“Automation is an interesting topic within the marketing world. A lot of other areas of business are attempting to streamline and automate, but marketers are working to make everything as personalised and relevant as possible. Automation is like any other process — it is really only as valuable as the inputs. I think there is a very powerful combination between automation and personalisation.”
Insightive.tv: What does being a CMO mean to you — what are your main responsibilities?
Stephen: To my mind it is pretty straight forward — I am responsible for the growth of the business. There is nuance to that, but the nuts and bolts always come back to growth. At its most basic, this task is about getting the business aligned around a particular market segment and having a clear and coherent understanding of that market. That means understanding that market’s challenges and pains — knowing how your clients’ business models work. From there it is about building a proposition and proper messaging and finding the best way to get that in front of decision makers. The job, ultimately, is an influencing role. We have to influence the opinions of our target market and make sure that, internally, we speak with a consistent and strong voice.
Insightive.tv: What challenges do you face when attempting to reach your target audience?
Stephen: We live in a world that is noisy. People are very capable of picking up on marketing schemes. Trying to find a way to cut through that noise is probably the biggest challenge. We do this by obtaining a second nature understanding of our market — flexible workspaces. Being able to talk to clients about their business in the same way that they do makes a huge difference.
Our other big challenge is about acquiring and accessing data. We are in a niche market, and that means that we have to do a lot of the legwork to acquire information about target customers. It is completely different from many of the other business that I have worked for previously where there are easy to identify market segments with easily purchasable, off the shelf, data.
It is also a challenge to get in front of the right people at the right time. The perfect customer scenario is contacting someone who is about four-to-six months away from opening a new co-working centre or serviced office. We have to make sure that our sales teams are in continual contact with prospects and customers. I think that even for companies that operate within well-established sectors, timing is becoming a more important issue.
Insightive.tv: Can you elaborate further on how you cut through the noise in the market?
Stephen: It is a relatively straightforward process — it is about not selling. This something that B2B marketers forget quite frequently. My job is not to be a salesperson or conduct a product pitch, it is to open up a doorway. That might require being highly reflective of what a customer or a prospect wants to hear, or more importantly providing them with some insight about their competitors, their business, or their industry. We are very conscious of making sure that our messaging is highly tuned to the context of flexible workspaces and that, on a more specific level, our messaging is highly tuned to the specific persona that we are targeting at any given time.
Ultimately, look at the way we all consume content in our personal lives. Most people read two types of content – content that affirms an existing opinion or content that is the polar view so it annoys us – and then still affirms our opinion. Understanding the opinion is the key to persona marketing and matching the messaging to that opinion.
We work very closely with our sales team, and, in many ways, could be considered the same team. But we are operating on two different ends of a single process. I would consider myself a marketer that is absolutely focused on the sales outcome. Our sales team is really the primary route to market — we don’t have alternatives today. Right now, 100% of our sales are direct. It is imperative, from my perspective, that we agree on which potential clients we are targeting in a given year, and which accounts we should be looking at to broaden our penetration. I also consider it my job to help the sales team identify white space that exists within their accounts. Together, this creates a symbiotic and powerful relationship.
Insightive.tv: Can you describe a recent marketing campaign that you consider a success?
Stephen: We launched an e-book in the beginning of November — about sixty-to-seventy pages. We spent quite a lot of time creating that content. It was mostly original material, although we asked for input and accreditation by some industry thought leaders. The number of interactions that we have had with that are really quite enormous. In a single month of that being launched, we had more downloads of that one piece of content than we had as a business in the previous two years combined. We had already been moving towards more content focused marketing, but that really showed us not only the potential success of that strategy but the real desire for in-depth and long-form content designed to truly add value from a niche perspective.
We are focused on reaching out to people based on providing information that is relevant to them, and then bringing it back around to how Essensys can add further value to their business. If you took a look at the marketing plan for 2017 it looks more like an editorial calendar than a traditional marketing plan. The idea being that once you are on our website we take you on a journey that ends in you engaging with our services. In the new year, we plan on adding the ability to self-services and 30-day free trial.
Insightive.tv: Beyond a focus on content, do you see changes in the future of marketing?
Stephen: I think it is getting harder to be a marketer and a salesperson — you have to go in with a deeper understanding of your target audience’s challenges and the context of their business. Automation is an interesting topic within the marketing world. A lot of other areas of business are attempting to streamline and automate, but marketers are working to make everything as personalised and relevant as possible. Automation is like any other process — it is really only as valuable as the inputs. I think there is a very powerful combination between automation and personalisation.
If you look at the automation that we put into the follow-ups on our e-book, that is a very good example of combining automation and personalisation. After people download the e-book, they will get a follow-up email from one of our sales consultants that basically says “thank you for downloading — I just wanted to introduce myself.” They will then get a number of other automated emails from that same named individual. If they respond, the sales representative takes over manually. I would suggest that most people would not identify that as automated, they would think that it was a relatively helpful, if not persistent individual. It is effective because the potential client gave consent initially and received a piece valuable content. That kind of combined approach is really what I see in the future for marketing.
Stephen Eveleigh is Chief Marketing Officer at Essensys. Having over a decade of experience in marketing leadership, previously working as VP of Brand and Marketing for Colt Technology Services, Stephen joined Essensys in 2016. With expertise in B2B marketing, communications, digital marketing and product management, Stephen is a growth focused, results and metrics driven marketer. We spoke with Stephen to gain insight into how Essensys is breaking through in the emerging co-working sector and what developments he sees for future of marketing.
Essensys provides Occupie the software platform for the growing shared and flexible workspace sector. The platform gives coworking and serviced office operators a single workspace management platform providing real-time business insights, inventory management, online bookings and community and on-demand ICT services. They provide customers with access to automated, digital services that are scalable, nimble and fast — particularly capable of enabling their flexible workspace customers’ with a unified, cloud-based and customisable work environment, on demand, in any number of locations, on any number of devices.