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Are We In A Post Digital World? An Interview with Jean-Michel Maltais

10/10/2017

As part of our series interviewing senior marketing leaders, we recently had the chance to talk to Jean-Michel Maltais, Global Vice-President Marketing at Travelport. Jean-Michel discusses mobile marketing and answers the question; are we in a post-digital world? Read on to find out more. 

Can a modern business survive with no digital marketing?

Jean-Michel (JM) answered this question with a simple, yet powerful analogy; can a modern business survive without computers? The tools available to digital marketers are essential to reaching consumers wherever they are.

JM sees particular value in mobile marketing, with the average person now spending 2 ½ hours a day on mobile devices. Digital marketing allows marketers to effectively target the consumer where they spend most of their time. 

It is important that content made for these devices is easily consumable. Examples include subtitles on Facebook mobile videos as they often auto-play without sound. 

To summarise, ignoring digital marketing means you are ignoring essential marketing channels.

Are we in a post-digital world?

In JM’s opinion, yes. Marketers need to move away from the mind-set that digital is an add-on to marketing. Rather, marketing is about reaching and engaging consumers and digital channels are essential as they spend so much time on them. 

JM warns that senior marketers need to be careful they don’t split their teams into digital and non-digital. This can lead to lack of cohesion between teams and ultimately a mixed message being delivered to the consumer. 

Part of the challenge of being in a post-digital world is the vast array of tools available for digital marketing. JM says that you need to be careful you don’t overthink when using products and services like social listening, CRM and marketing automation. Get going and learn quickly.

What are the first steps for a business looking to improve or introduce digital marketing?

You need to look both at strategy and tactics.

On the tactical side, perform an audit of your presence and what your competitors do, secure the accounts on the various social media channels and start posting to start learning.

On the more strategic side, you need to perform a skills gap analysis to make sure you have the right blend of talent, including some digital natives. Also, make sure you have all the tools required and that you become efficient over time. You shouldn’t be afraid of hiring new staff, using agencies and provide training to your existing workforce.

It’s important to document your policies and procedures, so that new staff can quickly be aligned to the way of operating and that you develop brand consistency as perceived by your customers. JM says that you also need to put the right tracking in place. Set your KPIs, goals and targets and adjust accordingly, building on what works.

The difference between B2B and B2C

JM has in-depth B2B and B2C experience and took the time to explain the key marketing differences between the two. 

B2B

You are not trying to influence one person, you are trying to influence a decision making unit with a long decision making time. The other challenge in marketing to businesses is attribution. Because of the more complex nature of the buying process, knowing what marketing actions from your mix led to the decision to purchase your service or products is harder.

JM stressed that the marketing team needs to work with sales to pass on leads, so Marketing is seen as a value driver. EMR finds that some businesses even combine their sales and marketing teams into one division. 

B2C 

Grabbing and holding consumer’s attention is no easy feat. Consumers are constantly being marketed to and to really make them stop, you need to be empathetic.
You can do this by being very close to the customer and discovering as many insights as you can. 

Using a mixture of high impact media with more direct-response media can then lead to success. At Lebara Mobile, JM did a lot of bus advertising to provide such impact and then followed up with email and text campaigns to drive adoption. 

How to Beat the Competition 

When JM was asked how to beat the competition he gave three valuable pieces of advice:

1) Be close to your customers. Marketing is about the customer - the better you understand the customer, the more successful you will be.

2) Be different and exciting. Large businesses tend to be risk averse. Marketing is the change agent that can push boundaries and create that emotional connection with the customer.

3) Investing in your people. Marketing is changing fast and marketers need to evolve fast. You can’t just replace your staff to acquire new skills, you need to train people on-going. Often companies see this investment as a cost, but it should be seen as revenue driver. 

4) Be agile. Get started, monitor and optimise. Find out what works and what doesn’t and find out quickly. You need to be constantly testing your approach. 

Thank you JM! 

Travelport is a travel commerce platform that provides distribution, technology, payment and other solutions for the travel and tourism industry. To find out more what they do and how they can help your business – click here.

To find out more about JM and then work he is doing, you can check out his LinkedIn profile here. 

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