffered a flurry of resignations. Needless to say, this was highly discouraging – to me personally, and disruptive to our operations.

Looking back, I believe I could have perhaps been more attuned to the sentiment of the team, and been that stronger leader they needed at that time. A bitter pill to swallow, yes, but a necessary one. That has definitely impacted the way I lead now, hopefully for the better. I’m still learning.

Now, COVID-19 – the topic none of us can ignore. How have the lockdowns and movement control orders impacted the property market and your work at Mah Sing?

It definitely has impacted the property market. While interest is still high, people are still registering their interest and making bookings (online), there is still a lot of waiting and seeing before they finalize their sale (sign on the sales and purchase agreement). We hope that with the NRP announced recently, the opening up of the economy will happen sooner rather than later.

Do you think there will be a lasting impact from the pandemic that will affect how property developers and indeed marketers go about their business?

Yes, it will. This has been a global, market shifting experience. One that will leave a lasting impact. For one, the way property developers design properties will change. From the previous focus on increasingly fancy common areas and a focus on ‘placemaking’, we have shifted to a strategy of ‘homemaking’, whereby the home is now the core of your personal life. A home is now to be more flexible, cosy, intimate, secure.

In terms of marketing, the massive shift to online and virtual channels will definitely affect how we plan and execute our marketing campaigns. We’re still experimenting with a lot of different formats and mediums, and it’ll be an interesting journey of learning for sure.

What’s next for you, personally? Is there anything you’re looking forward to most when this pandemic is over and done with at last?

I most look forward to hitting the skies and travelling with my family again! I think 99% of people out there would echo this sentiment.

Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers specialists? 

To achieve success for all your plans and initiatives, you need to know what success looks like. What is the outcome (measurable) that you want to achieve? Plan that out, measure it, and work your butt off to achieve it. In today’s world, there is no longer a divide between traditional and digital marketing. Marketing = Digital. So, get comfortable with metrics and analytics, it’ll serve you well.

Thanks for spending some time with us, Bernard! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you?

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bernardyong/

Mobile/WhatsApp: +6012-5266551

 

 

 

 

Are you wondering what a Content Specialist does every day? We’ve got good news for you! We sat down with our very own content writer who’s responsible for guest posting, and creating content that’s well optimised both for the search engines and our target audience.

Let’s get to know more about her!

Meet Faye – Content Specialist at 2Stallions!

Hi! I’m Faye Garcia, a 20-ish Filipina who found a living through writing. Yep, you’ve read it right—I’m from the Philippines! 

I’m the rose among the thorns, ’cause I’m currently the only lady in the SEO team. I write SEO-optimised articles and other content for 2Stallions and its clients. I’ve been doing this stuff for over 2 years…and guess what? I’m still loving it! 

Before I became part of the 2Stallions family last March 2019, I’ve also produced content pieces for various websites, blog sites, and more in my past work experiences.

When I’m not working, I’m either spending time with my toddler, doing housework, binge-watching K-dramas or listening to BTS’ songs (Yes, I’m an ARMY!). Out of all those things, I love having quality time with my son the most. I find joy in homeschooling him, playing hide and seek and doing any sort of activity with him.

What goes on in the day-to-day job as a Content Specialist?

My workdays don’t look the same. There are days that I’m so swamped and days that I only work on a few things. However, one thing is certain regardless of how busy my week or day is— I’m obviously writing! (laughs)

Google has become my virtual BFF. I ask questions, and I like it when it’s very generous in giving me answers. I hope Google is like that to you, too. 😉 

To give you a glimpse of how my typical working day looks like, here are the things I regularly do:

  • Check my work email. Like other employees, I check my email before I start working. 
  • Open the article requests sheet. The SEO team has this G sheet that contains the article requests and statutes. The SEO guys input the details (i.e., keywords, website URL to link, intent, etc.) into the sheet. Then, I check what needs to be written first.
  • Coordinate with SEO specialist/s. I coordinate with the SEO specialist handling the client project to verify things. I usually do this when working on branded content requirements (i.e., landing page copy, articles to be posted on client’s websites, etc.).
  • Get content ideas on Ahrefs. I log in on Ahrefs to explore content ideas and search for a topic that I would create content on. 
  • Research. Before I start writing an article, it has become my habit to collate related articles and relevant statistics or studies. Once I’ve gathered the essential information, I create an article outline—write title suggestions, subheadings, and add corresponding references to each section—to build the content flow.
  • Write, write and write. Need I say more? Most of my working time is spent on writing. If you’re going to ask how long before I finish an article, I would say… it depends. It depends on the topic’s complexity and the article’s word count. Can I also include here my son’s mood? 
  • Upload articles on WordPress. As mentioned, I also write internal articles. Once the articles are approved, I upload them on WordPress and optimise the meta tags using Yoast SEO.

Why do you think SEO content writing is important for businesses these days?

The world today revolves around the Internet. Most people use the Internet in their daily lives—from searching for products and services to finding information, connecting with friends, customers, or businesses, shopping, watching videos, and more.

With thousands of websites, articles, and content to be found online, how could you ensure that your business gets to the first page of Google? Well, just writing the content isn’t the solution. You must also write it for your readers and the search engines and incorporate the right keywords into the content to ensure high search rankings.

You’ve probably heard or read a lot that SEO-optimised web copy and articles have higher chances to show on search results pages (SERPs) than those that aren’t. You know what? That’s a fact!

A keyword-rich, shareable, and informative article will help drive more organic traffic to your website. This organic traffic may translate into qualified leads, and these leads may convert into paying customers. Did you see the domino effect there? That’s how powerful SEO and content marketing are when combined.

Do you have any advice for fresh graduates who are currently looking for jobs and are open to exploring different career paths? Would you recommend them to work as a Content Specialist?

As the popular adage says, no one is born an expert. If you find a job and feel like you’re not doing well, think twice, thrice, and many times before quitting. Don’t pressure yourself too much. Take things slow and enjoy the process.

