We’re back with another instalment of the Executive Marketer Series.
This series aims to provide industry insight from executive marketers in Australia, covering everything from pain points to predictions for the future.
This week we spoke with Nathan Sawicki, Marketing and Communications Manager at Silliker. Nathan spoke about how Silliker are driving engagement and revenue through webinars, the role of marketing in the buyer journey, how to tailor your approach for local markets and key steps in creating an effective marketing strategy.
Nathan is the marketing and communications manager at Silliker. He has worked across marketing, communications and business development projects in Australia, China, Europe and North America. His industry experience spans the telecommunications, ICT, engineering, renewable energy and biotechnology industries. He is an advocate for new marketing technologies and content marketing strategies.
Q. How important is aligning marketing strategies with sales objectives?
A. It’s critical. If sales and marketing are not on the same page when it comes to the ‘objectives’, ‘strategies’ of how to achieve the objectives, ‘tactics’ on how the strategies will be carried out, and the ‘plan’ on actually doing it, then the efforts and effectiveness of sales and marketing will be poor.
In many of the companies I have worked for in the past, there has unfortunately been an evident disconnect between sales and marketing. What we have done to change this is get sales and marketing into the one room to sit down and go through the four steps mentioned, which involved the planning and design of the buyer’s journey as we know it. We also map the process our buyers go through when considering our product or service, and then draft the marketing (content) strategy that communicates directly to the buyers, regardless of the buying stage.
Q. How has the traditional face of marketing changed in the digital world?
A. The digital world offers more flexible and focused strategies when promoting, communicating and delivering products and services. It offers a greater avenue for engagement and target audience insights, which will lead to ongoing opportunities. In the past, marketing used to be about bringing in the leads, handing them over and watching the buyer go through the buying cycle and sales pipeline. Today marketing really has to play a nurturing role in the buyer’s journey, far deeper down to the evaluation of options, resolution of concerns and then ultimately a sale.
This supports the power of effective content marketing. For example, we have created a webinar series that gives customers key insights and critical industry information. These new digital channels open up opportunities for connecting with our customers, building brand recognition and leadership in our industry.
Q. How important is it to tailor marketing projects to local markets, and what’s your advice for marketers to do this successfully?
A. Most corporate strategies are localised these days, which requires a solid understanding of the local markets.
By reviewing the external and internal environments of the local market and company, marketing decisions for the products and services will hopefully amplify the company’s strengths based on local market opportunities. This is easier said than done as there are countless examples of big corporations getting it wrong when entering new markets.
Q. How important is social media for marketing, and do you think it will continue to change the way companies market themselves?
A. There is no doubt that social media is important to marketers. Buyers are constantly looking for new ways to gather information to learn about your product or service.
Social media allows you to capture customers’ attentions much earlier in the buying process. Coming from a scientific industry, social networks are an ideal channel for us to deliver thought leadership and build trust.
But one still can’t completely move away from the traditional approaches such as word of mouth. In my opinion, a reference is still up there as being one of the most effective forms of marketing.
Q. As a marketer, why is it important to adopt new technologies?
A. Technology is one of three major forces that drive an economy, and it’s no different in marketing. The availability of the internet and mobile device technology has allowed marketers to reach out to our target audience in an informal way, such as webinars, during a time of day that they are willing to spend with us. We are all time poor. People don’t have time to sift through pages and pages of technical information.
The following equation summarises what we are progressing to now:
Relevance + meaningful information = revenue
Webinars have been effective for us because we can present direct relevant industry information to our audience. This has provided our business with inbound information that not only creates sales, but also captures new market needs and opportunities.
Q. Having worked in marketing in a variety of different industries, how have you found each differs and what tools have changed in targeting different audiences? How have things changed and how are you doing things differently from now to then?
A. Marketing initiatives and tools don’t differ between industries. It is more to do with if the business is dealing with B2C or B2B. I’ve dealt with both across a number of different industries in different countries, and what I’ve found is that marketers can use industry jargon to excellent effect across B2B flat platforms.
B2B companies are seeking efficiency, expertise and looking to cut costs, while consumers are looking for better deals, enjoyment and more entertainment for their own benefit. B2B clientele want expertise and to be educated. That’s why our webinar approach is so effective. We are giving them relevant information that’s empowering them. They can take this information back to their superiors and say, “This is what we learned. This is what we need to do.”
Q. What are the steps you go through when creating a marketing strategy?
- Research and planning: A high-level approach is needed to understand what your company does: the whos, whats and whys.
- Involve key stakeholders and the sales team: Get buy-in from key departments by including them in the alignment of strategies.
- Analyse the strategy internally and externally: Understand your strengths and weaknesses against the environment you operate in.
- Develop marketing objectives and KPIs: Your strategies are created based on objectives as well as the marketing mix.
- Create action plans and timelines: This includes your annual timeline and how you are going to implement and evaluate it.
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By Cameron Upshall – Director