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Interview with Thien-Lan, Chief Marketing Officer at OneStepCheckout

Rhythm Singhal By Rhythm Singhal in Interviews-L on

Thien-Lan Weber is the Chief Marketing Officer at OneStepCheckout, the best selling extension for Magento stores.

This module allows merchants to simplify their checkout experience and therefore reduce cart abandonment and improve conversion.

Thien-Lan is a marketing expert with 20 years experience across Europe and the Asia Pacific including Accenture, Clarins, Johnson & Johnson, eBay, and PayPal. She loves connecting people and helping retailers get the most out of eCommerce. As such, she recently joined the board of ExtDN (Extension Developer Network).

Thien-Lan was born and raised in Paris, holds a Master of Science in Management from HEC Paris and currently lives in Oslo, Norway with her husband and two children.

Your Journey as a Marketing Professional.

10 years in traditional CPG and Retail…

I was born and grew up in France. I had a passion for the fashion industry. While studying at HEC Paris school I founded the Fashion Club and got work experience at L’Oreal and LVMH. However, I felt it was not for me, not at that time. I wanted to go beyond the French market and learn more about other players CPG and Retail, so I after graduation I started my career at Accenture France as a management consultant, specialized in those verticals.

When I started dating the man who is now my husband, I moved to Australia to live with him. I already had my share of traveling and working long hours with people in grey suits. So I decided I’d go back to a core marketing position for a strong international brand. I became a product manager at Clarins, the #1 prestige skincare brand with a presence worldwide. I was in charge of selling, promoting and distributing their skincare, makeup and fragrance ranges across Australia and discovers the key reasons why they were #1: wide distribution and loyalty driven by in-store Sales Consultants.

We had promotional launches every other week, the pace was intense, I learned my Australian geography based on where department stores and pharmacies were located! I learned how to make an eye-catching point of sale material, we had a customer database we would email postcards too – CRM in the early 2000’s – and figured out how to reduce excess stock with more clever forecasting. Remember monochromatic JD Edward screens anyone?

Then I moved to Johnson and Johnson, one of the largest companies in the world! In the Sydney office, I was looking after two skincare brands: Aveeno for dry skin and RoC, #1 anti-aging brands in the pharmacy channel in Europe. I learned everything about buying above the line media and working with creative agencies. Staff, there are highly intelligent, hard-working, and very ethical. That was my first 10 years, working in the offline world.

…another 10 years in eCommerce

The turn around in my career happened next. I got a job at eBay Australia, the 4th largest market for eBay. It was a blast. My colleagues, most of them are friends now, are just as smart and ethical as JnJ but with an edge. It was the best years of my professional life, making an impact, having so much fun and laughter. I guess the company was just the right size, people were the right age for me, it was perfect.

I brought my brand management experience to the organization and learnt all the best practices of digital marketing including how the company started building brand awareness with PR and Adwords (they are Google’s #1 client worldwide), how to build 360 degree campaigns, test and learn, i.e. reporting on key acquisition and engagement metrics and most importantly cross-functional team management so you leverage the expertise of all the companies function to drive impactful projects.

I moved a few floors down to PayPal (who was part of the same parent company back then) where I continued gaining experience in online and offline marketing, CRM, lead Marketing Analytics teams and had a lot of fun with creative agencies too. Over my time at eBay Inc, I had two kids and I am grateful for the company for supporting me and being understanding with good maternity leave policies, compared to what you would normally get in Australia.

In 2014 my husband decided he wanted to go back to Europe to be closer to friends and family. We all moved to Zurich where I helped Mumtrepreneurs with their digital strategies and activities. Then my husband found a job in Oslo where we moved again and that’s where I met the team at OneStepCheckout, a software company selling a very popular Magento extension that helps reduce cart abandonment and increase online sales conversion. My function spans beyond marketing with sales and partnerships activities, as well as overall strategy work.

I have been at OneStepCheckout for 4 years and it’s been great to be so involved in the thriving Magento Ecosystem.

What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?

I worked on most communications channels: Above the line, below the line, broadcast, digital, etc…

Back in the days, digital channels were for digital brands and offline channels for offline brands. I was lucky enough to mix it all a bit. I was part of the team who pioneered Google Adwords campaigns for offline brand Aveeno (Johnson and Johnson) and teams who pioneered broadcast media like TV, radio, outdoor for eBay and PayPal, and also innovated with unexpected retro snail direct mailing (physical letters) for those pure player brands.

My advice is to look at all channels and how they are relevant to your target audience. Spend time understanding who you are talking to, what’s happening in their lives in 24 hours or a week and then you will see the media the consumer, where they hang out. It’s not just about their age but also their geographies, hobbies, etc…

If you work for a bigger brand, choose a media agency who is experienced and knowledgeable with both traditional and online channels.

It’s all about your brief. The more insights you have about who you are targeting, the clearer you are about what you want to communicate, the better. Then let the media specialists come up with multi-touch points strategies and plan to reach who matters the most for your brand.

For small brands with close to no budgets, Facebook allows some pretty good targeting.

Don’t underestimate the power of partnerships if you share the same target audience with another brand in another vertical. For example, Naked Wines or Vista Print had coupon codes in parcels shipped by the Iconic (the Australian ASOS). Same for Member get Member mechanics that helped Uber or Revolut acquire new customers very fast.

Today at OneStepCheckout our core target audience are Magento store owners and here are the channels we use to raise awareness, consideration, and adoption of our product.

  • Adwords: OneStepCheckout has quickly become a household name in the Magento ecosystem so people search for it.
  • Social Media, owned and paid.
    -Twitter as the Magento Community is active there.
    -LinkedIn
    -Facebook
  • Website: 80% of our sales are with no contact whatsoever with our customers. They find all the info they need on our website and whizz through our state-of-the-art checkout 😉
  • Blog: Educational content about eCommerce and case studies See examples here
    Partnerships with a like-minded solution and service providers in the Magento Ecosystem.
  • Volunteering in an organization that promotes code and support quality among Magento Extension Developers (see extdn.org )
  • Events: talks, brochures, goodies, presence at the biggest Magento events around the world.

What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?

Top tools we use at OneStepCheckout:

  • Google Analytics
  • Hubspot to track leads and partnerships
  • Sendy: email marketing tool

Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.

Target audience and channel
It all starts with being clear about who your target audience is. Once you defined that, you can then research what are the most relevant touchpoints.

Message, content
Think about what message you want to convey: what you want them to feel, think and do with regards to your brand.
As Gary Vaynerchuk put it in his keynote talk at Magento Imagine: “ your content has to be useful or entertaining”. Similarly, you can follow this content rule: 70% about the industry, original content, fun content, 20% shared content and 10% promotional. Brands whose wall is filled with promotions for their own products is a big no-no.

KPIs
How do you know you’ve been successful?

Key objectives for Brand campaigns are:

  • Brand awareness: measured with the number of people reached and the frequency at which they receive the message (reach, views…) or through surveys (name 3 brands in a certain industry).
  • Brand engagement: how many people or times they interact with your brand (open rate, CTR, likes).
  • Brand consideration: through surveys (would you consider buying from this brand?), through Google trends.

Lifecycle Management:
It’s all about being customer-centric and see how you can influence their behavior. Here are the key metrics you can move:

  • Acquisition: number of new members per month.
  • Activation: number of new members who make the first transaction.
  • Customer engagement: frequency of purchase.
  • Reduce Churn rate: retain customers.