If you have a flair for writing and are curious about how content pieces increase a brand’s discoverability, boost conversion rates, improve user experience, and build credibility, then you might want to consider SEO writing as a career path.

What challenges do you face as a Content Specialist? How do you overcome them?

I think most writers have experienced writing fatigue. There are times that I find it hard to write a good article introduction. Whenever this happens to me, I take a breather; pause for a quick snack or enjoy a cup of coffee.

Where do you get your motivation for your day-to-day tasks? Do you have any special sources of inspiration or drive?

The piling up bills are what keep me motivated. Just kidding. 

Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated by how powerful words are. This fascination has led me to the idea of exploring the world of writing and taking a Communication Arts Degree. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t land a writing career in my first two jobs because I lack experience. To make the long story short, I finally got lucky and worked as a Junior Content Producer in a marketing agency two years after my college graduation.

THIS. This story alone is my primary motivator. Whenever I lose motivation, I revisit my past and realise what I’ve gone through before getting on the job I dreamt of. 

As years go by, my sources of motivation keep on growing—my son who inspires me to do better, my colleagues who share their feedback and my bosses who recognise my contributions to the company.

In case you’re reading this and losing motivation, know that it’s only momentarily. Take the time you need. Look back on those bumpy roads and appreciate the people around you.

Can you share with us some of your favourite marketing guides or resources?


To be honest, I don’t have my favourite marketing guides. But I often find myself reading HubSpot, Content Marketing Institute, and Neil Patel articles. Apart from those sites, I also browse grammar forum sites like english.stackexchange.com. 

Is it true that agency life is ‘work without play’? Tell us a little bit more about the culture at 2Stallions.

I’ve worked for different agencies (office-based), and I never get to taste the ‘work without play’ thingy. I remember we even had game rooms, where we played Jenga, board games, Pictionary, and more. 

Despite the WFH setup, I must say that the culture at 2Stallions is no different from my past employers. Here, we have monthly team outings, where we take on virtual games and quizzes. It’s good to have these things once in a while and take a break from the daily word war with myself.  

Also, I appreciate the trust that the management gives to their employees. I, myself, is a living testimony because they allowed me to work on a flexible schedule, so I can balance my responsibilities as a Content Specialist and as a mom.

Wrapping Up 

Get to know our #2Stallionsfamily with the #2Steamstories tag.  Discover the works done by our diverse team of digital marketing professionals who will bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. Browse and download our case studies now! 

If you’re looking for a content marketing expert, don’t hesitate to contact us

 

Digital marketing has taken a turn since 2020, expanding and growing into industries it hadn’t really touched before. Demand for digital tools like cloud computing and enterprise management software has increased. Marketing cloud software has never been more important. Growth and development in the cloud software industry have flown to the top of the list, with brands and companies clamouring for it to support their remote staff and clients.

In this issue of our Marketing Expert Series, we get to meet Elena Sanchez, Marketing Director for ASEAN at Infor. Join us as Elena shares her experiences and her passion for marketing in this truly motivating and inspirational issue of the Series!


Welcome to the Marketing Expert Series, Elena! It’s great to have you with us! Let’s start with the basics, tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get to where you are now? 

Thanks for inviting me!

About me in a couple of words: originally, I’m from Spain, I always have a big smile, and have strong values. I am a mother of two young kids so I run double or triple shifts!

When I was younger, I wanted to create “new things” so I became an Industrial Design Engineer. When I realized that engineers are normally stuck with plans and 3Ds I did a Masters in Marketing Management and started my marketing career in the lovely city of Valencia, Spain.

Then, Singapore…just happened! I was on a fun trip with friends through Asia and I felt in loved with the city so, a month later, I found myself a job… and it’s been almost 11 years!

Now I lead the ASEAN field marketing at Infor.

Cloud Marketing

What was it that attracted you to this line of work?

I am one of those people that really love what they do. I love marketing strategies, understanding the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ behind customer decisions and the beauty of tracking the intent through the sales cycle.

I love the art of testing and bringing the right content that will attract and convert through the right channels. I also love seeing how our customers improve their processes with our software and become brand advocates, that’s the best possible marketing you can do!

To me, in brief, marketing is the art of making the right impression on our customers’ minds so we can find, influence and win their trust to choose our products and stay with us.

The biggest reward for a marketeer like me is seeing our customers become more efficient and bringing that value to their own clients. That’s always the cherry that tops my cake every day.

Looking back at your career, it’s clear you have a lot of experience throughout the region across a variety of industries. Are there any specific experiences that believe helped shape your career?

Dozens of experiences shaped me into the person I am today.

Starting humble and grounded is a key one. My first job in Singapore was in a small local SI/Cloud Computing company. In this role, I learnt to be hands-on to the max and wear many hats, be versatile and work with a tiny budget. I was doing the end-to-end of the campaigns, from the strategy to the graphic design of digital campaigns – thank God, I had a design background! – to the managing of the platforms (google ads etc.) and data analysis.

I couldn’t afford fancy agencies, so I had to think “cheap” and creative and find partners with a budget! I even re-launched the company website and ended up coding meta-keywords, editing content and changing URL titles etc. myself. This truly paid off as most of our leads started coming inbound.

Later I joined the multinational world where I had more resources, proper marketing automation software, multiple stakeholders and teams that would support you and helpful agencies like 2Stallions that could help outsource and scale the campaign management.

In this environment I learnt to adapt and collaborate widely, it is a different ball game where communication is king to avoid siloed work.

Elena Sanchez - Marketing Cloud SoftwareCurrently, you are the Marketing Director for ASEAN at Infor. Can you tell us about Infor and what it is that the company does?

Infor is a multi-billion-dollar Cloud Software company. Our biggest value proposition is around the deep industry-specific design of our software as our Industry Cloud Suites are designed for the industry needs, so the majority of the functionality is there out of the box.

This fact, plus the ability to be truly on a multi-tenant AWS cloud – to save cost, upgrades, maintenance etc. – and combined with our elite customer support makes us a powerful software option in those industries we play in.

