Welcome back to the Executive Marketer Series. This series is brought to you by marketers for marketers across all industries in Australia.
This series brings together insights and advice from marketers. We are creating a dialogue between marketers touching on pain points and case studies that we can all learn from.
This week we sat down with Danielle Bond, Aurecon’s head of marketing and communications, to learn how to build trust with clients, bring social media into the marketing mix and the importance of your brand story.
Aurecon, head of marketing and communications
Some background on Danielle
Danielle is a marketing and communications professional with experience across legal, accounting and engineering. She has worked for local and global professional services companies and in her current position is global CMO for an international engineering and project-delivery company.
Danielle understands the importance of brand marketing and fostering the right culture internally to create consistency in the customer experience across the company.
Highlights from the interview
Q. How important is aligning marketing strategies with sales objectives, and how do businesses get buy-in from the C-suite?
A. The marketing strategy needs to grow out of the business strategy, and sales objectives are obviously going to be part of that business strategy. It’s the most critical thing that the marketing and communications function has to get right. If the marketing strategy is not informed by the business strategy, it’s never going to hit the mark.
A lot of organisations are perhaps at different levels of maturity in terms of having really good, clear business strategies that marketing can hang its hat on. In the absence of that, you need to do three things: understand from your key stakeholders what they want to achieve in the short, medium and long term, know what the necessary things to get done are and know where to invest time and money.
Q. How has the traditional face of marketing changed in the digital world?
A. The digital world is a game changer for business generally and for marketing as well. I see it as a really great opportunity for marketing because it is a new channel and it’s an area where marketers can take a lead. If we can understand the digital world and how it helps advance a business’s objectives then marketers can have a good seat at the table in terms of strategy. I think one of the benefits of the digital world is it comes with real-time feedback and metrics, which makes it easier to ensure your campaign is hitting the mark and demonstrate return on investment. Speed to market is also a tangible benefit.
Q. Would you say that building trust and relationships with your clients is a crucial element of marketing?
A. As an in-house marketing and communications services provider, an important element for me internally is having trusted relationships with my key stakeholders. I have to treat them as a client so I have to listen and understand before I recommend a solution. Stephen Covey’s advice about seeking to understand first before seeking to be understood is sound. Good consultants do that well. Having the right culture and people in your team can help you build trust internally.
In terms of a company’s external clients, I don’t know of any business where trust isn’t critical, whether you’re in the B2B environment or B2C. In the B2B environment, it is a core component of being a good professional services advisor. Put your client first and at the heart of your business. If you can be reliable, responsive, manage expectations and do this at the right price then all these elements of good service build trust, and every time you don’t do that you erode trust.
Q. How does brand marketing fit into marketing?
A. You have to have a singular vision, be able to articulate that and help your people understand this vision. We project an image of the organisation that aligns with its vision and purpose. It needs to be an attractive proposition to attract the right people – employees, customers and business partners.
Your brand story is much more than just visual identity and what you say you stand for. It is about your employees representing your brand in everything they do. Apple, for example, is managing all the marketing and communications touchpoints beautifully, and when you walk into an Apple store you experience customer service that fully aligns with their brand story.
Q. How important is social media for marketing, and do you think it will continue to change the way companies market themselves?
A. Social media is a game-changing channel and it’s having an impact inside companies as much as in the marketplace. Social media and social-network collaboration is something a lot of companies want to achieve internally. This means taking what social media has done for people in their personal networks into business in order to make business networks more effective, collaborative and profitable. The secret is choosing the right social media channels for your company and figuring out how many you can really usefully leverage. We chose Facebook, but with a focus on a particular group of people. We also use LinkedIn and see that as driving a whole number of business benefits, from brand to recruitment to business development.
Q. Which social media platform is a must for your business?
A. LinkedIn is a very important channel for B2B. It has a very strong proposition in the recruitment space, so if you’re in the business of hiring people you need to be using it. It’s not only a strong networking platform, but also a strong content-publishing platform. To keep on top of trends in social media, I follow a couple of blogs and get advice from experts, as well as getting the broader team (of employees) to roll up their sleeves and get involved. We don’t have a dedicated social media team – our communications team is responsible for managing the content around our social media – but I encourage everyone to upskill because you can’t be doing marketing and communications for a brand unless you really get it.
What social media platforms work for your business? Tell us in the comments section below.
Come back next week for another instalment of the Executive Marketer Series.
By Cameron Upshall – Commerical Director
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