Fon’s Marcomm Director shares strategic insights on marketing at a leading tech company
Can you explain a little bit about Fon?
Fon is a technology company, present across 5 continents, and our core business is the development of WiFi technologies. Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, as well as British Telecom and Deutsche Telekom are just some of our top tier investors. As a company, Fon is particularly interesting because it has always been capable of evolving to adapt to the needs of our multiple audiences. We started solely focusing on the end consumer, before moving into a second phase in which we became a B2B2C provider, reaching agreements with telcos all over the world, in order to scale our business. Nowadays, our focus is within the B2B space. Our clients are telecommunications companies and managed service providers that need to deploy, configure, manage and monetize WiFi networks in the most intelligent way. We also develop connectivity solutions in order to offer an always best connected experience to users.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I realize that I’m very fortunate because I am passionate about every aspect of my role! From my perspective, to conceptualize, design, and bring a brand to life is a very exciting process. Even more so when you get to launch it to market. But what is truly enjoyable is supporting its growth, taking it to the next level, ensuring that it meets all business objectives… To achieve this, the brand has to be capable of evolving and adapting. Belonging to one of the most qualified tech teams in the sector, and working within such a technological environment, is extremely inspiring!
Can you give us an overview of the marketing and communication strategy that Fon follows?
At Fon our marketing and communication plan is holistic. We plan all impacts across owned, earned and paid channels in an integrated manner. The objective of our plan is to guide prospects along a path towards the buying decision.
Our strategy is based on three pillars, the first of which is relevant content. We focus attention on our website, given that it is a universal point of contact, and is relevant to all of our stakeholders: prospects, clients, investors, employees and press. Our editorial work helps us to demonstrate our industry know-how, and we distribute the content via our blog, social media and forums. We also use the automation tool “Marketo”, integrated within our CRM “Salesforce”, to distribute it via email. These regular bites of content help us to remain front of mind, and move our leads further down the buying process.
The second pillar is related to the media, and our proactive reaction to the press. We create content to communicate corporate news and product launches, but we also generate pieces of creative based on industry trends and investigations that we carry out. We collaborate closely with media to write opinion articles, which help position us as thought leaders within the industry.
The third and final pillar is paid media, which for us includes sponsorship of events and conferences, as well as investments in Adwords, Retargeting and LinkedIn. We like to think that anything you can measure can be optimized. For this reason we regularly work with urchin tracking modules (UTMs) in order to have a clear visibility of the impact of each action in our monthly KPIs dashboard.
Are there any strategies or techniques that are specific to this sector?
The technology sector, or more specifically, developing software technology, is very dynamic. Therefore it is really important to be flexible, and to know how to plan and then replan when necessary. It’s also worth noting that sales cycles are extremely long, and successes are built on relationships. Therefore relationship marketing activities are key. Following this thought process, although we’re selling technological solutions, CMOs must clearly maintain the human-to-human component. We are speaking to and selling to people, not objects! The creative concepts behind each campaign should be focused on connecting with these people: They should be memorable, and should clearly translate the value and benefits of our solutions.
What key communication challenges do you face at Fon?
At the beginning the challenge was achieving brand awareness. Now, the challenge is changing the market perception of Fon, as well as communicating our new value proposition. Currently we are trying to move away from our historical association with the sharing economy, being an outlier alongside Uber, Airbnb or Spotify where the importance is access rather than ownership, to a position of leadership as a technology provider. For this reason, we must arrive at our key audience maintaining the essence of our activity. On a corporate level, we deal with investors and influencers; on a consumer level, we deal with prospects and clients; and related to talent, we deal with employees and candidates. To achieve this, we continue to favour quality content that explains our new proposition, alongside visuals that help us to seduce and convince our audiences.
Is there a particular campaign or communication that you’re particularly proud of?
Our year really gets going at Mobile World Congress. It is the global mobile technology event of the year, at which we meet with the most influential communication service providers to talk about the future of WiFi. This year we launched a creative campaign focused on WiFi as an essential “element” for telecommunications. Through an ethereal image of liquid, tinged in our corporate colors, we constructed a metaphor for the ubiquity of WiFi. We achieved significant brand awareness with the campaign, as well as extraordinary results in terms of lead generation, which was our principal objective. Additionally, we achieved significant coverage in the press as well as on social media channels, with interviews published in El País, Silicon, Redes&Telecom, Mobile World Live, FierceWireless, LightReading, and Telecoms, amongst others.
Apart from the marketing and communications strategy you’ve instilled at Fon, have you achieved any other internal actions?
From my perspective, brand engagement must start from within the company. The most natural and organic ambassadors of a brand are employees. In 2013 we carried out a re-branding and we launched a new brand identity. We organized brand sessions to explain the new brand and make it accessible to each functional area. We worked on a project called Brand Space, in which we redecorated the offices, making them much more attractive for employees. We also created a Brand Center, an online “warehouse” for all the key brand assets such as typography, logos, communication toolkit, press clipping, and annual events plan, amongst many other things. All of these actions helped to maintain engagement as well as consistency in both written and visual communications.
What agencies do you work with? What do you value most when choosing an agency?
At Fon we favor top level partners. We work hand in hand with Hotwire for our international relationship with the media, with Performics (Publicis Media) for investments in publicity and performance campaigns, with Kapturall for our strategy of marketing automation, and with September for some creative campaigns. What I value most with our partners is their international achievements. Fon’s headquarters are in Madrid, but our target market is global, and our official business language is English.