Infor is a massive, multinational company with offices all over the world and thousands of employees and customers. What is it like to be a Marketing Director at Infor?

Even if the company is big, you tend to work with the same 50+ regular people. It is a matter of good communication horizontally and vertically while orchestrating the show.

The culture is one of the big pillars for Infor, people here are nice and friendly and my team is just SIMPLY AMAZING! Super-efficient, pro-active and with a big sense of accountancy. I have a lot of love for each of them.

Only one thing to confess, I am a very social person so one of the skills I had to develop through the years in the multi-national environment was to control my long chit-chatting, sometimes you can’t possibly get the job done if you don’t focus and cut to the point.

Does the company’s size impact the way you develop your strategies?

Yes, it certainly does.

Bigger companies usually mean bigger budgets, bigger policies, more tools, stricter brand guidelines and messaging, bigger targets, more reporting, and a longer approval process.

All this impacts the campaign strategy and the timelines to put a campaign to market.

Now, COVID-19 – I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask how it has affected Infor? Has there been a change in demand for your services?

Every problem comes with an opportunity! For example, Supply chain software is in high demand, COVID has caused disruption in logistics globally. Companies had to deal with peaks on demand for certain products, source other materials and products etc. and certainly not all companies were able to cope with changes in demand patterns, track and trace their products through the chain or forecast as needed.

On the other hand, this tiny virus has caused quite a lot of damage in many of our targeted sectors and hence, many of our customers put their IT budgets for software on hold.

However, Infor is still growing despite the pandemic and we are seeing a big shift to “cloud” software. Many companies struggled to provide remote work-from-home work as they were not on the cloud before, or had no way to access it if not in their offices.

How has the pandemic impacted your marketing strategies?

We shifted to 100% digital, what else could we do? We had no other choice than to think digital and think creatively.

All those beautiful fun events in Thailand and elsewhere were converted to sitting in front of laptops at home. No packing and flight needed but also no afterparty with wine mingling with the customers. I never thought of running a large event 100% online, but it is possible! Even virtual wine tasting is possible too!

Where do you see the region as a whole going due to the impact of COVID-19, any lasting B2B trends you think the industry will show as a result of the pandemic?

In my view, 2022 will be a “more normal” year and some trends will continue:

  • Hybrid events with virtual and in person options.
  • Hybrid work arrangements to allow people to work partially or even totally from home as a default.
  • Also, more trust on employees working from home. Previous miss-conception of “work from home” is not efficient.
  • More cloud-based applications, less on-premises software.
  • Possibly some companies will reconsider the amount of travel they used to do and reduce it.

 

Elena Sanchez - Marketing Cloud Software

What about you, when this pandemic is over, what’s next?

  1. Party!!!!! big hugs and large catch ups.
  2. First stop: Spain to see the family.
  3. Make a bucket list of trips to do, get rid of my mask and continue smiling

Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers? 

Recipe for success: listen to your audience, research your key competitors, dare to be different and add a pinch of creativity and lots of love. Test it out and make sure you know how to measure success, run pilot campaigns and scale up what works, analyze results and try again.

Most importantly: enjoy what you are doing and never stop learning!

Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights with us, Elena! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you or Infor?

People are welcome to email me at elena.sanchez@infor.com

 


The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions will showcase the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in a next issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Please reach out to us via email.

If you are interested in building your own company’s digital advertising, get in touch with us today, and find out how you can optimize your digital marketing strategies.

 

 

Marketing has many different facets, and it takes time and experience to fully understand it. Different experiences will provide different perspectives and learning opportunities, all of which help grow a marketer into a veteran. The global pandemic has had a big how we tackle digital marketing, and it will have a lasting effect on the way we approach marketing strategy. 

Speaking to us for this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, is a man with plenty of experience and perspective on how that experience can help develop strong, sustainable, and ethical marketing strategies. Chuin Ming Lee is currently Head of Marketing for Unit4, and with more than 20 years of experience in the marketing field, it’s easy to imagine the insight and expertise he can bring to the table. Join us for this issue of the Series, as Ming takes us through the journey that brought him to where he is today.


Welcome to the Marketing Expert Series, Ming! Thank you for joining us! Let’s start with the basics, tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get to where you are now? 

Thank you for inviting me to this interview series. My career in marketing started more than 20 years ago as a product manager for Thomson Reuters serving both the news media and financial markets. My role grew and evolved over the years with the company before I moved to other wonderful organisations including HP, RS Components, Getty Images, Autodesk and now Unit4. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work in a variety of different industries with different business models and customer demands, and that has afforded me great learning experiences throughout my career journey.   

What was it that drew you to this line of work? Is there a singular or series of experiences that attracted you to it?

The biggest attraction for me is that marketing is a central business function in any organisation. As a marketer, I always feel that I’m in the thick of the action. As a result, I can make direct, meaningful contributions to how an organisation performs. Also, the marketing role usually involves working with stakeholders across the board, from senior executives to sales teams and customer support to product developers and programmers in the back office. I really enjoy working with this diverse group of people where I get to also learn about their work and business priorities. Furthermore, I am also lucky in that I have always held regional roles at global companies, where I can interact and work with people from across the world. I find it truly eye-opening to experience different cultures through my professional career.

Looking at your career, we encounter an impressive list of roles throughout the APAC region. How has this shaped your professional and personal life?

I grew up in a small city, where most of the people I knew are very much like me. Looking back, my general outlook on life used to be very provincial. Through exposure to diverse corporate settings and international colleagues, I find that I have developed a much broader perspective on life in general. I have grown to value and appreciate the fact that there’s always more than one way to skin a cat. Exposure to a diversity of ideas, values and practices has been invaluable in making me a more well-rounded and effective marketer. I have leveraged my broad-based knowledge and experience to see things from different perspectives and bring fresh eyes to problem-solving, for example.

Are there specific roles or experiences in your career that you value above others?

