Fact checking with… Levi Witbaard – Marketing Director at OBI4wan

Fact checking with Levi - Marketing Director

In the series “Fact checking with…” we interview OBI4wan colleagues about their responsibilities, vision and the person behind the expert. We spoke with our Marketing Director Levi Witbaard, about building a strong brand, effective communications and leadgeneration. He also shares how technology can work for you and how an effective marketing organization contributes to a healthy business.

What are your responsibilities as Marketing Director?

To summarize it in one sentence, it would be customer success, lead generation and building a strong international brand. Basically, this has always been the case. However, because of the explosive growth of OBI4wan, the role of marketing is constantly developing. It needs to, if we want marketing to contribute to strategic (organizational) objectives of both internal and external stakeholders.

“We use relevant content, sharp campaigns and inspiring events to improve customer happiness, generate qualitative inbound leads and maintain a strong brand that our customers and colleagues can be proud of.”

That starts with listening to needs and challenges of customers and prospects, but also internal coordination within our own organization. We translate these insights into propositions, processes and activities, specifically tailored to the countries and regions where we operate. As a result, we are on track to becoming the strongest all-in-one solution in Europe, just as my colleague Davy already stated in his interview.

How can organisations get a grip on technical developments?

Trends, hypes and developments are emerging in rapid succession, because ‘everything’ is possible in the field of technology. A traditional approach to marketing, customer service, communication and PR is no longer sufficient. Do you want to successfully innovate in the field of reputation management, artificial intelligence or online customer service? First check if this is in line with the objectives, mission and vision of your organization.

You hear it everywhere, but there are few organizations that really dare to make choices based on data, facts and figures. Are we asking ourselves the right questions? For example: what added value is your client looking for? Is a positive NPS/CES a goal or merely a checkpoint within the customer journey? What added value does the use of chatbots, business WhatsApp and international monitoring of print media offer?

“That is why we support our customers with setting smart, measurable goals and challenge them to look beyond assumptions. That’s how you prevent yourself from operating purely ad hoc or losing yourself in systematic operation without any creativity.”

What should not be missing in strategic plans for next year?

Several studies by Gartner and Forrester predict an increasingly more important role for AI. The role of people will change into a more hybrid collaboration between man and machine. If you’re not exploring the possibilities for your industry, organization or job, I advise you to do this quickly.

How do you design an effective and adaptive marketing organization?

Marketing does not just exist for lead generation and branding. Marketers naturally tend to utilize flashy dashboards with ditto KPIs and graphs, but it’s all about actionable insights. I am a big fan of the framework that Gartner advises on this. We regularly ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. Are we organized to win?
  2. Do we have the staff, and the associated capabilities / skills to execute successfully?
  3. How can we work smarter and more efficient?
  4. Are we set up to measure our performance?

There is no conclusive answer to this question and there’s no such thing as the best way to do marketing. I try to look at our strategy and resource mix as openly and transparently as possible. In practice, however, I notice that regular conversations with sales colleagues, our client consultants and service experts provide a lot of new insights that we can improve on. So keep connecting with colleagues and customers. Do not lose yourself in planning, but make sure you are flexible.

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