Confluence of Ideas Working Best as Marketing Strategy

By Thomas Wolf, Head of Online Marketing and CRM, foodpanda

Thomas Wolf is currently working as the Head of Online Marketing and CRM at foodpanda. Wolf possesses a Masters Degree focused on IT, Marketing and Psychology and over a decade of work experience across Europe, Asia, and Americas. He is passion at about learning and growing the people around him. With a track record in identifying short-term and strategic opportunities within the current status quo, Wolf brings teams, business units, and leadership together, no matter how big the challenge is. In so doing, Wolf is able to achieve long-term win-win outcomes for the organization, its people, and its customers.

What is your general perspective on marketing technology that has entered the business landscape and how it has helped evolve the marketing strategies that businesses have today?

I started my career with tech native companies serving toward their consulting side. So, while working on banking projects I found that they hire consultants because they want to work and innovate faster. Having huge budget to invest banks look for digital transformation to happen overnight. This gives them good grounds to compete against the FinTech companies and go for big pitches. Called as Ferrari’s of the marketing tech industry, every bank or insurance company thinks that reciprocating success with the help of such giants is easy. But the problem arises when tech native companies work with limited knowledge within the space. Falling short of the knowledge about suitable technology and right inputs that displays the company inr ight perspective is must driving a marketing campaign. Any marketing campaign will fail to deliver results if companies do not acquire the necessary details about what can work best. Even from a solution architecture perspective understanding what is their current tech stack and what is needed to complement is must. Situation turns even more grave when the companies even fail to involve lower level employees in their conversation about how the current tech stacks could be changed and things can be done differently. Instead banks in the wake of non-availability of talent work with external vendors or consultants for prolonged periods who built big systems that can integrate with in-house technology. This takes over a year or even longer and involves huge amounts of money. Even then success cannot be ensured. Whereas with tech native companies the technology they use to run ads, campaigns or SMS campaigns is more efficient. Initially first party data like email phones, device IDs is sent into a data management platform. Then that data management platform communicates across Google, Facebook, YouTube or other digital marketing partners. Knowing the fact that Google, Facebook have their own challenges with data privacy these native tech companies plan for organic development. So, there’s a department that starts running ads at very nominal costs that drives synergies especially building a programmatic team. To achieve this integration of the CRM and ad side of things into one ecosystem is necessary. But the ad team, usually doesn’t really communicates with the CRM team as there is an observable difference with regards to the information CRM team can access. Having first party data like email addresses, phone numbers they can always send out messages, one to one. However, the add team cannot do it because it’s all anonymous, and mostly message can be sent to people but one to one correspondence is not possible. So, these departments nearly form the left and right side within the company. This integration between CRM team and add team is must to run integrated or digital campaigns that showcases similar creativity at every single touch point that is found in one to one correspondence. In Food Panda a coordination is seen among different departments when need arises to inform customers about any new upcoming segment. Our company automates the workflow which develops a connection between CRM tool and our own warehouse. Then sitting with our internal teams like product tech team we discuss to build a tailored solution for your company. And it’s (a) it’s oversold in terms of what it can do and(b) integrations, to all the advertising partners in specifics you need a significant understanding on how Google works how Facebook works how mobile DSP works you need to understand all the tech on their side, and how to integrate with them. 

What are some of the best practices for companies to implement especially considering online marketing strategies with a pandemic creating chaos across the globe? 

Companies must choose to solve challenging problems internally over hiring consultants which becomes even more important if they have an idea to implement. And then to drive change they must avoid hierarchical monopoly in decisions that require a particular kind of expertise. It is important for companies to create a pitch for an idea within their workforce. It they fail to do so and employees in the lower rung are isolated from conversations over ideas that will have their active involvement once it is implemented. Then there is even a higher risk that company will be deprived of the successful implementation of such an idea. So how can you then create a pitch within the company and bring people to the table for conversation. Company must ensure that the team behind implementing the idea must work as RFP committee before they engage in a multimillion billion contract. Internal alignment of experts from different department to ensure that they get on board for any conversation regarding any major decisions to implement an idea. 

As the head of online marketing and CRM at Food Panda how would you say your experiences have helped you deliver this kind of strategy, effectively across job workflow internally and also towards the external market all your clients that you have. 

While my stint with some of the best people in big companies I realized that companies use their tech stack without prior knowledge of what will work for them. And as my experience grew while I was working in different projects, I saw companies bought technology that they didn’t even need. Brining this experience in Food Panda I started off with being responsible for performance marketing. We would run online ads to drive new customer acquisition which turned into a good start if companies are in the growth phase. So, people can be brought into the business at the lowest possible acquisition cost who start using the service at least once and then you can drive additional revenue. So, this becomes more than just being a customer acquisition strategy because it develops a connection and trust with that company. However, it doesn’t drive incremental orders. So, to drive incremental orders ads are sent to those customers who are connected with the company. As a huge segment of people that download the app actually never make an order again or even, they don’t see their mails for any notifications from the company. So, people who use the app to order from a restaurant are also informed about groceries that are available and can be delivered at their doorstep in not more than half an hour. This becomes like a campaign that drives orders. Such cross functional thinking and getting to the point is used to run ads to drive incremental orders.

And Thomas, is there any advice you’d like to share with budding entrepreneurs and how they can set out on the right foot when it comes to the marketing strategies and getting their end products to customers. But is there any advice you’d like to share with those of those entrepreneurs itself? 

So, first is not to over stress around big decisions about investment and pre evaluation of every resource that fits in with the marketing strategy. Because that’s going to be a waste of time. A lot of companies are just talking about acquisition and retention but they must also focus on online branding. To create online campaigns that have the same look and feel as offline must be at the very start. Either one can take that route or focus on CRM and go on that route. Also, they must develop a solid data infrastructure where CRM team can establish communication with other departments. This way CRM team having first party data can put out ads that complement third-party data ads to create a powerful influence over the customers. A robust data engineering infrastructure and building a solid foundation of data warehouse that can scale should be first sorted. And then the second thing if one wants to go in marketing tech area is to build the right strategy after deep analysis of customer activity in the app. The right measurement of activity on the ad platform is needed to figure out what events can be put inside the app that will make customers communicate back. Further in the advertising space, it would then bring you ultimately down to the conversation of so-called mobile measurement partner. So, using the right partner as there are several available in the market be it with the ad platforms or the website of things or web tracking this is a crucial part. Also ensuring that at the very beginning one must avoid big marketing tech companies as the need of such partners at the initial stage becomes a financial burden. So initially it is best to start out with free version of analytics that gets the measure of the activity taking place on the website. And then the web tracking journey can evolve in terms ofa free basic implementation. So, what is measured comes back to the warehouse setting the right foundation. But if the company plans to scale up, then one can switch to the premium version of Google Analytics. And then bring these together and run rate tag management systems which leverage to manage tags across web apps and across different platforms that send the same information into these platforms.

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