The best experience in my career has been one where I was not only able to contribute to the company but to society. I cannot see myself working for a tobacco company, for example, knowing that their products have an impact on people’s health. However, when I was working for Thomson Reuters, I always felt that I was part of a larger mission. We were not just delivering value to shareholders, but we brought important and impartial news to the world. Our journalists were risking life and limb in war zones and other dangerous environments so that the rest of us know what’s going on. I was part of the team that delivers this information and having that sense of mission was a huge personal motivation to go to work every day.

Currently, you are the Head of Marketing for APAC at Unit4. Can you tell us about Unit4 and the work that the company does?

Unit4 is a global company with a 40-year history in Europe, but unfortunately, it’s still largely unknown in APAC. We provide the latest technology in Enterprise Resource Planning solutions, serving customers mostly in professional services, public sector, nonprofit, and education. We help mid-tier, people-centric organisations to transform the way they work, by providing a better People Experience to their employees, and in turn to their customers as well. Our integrated system helps organisations to manage HR, Finance, Procurement and Project Management functional processes on a modern cloud-based platform, which is easy to use and fully customisable to unique business requirements.  

COVID-19 – the topic on everyone’s mind, and it will certainly leave a mark on many industries. How has it affected Unit4’s business? Has there been a change in demand for enterprise software?

The COVID 19 pandemic has made many companies aware of the limitations of on-premises systems. When countries imposed lockdown restrictions, and companies realised that their people are not allowed or were not able to access their physical offices, they suddenly felt a greater sense of urgency for the move to a cloud-based solution. Our Unit4 solution is based on Microsoft Azure, and having that internationally recognised and secure cloud platform has helped us to differentiate our solutions in the market.

I understand that you joined Unit4 in the middle of the pandemic, how has this impacted the way you approach your marketing tactics for Unit4?

Like many other marketers, we have lost the ability to host physical events due to government restrictions in various countries. This means that there’s now a lot more emphasis on digital activities and virtual events. That in itself is not necessarily bad, as we often get higher ROI from such activities. However, our sales teams have lost the ability to interact and meet with prospective customers face-to-face. Also, everyone is focusing on digital campaigns and activities, and the present challenge is for us to figure out how to stand out from the digital noise. This is not an easy task for a little-known brand like Unit4. 

Where do you see the region as a whole going due to the impact of COVID-19, any lasting B2B trends you think the industry will show as a result of the pandemic?

The impact of COVID-19 will not go away anytime soon. Many companies have reduced their physical office space, and invested in work-from-home systems and implemented remote-working policies. People will likely continue to work from home at least part of the time even when the pandemic is over. There will be a greater need for companies to better manage their remote workforce and ensure their people remain motivated and closely engaged in the business. There’s also a greater sense of urgency for companies for the digital transformation of their business. We’re already seeing organisations starting to invest in digital operation platforms and move to the cloud, just to remain competitive. Those that don’t embark on this journey risk being left behind.    

What about for you when this pandemic is over, what’s next for you? 

Personally, I can’t wait to travel for leisure again! Singapore is a very tiny place and it’s beginning to feel like an island prison; as a joke, I’m starting to call this country “Singa-traz!” It would be nice to have a change of scenery after being stuck here for almost 2 years! And I’m not very particular either on where to visit, even a short trip to neighbouring countries would be nice. I just hope all countries can roll out their vaccination programmes smoothly and get the pandemic under control soon. 

Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers specialists? 

When I first started out in my career, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. It’s only by trying out different roles that I finally found something that interests and excites me. Therefore, I would encourage young, aspiring marketers to be courageous and try out new roles for themselves if they are as uncertain in their chosen career as I was. Even within marketing, there are different areas of specialization, and if you don’t like one, you can always try some others that interest you.  Also, marketing is not an exact science, and it often takes a lot of trial and error before you come up with a campaign that works. Again, my advice is to always keep an open mind and be willing to try new ideas and new campaigns. That’s the only way to improve and reach new heights!

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ming! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more?

People are welcome to connect with me on LinkedIn

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a big part of any digital marketing strategy. With its ability to generate high-quality traffic and help with lead generation, SEO often forms a powerful backbone behind any digital marketing initiative. SEO can get very technical, and many companies looking to benefit from its strategies often need guidance to ensure they get the most out of their initiatives. To this end, SEO is most often one of the things an agency gets called in for. 

Luckily for us, 2Stallions’ SEO team is incredibly well equipped and highly qualified. In this issue of #2STeamStories, Vijay Mali, Senior SEO Specialist at 2Stallions, takes us through his career and current role at our agency.

Hi Vijay! Tell us a bit about yourself. 

Hi, My Name is Vijay Mali, 27 years old and I’m from India. After completing my studies in Computer Science, I worked for several companies to figure out my area of interest. I started my career as a web designer, but unfortunately, I wasn’t really interested in design, so I looked for new opportunities. Eventually, I came across SEO – search engine optimization – through one of my old colleagues and went on to learn some basics. 

Now, I’m an SEO Specialist backed by 6 years of experience. I’ve even started adding new skills and developing them in the digital marketing field like paid advertising.

What attracted you to 2Stallions? What is it like working at the agency?

On the 1st of August, it will have been three years since I joined 2Stallions. Honestly, what attracted me to the agency is the work culture. I haven’t worked at any company in my career that has a company culture like 2Stallions or offers learning opportunities the way they do here. I’ve learned a lot at 2Stallions, and continue to learn with the help of my colleagues. The bonus point of working at a marketing agency is that you have great experiences with clients, and so you learn through that too.

What made you settle on SEO as a career?

As I mentioned before, at the beginning of my career, I was trying to find my area of interest and came across SEO through a colleague. When I started as a web designer, I found it wasn’t as interesting as I had hoped. As a result, I sought to find out more about digital marketing, and eventually found myself in SEO. 


What really drew me to SEO was that it lies at the core of digital marketing. I realized that the Internet is built on millions of websites, and all those websites want to rank higher on search engines. I realised that by deepening my knowledge of SEO, I could help millions of companies improve their ranking. That was the moment I found my interest in digital marketing and I finally chose my preferred speciality.

