Annemarie Joosen – Marktplaats
Annemarie Joosen is CMO at Marktplaats and its Belgian equivalent 2ehands.be. A common thread throughout her career is the challenge to match behavioural data with ‘softer’ brand-KPIs, which she has explored in companies ranging from Dunnhumby to Staatsloterij and Madurodam. Often with the objective to fuel change. Within Marktplaats the key challenge is to gain insight into what drives consumers and to interpret data in the right way, to ensure that the brand remains as relevant as possible. A thing that really appeals to me is that the analysis is only the start – if it’s not combined with vision and creativity, you don’t get anywhere.
Integrating product development and marketing in an iterative process
“Marktplaats is a different type of company from my previous experiences – it’s strongly tech-driven, and when I started, marketing was mainly a support department where people came to order a banner. At the time, the underlying sentiment of many people in the organisation was that a truly excellent product sells itself. We made enormous progress in working together in an integrated way. A recent project that proofs the strength of this new way of working is the introduction of ‘Betaalverzoek’ (payment request) -feature, which is the first project in which the product and marketing team have cooperated on from the start. The process was iterative, adjusting communication along the way to match the state of development of the feature – instead of handing over a finalised project to marketing with the task to develop a campaign. We now see that all people involved understand that this has a much higher impact on the business results – and is more fun.”
The power of terra
“The most important KPI for brand growth is salience. Awareness as such is not an objective –it’s already extremely high. Salience is about the role the brand has in people’s lives, so that people don’t just think about Marktplaats when they want to buy a new car, but also when they are moving houses. Salience is defined as the likelihood people think of your brand at a purchase moment. We want to grow the number of times that people think about Marktplaats at these purchase moments. For us that is not limited to second-hand products, but to purchases in general. Another KPI that we track is the number of active users and the width of their usage repertoire.”
“Our marketing strategy is a direct copy from Byron Sharp’s work: we have to make it easier for people to use our platform. One of the elements that ensures this are the brand’s distinctive assets; we know that the terra colour of our logo has lovers and haters. We showed with the help of neuro-research how strongly the colour is rooted into people’s memory. By only seeing the colour people think of Marktplaats, so we will definitely hold on to our colour. At the same time, we have to make it easier and enable more successful connections between users by developing our product experience. For example with the launch of our payment request, we have taken away friction in the trading process. Or think about how complicated it may be if you want to set the right price – we now give price information based on the actual supply and demand. We also inspire users to use Marktplaats in more situations by the “for you feed” in the app.
A flexible communication framework allowing to be always-on
“A year and a half ago we have launched a communication framework, which is centred around the idea that no matter what moment, or what phase in your life you are in, you can always go to Marktplaats. This central framework allows us to be consistent in always on in communication, but at the same time communicate a relevant message.”
According to Annemarie, media includes all touchpoints. “Whether it’s a site visit, a push notification, anything. I do see that the mix is changing. If you think about the work of Binet & Field, it’s important to have a good balance between activation and brand – I am a strong believer of the mix. Some people think that brand building is limited to TV, and even within our organisation I often need to explain that brand building requires priming with an emotional trigger, but that is not limited to TV; channels like YouTube or Influencers can be very effective as well. We make use of econometric modelling to define which media drive which KPI’s; we know for instance what is needed to boost the ad sales in automotive. Sometimes it’s still a challenge though – we need to make our quarterly targets, and we need to be flexible in turning media investment on or off. The framework that we now use as a basis for our communication is really practical, as we can easily adjust the level of media pressure.”
Connecting the dots between media, behaviour and brand KPI’s
“We have a brand tracker based on behaviour. We ask what consumers actually purchased via Marktplaats. This enables us to connect the dots between media, brand KPI’s and sales. However, I am always looking into new ways to better understand what’s driving people; the world changes so rapidly. There is a lot of evidence that consumers’ input in surveys are not relating to what’s really triggering in their brains – there must be better ways to find out than asking questions. Our model is supportive in our decisions, but it’s also important to try different things that haven’t proven their value for our brand yet – last year for instance we have decided to test OOH, even though we hadn’t yet built learnings on that.”
“Reading Byron Sharp’s work helped me to see that some of the things that I always thought that were true, were actually myths. But on a higher level, it emphasised the importance of continuous learning, and always check what assumptions and beliefs are really backed up by data. What I miss in his work are answers for online-pure players, as I believe that there are some key differences with FMCG. For example, the importance of habits and the role of heavy users – it’s fundamentally different, as the online domain is endless. An important lesson that Byron Sharp has taught about media is the importance of reaching as many people as possible. Targeting is relevant in product development, but in media we shouldn’t limit ourselves.”
Trusting models instead of gut-feeling
“Our biggest success in media is that for the past 3 years we have learned to trust on models and on proven facts, instead of gut-feeling. A good example is the use of radio vs TV – 3 years ago it was still common to start a media briefing with ‘we need TV’. Now we start with the objective; if we need to increase the user activity on the platform, radio might be a smarter choice. By challenging and understanding the problem or opportunity better, we increased the impact of the marketing activities.
“Where relevant we mix mass campaigns with smaller media. However, if possible, we try to make sure that the impact is measurable. With the goldmine-campaign for instance we worked with influencers, specifically aimed at women’s fashion. And we could see that the number of women selling fashion items on our platform increased. We also linked this with a special landing page. The wish to measure the impact of this campaign was also driven by the topic of the campaign – Marktplaats wants to play a role in sustainability, and this was a great example. In the future we want to further communicate the purpose of our platform; Marktplaats is more than just a transactional platform. The emotions that we touch upon go beyond the joy of a good sell or buy. We learned from talking to our customers, users are looking for a good deal, but also want to do good – positively impacting the environment and others in their community.