Interview with Jody Boshoff, Director of Marketing at FaceMe
Jody has experience in developing and implementing award-winning marketing strategies across all digital platforms. She has been awarded an Australian HR Award, TABPI, and IABC Gold and Bronze Quills awards. Currently, she is Director of Marketing at FaceMe, an AI tech company with the most advanced conversational AI to transform the customer experience.
Your Journey as a Marketing Professional
I started my marketing journey telling stories for clients who paid very large sums of money for advertorials in the architectural, energy and women’s magazine, I was the feature editor for. This was hard work; it was often repetitive too – which is what forced me to delve deeper into how to make absolutely EVERYTHING sound incredibly exciting – from bricks to window louvers and from generators to greenhouse gas emissions. I learned then what is probably still the most powerful focus of great marketing strategy today: to tell a good story. Developing an engaging voice (and fast) for some of the world’s largest brands taught me how to (very quickly) cut to the quick of what consumers want to know: “What’s in it for me?” and turn a product offering into a story that answered that question.
Still the most powerful focus of great marketing strategy today is to tell a good story
I then spent the next decade in a large enterprise environment. I was really lucky to work for a large professional services company at a time when mobile-geddon was rising and social channels were just taking off. This evolution allowed me to experiment around multi-media storytelling to build a brand and engage stakeholders. Very soon afterward, it became the era when everyone has a platform and no-one has a voice. It was (and still is) my job to use smarter communication and marketing strategies to defy gravity and rise above that noise.
I both led and worked as part of incredibly talented mar-comm teams focused on achieving this. We won multiple awards, including being named one of the top 12 LinkedIn company pages globally and several IABC Gold Quill awards. One of my favorite projects was the creation of a blog justimagine.aurecongroup.com
If the challenge for large multinationals is to stand out, for start-ups it’s to scale.
If the challenge for large multinationals is to stand out, for start-ups it’s to scale. I’ve spent the past year as Director of Marketing for an AI startup, FaceMe, who is revolutionizing how companies embody their brand through digital humans for some of the world’s biggest companies, including UBS, Vodafone and NAB’s UBank. AI means brands can now put ‘digital skin’ on their brand. Chatbots and Digital Assistants/Humans now enable us to embody companies as never before – but their ‘personas’ need to be carefully crafted to create memorable, believable and valuable client experiences. It’s my role to share about going beyond ‘traditional marketing’ on global stages, including an audience of 600 at Digital Day Out 2018. This both terrifies and excites me.
These two very different worlds have taught me how to lead teams; and how to operate on a marketing budget of close to $0. Neither intimidates me anymore – it’s about discovering what works and pulling those levers as hard as you know how.
My current focus, in addition, more traditional strategies, is on marketing automation – marketers today need to be as au fait with their platforms as the data insights these enable and use those to iterate and shape marketing and sales operations to drive growth.
What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?
My advice to marketers just getting into the profession is to work across every and all channels you have the opportunity to get involved in. Almost every time my team has required a new software tool, I’ve made sure I become a superuser and understand the feature benefits before handing it over. A broad knowledge allows you to have a view of how strategy hangs together and where you want to specialize. Broad understanding before specializing is key.
Here’s some advice for some of the popular channels:
PR: Brands are built and start-ups will scale if you have a stellar media strategy. This requires more than a ‘spray and pray’ approach. The ‘media release sent to hundreds of journalists’ is (almost) dead. You need to know who you are pitching to, why their audience would want to know about what you’re saying and how to craft this in 200 measured words or less. Journalists and analysts are busy. Don’t waste their time. Do your research about who writes in which area, cultivate these relationships and say thank you when it all works. I have time and again shunned PR operations for a DIY approach. No-one cares more about your success (or knows your subject matter better) than you. Journalists and editors aren’t gods. Give it a go and if you send the smartest pitch, you’ll be successful. Make your PR goals specific – who are your ‘must get into’ targets? Celebrate properly when your strategy pays off and take the ‘hit’ through the full content marketing cycle to get the most out of your effort. Share it, upload it, send an EDM about it.
Digital Marketing: A comprehensive digital marketing programme is key but some of that can be automated – like a re-marketing programme. If you’re getting site visitors, cookie them and follow them. You’ll impress them with your tenacity, at the very least! Know your SEM/SEO. Don’t hesitate to use the more ‘creepy’ stalking methods like targeting per job role and company – they work! And then track your metrics and iterate. Also, I can’t say it enough: VIDEO!
Email: It’s not dubbed the ‘workhorse of B2B marketing organizations’ without reason. Reach your pipeline with incredibly valuable and smart content that they can’t ignore. This doesn’t have to be an EDM packed with content…a single, well-crafted mail-out of ‘snackable’ thought leadership is just as effective to the right targeted audience. Make it data-rich and unique. A copy and paste of existing thinking won’t cut it.
Account Based Marketing: This is really important for startups! Decide how to rank prospects and then treat them as a market of one – focus, focus, focus. Get creative about reaching them and partner with influencers in their space to do so.
Events: Goals for events are key and make sure you do the work BEFORE and AFTER the event. Showing up isn’t good enough. Come up with an eventing playbook and make sure it works to engage leads, capture them during the event and nurture them afterward. Spend your effort on events with the right audience – it sounds simple but it’s easy to accept events when you feel flattered for being invited and to forget strategic intent.
What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?
Sprout social – a great, simple to use tool for social media scheduling and workflows.
Hubspot – a great sales and marketing automation platform. Simple to use and a great ‘out the box’ products for teams running at pace.
Agility – an important tool for enterprise (it’s pricey) PR campaigns
Meltwater/Isentia – both great media monitoring tools to help you evaluate media outreach and more
Would you like to share a few words about any marketing software that you absolutely love and always recommend to others?
My general advice when choosing software is to find out as much as you can about what successful businesses in your vertical are using. Build a network of peers who will share knowledge and tips and be as generous in giving them as receiving them. It’s always a good idea to build others up – it’ll come right back to you!
Getting a feel for implementation support is also a good starting point when choosing tools. Once you’ve clicked ‘buy’ – getting the tool up and running is key to ROI. A good online tutorial bank, as well as account support during stand-up, is helpful.
I cannot mention my own SaaS product, too. (Spoiler alert: it’s awesome!) FaceMe’s intelligent digital human platform turns to chat into engaging, face-to-face conversations and we think it’s going to become the gold standard in customer service as marketers move beyond ‘person to channel’ interactions. This is brand made (digital) human and it’s a powerful revolution.