Marketing Director finds latest mass media adds flavour to their marketing mix
"As we are a people oriented business I felt it was a medium that would give us a real voice," says Emma Pownall, Marketing Director of Datel of adding podcast host to her technology marketing leadership role at Datel.
Datel is a major partner to accounting enterprise resource planning (ERP) software provider Sage and has been for the last 40 years. "We have a big services business and deliver solutions that can help the customer," Pownall says. Datel focuses on businesses with a turnover between £10 million and 100 million. "Typically we look for businesses that are growing and have an appetite for further growth either through investment, acquisition or gaining a global reach," she says. Datel has built an enviable position when it comes to customer retention, with many organisations remaining with Datel for 20 to 25 years. But as the marketing director says, it is vital to remain relevant to these customers, whilst bringing onboard new clients.
"We are focused on transparency and being open and that does build trust with a customer, to the point where we get invited to boardroom discussions on their IT strategy," Pownall says.
Pownall and Datel began podcasting in late 2019 as a test and has found the rapidly growing audio medium useful. "It has enabled us to focus on what our customers care about. To start with we wrote a list of the topics and people we wanted to talk to," she says.
With five episodes done and more in the pipeline Tech-Marketers asked Pownall about the value of podcasting as a form of technology marketing. "You have got to really think about how podcasting fits in to your content plan. Podcasting feels right for us, but like any content, if you don't know where the direction is then it will be irrelevant." Pownall is measuring podcast usage along similar lines to email marketing, assessing the listen times, but also looking at the feedback and how the podcasts are received on social media. "For me it is a branding activity rather than a lead based activity," she says. Datel recruited an agency to help with podcast production and the Marketing Director says, the costs are "comparable with video" but sees audio as having some inherent strengths for technology marketing leaders, that also dictate the production. "It is consumed in people's personal time, so it is really important to get the content right," she says.
Add some Sage
Datel focuses on the larger Sage software systems and Pownall says Sage relies on the skills of organisations like Datel for successful implementations. Sage also brings a global network of partners not only to customers, but also to organisations like Datel who can use the network to help clients ensure they have Sage partners near locations as they expand internationally.
"Sage is a global network and that helps. We have customers with sites all over the world and it helps that we can draw on other Sage partners and it is a big part of how we implement solutions," Pownall adds.
"Partners bring specialisation and experience to Sage, for example we started in the North West of the UK and therefore have a lot of experience of manufacturing and distribution," Pownall says. The Marketing Director adds that the experience goes both ways as well and benefits Sage in product development as well as system sales. "We have a relationship with Sage that means we can influence them with insight from our customers and Sage really does listen."
"The team has been an 11 year project for me," Pownall says of her team of eight marketeers and how Datel has developed its marketing team since she joined the organisation. "A lot of businesses don't invest much in their marketing people," Pownall says adding that she would rather invest in developing skills for Datel over spending money with agencies. As a result Datel has its own graphics designers and the Marketing Director says this is more cost effective. "We build up the knowledge and learn from each experience and continually improve, so that everyone in the team is on the right journey. My focus is on building the skills and making sure that they feel empowered to do what they do and make sure that they focus on their own development."
Pownall describes her own entry into technology marketing leadership as something she fell into following a degree in electronics.
The move into podcasting and the stories from their customers about their business is the latest iteration from Datel to bring forums together and not subject them to old fashioned product demonstrations. "It takes a lot more hard work, sometimes I spend a week sitting through presentations to make sure they are not product demos," Pownall says of how Datel events are divided between business events and distinctly labelled product events.
"We track an awful lot and monitor the early stage sales piece and compare leads to revenue by service," Pownall says of the KPIs she uses as Marketing Director. "Engagement is my umbrella though, is the material of interest and is it moving a potential buyer along the buying journey," Pownall adds of how events and podcasting support more traditional marketing methods.