Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Francesco Pastoressa, marketing manager at WatchGuard Technologies, on using vlogs in content marketing:

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Francesco Pastoressa, marketing manager for southern Europe at WatchGuard Technologies, which is a global leader in ICT security. Thanks so much for joining us, Francesco.

Francesco Pastoressa 0:26
Thank you for having me on your podcast.

Shaheen Samavati 0:28
So where are you joining us from today?

Francesco Pastoressa 0:32
I’m based in Milan.

Shaheen Samavati 0:33
Okay. But the company is American, right?

Francesco Pastoressa 0:38
Yeah, the company WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle.

Shaheen Samavati 0:44
Okay. And so what is that? Can you tell us a bit more about ICT security and what WatchGuard does?

Francesco Pastoressa 0:51
Yeah, WatchGuard is a US ICT security vendor, providing solutions and products for small, medium businesses and distributed enterprises. The portfolio ranges from network security, Wi-Fi security to multi-factor authentication and endpoint security.

Shaheen Samavati 1:16
Okay, and so how long have you been working there?

Francesco Pastoressa 1:20
Since January 2017.

Shaheen Samavati 1:23
Okay, so a few years now. And so your role is is marketing manager for Southern Europe? So can you tell us a bit about what that what that entails?

Francesco Pastoressa 1:33
Yeah, in fact, I do manage Marketing and Communications for Italy, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, so all the eastern part of Southern Europe. Okay. And it’s a very business oriented role. So we work very close with the sales department.

Shaheen Samavati 2:00
Okay, and so how does like content marketing play into what you do?

Francesco Pastoressa 2:06
Yeah, that’s of paramount importance, of course, because content marketing, is at the foundation of any inbound marketing tactics that we want to use to generate leads, thanks to our accountants. So it’s at the top of the funnel, but it is also the bottom of the funnel, because obviously, we use content to nurture our existing customer base with valuable content. So, yes, I would say is very important to us.

Shaheen Samavati 2:45
Okay, absolutely. So, I mean, do you have…could you walk us through some examples of proud moments or campaigns or projects that you’ve been involved in?

Francesco Pastoressa 2:57
Yeah, in fact, I can…I can…Talking about content, I can recall two projects I really enjoyed. One was in 2019. I created and developed it in the countries I was managing at the time within EMEA. So basically, we at our Director of WiFi solutions, security solutions to on a tour across Italy, Denmark, Netherlands, and Sweden, to advocate for a safer Wi-Fi experience for everybody. So the challenge there was to get in touch with all the stakeholders. In fact, we met all the stakeholders during this tour. And meaning for us, the distributors, the sellers, but also the customers and users and influencers and local journalists. So in terms of content marketing, what we did…basically, we at the beginning or at the end of every day, we created these blogs, right? So wheras the director of Wi-Fi security would say, “Okay, today, I’m going to meet this person, and you’re going to talk to this journalist,” and all of that could be also an account for at the end of the day. So today I met this person, I met this journalist, this influencer, this community. And we would publish these blogs on LinkedIn. So we kind of use LinkedIn like probably today in 2020, we would use TikTik or Instagram stories. And also the funny thing that was that we try to relate each message to a particular background in the video. For instance, if the message was about how solid is the line of defence against cyber attacks, we would shoot this video with a mediaeval armor on the on the background. Or, for instance, if the topic was how easy it is to get hacked while you are connected to an unsafe W-Fi connection, we would like, in the pub, for instance, we would shoot this video actually in a pub. Obviously, we are talking about very short videos, no longer than one minute.

Shaheen Samavati 6:07
Yeah, no, that’s really interesting, also focusing on LinkedIn as a platform for video because I think that’s pretty new that it’s becoming more of a place for video content. And also, it’s really interesting how you’re being like creative with it, because in b2b, it’s not so common. So that probably makes you stand out. So you to have this more of like a playful tone with with the content.

Francesco Pastoressa 6:34
Yeah, in fact, that was a that was quite funny. And we managed to have nice results in terms of likes, in terms of people actually following these videos and resharing these videos. The other projects I’m proud of was one that we released in April 2020, so we were in the middle of lockdown in many countries. And we release these videos to our social media–so those would be YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, with some representatives of the various business units, basically saying to the community of resellers and customers WatchGuard is still here, we are still here, we are making sure that your business doesn’t stop. And those would be short videos of 30 seconds or one minute. And that was also a very nice project.

Shaheen Samavati 7:51
Yeah. Very cool. And so who’s your audience for your content primarily?

Francesco Pastoressa 7:58
Okay, so it would be the channel and the end users, okay. And the end users would be mainly IT managers, IT security managers, and in some cases, the CIO, right. In for the channel would be IT managers, IT security managers, but also the CEO of the resellers.

Shaheen Samavati 8:28
Okay. Yeah, it’s interesting to know for context because that really obviously influences like the whole strategy and maybe gives more information on kind of why this kind of content versus another.

Francesco Pastoressa 8:39

Shaheen Samavati 8:39
Right. So very cool. So, yeah, so I just wanted to go to the next question, which is about your, any, marketing hacks that you would recommend? Especially for companies that might want to stretch their marketing budgets in these trying times these days?

Francesco Pastoressa 8:57
Yeah, I mean, when you are on a low budget, I think that content marketing is a valuable support to your marketing strategy. And so I would definitely suggest to have a blog, because the blog is where you produce your main contents. Okay. And also it helps as a FAQ kind of repository, let’s say. You can address people to the blog for the frequently asked questions. And then, once you have a blog article, you can scale it down to create other content, like social media posts or the text of a newsletter. So definitely a blog. I would also suggest user generated content. So user generated content are free or cheap, it creates engagements, it creates fun, creates the sense of good and strengthen the sense of the community, and are very appreciated by the audience. And definitely, to use the social media, the organic social media. So to create posts doesn’t cost nearly that much. It requires a little effort, but it’s for free. And finally, an evergreen email marketing. So how can you stop doing email marketing?