Can you share with us a little about what’s expected of the role of SEO specialist?

SEO is a long-term process and it is not done overnight, it takes time and you need to wait for good results. With a good foundation and patience, SEO can benefit you and it will help you in the long run.

The fundamental role of SEO is to improve a website’s presence in a search engine; to rank pre-specified keywords and drive quality traffic to websites and convert leads and eventually grow client business. Here are the key roles and responsibilities for any SEO Specialist:

  • Initial Market or Product Research for Client Website.
  • Initial Website Audit and Analysis.
  • Initial Research About Competitor and Competition.
  • Detail Website Audit, Product or Service Research, Competitor Analysis.
  • Comprehensive List of Keywords Research That Lead to Improve Client ROI
  • Develop SEO optimization strategies that increase the Clients website search engine results rankings
  • Set measurable goals that improve in marketing efforts and ROI
  • Monitoring search algorithms set by major search engines like google, Bing and Yahoo to keep up with changes in the SEO landscape.
  • Stay Connected with other marketing experts to align goals
  • Update Web content and website links for maximum optimization and search engine rankings.
  • Prepare In Detail Content Requirement and Explain to Content Writer to make copy SEO Friendly and Search Engine Friendly.
  • To Deal With SEO On Page, Off Page and Technical SEO Part.
  • Analyzes, reviews and implements changes to websites so they are optimized for search engines.
  • Search, Evaluate and Outreach Industry Specific Webmaster for Backlink Opportunity.
  • Monitor Weekly performance metrics to understand SEO strategy performance
  • Strong analytical skills and data-driven thinking

What excites you most about the industry?

Nowadays, digital marketing is a rapidly growing industry everywhere in the world. As most of the companies and reputed brands are in the process of upgrading their digital space. Many companies are undergoing digital transformations, shifting online, and as a result, often require expert digital marketers to help manage their website in such a way that can drive more targeted audiences for his or her business. 

SEO is a big part of digital marketing and it is one of the best ways to drive organic traffic to your website and convert them to paying customers. SEO is an amazing way to draw customers through the business full, converting them into buying customers. So that excites me most about the Digital Marketing (SEO) industry and I want to help as many businesses as possible to build a strong organic presence.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is fulfilling client KPIs and improving their websites’ organic presence. At the same time, Google and other search engines are rapidly updating their algorithms to provide users with the finest search experience. SEO experts and site owners have to constantly upgrade their optimization strategies to the new online environment. Otherwise, if search engines review and revise their algorithms, website keywords ranking will be affected. That is the biggest challenge for SEO.

Connect with Vijay on LinkedIn!

Adapting to the changing environment and technology is challenging enough without a global pandemic to throw a wrench in the works. Education, in particular, has it tough at the moment, but many institutions are finding ways to adapt, using digital technologies to transform the way in which they provide education for their students.

Developing strong brands and growing them to leaders in their sectors, is Corinna Choong, the Senior Director of Marketing and Communication at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). With over 30 years of experience in marketing across specialities like consumer marketing, corporate branding and communications, and B2B marketing initiatives, Corinna has a wealth of knowledge to share. In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series, Corinna talks about her career journey and her experiences setting up a brand from scratch with SUTD.


Welcome to the Marketing Expert Series, Corinna, thank you for joining us. Let’s start with something simple, can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are now? 

I have been working in marketing for the last 30 years, focusing on building brand and corporate values. As a result, I have gathered a lot of experience in Consumer Marketing, Corporate Branding and Communications, and Business to Business Marketing. I’ve worked for multinational companies like Procter and Gamble, Singtel and Certis CISCO, progressing to the position of Senior Vice President. 

It was fulfilling to build brands and bring them to leading positions, reaching 40% of the market share for the fragmented hair care category in Singapore and Malaysia. I also re-branded leading companies like Singtel and Certis CISCO, thus significantly improving their brand identity and reputation. On the business front, I successfully worked on winning some of the most prestigious contracts in the B2B space and won several advertising awards both internationally and locally. 

I branded the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) from scratch when I joined as a pioneer staff (No.10). Back then, it was just known as the 4th University. I launched several multi-media advertising campaigns and organised cool events targeted at student recruitment. In the process, we established a passionate and competent team.  In the last 11 years, we have won ten awards based on work in SUTD. To pay it back, I served as a jury for Effies, Markies, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hackathons for many years. I have been mentoring young people in their career aspirations and as an Angel Investor to pay it forward. 

If you’d like to read about the genesis of the SUTD brand, you can learn more about it here.

Currently, you’re the Senior Director of Marketing and Communication at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). Can you tell us a bit about SUTD and its mission? 

The Singapore University of Technology and Design was established to advance knowledge and nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs, with a focus on Design, through an integrated multi-disciplinary curriculum and multi-disciplinary research. 

In short, we aim for “A Better World by Design”.

Before joining SUTD, you worked at several big names – Certis CISCO, Singtel, Procter & Gamble. You have more than 30 years of experience across consumer marketing, branding, communications, and B2B marketing. What was it that first attracted you to this work? 

I am super passionate about marketing and communications and educating people about the benefits of good work across various industries and companies that I have worked in. For me, it’s all about creativity and innovation, and every day is different! So I never get bored of my work. 

I choose to work only with companies that I believe in. Some people think that marketing is about making the bad look good or ‘spinning the truth’, but I believe in telling the truth. Of course, the fact can be delivered in an aspirational manner and beautifully designed and presented with integrity. When marketing is built on truth, campaigns resonate far more strongly with target audiences. 

You’ve been at SUTD for nearly 12 years. What is it like to shape the marketing strategy of a university like SUTD over more than a decade? 

As I mentioned before, I joined SUTD as one of the first staff members when the University was conceptualized. It was tremendously exciting. How many people can actually say that they branded and started Singapore’s 4th public University from scratch?

