Here at Modern Marketing Today, we spend a great deal of time discussing the latest and greatest tools and technology available to modern marketers to help them reach, engage, and better understand their audience. But what do you do when your audience isn’t as digitally connected?
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Lynette Simmons, Director of Marketing Communications at Intelsat, a leading global satellite service provider of video, voice, data connectivity solutions. In the following interview, Lynette discusses her experience in running global marketing campaigns targeting customers in emerging parts of the world where internet connectivity is a luxury and unreliable at best.
Can you tell me a little about Intelsat and your role within the company?
Intelsat was the world’s first satellite company and today, with customers in over 200 countries, it is the largest. We operate within four market segments: government, media, enterprise, and mobility (broadband access at sea, in the air and other environments where connectivity can be challenging).
I joined Intelsat in January 2009 as the Director of Marketing Communications. On a day-to-day basis, my team and I are responsible for a wide range of marketing and communication activities including planning and executing around 150 events worldwide each year; managing both the company website and the customer extranet, outbound communication campaigns and customer satisfaction measurement. Globally, there are only about 3,000 companies that could potentially buy our services, so we operate very targeted marketing and communication campaigns, which has proved to be both challenging and interesting.
Intelsat runs global marketing campaigns targeting customers in emerging parts of the world such as Africa and South America. What has been your experience running these global campaigns? How do global campaigns differ from local campaigns?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned in running campaigns in emerging countries like South America, Africa, and some parts of Asia, is that you can’t rely on the same communication tools as you would for campaigns based in more developed countries. Internet connectivity, for example, is slow—if it even exists. We see very low attendance for webinars and email campaigns are not highly successful with prospects in these areas. As providers of broadband infrastructure to the developing world, we understand all too well the challenges our customers face and so we scale our campaigns to make sure they are accessible. For example, we’ve learned to revert back to traditional advertising campaigns and low-tech tools like snail mail, traditional print media, and CD-ROMs.
Operating in this environment can feel like taking the marketing time machine 10 or 15 years in the past. And it can be difficult, especially when customers can’t access tools and resources that we’ve developed for them. For example, we developed a 50 Mb satellite app that customers can download. For us, 50 Mb is a quick, thirty second download. But customers who live or work in emerging countries, 50 Mb on a slow, unreliable network can be almost impossible to download.
We’ve also run into hurdles simply launching a new website. Prior to launch, you take time to test the site in various browsers, but in order for us to test the site for customers in countries like Africa and South America, we have to find and test in legacy browsers from five or six years ago which isn’t always easy. Additionally, a lot of new website functionalities are not compatible with the older web browser versions.
Overall, these traditional and low-tech marketing methods are just something we’ve had to learn to work. They’re simply part of the marketing mix that we have to take into consideration. We’re communicating the same message, just delivering it in a different way.
How have you and your marketing team benefited from the use of technology in your marketing efforts? Which modern marketing tools have you found to be most effective?
We use HubSpot on our corporate site, but our entire company uses Salesforce for our CRM platform. We also purchased additional capabilities for our marketing needs such as ExactTarget for digital marketing efforts like email marketing campaigns and inviting people to events we’re hosting. Both tools have really impacted our success thanks to the great back-end analytics and visibility that they provide us.
Having a CRM platform in place has helped our sales and marketing teams become more collaborative in the lead generation and sales process. For example, the sales team can help manage campaigns to make sure the right people are invited to events or webinars. There’s also a lot of automation within Salesforce which saves time and helps keep prospects and customers engaged.
But I’d have to say that of all the features and functionalities, the reporting tool has been the most valuable. Using the reporting function was how we discovered that webinars and email campaigns were not a good tactic to reach customers in emerging countries. Reports and analytics help us determine what methods and tactics are bringing us the highest engagement. Being able to provide the sales team and other departments site analytics and detailed insight on how visitors are engaging with our content has been highly valuable for us.
What is an interesting fact about yourself or something that your coworkers and colleagues may not know about you?
Every time I go on vacation, I turn into a bit an adrenaline junkie. I’m always looking for the next thrill. So far, I’ve jumped off the Stratosphere Hotel, gone whitewater rafting, repelled down waterfalls, and gone skydiving twice. The next adventure I’d like to check off my list is hang gliding. I’m also signed up as a member of a 12-person, 197-mile relay race this fall.