5 minutes with… Desire Stevens, Director of Marketing & Client Services at The Pacific Institute

This month I’m delighted to be speaking to Desire Stevens, Director of Marketing & Client Services, at The Pacific Institute, an organisation that specialises in creating mindsets for high performance.

Here’s her 5 minutes with…

What is your Marketing Background?

My route into marketing has not been in the traditional sense. My background is actually in Psychology and HR, but marketing has always been a keen interest and passion. However, I do believe there is a clear crossover between psychology and marketing. The trick is in getting potential customers to think differently about your company or offer. In some cases, that means crafting the right brand narrative. Other times, it is strategically getting people in a receptive state by having them make small commitments before you share your intended proposal.

What does your role at TPI involve?

The Pacific Institute uses the latest behavioural science to transform the performance of organisations and the lives of people who work in them. Creating mindsets for optimal performance is our niche! We have a bold vision to redefine how organisations and individuals flourish, and so disrupt the market for mindset change. As Director of Marketing and Client Services, it is my job to design and deliver high-quality, effective and innovative solutions to our clients.

You deliver a number of marketing programmes at TPI what are the fundamentals to you of a good campaign?

We are continually obsessing over our marketing campaigns. I absolutely believe that the most successful marketing campaigns, although they incorporate a range of sophisticated tools, are fundamentally underpinned by comprehensive planning and research. Before we begin any work on any campaign we set out and define our goals. Identifying key performance indicators and measurable metrics is essential.

You must understand your audience to achieve success, and you need to know when they are most accessible. Our marketing campaigns are therefore built on a culture of testing, and this gives us the most precise image of who our customer is and what they want. As a business we need to be continually learning about our customers and what is resonating most in their sector through continual adaptation and analysis.

So, it is very much a case of Analyse, Adjust, Repeat.

At TPI, you have a footprint in a number of different international markets – how much freedom do you get and how do you ensure brand consistency at the local level?

We are in the fortunate position of having a good bit of freedom at the local level. While global consistency is important, the global branding cannot communicate exactly the same message to each local market. It is important to understand and respect the language, cultural and business differences in individual territories by adapting effective communications to meet local preferences. Each of our offices around the globe leverage marketing and branding strategies that deliver successful results in each domestic market.

How do you measure the impact of your campaigns?

Measuring impact is tightly aligned to campaign goals. It always starts with a why… Why are we running this campaign and what are we ultimately trying to achieve with it? Therefore, the measure of impact would differ significantly for each campaign. We recently launched a new global Leadership Mindset programme so our campaigns around that have been heavily focussed on raising awareness. Campaign success then translates to impressions, reach and post engagements.

What are some of the emerging marketing trends you’re seeing?

Marketing has an unmistakably and remarkable power to inspire audiences. Instead of an influx of new technology to adopt, I predict we’ll embrace a deeper understanding of human behaviour that will foster more meaningful relationships. Audiences seek expertise, critical insight and ways to be ‘better’. Experiential and interactive engagement with a brand is the future of brand connectivity. From live video, to recorded advice, to content with real-time responses, it’s about offering information and encouraging feedback from your stakeholders in a way that establishes trust.

Secondly, I’d say that Content marketing will always have a strong impact even though it has been preached to death by most marketers. Content marketing is still vitally important, but often at times companies are using over-optimised and bland content that is largely regurgitated from other companies doing the same thing. I believe going forward we will get more discerning and choose low-volume, high-quality content instead of high-volume, low-quality.

What are the challenges for professional services marketers and how are you and your colleagues overcoming them?

Professional services marketing is a rich landscape, but one that many have traditionally viewed as slow on the digital uptake… The days of viral campaigns that saturate social media solely due to extensive sharing and interactions are pretty much a thing of the past. As organic reach on all social platforms continues its downward trajectory to basically zero the need to understand and master ‘paid social’ is vital for any brand. For people to share your content you need them to see it first, and to make enough people see it you are going to have to pay for it. Our approach is to use paid social in an iterative fashion, testing different posts against audiences and then increasing spend as we see positive results.

For us, a significant amount of enquiries come via direct referrals, word of mouth and reputation. Search performance is therefore another vital part of our current strategy – making sure our content discoverable by potential clients who don’t already know about us.

TPI are very active on social media, what advice would you give to marketers who are just starting out with their social media activities?

While many businesses in professional services understand that digital marketing is vital to success on so many levels, one area where I see some struggle is making campaign assets, and day-to-day content, stand out from the noise. There’s no reason why digital marketing for professional services firms can’t be creative and engaging. We have at our disposal so many great (and often free!) tools for creating rich media that really tells a story. So, I’d say steer clear of the dry, text only posts. Really leverage on the voice and imagination of your audience, and you will see your engagement soar!

Finally, you sit on the UK leadership team how important is it for you that marketing has a seat at the leadership table?

Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Because its purpose is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two, and only these two, basic functions: marketing and innovation.” I absolute subscribe to that! I would therefore say that if business leaders want to thrive in today’s cluttered, competitive marketplace, marketing absolutely needs a seat at the leadership table. It is the glue that holds every business growth strategy together!