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ExchangeWire CEO: ‘Marketing content has to be authentic’

Rachel Smith, co-founder & CEO at ExchangeWire and WireCorp, and co-host of The MadTech Podcast, joined us for a quick chat as part of our Marketing Maestro interview series in partnership with Press Gazette. We talk achievements, engaging content and marketing technology.

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

Over the lifetime of this business, it’s been building a great team of talented and committed people who proudly work for ExchangeWire. We wouldn’t have a business to run if it wasn’t for the people who work for us. They cultivate and nurture our customers, produce high-quality products that set us apart from our competitors, and are enthusiastic ambassadors for our brand and the business that’s behind it. My contribution to that achievement has been recruiting, supporting and empowering them to work with us.

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

This entirely depends on your marketing goals. Traditional channels like TV and out-of-home will always be important for brand building, but they can be considered expensive when trying to measure ROI and the overall success of a campaign. However as all channels become more digitised, the use and application of data significantly changes the picture. Any channel where you can connect directly with people (customers and consumers) has very good long term value for money in my book (think email marketing), especially in a landscape where privacy rules mean targeted marketing must be very nuanced. 

What is your advice for mastering social media?

Be nimble and stay tuned in closely to analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. The world of social media is fast changing – some would say fickle – and so you need to be prepared to switch channels, platforms, creatives, and messaging at speed. I would also say think twice about your target audience. It’s tempting to get very granular when trying to reach new customers but a better strategy is to think about pushing your products to everyone, not just the people you think are your target audience. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results. 

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

The level of complexity. While there are many similarities between the two, B2B marketing often involves a wider range of stakeholders, a longer path to a purchase and more complex decision making. This doesn’t change the marketing methods and tools necessarily, but it does require a different mindset in terms of outcomes and ROI. 

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

Marketing content, regardless of the audience or environment, has to be authentic otherwise the intended audience will pay no attention. We are living in a hyper-exposed world, where marketing messages are subjected to much more scrutiny than ever before and if your messaging is lazy, has been copied and pasted from previous campaigns and studies, doesn’t fully reflect your products and brand, then you’ll either be found out or your efforts will have been wasted since they won’t produce any results. 

For us, written, video and audio content that has been crafted in our own authentic voice works the best. 

How important is technology in modern marketing?

Critically important. Technology is an intrinsic part of our lives and it underscores how we work, live and play. Marketing needs to reflect this reality, not just from a product point of view, but also from an execution perspective. There are some straightforward yet sophisticated technology tools which every marketer should be using from data analytics, automation, personalisation, and campaign optimisation right through to CRM and content creation and distribution. Of course, several of these tools are already powered by some form of artificial intelligence but this too will become a core part of marketing in the future. 

Which future marketing trends will become mainstream before too long?

Shaking off the trauma of the Covid years, in-person and interactive experiences have experienced a renaissance in marketing since 2022. I predict that anything which enables people to see and experience products and services either IRL, or as close to that as possible via VR and AR, will become commonplace in our lives before long. The emphasis, at least for the next year or two, will be on experiences and products, rather than consumption. 

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

It would be to help me decode the sometimes impenetrable language we use to describe our jobs, our businesses and areas of expertise in the world of marketing. I’ve done it myself in this article already – we all assume everyone else understands our shorthand and three letter acronyms but maybe they don’t?