If you are a TrustBuilder customer, prospect or partner, you will have noticed a nice increase in marketing activities these last few years. A new website hosting a multitude of blogs, long reads, customer stories, white papers, customer newsletters, webinars, social media posts… And maybe you wondered who the person is behind all these marketing efforts. We spoke to Mieke Mynsberghe, who has been managing the marketing department at TrustBuilder for the last two and a half years.
You studied graphical and digital media, but you rolled into doing marketing for technology companies. What’s the link?
Mieke: Beside graphic design, we also learned programming in C# and .net. I thought that was cool, so when I graduated, I joined a small company as a programmer. From programming, I moved into consultancy on cloud CRM systems. That’s when I got to work together with sales and marketing colleagues. I was intrigued by how technology can help solve their challenges. So when I got a chance to move into marketing, I jumped on that opportunity.
The nice thing about working in a technology company like TrustBuilder is that you keep learning. You get to work with people who have deep insights and are really on top of their subject. I can relate to that. I want to know what I am marketing so, when I started here, I really wanted to try and understand our products.
Digital technology vs human creativity
Marketing is part creativity, part technology. How do you like that?
Mieke: I thoroughly enjoy that duality in marketing. Marketing is such a broad discipline. One day you are discussing strategy and marketing strategy with the CEO, the next you are working on the technical aspects of the website and search engine optimization and the day after you have to make an illustration that fits with a blog on a fairly abstract theme. There is no contradiction between creativity and technology, I think. Marketing technology is all about data and data analysis. You look at the metrics of the website and try to analyze what marketing action triggered what response, and you have to figure out how to make marketing tactics more effective. Creativity is also part of analyzing customer needs, building the personas we are targeting and mapping our solutions against their needs.
COVID-19 has moved the needle of marketing even more in the direction of digital. As a marketing technologist, does that make you happy?
Mieke: Not necessarily. Marketing your products is a process from one human being to another. There is only so much that you can achieve through digital channels alone. Corona has made the pendulum swing too far in the direction of purely digital. The value of in-person events lies in having a chat with people, discussing their challenges one-to-one. That type of informal chat builds the connections between people. And making connections, isn’t that what marketing is all about? That’s why I am really glad that we will be participating in live events again shortly, like Cybersec Europe and Heliview’s IAM congress
The value of marketing
What value does marketing bring to customers and prospects?
Mieke: There is great educational value in the content that we publish on the website. When we researched personas and their challenges for the new website two years ago, we also looked at market trends. Based on that research, we wrote a lot of thought leadership material that highlights those trends. By sharing our research, we can bring these trends to people who don’t have the time to read all literature and get them up to speed too. From the open rates and click rates of our newsletters, I feel that these efforts are appreciated by our customers.
Last year, we published the results of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Research about digital ecosystems, which resulted in a maturity model. That type of information is very useful to let people assess the maturity of their digital journey and let them see the steps they need to take to grow their maturity. I also believe that we develop the market for all players in our market by bringing this thought leadership. For instance, if you look at the evolution of the search volumes on digital ecosystems as a keyword, I do like to think that we have helped cause that effect.
What does a typical day look like for a marketer at TrustBuilder? How do you prioritize?
Mieke: I know it goes against all time management and productivity principles, but I start the day by checking my mail. We are an agile company with lots of things going on, so there may always be something urgent popping up that changes my agenda for the day. I manage my time based on a list of priorities that our CEO Frank and I set together on a weekly basis. I’m a big fan of ‘Getting things done’ by David Allen, so I work with a long list of projects and actions. Every day I look at those lists and decide which are most urgent.
Size does matter
TrustBuilder is smaller than your previous employer. What company size pleases you best?
Mieke: Both sizes have their pros and cons. With our small marketing department, I am forced to be a generalist, which goes against my natural tendency to go in depth and master all details of a subject. I have to turn to third parties for specialized tasks. But, on the other hand, doing the same thing every day wouldn’t work for me either.
What’s also nice about working in a scale-up is being close to Sales. We work together a lot, much closer than in any company I’ve worked in before. Sales and Marketing share the same goals and by collaborating closely, Marketing can use the feedback Sales gets from customers and prospects, so that we can constantly improve our marketing efforts. Through feedback from Sales, for instance, we learned that our ecosystem story was ahead of the curve. We adapted our messaging and focus more on the end-to-end journey that customers make and on very concrete products that help companies delight their customers.
Another positive point of a smaller company is that you are not just a number, not just a small cog in a big picture. You can make your opinion heard and help steer the company.
You mention working with external agencies. What qualities do you expect from the contractors and agencies you work with?
Mieke: I want to work with them in a partnership. I expect them to be more than just a contractor who waits to execute my orders. I want them to be proactive, to think along with us and come up with advice, solicited or not. It’s impossible for me to know everything, so I require their expertise. We are an agile company, and I expect the same agility from them. With these contractors I work with biweekly sprints. I want to get things done fast. I have turned down agencies that were not able to work in that fashion.
When do you feel satisfied about your job?
Mieke: Seeing results from what I do, that gives me satisfaction. When I started here two and a half years ago, we needed a new website by a fixed deadline. That was a lot of hard work, but in the space of four months, we had the new site up and running, with a new positioning and new content. Pushing the button to make the site go live, that really gave me a thrill. The same goes for when I hear from Sales that our visibility in the market in increasing, that our customers really appreciate the content we bring.
Would you recommend TrustBuilder to family and friends?
Mieke: Most certainly. I am very happy here. We have great colleagues, with a dry sense of humor that I really appreciate. It’s an agreeable company where your opinion is heard and taken into account. TrustBuilder is a company that I can really identify with, that’s why I get involved in a lot of activities, for instance by taking part in the HR working group. There’s a lot of respect for everyone’s diversity in interests. I really like it here.