Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Ana-Maria Banta, senior marketing manager at Fluke Reliability, on permission marketing:

Shaheen Samavati 0:12
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Ana-Maria Banta, a seasoned marketer and currently Senior Marketing Manager for EMEA at Fluke Reliability. Thanks so much for joining us Ana-Maria.

Ana-Maria Banta 0:27
Thank you for having me. I’m very excited to speak to you today.

Shaheen Samavati 0:32
Yeah, me too. So first of all, tell us where you’re joining from, and just introduce yourself in your own words.

Ana-Maria Banta 0:40
I am joining from Munich, Germany. I’ve been doing marketing for a bit over 10 years now and I started as a clinical psychologist, and I ended up here. So I’m happy to share my story with you.

Shaheen Samavati 2:30
I see. So, you probably know in The Content Mix our audience are both content marketers and content creators. Do you think there’s overlap between the communities?

Ana-Maria Banta 2:55
Yes, this was actually one of the first things that I noticed when we first connected. We do focus on marketing in general, digital marketing, content marketing, and I do believe that content is king. So you can’t do marketing without content. Actually, I think you can’t do anything without content these days. I think this is something that is very present for people because it’s the way in which you make your voice heard.

Shaheen Samavati 3:31
Yeah, definitely. Can you tell us a bit about how you got into marketing in the first place and your background?

Ana-Maria Banta 3:39
As I mentioned at the beginning, I actually used to be a clinical psychologist and a project I did in India was on HR, but I had the chance of taking a project in marketing and I felt that marketing was a lot more engaging than HR. It gives you a platform to be creative. As I was mentioning to you at one point, there was a blog that I read in 2008 by Seth Godin, where he was talking about the idea of having personalised marketing and he refers to it as permission marketing long before GDPR ever meant anything for anyone. I thought that was a really good way of communicating with people and for a storyteller, I think that marketing is the best way to work and to create, so I ended up doing it.

Shaheen Samavati 4:47
What does that mean exactly, permission marketing?

Ana-Maria Banta 4:51
So, the way he explains it, and I think it’s great, is that you need to look at marketing as a permission that your audience gives you in order to feel their attention and their time. He presents this as being something that’s extremely impactful, because attention is the only thing as time, that you cannot take back if you change your mind. So he’s talking about the idea of building personalised and anticipated, relevant content for people to read and to fall in love with you. He’s making this association of how marketing and selling is basically like dating. So I really enjoyed the idea and the concept behind it. So I thought it speaks very much to the way I see marketing.

Shaheen Samavati 5:47
Yeah and can you tell us what industries you’ve worked in? I know, currently, you’re working in like B2B services kind of industry, but what’s your previous experience?

Ana-Maria Banta 5:58
So I think it’s fair to say all my career has been in B2B. B2B is looked at, in the best way, as business to people. I remember I was in a Google training, when I was working for Henkel, and they were talking about the fact that B2B companies often forget that at the end of the day, there’s a person making a decision and it’s not the business as a whole and you still need to adress the individual. So I’ve worked in automotive, I’ve worked in software, in consumer goods and services and I think that I’ve interacted enough with different industries to understand that while they all have their specific way of approaching individuals, it’s still basically the same. You need to make your story appealing and not just appealing, but relatable to the job that you’re selling.

Shaheen Samavati 7:14
Absolutely. How has your background in psychology helped you in your marketing career?

Ana-Maria Banta 7:21
I think it has a lot. It’s something that I look at every day, it’s the way in which I think of the timing at which I send out the emails, how the emails should be phrased, how the events should speak to what we’re trying to create. It’s basically just understanding basic things like your customer behaviour, come to terms with the way you’re trying to approach. I was actually thinking about this this week because I got approached by an agency that does forensic marketing and I was really interested to see their product. I’m in a period where I’m scouting for new ways to increase funnel and to make our company visible so I was extremely curious about the product, yet the way in which they approached me was so aggressive, I think it’s fair to say irritating. I cancelled the meeting with them. I think this is something that marketers should keep very present. Yes, there is a lot of competition, yes, there is a background noise that you need to pass in order to get your audience, but the way you do it has to be in this permission, where you’re asking for permission for your voice to be heard. I think psychology has helped me a lot in the way I shape the voice that I’m trying to put up.

Shaheen Samavati 9:02
Absolutely. I guess i’m curious, because I think in B2B your target is very specific usually, you have a very specific person within the company that you’re trying to target. Does that make marketing easier or harder than in B2C?

Ana-Maria Banta 9:23
I don’t know if it’s necessarily easier or harder, it’s definitely more specific, because you would definitely not want to put out CIO content for a junior manager. You do need to make sure that everything you put out is relatable, just imagine you receive an email for a product that you definitely are not the target. You’re not going to read the email, at best you might click to open it, but the engagement will not be there. So it’s definitely trying to make sure you are staying relevant to what your audience is looking for and wants to read. And I think that’s something that has been a lot more defined in the last years because I think a lot of the content that was pushed out, let’s say, 10 years ago might have been more technical. So if you wanted to reach a maintenance manager, you would have probably put out content that is related to the features of your product. But if you want to speak to the business as a whole, you need to address the value that you as a company, or as a vendor can provide to the business as a whole. I think this leads to the content colours changing considerably, because you would create more thought leadership content, you want to position yourself as a company of experts that can support your customer in different stages, not just selling one product in particular, but offering solutions after the product is sold as well. So I think that has changed quite a lot in the last 10 years.

Shaheen Samavati 11:20
Yeah, definitely. I wanted to ask, so you just started your new role at Fluke Reliability earlier this year, right in the middle of the pandemic. So what was that like? Starting a new role in this strange time?

