How do you go about implementing and managing inbound marketing in a global organization with offices all around the globe?
Jane Leth Jørgensen is Group Digital Manager for one of our great clients, Lantmännen Unibake. Among other things, Jane has played a big role in implementing HubSpot as a key lead generation platform and turning around the way the organization thinks about digital.
We’ve had a chat with her about challenges, wins and learnings so far.
Being part of the global headquarters and deciding on behalf of 20 local offices to go HubSpot and take marketing efforts inbound sounds like quite a big step. How did you go about it, and where did you start?
“Lantmännen Unibake was not a digitally advanced company when we started, so this was indeed a big step. We had to somehow get from creating campaigns on the website to seeing it as more than a website, by linking digital to the core business. One very effective way to do that is by filling up the sales pipeline with leads.”
That sounds like a great plan – but how do you get the local offices onboard with this new way of working?
About Lantmännen Unibake
Second largest bakery company in Europe – sixth largest in the world
38 bakeries around the world
1,1 billion EUR net annual sales
Brand portfolio, among others: Hatting, Schulstad, Schulstad Bakery Solutions, Bonjour
“What I did a lot, when we started out this journey, was to hold imagine if-presentations for my commercial colleagues in the different countries. I would set up scenarios like ‘Imagine if you could know all these things about your potential customers before a meeting’.
As a result of these imagine if-meetings, lead generation became a local priority in a handful of markets. But it was still like a piece of wet soap. There was a big need for becoming very concrete: What does this mean? What does it require both locally and globally?”
Ok, so how did you turn this piece of wet soap into something people could grasp?
“The key words for achieving local buy-in were, and still are: Be transparent and very concrete.
There was a key turn around moment at one of our huge internal conferences. We had gotten people to sign up beforehand through a HubSpot form, and then targeted them with incredibly personalized messages. Experiencing this live example of lead generation and nurturing on their own was a big eye opener for everyone.”
Buy-in and trust before everything else
What do you need to have in place before rolling out inbound in an organization like Lantmännen Unibake?
“You need buy-in. Earning the trust of your local markets comes before everything else. Really know your markets - when to speed up, when to hit the breaks. Develop the strategy that both challenges the team, but also set objectives that you can realistically grasp within a relatively short period of time. It’s all about really understanding them and their local businesses so they will want to continue that journey together with you.
You will need a group of frontrunners in the markets to start with that can pilot the inbound way of working and see if it creates the results you were looking for.”
We’ve been talking a lot about getting that buy-in from the local markets – but how do you ensure top management is onboard with this new road?
“All CEO’s have digital transformation on their agendas. By focusing on lead generation you choose a very transparent and logic approach that will be closely connected to the core of every business – delivering leads to sales.
Generally speaking, I’m a very big believer in delivering short and fat projects. Rather a fast campaign that is 90% done instead of spending a year getting those final 10% right. You need to get it out there to find if it matches the market’s expectations.”
Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently if you started this inbound project today?
“I would just go ahead and do it. We spent a lot of time on internal discussions, getting nowhere. Instead of having a plan for everything, start with a small part first, like newsletters or workflows, and then take it step by step from there.”
Listen locally, develop globally
What are some of the things you have done to ensure that inbound is actually worth your while?
Jane’s 5 tips for digital marketing in a global organization
- Go out there and listen. Often, local offices don’t want that big strategy, but day-to-day support. If you can’t help with small things you won’t get air time to work on bigger projects.
- Create global campaigns that are 80% done so you leave room for localization.
- Be available. Results are created in the markets, not behind your HQ desk.
- Don’t expect local markets to wait for you while you sort out solutions. They’ll go out and do local solutions if you’re not ready. Always stay 3 steps ahead.
- Don’t spend half a year on analysis and pre-studies if you know the target group very well. I’d rather spend 100.000 on content than on analysis. Trial and error is key.
“It’s no secret that inbound demands a lot of resources. Automation is not to reduce work. It accelerates things. It’s time consuming, and even more than we expected. We are starting to hire in more people to keep track, but typically we have 0,5-1 full time employee in the markets for marketing and web, so resources are quite scarce.
That is why one of the principles in Lantmännen Unibake is that we have one global platform that is developed from headquarters. Meaning, we develop once and then scale and adapt to the markets.”
But what about all the cultural differences, how do you take these into account?
“We need to listen locally, and listen carefully. I would never ever do a campaign from my desk. I put a lot of efforts into reaching out to the markets and co-develop where it makes sense, in order to have campaigns that match local needs. This also means to be physically in place, sit with your local teams and have for instance two day sitdowns with post-its flying all over the place. Based on that you can go back and develop something that is at least 80% done for your markets, with room for local adaption.”
With this strategy, how have you controlled expenses globally?
“A thing that became clear when we started on this journey is that you need to have a strict focus on building digital skills within the organization instead of local markets reaching out to local agencies all the time. To control costs. You can’t just outsource everything to local agencies, you have to have the competencies internally. If you want digital linked to the business, you have to work with the organization, their skills and competencies.”
Buying the Rolls Royce
What would you encourage others to do, who are thinking about rolling inbound out on a global scale?
“When you start out on this it’s tempting to start with a small platform, because it makes it easier to understand fast. In my opinion, it’s much better to over-invest in phase 1 and 2 to ensure that you have a platform you can work with for more than a couple of years. Don’t buy the Rolls Royce if you just work with emails, but if it is in your strategy going forward then the investment is well spent. One of the most important things here is: Is there a good help feature to help you continuously and easily learn and use the new system?”
Finding an opening
What have been the greatest wins on this inbound journey?
“One of the greatest wins is definitely that the principles behind doing campaigns in Lantmännen Unibake have changed significantly, since we started. We’ve come a long way since our first product-focused campaign, which in inbound terms would be bottom of the funnel. The inbound way of working includes something very logical and intuitive. We’re increasingly creating content that matches the buyer’s journey. And that is a big win.
A great milestone along the way was definitely to deliver that first proof of concept. That way, we could present to the “doubters” in our organization: Inbound actually works!”