Over the years, I have built up a passionate and capable team that I am very proud of. We have great teamwork, and some of them have also worked 7-11 years in SUTD. Working with talented students has also been incredibly fulfilling, especially seeing how they mature and grow into people who live out our mission to better the world through their designs. 

Just like the SUTD brand, our team believes in constantly innovating on our marketing strategies and ideas. So every year,  we try new things, do things better and learn from them to do even better in subsequent years.  

As ‘Mastery’ is one of our brand values, we constantly challenge ourselves to keep up with the developments of the marketing industry like digital transformation. It was highly challenging to pivot from a physical Open House to a Virtual Open House over two weeks in 2019 when COVID-19 hit us, but my team managed to do it and met recruitment targets, which was awesome. So I cherish my team very much!

I am also thankful to my SUTD colleagues, management and even the Board, who are very supportive and focused on our shared goal. Most importantly, my family’s unstinting support and the grace of the Lord has brought us this far.

Is there a specific aspect of your work you enjoy most? 

Most of all, I enjoy interacting with students and bringing their stories to life with our marketing campaigns. SUTD is a very closely-knit community; we call ourselves the SUTD Family. Just like family, we share a single brand identity and have common goals and a single mission. This single brand identity creates a strong alignment and bond between the faculty, staff and students. 

It’s clear that SUTD is very driven in its mission to nurture innovative thinking and technical advancement to serve society; how does one go about sharing this idea with the world to attract more students? 

We use a 360° approach – using earned, owned, and paid media to reach our targets. So on top of all our advertising and communication campaigns, we pitch stories to the journalists and are very active on social media.

In addition to the university-wide marketing, we have women in tech & design programme to educate women about tech & design and to reach our audacious goal of 40% female students with every cohort, the media and our website. 

For technical research, we also spread the word to the research community. Our professors also take part in conferences, giving talks and presentations.

Universities have been under a lot of pressure during the pandemic. How have you and SUTD worked to overcome any obstacles or challenges you’ve had to face this crisis?

I mentioned going digital earlier, but we also engage students online and directly through talks, workshops and direct mail. 

On the education front, it is pretty challenging. So we invest a lot in educational technology to make it more interactive and engaging. The faculty even go to the extent of letting students bring home the VR goggles for their lessons and projects. 

What about you, personally, when this pandemic is over, what’s next for you?

I look forward to travelling again! I usually go on at least two holidays per year, and I really miss the creative stimulation that they provide.

Professionally, the lessons from digital engagement will be helpful for the future where we can do hybrid events to engage the international audience more. 

Any advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers, particularly those with an eye for the education sector? 

Marketing is challenging work where you need to get very hands-on and be action-driven, with a keen eye for details. It would help if you had the creativity to solve problems, handle stress for deadlines, meet targets, and communicate well. Digital skills are also an asset in today’s world, which is true regardless of which sector you join. 

I would advise young people to go for companies (not sectors), with good opportunities to learn and get hands-on with projects; learn to be innovative with budgets to actualise your ideas. Find good mentors and supervisors who can coach and guide you and give you a free hand to try new ideas. People like that are a godsend.

It’s been a great pleasure and privilege to learn more about you and your career, Corinna, thank you for sharing your experiences. How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you?

Sure, people can connect with me on LinkedIn here.


The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions will showcase the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in a next issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Please reach out to us via email.

If you are interested in building your own company’s digital advertising, get in touch with us today, and find out how you can optimize your digital marketing strategies.

We’ve discussed account-based marketing (ABM) strategy before, and talked about its resurgence in recent years. ABM – also known as key-account marketing (KAM), is a B2B marketing strategy based on goal-setting and key account targeting. In essence, ABM allows companies to better reach and communicate with individual prospects or accounts, treating them as a market of one. Think of ABM as a one-to-on approach instead of a one-to-many; generating specific leads with a fishing line rather than fishing broadly with a net.

Typically, an account-based marketing strategy is used to help align sales and marketing teams and maximize return on investment (ROI) for marketing campaigns. To make it clear, there are some very good reasons why companies might want to adopt ABM in their B2B marketing strategies:

5 Reasons You’ll Benefit from an Account-Based Marketing Strategy

1. Personalised Communications.

ABM relies on research and knowledge of target prospects, as a result, it allows for improved personalised communication. Peronalised marketing strategies are proven to have a higher impact on engagement, appealing to customers and prospects’ emotions. Personalized email introductions, for example, that address people by name rather than by the boring, generic, ‘Dear customer’ or ‘Hi!’, have a greater chance of drawing and keeping interest. ABM takes personalized marketing to the next level, developing specifically targeted content that engages decision-makers and draws them through the buyer’s journey.

2. Improves Marketing Resource Efficiency.

One of the key weaknesses of a traditional marketing funnel is that it is often stretched too thin. Traditionally, marketing resources tend to be expended on raking in as many leads as possible. ABM helps structure and plan marketing efforts so that they are being spent in the right places on the right accounts to drive the most revenue. Think of it as a strategy that focuses your marketing and sales efforts where they will do the most good.

3. Enhances your Tracking.

ROI is a critical part of analysing your bottom line and engagement. It’s important to review and track the impact of each of your campaigns to continuously improve and build on your successes. By understanding the effectiveness of each individual aspect of your ABM strategy you will be even more effective moving forward.

4. Increased Alignment of Sales and Marketing.

One of the biggest problems we encounter in today’s traditional marketing departments is that sales and marketing teams function in individual silos. A key strength of ABM is that it draws sales and marketing teams together, out of their individual pillars and into a joint team with the same goals. A solid ABM strategy requires that sales and marketing work closely.  ABM keeps these teams working together instead of working independently.

5. Defines your ROI

All marketing initiatives need to be measured, and ABM is no different. The difference is that ABM provides a clearer, more focused picture of your ROI because it is a clearer and more focused approach. In any marketing activity, measuring ROI is critical and, nowadays, is more easily accomplished through the vast array of automation and software tools we now have at our disposal. ABM allows us to see both the return on investment for an ABM initiative and areas for improvement based on how leads are responding to your content.

