As part of the WARC x Spotify “Getting your brand heard” report, María del Valle Ortega Moreno-Tomé, Marketing Director at Telefónica Global Solutions, described how B2B marketers can explore digital audio opportunities, but need to increase their understanding of the channel first.
What are the key goals and KPIs that you and the team are expected to achieve through advertising and marketing?
We are a part of Telefonica which works for the B2B segment so we have two different goals. One of them is brand awareness. For any customer who we work with, they want to understand who we are, if they can trust us, what our values are. So, the first thing that we work on is brand awareness. Our focus is on being sure that the market understands who we are, how we’re positioned and about our products.
Our second goal is lead generation for a very innovative and technological product portfolio. We look for our potential customers to understand what that portfolio involves and to think about us when they have a new project where we want to be an option for them.
How do you and the team translate those goals into the different media that you select and what kind of processes are involved there?
We work with a lot of different media. More traditional ones, of course, but also a whole host of smaller ones. We use paid media, we use our website and our blog for creating brand awareness, and we use primarily call-to-action links for those campaigns oriented to lead generation.
However, we have also moved our strategy from being very focused on lead generation in LinkedIn to activity around brand awareness in offline channels, so not just digital marketing. We work on industry events in all parts of the world – one of our key non-digital media. Why? Because it's a place where all the players in our industry – customers and service providers – meet from all parts of the world. In those kinds of events, we mix both goals – brand awareness and lead generation. We are the sponsors, so we run very big brand awareness activities which are more aligned with our objectives as a company. Our logo would be on everything so people can see who we are, the size of the opportunity and our services all around the event. But we also run lead generation activity through face to face meetings. We use these events to meet potential customers to promote our services in a more face to face way.
That balanced split between brand awareness and lead generation is not very typical across B2B. What inspired your thinking around that level of balance?
In the last year or two, we have had a total change of mindset. What we’ve discovered is that when we were doing these lead generation campaigns, we thought our target market was not as big as our B2C markets. B2B is very, very targeted. But then we saw that the decisions being made many times were affected by the personal relationships between the people doing business together. It was a question of confidence. So we discovered that our lead generation campaigns weren’t as successful as expected because of this. That is why we need this offline, face to face connection with key decision makers at events. With just one customer, we can position our services properly. But we need that brand awareness happening in the background too. The idea is that we meet a client at an event, they see who Telefonica is, what solutions we provide and look for information about us on our website – for example success stories from our existing clients, and so on. It’s not easy to find a database of leads that already exists so we need to be visible so that customers recognise us when we meet them face to face and therefore we create a greater opportunity that they’ll work with us.
Products and services within the telco space are often evolving. How has that affected your media selection?
That has changed so much in the last three years. I started here in 2019 and the end of 2019, we were approaching COVID-19. It’s been a little bit crazy because when I joined 90% was about events and face to face meetings. Then it shifted to online – very basic online activity and websites to start with. We changed to 100% online activity for a year and a half. Now we are returning to more balance.
We’ve taken the positives from face to face meetings and industry events that we had in the past plus the lessons learned during the pandemic. For example, one thing which didn’t work so well for us were webinars. We did some but didn't get the audience we wanted. It was a lot of work to prepare the correct messages. But we realised that we expected to do too much within half an hour of a webinar. We still run a few webinars but we’re getting back to that balance of 50-50 between face to face marketing activities and digital online ones.
As you balance awareness and lead generation, how do you then balance targeting with sufficient reach in your media selection?
Our problem with this is that our target market is not as clear as we want. So we’re running a very deep exercise targeting our followers more broadly – so followers of our followers – which, for us, is a new way of using something like LinkedIn. But we also do lead generation campaigns working through LinkedIn and Twitter, for example, where our teams work with our agency to identify the targets who we want to reach.
Thinking about targeting in the future, how are you preparing for the death of the third party cookie?
I think we’re already in that situation because we don't often buy information from a third party apart from with LinkedIn. When we're looking to run a targeted campaign, we use an event and set up a landing page for that to bring in the information which we can then use. So there’s that thought leadership, or we partner with companies who provide insights from our industry and we agree with them to use their reporting in our posts. And when someone clicks, we capture their most interesting information.
What role does audio play currently in your media mix and why?
Although we’re not using a lot of audio right now, we are looking to transform our product marketing to become more digital and that might include audio. For example, we have a YouTube channel with twelve new videos which is a quite common way of promoting our services. From a product marketing perspective, if you go to any other digital provider, you can see hundreds of videos of their services and use cases. This is something that will happen for us in the future but it’s not here yet. Audio will be a good way to help us with that because B2B buyers won’t necessarily have time to look at a certain presentation but they might have time to hear about it. In order to spread the right message, we’ll need to tell the right story to those who want to know what we can do but don’t have time to attend our webinars or come to our face to face meetings.
What are the opportunities within audio for telecoms brands in the B2B space?
There is a great opportunity around podcasts. Although we are transforming very fast, in the B2B side of the company, we are far away from things like sonic branding to help identify a sound and then think, “Ok, this is about telephony – I want to buy this”. For now, we should focus on short audio messages which can be included in our brand posts. Plus we should use podcasts as a more educational way to communicate about our products and how they can connect the dots for our clients to solve their business problems.
What do you see as the barriers which are making audio less easy to use for telecoms brands?
Internally, it’s good to learn more about audio. It’s something that we have never used fully. For telcos in general and our media use, although some B2B telcos use audio, it’s not used as much as it is in B2C. There is no audio tradition in B2B. And if I look for an audio option, then I’d likely consider podcasts because I understand them better and can learn from them. I can apply those into my work more easily. That’s the barrier which we face with audio – it’s a more cultural one. Also there’s a barrier around our way of buying media because it’s based on the confidence we can create in our messaging and it’s more difficult to create that confidence in short messages than in longer ones.
How do you see the future of audio playing out within the telecoms market?
Within the B2B telco space, it’ll be about education so, for example, customers can have a five minute podcast to understand use cases and what we can help them solve. That would even work if we could think about our own Spotify channel that we can offer to our customers so if they want to understand the technology, they can go there and find the information. The second opportunity could be within our own digital activity right now. It would probably be more based on video but when we’re recording, we’d have both the video and audio content which we could use.