Welcome to our new blog series, Marketing Without Borders. Twice per month, we invite a leader from our global network of partners to share their experience and their unique perspective on marketing, technology, and business. The questions are ours, but the answers are theirs – every word, shared without edit, from their fingers to your eyes.
Today, we welcome Bruno Lalonde, Marketing Director at Parkour3. Bruno has been working in the marketing and technology sector for more than ten years. He began his career in digital strategy as Marketing Director at Kartel Film, where he launched the KartelTV web TV platform in 2007. After deepening his knowledge of business processes at HEC Montreal, he joined the team at BJ Media – a company specialized in digital marketing to SMEs – as a Web strategist. He then founded the CMS54 agency, where he had the opportunity to work with a varied clientele composed of SMEs, brands, and agencies. In 2016, he merged his activities with those of Parkour3 and became Director of Growth Strategy. Today, still at Parkour3, he is Marketing Director with a mandate to expand the customer base from Parkour3’s marketing efforts and increase revenues from strategic services. He is also responsible for establishing partnerships with technology solutions companies in sales and marketing. He manages several Parkour3 major accounts in technology, science, and CPG.
Tell us about Parkour3, about the companies you work with, and the role marketing plays at those companies.
Parkour3 is a digital marketing agency. We have been in business since 2003 (the best years of SEO!!!) We offer digital marketing strategy services and marketing automation. We are a team of 20 people passionate about technology and creativity. We are fueled by agency life and tight deadlines. Growth hacking is without a doubt a methodology we put forward for our customers. As our market is small, we must have expertise in both consumer and business marketing. Marketing is a growth driver for our customers. The majority are growing rapidly and need to expand internationally, which requires an understanding of international markets and methods that can be adapted to the targeted geographies.
What are the big marketing trends you are seeing currently? And do you see those trends changing in the next 3 years?
B2C trend: Voice search is hot right now and intensifies since 2016. According to a study by Kleiner Perkins, we have exceeded the mark of 30MM Amazon Echo Installed Base and 30K Echo Skills. According to Comscore, 50% of all searches will be voice-activated by 2020. The ubiquitous Internet is a continuous movement on the consumer side and it will require companies to track the touchpoints with their consumers and work on customer relationship and experience. If brands fail to find a way to understand what their consumers are looking for and how they can address their needs as well as a customer advisor can in a brick and mortar store, these companies will lose significant market share.
B2B trend: Marketing automation is a standard in sales and marketing operations and the question will revolve around the predictive analysis of buying behaviors based on their latest interactions with the company. They in turn need to identify who among their lead base is most likely to bring them opportunities to avoid wasting their time and that of their contacts in deadlock scenarios. I see students coming out of university with a strong understanding of CRM and automation marketing software. They are asking to work on these platforms from the start. They don’t want to fall into the “old-fashioned” sales process where cold calls and end-of-day networking is the norm although it is very effective for many. They want to maintain a life-balance at home AND at work. They have a very empathetic approach and want to market the company (their team) while maintaining a social consciousness. The era of “I sell everything to everyone” is over.
What are the biggest marketing challenge your clients are facing today? What’s keeping them up at night? And what kind of advice do you find yourself frequently offering to your clients?
The rise of marketing automation has brought new jobs and task descriptions. Finding the right team to operate their marketing and sales stack is much more difficult than we can imagine. Digital transformation is real but companies will only transform themselves if they have to. The 1980s brought manufacturing automation and many companies that had not taken the turn found themselves in precarious situations. It’s now up to sales and marketing automation to bring its share of opportunities, but it will not be without its challenges. Although we can’t predict future, we all have a clue of what should happen to those not willing to step up their game.
What mistakes or incorrect assumptions are companies making today with regard to their marketing strategy?
Both B2C and B2B organizations have this paradigm that they must generate large amounts of content to compete with the media and major brands while remaining relevant. The advice we give to them is the following: Quality over Quantity. First, they must understand where their customers come from. Then, solve the equation between what they have to offer and the need they manage to solve, otherwise, all their content will be buried as fast as it is created. In the end, they should select not a successful campaign but a relevant discussion. They must own the discussion and make it their battle horse.
Can you share an example of a marketing success story you experienced recently – whether at Parkour3 or with one of your clients?
One of our clients in the sector of automated manufacturing needed to generate more leads and better qualified opportunities. Being in automation themselves, they immediately understood the relevance and philosophy to adopt when it comes to automation. Automation is great… but even a mistake is automatable! So, to avoid sinking into pitfalls, we went on a hunt to better understand their ideal client profile. We interviewed several engineers, among whom were part of the decision making in a complex sales environment. We identified parallels and developed content related to these parallels. For example, we noted they had all completed the lean six sigma training. With some research, we found a cause-and-effect matrix (c/e matrix) used by six sigma enthusiasts. We have reproduced this model and branded the document. We have built landing pages and generated leads from media buying platforms. In just 6 months of advertising, we have gone from zero tracked dollars from the Internet to over a million dollars in the pipeline.
What is one of your other favorite MarTech tools?
Well, there’s too much. I like Boomerang for Gmail. Builtwith helps me to move forward quickly. Slack is an excellent tool for collaboration (and ridiculous Giphy sharing). I do like Google Analytics when well implemented. Linkedin has built such a unique ecosystem for B2B and HR Marketing. No matter what tool you are using, the magic happens in the mix. How you think, how you create, how you build and how you execute will make or break your campaign success.
What unique marketing challenges exist in your market/your clients’ markets that might surprise readers from other parts of the world?
We are approximately 10 million French people in 500 million English people continent! If you take a closer look, there are about 600 agencies around Montreal. Adapting is a continuous task, but we are lucky to work with such great professional people here at Parkour3. We execute our plan like soldiers and stay crazy like artists 😉
What does the idea of “Open” mean to you in terms of marketing, business, and technology?
To me, Open means ready for any philosophy or system. Each company is a system of its own, and I believe being Open reduces digital friction with the promise of a better Brand/Buyer relationship. Each company has it’s own marketing and sales stack custom fitted to their revenue-generating recipe. It would be counterintuitive to start messing with that. At Parkour3 we believe a company should evolve not change and that’s what Mautic Open-marketing sounds like to our ears.