Final Thoughts

Account-based marketing can have a massive impact on your B2B marketing strategy. Using a more focused, united approach, it is a strategy that provides a higher quality of leads that are more likely to convert to higher-value customers. It’s a more efficient use of both your marketing and sales teams, aligning them in pursuit of enhanced lead generation.

Are you looking to enhance your ROI on lead generation? We’ve done some great work in this field using SEM and SEO, or get in touch and let’s work together to optimize your lead generation today.

Account-based marketing (ABM) strategies, allow for marketers to increase their focus, prioritizing quality over quantity and thus improving ROI and the conversion of leads into higher valued customers.

Traditional B2B sales and marketing have been around for a long time – changing and developing with the growth of the digital landscape. It allows marketers to use a broad approach to lead generation, to capture a higher quantity of leads without necessarily focusing on their quality. As a result, the sales and marketing funnel tends to get more and more narrow the further in – true to its ‘funnel’ shape, as it were. However, as a result of this approach, the majority of B2B leads collected never convert to customers. Enter ABM.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing is a focused approach to B2B marketing that brings marketing and sales teams together. This teamwork – often nicknamed ‘smarketing’ – allows for sales and marketing teams to align their strategies and work together to target best-fit prospects and convert them into customers. The age of information and the Internet has raised the stakes, driving competition between digital marketers, who are always fighting for the attention of their potential customers.

This competition tends to drive return of investments (ROI) up, and companies want to focus on the highest ROI need and thus place their attention on high-value accounts while considering account penetration, marketing penetration, and logos. Reaching business goals means that marketing teams need to use strategies that combine sales and marketing tactics so they can focus on high-value accounts that deliver the highest level of ROI.

Why should you adopt Account-Based Marketing?

Capturing the attention of potential customers is a lot trickier today than it was even a few years ago. With the rise of digitalization, everyone is vying for attention left, right, and centre. Engagement is a valuable digital currency, and in an era where everyone and everything is connected, it’s what marketers are vying for. Using ABM, sales and marketing teams can direct their energies towards potential and existing accounts that deliver the best ROI.

ABM is not a new idea, but it has seen a new boost because of the latest developments of technologies and the evolution of the digital landscape. ABM is a proven strategy that helps boost marketing ROI, drive attributed revenue, generate more conversions and qualified leads, and align sales and marketing. Generally, B2B marketers target their leads using broad tactics, casting a net, to appeal to as many different prospects as possible. This tactic may generate more leads in the long run but doesn’t deliver the best ROI.

The implementation of a strong ABM strategy can help improve ROI, drive attribution revenue, improve conversions and generate qualified leads. In the past, it was more difficult to scale ABM initiatives because of the level of personalization it required. However, with the development in technology, it’s now fairly straightforward and more affordable than ever before, making it easy for marketers to adopt an ABM strategy in their team to drive higher ROI and customer value outcomes.

7 Steps to Implementing Account-Based Marketing

1. Gather your Sales & Marketing Teams

ABM aligns your marketing and sales teams, so it’s only right that you start it off by bringing both departments together. Too often we see pillarization between sales and marketing, and one of the key strengths of ABM is that it gets rid of that pillarization and aligns the two. Both departments can strengthen each other by sharing information.

2. Define & Set your Goals and Strategy

Once you’ve got your teams together, you must work together to establish joint goals and tactics. Sales and marketing need to work together for ABM to deliver on its promises, and the best way to get them aligned is for them to discuss and agree upon KPIs and target goals. While tactics need to be adapted to each department’s strengths, of course, they do need to be aligned to reach their joint goals.

3. Select your ABM Technology

Thanks to the development of technology, ABM has seen such a resurgence in recent years.  Without the growth the ABM software development, we’d have no chance to scale our strategies. As a result, getting a good handle on the available ABM technology and learning how to best use it is an important step to scaling your ABM strategies.

4. Choose the Right Targets

ABM strategy relies on research, and there’s no getting around it. Once your team has established its goals, setting targets and prioritizing them is next. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to develop and optimize your buyer personas. Remember, it’s a good idea to have your sales team involved in this optimization since they speak to customers and prospects one-on-one probably more often than your marketing team does.

5. Select your Channels & Craft your Messages

Know your target audience? Great. Next up is making sure that you reach them the right way at the right time, in the place where they’re most easily reached. This means choosing your channels and crafting your messaging. Again, the sales team can be of use during this process, so be sure to include them.

6. Execute your Campaigns

Once you’re happy with your messaging, it’s time to get your campaigns out in the world.

7. Evaluate & Optimize

Of course, once your campaigns are live it’s important to stay on top of them. Campaigns, like any other piece of marketing, should never be ‘set and forget’. Evaluating their progress and impact and making live tweaks to optimize them is part and parcel of any strong marketing initiative, especially one backed by ABM strategies.

 

Wrapping Up

Account-based marketing is a powerful tool that not only aligns marketing and sales more effectively, but also boosts lead generation efficiency. At its core, account-based marketing is all about converting more leads by improving the quality of the leads gathered from the start of a marketing campaign. ABM has seen a resurgence, and it’s not difficult to see why, in this age of digital transformation it is a more efficient way of capturing high value leads and convert a higher number of them into higher valued customers.

If you’re interested in learning more about account-based marketing or B2B strategies, check out some of our relevant other articles or reach out to us directly.

To the non-technical-savvy among us, the world of web development and system maintenance can be alien and daunting. The truth is, that without it, the Internet and its many applications and facets would be an unnavigable palace of chaos. The technology that provides us with the connectivity we take for granted requires care and maintenance – whether it’s a website, a server, a social network, or any other aspect of the Internet of Things. 

To help bring sense and order to the chaos we would otherwise be wallowing in, are individuals like Krupa Vasava, one of 2Stallions’ Web Maintenance and Development Specialists who have an affinity for all things ‘dev’. In this issue our #2STeamStories, Krupa takes us through the whirlwind of her daily life at the agency.

