Here at Ink Tank Media, we love to hear the opinions, views, and strategies of others in the marketing business. In a transforming industry, it’s more important than ever to analyse what works and what doesn’t. So, what better way to sharpen your skills than by talking to marketing maestros themselves.
This time, we’re interviewing Juha Lauhamaa of Amer Sports, the Finnish sports equipment conglomerate.
Currently, the Marketing Manager at Sports Tracker, the world’s first and most popular sports tracking app, Juha thinks a lot about how to best cater to users of the latest in sports gear: mobile technology. Working at the massive parent company behind well-known brands such as Wilson, Suunto and Salomon, Juha has plenty of fascinating insights to share about digitalization, big data and community building. Scroll down to find out more.
How long have you been in marketing and what do you currently do?
I’ve been into marketing for around ten years. I studied it at the University of Vaasa and later worked in different sales and marketing positions from events to outdoor equipment.
For the past year or so I’ve been deep diving into digital marketing and especially a cool mobile app called Sports Tracker. I’m now running the marketing activities for Sports Tracker. From user acquisition to user lifetime management, that’s my playground. I’m really enjoying the sporty atmosphere in the connected devices and digital services unit of Amer Sports Ltd.
What is your all-time favorite marketing strategy and why?
It feels as if targeted marketing is everyone’s focus these days and I’m no exception. It just makes sense. Getting content that I’m personally interested in is exactly what I, as a consumer like to see and something that I want to deliver to our users.
I’m really engaged by brands that do it right. I’m also really annoyed with the ones who don’t. Plus, it’s all mobile to me these days. I wouldn’t have thought many people take their laptop to the toilet and scroll Instagram or Facebook feeds while doing their thing but I bet many mobile users do it. (Needless to say, I’m not one of them!). So in short, a well-targeted mobile strategy.
What is the most difficult aspect of working in marketing and how do you overcome it?
Rapidly changing consumer behavior and the constantly evolving marketing environment are two key challenges. We, consumers, act in a totally different way today than what I was taught in the University. Of course, the same fundaments apply but new trends appear all the time, businesses get disrupted and that change is constant.
The urge to follow every trend is big. This makes focusing difficult but also very important. Knowing your audience makes it a little bit easier but it’s still hard. There are a wealth of tools to use and it’s difficult to recognize the ones that are for you and when you just thought you chose the right one the next call changes everything again. But all this change makes marketing more exciting than ever before and that’s one reason I love it so much.
Another challenge with marketing is when you have either too many resources or too few. Too many and you get too comfortable and find yourself doing things “the easy way”. Too little and it tough to achieve very much, no matter how brilliant your ideas might be. This is where modern marketing tools and growth hacking comes in. The fact that pretty much everyone walks around with a mobile phone in their pocket makes marketing a much nicer world to work in.
Happily, word of mouth is possible even when you’re not physically meeting anyone. With data collected and analytical tools now so easy, you no longer have to build big marketing campaigns based on guesswork. These days, we know about people so much more than we used to that it’s more up to the marketers’ imagination and capabilities on how to catch people’s attention than it is about money. That said, proper investment still helps
What five qualities do you look for in marketing partners?
One key reason why I work with partners in the first place is that it lowers the stress levels knowing that I’m working with people who know what they’re doing and constantly show great results.
1. Delivering on time, maintaining great results and respecting our partnership at all levels are all crucial elements. A good working relationship is like a good friendship, where you can confide in each other.
2. Schedules and campaign needs change all the time. Even things that have been planned and agreed months previous might change at last minute. So, flexibility and being able to cope with this ever-changing environment is crucial for a good partner.
3. If your co-operation feels forced it shows. No matter what the partnership is about it is pretty obvious if the partner hasn’t got their heart in it. Of course, deliverables need to be agreed, and what’s agreed should be the minimum level required. Partners who work with a passion and put their heart into their work take things to the next level.
4. A good sense of humor. We’re the same people in the working life as we are in everyday life. Working together should be a positive experience and having fun brakes down all those unnecessary formal barriers.
5. All the reasons above apply to our co-operation with Ink Tank Media. They’re a great bunch of people and great professionals. It’s been a privilege to get to know them and to work with them.
What’s the biggest marketing mistake a company can make?
Not doing things from the heart. I think you have to love your community. We’re communicating with normal human beings and everyone makes errors. The thing is to be able to handle the errors on a human level. A bot might get the job done but talking with a real person builds engagement and strengthens relationships.
This is all part of Sports Tracker’s philosophy. It was originally created by enthusiastic sportsmen who we’re also technically skillful. They put their heart and soul into it and we want to keep that spirit. There are brands who have been able to do this even while growing into big global corporations.
Which three tools should every marketer be using?
1. Some analytics tools to start with. Google Analytics is indispensable and we use some really good mobile analytics tools, which are available. They help with decision making and are key to pretty much everything we do. To understand the why’s behind the what’s, a survey tool is also worth considering. With these, you’ll be able to understand who your audience is, how they behave and why they behave the way they do.
2. Communication tools to match your needs. If your primary field is social media then there are many options that help you understand and better handle the communications with your target groups. And there are mobile specific tools available that I use daily.
3. Passion and brain power. Without these two involved you can’t be relevant to any audience.
How do you think marketing will evolve in the next 5 years?
Collecting and using personal data has evolved faster than legislation and I think this will change a lot within the next couple of years. This means the Wild West era is passing and they’ll be more stringent controls.
One consequence of this will be that users will gain better access to the data they’ve shared about themselves and they’ll be able to decide more easily what content they’ll see and by whom. It means that we have to know our customers even better to be able to communicate on a more personal level and get their permission to continue doing so.
Editor’s note: with the European General Data Protection Regulation going into full effect in May 2018, businesses of all sizes need to understand how and why they collect data on individuals, in order to have any chance to comply.
Mobile is the future and I think it will just keep evolving. I also expect it to conquer new business fields like construction very rapidly. What’s more, I believe it will carry on making our everyday lives a lot simpler. I also think more and more will be controlled by voice instead of touch. Just take a look what WeChat does in China already. We’re far behind. We probably we won’t have the level of user information they do in China, but I think many people are already comfortable with targeted content and see it as an opportunity rather than a threat.
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