Insights from Ericsson: digital marketing challenges and trends
By Rowena Crowley and Anna Sebardt
We love the opportunity to talk to clients about their challenges, predictions for digital trends and how they like to work with agencies. Huge thanks to our client Johan Kristiansson, Head of Digital Marketing Development at Ericsson, for sharing his perspective with us.
We have a very close working relationship with Ericsson, who have been a client since 2015. We interviewed Johan Kristiansson recently to hear his thoughts on key issues affecting many of our clients.
What are your biggest communication challenges?
Within the digital marketing area, Ericsson has an interesting challenge working with such a geographically widespread group of customers. We sell systems and equipment to telecom operators across 180 countries. We're trying to reach out to the decision makers in those companies. It can be a bit of a needle in a haystack to find those people.
A lot of the targeting capabilities in digital marketing platforms like social media, display and search, are usually best suited for targeting within a defined geography. But we have a global scope. Finding the right balance between what should be executed on globally versus locally is a bit of a challenge.
There is also a lot of consumer traffic that's not relevant for our B2B context. Out of all the people that google the term “5G”, maybe one in a thousand could be commercially relevant for Ericsson.
How do you use data to understand audiences and continuously improve your content, and what tools would you recommend?
We don't have the full online conversion journey that some companies have. Our customers usually invite us to a request-for-proposal (RFP) when they want to buy something. This means that our marketing needs to reach customers before they start up the RFP-process, to educate them about our offerings. This sets the context for our marketing and analytics efforts.
We are very reliant on web content consumption metrics, mainly from Google Analytics (GA). We want to know which channels are driving traffic, how much time customers are spending on our website and how engaged they are.
In addition to GA we have supporting systems such as Demandbase, an account-specific IP address database. We also use Contentsquare for analysis on how users behave on a certain web page.
Ericsson.com has to meet the needs of a complex variety of audiences and provide a global and local perspective of your business – how do you strike the right balance?
The local versus global is an interesting trade-off for us. There used to be different telecom standards in different regions, but over time we've seen that the telecommunications world has become much more homogeneous.
We have a website with over 10,000 pages so it's a challenge to do cost-efficient translations. You need to have a cost-per-pageview for translated content that is reasonable. But we see increasingly good support from browsers’ translation tools. Chrome has a very good translation capability for the main languages in the world. For some of the smaller languages, I guess there is still room for improvement. We see that on Ericsson.com visitors are increasingly using these browser translation tools and that is of course a great thing, saving translation costs for us.
How do you like to work with agencies and how can they best support you?
Each sub-domain within digital marketing is becoming increasingly complex and you need specialists. Every tool is becoming more capable and you need experts who know how to use them. One example is the Facebook Ads Manger, it used to be simple for anyone to use it. These days, it's like a Boeing cockpit – you need a trained expert to fly it.
We use the Episerver CMS for our website, it's a very powerful system but again, you need expertise to know how to apply it right. For web and Episerver expertise, we work with and rely on Comprend. We've had a good partnership over many years, and we have always trusted Comprend to help us with the key strategic decisions.
We really appreciate partners who have deep domain-specific knowledge. It's difficult for us to have staff with knowledge in every digital marketing sub-domain. Digital marketing is becoming a bit like the medical profession – sometimes you don’t just need a doctor, you need a brain surgeon or a heart surgeon. Maybe not a perfect comparison, but most fields definitely require specialists.
How do you think companies will work with agencies in the future?
It's multifaceted - there is one drive towards teaming up with a lot of specialised agencies, as every single domain is getting so complex. But there is also a drive towards shortening your lead times for most activities, which leads to a drive towards developing more in-house capabilities or working closely with a few strategic partners. It's not an easy puzzle to solve.
What future trends lie ahead in the world of digital communications?
Watch Johan's response to this question in this video or else you can read it below:
One interesting trend is the move towards more short-form content. Marketers will always need to do both long-form and short-from content but I believe in a shift towards more short-form. Buyers want quick updates and short summaries. Google has gone from most searches resulting in a click, to now just resulting in users reading the text snippets on the search results page. We also see more short-form videos: 30 seconds used to be the standard commercial video, now many videos are only 10 or 15 seconds. It is certainly not easy for a marketer to get the message across in these short formats.
Another, more long-term trend I believe in is that buyers will start to use more intelligent assistants, or bots, to help shortlist vendor options when they want to buy something. Today, whenever someone wants to buy something, it takes a lot of online research work, going to different websites, trying to figure out which vendors should be on your shortlist. Within a couple of years, we will have bots that will help buyers do that. They will do research on websites, on review platforms, looking at analyst reports etc and create a summarised shortlist of potential vendors. As a marketer, you then need to have a website that supports this, including content in machine-readable formats, well-structured data and the right tags and keywords. It will probably be a bit similar to how you work with SEO today. Within a couple of years, I think we'll be there.
Huge thanks for sharing your insights Johan.
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