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From Mad Men to Math Men – the perfect combination of creativity and data analysis

Interview with Marketing Brand Manager Gijs Daemen from imc London

Whenever I do the job slot interviews with my colleagues, my last question is: “About which team would you like to know more?” And very often the answer is: “Well, actually about Marketing because I do not really know what you do – except for interviewing people.”

 

But, as it is quite hard to interview myself, I decided to talk to my dear colleague from London. Gijs Daemen joined the Marketing team in September 2020 as a Brand Manager and is in charge of the marketing for the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. He explains what cycling has to do with his job, why digital Marketing nowadays is a little nerdy and he reveals his all-time guilty pleasure.

Gijs Daemen

Gijs Daemen

Job | Marketing Brand Manager

Working in | London, UK

Worked at imc since | 2020

Super power | "Polderen" (The Dutch version of ‘finding compromises’)

Favourite food | All crisps and all Italian food and drinks

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Hi Gijs, thanks for your time! First, I think it is helpful to explain the structure of imc’s Marketing and Communications team. How would you describe that?

Marketing and Communications work closely together and have overlapping goals and responsibilities. In general, our communal goal is to make sure that people in our target audience know that imc exists.

They need to know what we do, which products and services we provide and how our products can support their organisations. And of course, they need to know where to find us and how to reach us.

 

For marketing, the end goal is simply selling our products. In Business-to-Business (B2B) marketing that boils down to lead generation; we try to filter the right people out of the crowds and then we hand these “leads” over to Sales, who will do the actual selling.

 

For communications, the final goal is not necessarily sales related. It is also about informing external and internal audiences. For example through social media, internal communication or by dealing with press and other public relations.

Can you describe the term “lead” in more detail?

Basically, a lead is a relevant person in our target audience with a certain interest in imc and our products and services. The most important thing about leads is that you need to distinguish different types of leads. The two main categories are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

 

An MQL is a relevant person who shows an interest in imc, but she/he does not necessarily have an immediate need or a purchase intent. An MQL might just be looking around, reading up on some topics, downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a webinar, etc. But that’s it… at least for now.

An SQL on the other hand, does have an immediate need or a purchase intent. They did their homework (when they were still an MQL), they know what they want and they are ready to talk to Sales now.

 

It is important to make this split in order to manage expectations and to avoid confusion between Marketing and Sales. On average, only 3% of the people in your target audience qualifies as an SQL.

The other 97 % is not ready to buy (yet), but that does not mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to them. On the contrary. You want to stay in touch with them, to make sure that they will think of imc as soon as they get to the SQL stage.

 

In other words, you need long-term strategies to make B2B marketing work. And that can be quite challenging.

Bike with windmill

Ok, now we have jumped deeper into the topic already. But let’s take a step back. How would you describe your job to your grandparents?

I would probably make a comparison with the shop they used to have in the village that I grew up in. The shop itself would represent the Sales department and my job would be to cycle (I’m Dutch after all!) around the surrounding villages to talk to people in order to find out who the potential customers are.

 

I will tell these potential customers why they should go to my grandparents’ shop, where they can find the shop and who they should ask for. That is basically what I do. Except I don’t have to cycle around the villages anymore. To be fair, I don’t even have to talk to people to find out if they are interested, because our mutual friend Google told me all about them already.

What does your typical working day look like?

Often the day starts with meetings because of the time difference between me and my colleagues in Asia and Australia. Then I check the performance of the running marketing campaigns and if there are any urgent things to do. After that, I try to find a 3-hour-slot in which I can work – uninterruptedly - on one of the bigger tasks on my to-do list.

 

These are things like analysing and optimising the results of long-term strategies, like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and conversion optimisation. The rest of the day is mostly filled with all kinds of smaller tasks and daily routines such as preparing for upcoming events, meetings or webinars, testing new messaging, answering emails, etc.

Which character traits are particularly important for your job?

I think patience and persistence are very important. As I mentioned earlier, B2B-marketing relies heavily on long-term strategies. Marketing and Sales cycles are long and your efforts do not instantly pay off in leads or sales.

It is not like selling consumer products on Amazon. That makes it important to define a long-term strategy and to stick to it. You can constantly test, change and optimise different tools and new channels, but your overall goal and strategy should be clear and consistent. And that is not always easy, so patience and persistence are essential.

What do you especially like about your job?

What I find quite funny is the image of marketing people. Some people still seem to think that marketing people are like Don Draper from Mad Men: Slick men in suits day-drinking whisky in the office. But it is quite the opposite. I identify more with beardy nerds in unironed t-shirts staring at statistics all day.

 

It’s more Math Men than Mad Men I’m afraid. But that is what makes it so interesting for me. It is a combination of creativity and analysing data. You need to be creative to solve problems, to reach the right people, to find the right messaging, but you also need to analyse data.

It is not just being creative for the sake of being creative, but there are clear goals to be achieved. The data is helping you to do that better, quicker and/or more efficient. That is what I like a lot about this job.

nerd with laptop

Which professional background and knowledge do you need for your job?

My job title can mean something completely different in every company. Here at imc a Brand and Marketing Manager is responsible for all brand and marketing activities in a certain region, so you need to know a bit of everything.

I used to work for different marketing agencies in which I worked for over 50 different companies in various industries and different countries. I have had all kinds of roles from marketing strategy to data analysis and from content creation to performance marketing, so that gave me broad marketing experience. That comes in real handy in my role now at imc.

 

In terms of studying, I started with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Multimedia Design, followed by a Master’s in Business Communication and Digital Media. My time at the university taught me a certain way of analytical thinking, researching and problem solving, but – to be honest – the actual skills I need on a day-to-day basis I didn’t learn at uni, I learned them on the job.

What makes working at imc special compared to other companies?

What I really like about imc is the size. It’s a multinational company but equally it is not that big that you become this anonymous little piece of a puzzle. At imc you are part of a team and part of the bigger picture, in which you can really make a difference. I love that.

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Tell us a little more about yourself. What did you want to become as a child?

While my friends wanted to become cool things like policemen or firefighters, I wanted to become a fiction writer. I told you I was a nerd…

What is the best way for you to relax after a stressful day at work?

Running. It keeps me fit and helps me to clear my mind. Since Corona I have set my goal to run at least 25 km a week plus at least one half marathon every month.

What's your favourite movie?

I could give a sophisticated answer or name some Tarantino or Guy Ritchie movies (which I love), but in the end, my all-time guilty pleasure is Dumb and Dumber…

Your favourite Netflix series?

At the moment, my girlfriend and I are rewatching all episodes of the Big Bang Theory. Who doesn’t love Sheldon?

Jazz or rock?

Rock! I am always very impressed by the skills of many jazz musicians, but I feel like I don’t understand the music very well. After a 20 minute improvisation I’d quite like a hook, a chorus or some kind of structure again.

So, I prefer rock. I used to play bass guitar in various rock bands, but I actually play on a Fender Jazz bass, so – in a way - there is still a bit of a jazz influence.

And finally: Your team in 3 words?

"Faces On Teams". As I started working for imc during the pandemic, I met most of the team members only through video calls on Microsoft Teams. But everybody is really welcoming and friendly!

 

Thank you so much Gijs, it was a pleasure talking to you! 

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I have been working in the Marketing & Communication Team at imc since March 2019.

Communication, creating unique content and social media are my passion.

 

"One can not not communicate" - Paul Watzlawik.

To explain complex content in an understandable way and thus make the topic of e-Learning accessible to everyone is an exciting challenge every day.

 

Privately I love to read, play poker and travel a lot.

I am always happy to receive feedback or suggestions.

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Nadine Kreutz
Communication Manager