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Ozone Project marketing chief Bryan Scott on the future of marketing

Marketing Communications Director at the Ozone Project, Bryan Scott, is under the spotlight in the latest of Press Gazette’s Marketing Maestro interviews. This series is produced in association with Lead Monitor, New Statesman Media Group’s content marketing arm. Bryan previously held similar roles at Capital Radio and Metro.

What’s been your proudest achievement in your current role?

I’ve had so many amazing experiences since I joined The Ozone Project in September 2019, the vast majority of them involving the brilliant people I get to work with every day. However, if I was to pinpoint one moment, it would be in late 2020 when Ozone was named ‘Media Brand of the Year’ by Campaign and Media Week. Having worked for many of the UK’s leading media brands during my career, this was one recognition that I had always coveted, especially given that the award is judged by many of our customers. To hear our name read out as the winner at the virtual ceremony – having been up against titans of the industry including Twitter and Spotify – was such a powerful validation of the business itself, the incredible work of our team, and of course, the continued support of our publishers and our customers.

What media channels do you see as most important and best value when it comes to marketing spend and activity?

Having worked in both B2B and B2C roles, the value each channel delivers really depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Personally, and perhaps unsurprisingly given my background, I’m a huge believer in the value created by professionally produced media – be it TV, radio, journalism – and the engagement each delivers with consumers and how that then is transferred to advertising messages.

Right now, in my current B2B role, I am a great believer in the power of live events. Coming out the back of the pandemic I am loving seeing relationships being re-established in person at industry conferences and other get-togethers.

What is your advice for mastering social media?

When marketing budgets were limited, our social presence was an important part of building our industry presence, particularly through LinkedIn and Twitter. From a B2B perspective, my advice today is not too dissimilar to what it was then – be as human as you can be, and be regular with your communications. All too often I have heard people dismayed at a lack of traction around a big announcement, only to find they haven’t posted or engaged on social channels for months.

In your opinion, what is the main difference between B2C and B2B marketing?

I believe that the broad principles of marketing are the same irrespective whether you’re in B2C or B2B – ultimately it’s all about getting someone to choose you, your product or your service. Generally speaking however, I’d say the biggest difference is in the size of your potential customer group, with target groups tending to be significantly smaller in B2B.

Yet, within each of these two disciplines, there are a number of different approaches one might take depending on the challenge in hand. If I take my current role, a major focus is working with our advertising sales team to position The Ozone Project as a premium choice for all of the media agencies and their advertisers, and instigate a higher frequency of repeat purchase (i.e. more campaigns booked). This requires a different approach to the work we do with our publisher team where the potential partner pool is a bit smaller, the ‘purchase cycle’ is inherently longer, and where the relationship becomes more sticky once they are part of the family. The same would apply to someone working in B2C marketing; the application of marketing in an FMCG business will be very different to that in the automotive industry.

What is the key to producing engaging marketing content and what types of content works best for you?

Let’s be honest, it’s always a tricky one. As a marketer I want to sell at every opportunity, but at the same time – especially in B2B when talking to other savvy marketers – people will often ignore it if the sell is too blatant. To make great content, it really has to be either telling customers something completely new and genuinely exciting or telling customers something they can use in their day-to-day (ideally even both!).

We’ve had really good feedback from the white papers we’ve produced for both our advertiser and publisher partners, plus they also serve a great internal job of capturing business-wide thinking.

How important is technology in modern marketing?

Technology is as essential in modern marketing as it is in every other industry sector. What’s even more important is making sure you find the tools and services that work well for you at the right time in your organisation’s growth journey. However, I would also caveat this by saying that technology is usually no more than an enabler – something that makes life easier, more efficient and more effective – but it is rarely a replacement for smart and creative thinking. I read once that ‘strategy without execution is like a table without legs’, and needless to say the role technology can play is in ensuring we’ve got the sturdiest, most enduring table going.

What future marketing trends will become mainstream before too long?

One of the things we’ve seen happening in digital advertising specifically over the past few years is advertisers – and indeed their agencies – getting closer to the major platforms such as Facebook, Google and Amazon. With the expansion of in-house media teams, coupled with growing expertise client-side, I expect that we’ll continue to see a resurgence in smart marketers working even closer with more of their biggest digital media partners. In my previous B2C and agency roles, I always felt that the best work was done when we worked ‘hand in glove’ with the media owner, a task that has been quite difficult in the broader digital space where many different intermediary companies have placed more distance between brand and media owners, and often taken too much control of any relationship that could otherwise exist. However, in this era of first-party data driven solutions, the imperative will be a return to advertisers and media channels working closer together as the guardians of their customer data, in effect creating a tighter, more controlled supply chain.

And finally, if you could ask your peers for one piece of advice or help, what would it be?

This is the easiest question of all to answer. Working in a B2B advertising-led business I would ask other marketers to tell me how we at The Ozone Project can help them deliver better results from their digital advertising. There’s nothing quite like hearing feedback from the horse’s mouth to ensure you’re delivering what customers need.