“The internet provides infinite ways to learn about infinite topics. Which also makes it challenging to make a decision, due to choice overload. “Carla Nora
Carla is a Peru born Online Marketing Specialist who resides in the Netherlands. With a strong passion for data science, she tells us more about her journey in this edition of Women In Marketing
THE JOURNEY TAKEN
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career in marketing? How’d you end up at Sunweb Group?
I am originally from Peru, where I started my career in Marketing within global fashion brands (Gap, Banana Republic, UGG, and others). After 2 years of working there, I decided I wanted to be more specialized in Marketing, mainly on metrics and digital platforms. So, I moved to the Netherlands to do a Master in Marketing at the Erasmus School of Economics. After some freelance jobs around marketing technology tools and an internship in Unilever, I found Sunweb, which is a major tour operator in Europe.
My passion for travel led me to immediately apply for the position, and my interest in digital channels got me super excited. After the recruitment process and building an online strategy for the Ski brands, I joined Sunweb as an Online Specialist.
What have you learned at Sunweb Group that you had not learned at previous companies?
Sunweb is a very horizontal company, in terms of organization. You have a lot of freedom, but also a lot of responsibilities. What I’ve learned here, more than in former jobs is the importance of an own initiative and being proactive if you really want to make a difference and stand out from competitors.
You obtained a Masters in Science (Marketing) at Erasmus School of Economics (girl you fancy!). In an article written by Glassdoor, it has become seemingly easier to apply for work at companies such as Google, Apple and Starbucks as they do not require applicants to have a degree. How can young women utilise the internet to upskill themselves particularly if they cannot afford to obtain a formal education?
The internet provides infinite ways to learn about infinite topics. Which also makes it challenging to make a decision, due to choice overload.
Personally, I have used the internet to take numerous free courses about very different topics, depending on my curiosity, but also depending on my professional situation. Right now, I am taking a SQL course, cause I want to understand more about Data Science, and I believe for a marketer it can be very helpful.
I agree that degrees are more and more considered a formality, I think the internet is a very efficient tool to use when you want to learn about specific topics and go straight to the point.
What made you fall in love with the world of marketing? What particular moment in time pushed you to pursue this as a career? After all, we all wanted to be Doctor’s growing up, right?
I had just finished my bachelor’s in International Business, and I was working on my first full-time job in marketing, as I mentioned before, and there was never a dull day. I consider myself as a creative person always looking for innovation, but I also thrive on improvement and measurable results. So, seeing my creative campaigns go live, and then measuring the actual impact on sales is what made me fall in love with marketing.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
What does your typical day of work look like? How does your calendar look and are you a coffee or tea kind of person?
A normal day starts by looking at the business and marketing metrics, as well as the performance of specific campaigns. It is nice to do this with a COFFEE and in a quiet environment. This moment is when I determine if there are any changes needed to be made on our campaigns, or if a meeting is needed with a specific country marketer to better understand a country’s performance.
Later during the day, I and other online specialist discuss new features on different channels that might be an opportunity for us, we discuss and assess relevance. We also share best-practices and insights about campaigns.
It is all about sharing knowledge, trying and testing new things, and improving.
Several studies reveal that women account for the majority of purchase decisions including traditional male products such as automobiles, consumer electronics as well as home improvement products. Despite this, surveys further show that advertisers still do not understand women. Why do you think this is the case and what should change if research says that 50 of the most influential CMOs are in fact, women?
I believe that gender, taken into account on its own, is a very broad factor. For advertisers to only focus on a gender factor for their campaign-building, is definitely not the right approach. To understand your customer, you have to go beyond that, you have to look at the customer journey, identify trends, identify similar behaviours, see where they are, see where they are going.
Women might account for the majority of purchase decisions, but I think that an advertiser’s job is to research on the different profiles of these women and to come up with different strategies to target them in a personal way.
COVID-19 has been a disruption to a number of organisations. So much that several businesses, small and big alike either having to cut down on staff or being forced to close down. On the same token, however, several organisations have used this time to regroup and use this as an opportunity for change in structure and processes. How has your organisation and specifically, your department, countered against the impact brought by the pandemic?
COVID-19 has definitely changed things in most industries and it has changed the way many organizations do business. Being part of the travel industry, I can say that it has strongly influenced the way we are currently working, and the way we will be working for a while. We’ve had to adapt to the uncertainty, from a marketing perspective, we’ve had to change the messaging, determine new ways to talk to our customers, and come up with different scenarios for when things can go back to normal, or the ‘new normal’. Sunweb has managed to act fast and come up with attractive ‘own-country travel’ which tackles the current global situation, where lots of people might opt for travelling options in their own country, rather than planning trips abroad.
Systems around remote work and video conferencing are increasingly becoming a staple to most organisations. To illustrate this, according to the infographic created by Visual Capitalist, Zoom is now worth more than the 7 biggest airlines in the world at a whopping market capitalization of just over $40bn. Working from home/remote working is an aspect of modern-day work that has been long overdue. Why do you think most organisations who are seemingly able to convert to this way of work have struggled to convert? Furthermore, how have you and your organisation structured your work since the COVID-19 pandemic? Any key lessons?
I think there are companies with more traditional organization structures than others, in a sense of way- of-working and culture, but also in the nature of the companies’ core business. There are just companies that adapt faster to change, and also some roles that permit an even faster adaptation for a work from home environment.
At Sunweb, we adapted really fast to working from home. We were not entirely strangers to it, as every now and then we were in meeting with dialling from home.
An important tip is to try and stay connected as much as possible. We no longer have the nice office environment, but we now have daily virtual coffee calls, for a short chat and to keep each other updated about our projects and status, but also some chit-chat about personal topics.
What have been some of Sunweb Group biggest successes in marketing over the past 12 to 18 months?
Surpassed the bookings and pax targets of the season.
We won for the 5th time in a row the World Ski Awards as Best Ski Operator of the world.
Marketing metrics show better performance in all paid channels vs LY (SEA, Display and Social).
At the time of publishing, an article from The Digital Marketing Institute estimated that the influencer marketing industry will hit the $10bn mark by 2020. Whether it is B2B or B2C, it is evident that brands and organisations have had their own success with this model of marketing. How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect this industry going forward and do you believe there is still a place for influencer marketing?
I think influencer marketing can be crucial for business when done right. I strongly believe in micro-influencer or influencers that are specialized in a specific topic, who can then have a truthful and relevant opinion and can actually influence consumers.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google Sheets, Microsoft Teams, Power Bi.
How do you leverage data to inform your decision-making?
All decision-making is based on data. What campaign/ad worked best? What audience reacted best to what? What partner brings the most traffic? What’s the most cost-effective channel? All these questions are answered through data, and with that, we can build a more effective marketing plan.
What do you see as some of the major trends in digital in the next 12 to 18 months?
I believe the online presence of companies will increase. The pandemic has been a big hit for many players, which are now realizing the importance, but also the efficiency, of online channels and e-commerce.
2020 AND BEYOND
What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information? Physical book vs eReader?)
‘Factfulness‘ by Hans Rosling.
Physical book, 100%.
What is on your Netflix watchlist/How do you relax?*
I don’t watch Netflix that often, so my watchlist is long. Some recently added shows are; Explained, Fargo, and Unorthodox.
I relax by listening to music or reading a book outdoors.
A unique message for all young professionals in the marketing industry
Make the best out of all the opportunities you get, and never turn down a chance of learning new things.
Any bucket list items (professional as well as personal)?
- Learn about SQL
- Travel (very long list)
What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I believe it will transform the way companies approach customers. It will change entirely shopping behaviour and the customer journey.