Meet Krupa!

Hi everyone! My name is Krupa!

I graduated from Sarvajanik College of Engineering and Technology, India in 2014 and my major was Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science. In 2018, I joined 2Stallions as a Junior Web Developer. Right now, I am a Web Maintenance & Development Specialist. 

This means I work on different projects on maintenance for the development and server sides, I also work on website hosting and systems and work on security reports. It’s also my job to help the client with any queries from their side about anything in their contract – especially if it has to do with maintaining their website.

Personally, I’m really interested in the general information technology field, web development, and cyber security and digital marketing. My biggest passion is learning about software and technology. Ever since I was young, I have been fascinated with computers, which is why I decided to study Computer Science in college and I’ve continued in that direction since graduating. It’s been a great choice for me! As a developer, I get to shape how the Internet is progressing and how websites are evolving, and that’s exciting to me.

What goes on in the day-to-day job as a Web Maintenance & Development Specialist?

Well, as my job title suggests,  I work  on different projects for development and maintenance. To give you an idea of what that means, here’s the list of some of the steps and tasks I regularly do:

  • Running through starter security checklist (WebArx)
  • Update security plugins (WebArx) for website
  • Setting up backups
  • On Maintenance site, Dropbox
  • Setting up Dropbox optimization schedule
  • Setup cron jobs (if required)
  • Optimization of database/tables
  • Setting up firewall/malware scan/brute force attack prevention
  • Maintenance (eCommerce or WordPress or PHP Application)
  • Set up a staging server or a local server
  • Take existing live site backup and deploy on staging/local
  • WordPress Core SECURITY updates
  • Theme or Plugin SECURITY update
  • Take a backup of final working site on local/staging
  • Deploy on live (minimize downtime) 
  • Generate reports from WebArx once every month and share with the customer.
  • Development of websites
  • Work on CSS stuff for adding feature on existing website
  • Migration of server
  • Server management

Why do you think Web Maintenance & Development Specialists are important for businesses these days?

As you can see from our checklist, website maintenance should be a consistent part of your business. It grows on itself, and if not correctly implemented, can cause some serious problems and setbacks to your potential growth and business health. 

Staying on top of website health takes awareness and organization. This is particularly the case for a large site with hundreds (or even thousands) of pages. With the introduction of new tools to make website building easier, website sizes are growing each year. While it’s easy to add pages to most websites, it’s not as easy to keep all of your pages in a good state. 

All that to say: stay on top of your website maintenance!

Many new businesses already have a lot on their plates without worrying about constantly checking in on their website. It’s tempting to buy a domain name, throw up something temporary, and just worry about it later, but there are many reasons why this is not a good idea. Maintaining a current, healthy, and active website is important for a whole number of reasons.

Do you have any advice for fresh graduates who are currently looking for jobs and are open to exploring different career paths? 

There are lots of technologies coming out in the world of development, but if anyone wants to gain some knowledge about new things and new skills then a job as a Web Maintenance & Development Specialist is a good one. 

Another thing that’s important to me is that this role allows me to not only play with data, but also present my findings and suggestions directly to clients. That is really refreshing! I’m always very motivated by being able to see the impact of my work on other people.

What challenges do you face as a Web Maintenance & Development Specialist? 

The main challenges that come when you are working on development of a website while juggling client queries about adding some features or bug fixes. 

The biggest thing is that you always need to be ready in case sudden issues come from the server side and/or a website goes down. If a website system suddenly fails, you need to fix it as soon as possible. Websites are core parts of businesses, especially if they are ecommerce systems that directly connect clients to their customers; you really can’t afford to let a website be out of order for any longer than absolutely necessary. 

It’s also really important to be aware about all domain renewals as well as SSL certifications. You also need to monitor security vulnerabilities in websites and frameworks across all the systems and websites in your care.

Since I have to handle multiple tasks on days, it can sometimes be a little tough to handle. I’ve learned that I can overcome most challenges by relaxing myself by always listening to music, or going for walks, regularly working out and doing yoga.

Where do you get your motivation from for your day-to-day tasks? Do you have any special sources of inspiration or drive?

In a nutshell, I love:

  • learning new things
  • acquiring new skills
  • meeting deadlines, goals and targets
  • improving processes, finding ways to solving problems
  • overcoming challenges

Effort recognition is what motivates me to do a good job. It’s very important for me to be recognized for my work, to get the deserved applause or mention that I feel I have earned. This may sound silly, but it really helps me keep my eye on the ball. It not only keeps me energized but also on my toes to keep putting in all my effort. 

In my previous job, I was a backend Developer. The team achieved significant sales growth by designing a new product. I was awarded the best idea distinction for helping them out. That kind of recognition is more satisfying than any kind of monetary compensation. Appreciation of work gives me the required kick to give more than a 100%. There is a need to perform to achieve success. This is especially when I am being monitored. Even if it is a small mail or message from my boss or senior, it matters a lot. It is highly motivating to know that someone requires your input in essential matters and that your recommendations will be implemented.

Is it true that an agency life is work without play? Tell us a little bit more about the culture at 2Stallions.

Sometimes when you are handling multiple projects, it can get pretty time-consuming. However, agency life is really not work without play. At 2Stallions, we encourage everyone to work hard and play hard! We have a relatively young team, so it can be pretty fun in the office at times!

Our agency also emphasises the well-being of its employees. That is why we have regular video calls to catch up with one another, to ensure everyone is coping well with the current situation. I’m grateful for my supportive colleagues who’re always ready to help whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed at work. When things get tough, I know that I will always have my team to fall back on.

Wrapping Up 

Get to know our #2Stallionsfamily with the #2Steamstories tag.  Discover the works done by our diverse team of digital marketing professionals who’ll bring your ideas to life with impactful designs. Browse and download our case studies now! 

If you’re looking for a content marketing expert, don’t hesitate to contact us

REQUEST A QUOTE

We seek to create long-term relationships built on results. Tell us about your business
goals and we will contact you