Ana-Maria Banta 11:37
It has been quite the challenge. We signed the contract before the situation escalated to this point. So I have to admit that I was lucky in that regard because this is a company that I see myself evolving and growing in. So definitely the fact that the pandemic hadn’t started gave me a good environment. I do want to say that I wish I could have met the team from the US before the role had started, I did manage to meet my direct boss but everyone else was a challenge to me. We are quite present with videos and that compensates but it’s not the same. We don’t get to have a face to face coffee and that’s something that you do miss. Of course, the tools in order to get emerged in the systems are quite different. But it has been a positive experience altogether and I do feel very integrated. I think because of the pace in which we’ve communicated and engaged, I don’t even feel that we haven’t met face to face. So yes, it has been a journey.

Shaheen Samavati 13:06
I imagine the nature of your role has been impacted as well because of the limitations of the kinds of marketing we can do right now, especially with events. I’m curious, how are you adapting? How are you adapting to not being able to do the in person events?

Ana-Maria Banta 13:27
I have to admit that I started stepping away a bit from the idea of doing events in my job, I would say in the last year and a half, because we did see some measurements. At one point we were discussing about a year and a half ago, that we are putting 35% of our budget in events, and we were getting only 25% return. With digital, we were putting out a lot less and the output was a lot higher. So we did look and realise that the way we get to our audience is changing. I think it’s fair to say that all B2B companies have moved to webinars as a high source of visibility with the audience. I think it’s also fair to say that there is a bit of saturation of that, because I think anyone will get an average of three, four webinar invites a week. At one point, it becomes a bit more difficult to say why your webinar would deliver a higher impact. It’s the same with LinkedIn, right? You were saying at one point that your post on LinkedIn had a higher impact two or three years ago, because less people were present on LinkedIn, or not even present, but posting and engaging. Now you make a post and the audience competition is stiff.

Shaheen Samavati 15:50
Yeah, we were talking about this before we started recording. I was saying that there was this sweet spot in LinkedIn history where there was a huge number of people on LinkedIn, but they had just launched the new newsfeed and people hadn’t really figured it out yet and there weren’t very many people posting at all. The few people who were posting got a huge reach and now that’s not so much the case anymore.

Ana-Maria Banta 16:14
The competition has changed, for sure. So then there’s this engagement and this is one of the things that I really love about marketing. You always have to adapt, you always have to find new solutions, the method to get your story told. But I think what doesn’t have to change is the core of the story, the way you present the company, the authenticity of your message has stayed the same. It’s the method in which you deliver the story. I think that’s the part that is constantly changing, and that you need to adapt to yourself. I think it’s definitely a profession that doesn’t give you space to get bored.

Shaheen Samavati 17:06
Yeah, that’s definitely true. So speaking of social media, I was gonna ask you, what’s your favourite social media platform? I can guess I suppose, based on your last answer.

Ana-Maria Banta 17:18
I definitely am a big fan of LinkedIn. I am very excited with the opportunities LinkedIn has to offer. I got my last three jobs all on LinkedIn. I didn’t even bother with any other platform. I think it’s a platform where you don’t necessarily have a lot of access to presenting yourself in an intimate way but you do have a space to present yourself as a capable individual. I think it’s the options that you have, in presenting things that you’re passionate about, things that you want to have an impact on. I think it’s a good way of making your voice heard. That’s for sure.

Shaheen Samavati 18:15
Yeah, interesting. The point you made about it being less intimate, because I think the conversations you see on LinkedIn are really different compared to other platforms where they’re so cordial and polite. Someone posts like a very non-controversial opinion and then all these people say like, I completely agree. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that. I think people want to engage in LinkedIn, but they feel like they have to do it in a positive way.

Ana-Maria Banta 18:48
I think it’s important. I think the fact that there are other platforms where people are just lashing and putting out frustrations instead of thinking about the positive aspects of reaching this amount of people. I think, as long as LinkedIn manages or continues to keep the format in this way, I think it’s a good environment for professionals to grow. I do believe it’s important to be authentic in your narrative and to be constant. I think that when you do manage to have a clearly defined goal and a clearly defined way in which you put out the information, you can’t be unsuccessful.

Shaheen Samavati 19:48
Yeah, absolutely. So I wanted to go to the recommendations part of the interview. So to ask you for a few of your personal recommendations. So first of all, what’s your favourite marketing book or author?

Ana-Maria Banta 20:04
I think it’s safe to say that it’s Seth Godin. As I mentioned he is a part of the way in which I shaved my perception of marketing. I think he’s very forward thinking for his time, everything that you see, as I mentioned, even GDPR. GDPR is a thing in the last two years since it became enforced, but he was talking about this 12-14 years ago. So I think he’s definitely an expert and a source of continuous inspiration. So yes, definitely my number one.

Shaheen Samavati 20:47
Okay, that’s a great tip. So just to end the interview, could you give us your final takeaways or some parting advice for other marketers in Europe.

Ana-Maria Banta 20:59
So I think it’s very important to have a very clear strategy and direction. These are essential for any marketer in order to make sure the way you create the customer journey is relevant for them. I think it’s important to always have presence on the top of your your mind, what are the questions and the needs the customers have, at each stage of this journey and make sure that you provide informations that are useful for for them in solving these problems. I think this is the way in which you keep the customer engaged and close and connected to the storyline that you’re presenting.

Shaheen Samavati 21:45
Absolutely. That’s a great point to end on. Thank you so much, Ana-Maria, for sharing your insights with us and being on the podcast today.

Ana-Maria Banta 22:01
Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed our conversation and I really hope that we’re going to continue collaborating.

Shaheen Samavati 22:09
Yeah, me too. Definitely. I just want to say thank you to everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out, and keep tuning into the podcast for daily interviews with content experts. See you next time. Bye.

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