In 2012 we spoke to Vincent Hooplot, at that time the Marketing Director at Robeco, about the implementation of a new content marketing approach for business relations. Vincent spoke about the conditions needed to successfully implement content marketing. Robeco places great importance on content marketing in the management agenda, linking it to the company’s strategy, devising a content management plan that is practical in its approach.
Now, almost three years later, we are curious about how things have come along, so we met with Johan Hillebrand, Head of Content Management at Robeco Global Marketing. Johan will be one of the speakers at the B2B Marketing Forum, where he will share his experiences. By now Robeco has learnt the ins and outs of B2B content marketing and in 2015 there will be opportunities to further develop the approach, for example by professionalising lead management – in other words by looking at how marketing generates relevant leads for sales? Marketing automation is another possible next step.
Today we spoke with Johan about getting content marketing on the agenda and what are the lessons learned.
Robeco believes in Do-It-Yourself marketing, what is meant by that?
“We create our own content. That came about at one point and has resulted in a number of advantages:
- By being in control, our content is more authentic, it is really close to who Robeco is and what we stand for.
- It helps us track results more closely: we make the content, we place it on social media, we can monitor how it performs.
- My experience is that things flow more easily if they are kept together. The production time is lower and learnings are put in place more rapidly.
Robeco always produced a lot of content but in recent years the production rate has greatly increased. The results we achieve seem to energise us. Previously we didn’t monitor well which content was read or when it was read. Now we keep close track of what is read and that drives our ambition to write better.”
How did Robeco take content marketing to a higher level?
“We started with a content strategy, content planning, a library (we call this our content plaza). We trained our authors in copy-writing. Now they are more concise. We keep improving the titles and infographics that we add to the articles. When we write, we always keep search engine optimisation in mind.
When I joined Robeco, there were three teams: writers, web and information. All three worked independently of each other. Now they are much more integrated. Content is on the agenda. We create, publish and distribute content ourselves: this train is on the right track.
We also put more effort into effective use of social media and in the past year we have grown from 5,000 to 50,000 followers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Nowadays we make content more attractive and leverage the power of social media, not only in the Netherlands, but worldwide.”
What is the biggest challenge for 2015?
“We want to take lead generation to a higher level and implement marketing automation. All these improvements require a plan of action and continual discussion. We continuously need to create support. Things are going well and sometimes we catch a jealous eye from a competitor. Nevertheless we see recurring discussions about the impact of social media, about the value of those leads. We are open to all signals and send these through to Sales. As a content department we need to constantly defend the relevance of the content that we make. Robeco also still invests in traditional marketing, advertorials and ads, but content marketing is clearly becoming more important. Luckily I can illustrate how we contribute.”
What are your most important lessons learned?
“It is not an easy road. Creating support is at least as important as offering quality and speed. Content marketing works alongside Branding, beside Sales, beside Corporate Communications and beside the Investors, so that creates discussion on who has which responsibility. Where do we belong in the organisation? I am not just any content production team. I stand for content based on a vision and have my own content marketing agenda. It is not just ‘tell us your request, and we produce’. To reach this level, I have to be on the ball all the time.”
Just get started
“We just got started with social media. Initially in a reactive manner, now pro-actively. We have determined KPI’s, but we started on a small scale. First we want to show results and then the landslide can start. That is still a long way away. Then again, if I hadn’t started on this, I could never prove its value. And now I can show our initial results.”
What is your ambition in 2015?
“Robeco wants to offer the best content in European asset management. I believe that we can do this. As of yet we are not the best when compared to the big international companies. But within Europe, I do think that we surpass our competition on content. A second ambition is that Sales and Marketing become a team that plays as one: a short track from content to sales.”
On 17 March Johan Hillebrand will discuss how Robeco uses content marketing to make a difference in the business world of asset management. Register now and join the session of Johan Hillebrand during the B2B Marketing Forum 2015.
This blog has also appeared on Marketingfacts (Dutch only).