Brand champion – the Q&A series with Sheelagh Carroll, Head of Group Commercial in Kefron.
How important is a marketing strategy now to your brand – more or less so than before?
Our brand has continued to evolve in recent times. Kefron provides information and document management services. We have identified that business in general is embracing technology to support a paperless office environment. Document management technology helps to streamline business processes that may previously have been a paper intensive bottleneck, for example automation of accounts payable. Not only can we streamline this process for customers, we can drive real business efficiencies and cost savings as a result.
Our marketing strategy has been essential in moving our market position from very much a physical document management organisation, to both physical and digital document management solutions. Our operations have changed to support the new direction in business strategy, such as a new in-house development team and strategic partners in the latest cloud based technology solutions. It is our marketing strategy that has enabled us to bring this to market and has focused us on areas of business growth into the future.
How has marketing/advertising changed in general over the last 10 or so years and is this a bad or a good thing?
One of the key drivers of change in marketing over the last number of years is technology. While the fundamentals of marketing remain the same, the toolkit in relation to how we do business has changed. Social selling and marketing is becoming the accepted way of networking and communicating with contacts. Customers and prospects now have so much information at their fingertips, simply trying to promote your features and benefits is no longer good enough. People don’t want to be told what they should purchase, they want to discover the facts for themselves. At a recent LinkedIn conference, sales director Frank Hatton shared the statistic that 75% of B2B buyers use social media as part of their decision making process.
Our own marketing focus has gradually been shifting much more towards our online activity, and creating value added content that will be useful to both prospects and customers. We are using business development technology that supports our lead generation activity, including Hubspot, LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics. This use of the technology not only supports our business development, it also helps us to track our ROI in various online campaigns.
I do, however, have to say that no technology, in my mind, will ever be able to replace the power of a face-to-face meeting!
What campaigns have you admired in recent times – any one of them really stand out for you?
What Paddy Cosgrave has done with the Web Summit has simply been outstanding. From when it was first set up as the Dublin Web Summit in 2009 to now, it has become Europe’s largest technology conference with over 10,000 attendees from more than 90 countries around the world.
Not only is it good for Paddy, it is also good for Ireland. This conference supports our international positioning as a young dynamic place to do business, with the necessary skills and infrastructure to support it. This can only be good for Irish business.
In terms of your own brand, what marketing strategies will you be adopting for the rest of this year and beyond?
With our business taking a new direction in digital document management solutions, we are no longer constrained by geography. This has opened up opportunities for us in the UK and beyond. Our marketing strategies will be looking at new market opportunities in the UK, where we can identify market growth potential. We will continue to build upon our achievements in Ireland and bring these learnings forward into new markets.
What would be your own marketing philosophy?
Understanding the customer and knowing the market in which you operate is critical in order to achieve success with any marketing strategy. People and relationships are the heart of any business interaction, be-it sales, marketing, operations or finance. Whilst the communications toolkit for marketers may have changed, building strong customer relationships and delivering a valuable service remains core.
Reference: Business & Leadership