Shaheen Samavati 10:48
Yeah, absolutely. So kind of like prioritising and focusing on the core. Yeah, and those kinds of activities that like have ongoing return. I was curious on the part of user generated content, have you seen any like, I mean, do you have any tips on like, how to like, because obviously, getting users to contribute content is like, ideal, but there can be challenges in doing that, and especially in terms of like the quality consistency of what they contribute. So, have you seen any, like good examples of great user generated marketing? Or have you had experience with that yourself?

Francesco Pastoressa 11:23
Yeah, I mean, it really depends on the audience and the purpose. I can mention a project. We basically let some CEO of our resellers talk about how profitable it is to partner with with this brand. And obviously, that required some background work to agree on the format, to agree on the topics to cover. You have also to provide some script, okay. But this is for the for the b2b market, which has its own rules, etc. Now, obviously, you can also, user generated content could also be used for less serious, let’s say, the topics or contents, meaning for instance, you can you can ask your community or resellers of clients to post a picture of them with, in our cases, for instance, their favorite…firewalls, or generally speaking to post pictures with the product with their favorite products. Okay, so that’s, that definitely requires less effort, less background planning.

Shaheen Samavati 12:56
Yeah, no, that’s a really good point. And something that’s, like super simple for them to do to make it easy for them to like, contribute, right? But yeah, that’s interesting, because a lot of b2b companies, they don’t have, like any visibility of who their clients are on their social media presence. So that’s a really cool idea to get, like, the faces of your clients or like they actually make some… yeah, like community as you were saying, right? So yeah, I like tha tip a lot. Okay, so let’s go back to to your personal story. And also, so I wanted to ask you, if you had to give your younger self a piece of advice about pursuing a marketing career, what would that be?

Francesco Pastoressa 13:40
Yeah, okay. So, number one: have a rock solid knowledge of marketing ABCs, the foundations. So, that is never going to change, the channel changes, but the basics of marketing are always the same. So study very carefully, Cutler’s Marketing Management volume. And besides that, I would also say and also try to be as much as you can, up to date with the latest marketing news. The latest marketing tools, because now with digital, basically, it’s changing every day. Okay. So for instance, just to mention something, some days ago in in Italy and other countries, LinkedIn made available the stories. So, you can’t miss that–it’s a it’s a huge, nice surprise. And obviously, be always up, maybe take some masters in digital marketing–the latest one to refresh your knowledge. But also I would say, know that the products of your company very well and and also know your customer very well.

Shaheen Samavati 15:26
Absolutely. And I was curious like why did you decide to pursue marketing as a career in the first place?

Francesco Pastoressa 15:32
Well, I have a background in humanities, I studied Grammar School, and then philosophy at the university. Marketing seemed to me at the time a good compromise between theoretical knowledge about human beings and active life in the wild, wild world of business.

Shaheen Samavati 16:00
Absolutely, being able to kind of combine those creative skills with a practical career, no?

Francesco Pastoressa 16:05

Shaheen Samavati 16:06
I guess that’s why a lot of us choose marketing, I suppose. Great. So, well, I want to go to the recommendations part of the interview. So yeah, first, just wanted to ask you for a source of professional inspiration or inspiration in general?

Francesco Pastoressa 16:25
Yeah, so that one would be for me, the entrepreneurs in general. Because as a marketing manager, in the end, you run a shop, or you run a business. And so you have to have this entrepreneurial mindset. And I mean, from what I’m seeing it, that’s not always the case, because sometimes you might think, like, you’re in a silos in your company, and then you’re just doing marketing. But that’s not the case with our profession. Our profession is strongly connected to sales, and both departments are pursuing revenue, growth, volume in the end. So yeah, young entrepreneurs are my source of inspiration.

Shaheen Samavati 17:32
Awesome. And then what’s your favorite marketing book? Or a book that’d helped you in your career?

Francesco Pastoressa 17:38
I would strongly recommend “Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader” by Herminia Ibarra. That is a book I read a couple of years ago, and yeah, I strongly recommend it.

Shaheen Samavati 17:59
For developing as a manager. it sounds like right?

Francesco Pastoressa 18:04
Yeah, I think basically, she says whatever is your role currently, even if you are the specialist in a bigger department, so you’re not a manager, but if you have in mind to become at some point a manager, you have to act as a manager, meaning you have to go beyond and act as a leader, meaning going beyond your comfort zone, in terms of departments. So try to connect with people from other departments, try to connect with people outside the company, go scouting new ideas, try to become friends to important people out there in the in the business community. So yeah, and once you start to practice this, right, you start to feel like a leader and you start to think as a leader so rightfully said, rightfully, she says, “Act like a leader think like a leader.”

Shaheen Samavati 19:14
Great advice. Yeah, well, any favourite app or tool you’d like to recommend?

Francesco Pastoressa 19:18
Okay, so although we don’t use them, yet, as corporate social media, I like very much TikTok and Instagram stories. Because for instance, for a corporate–even for a business to business corporate–it’s the perfect channel to visually create a let’s say, an informal, then also more genuine image of the of the company, because now with TikTok, you can for instance, shoot some videos with your employees, short videos showing what’s happening in the background of a big company, and that creates a sense of, again, community that makes feel the customer closer to the company.

Shaheen Samavati 20:26
Definitely, I think we’re gonna be seeing a lot more of that. That’s actually been a big topic that’s come up in a lot of our podcast interviews of new ways people are using these platforms, Reels and TikTok. Super interesting. So, okay, so it’s time to wrap up the interview. So I just wanted to know if you have any final thoughts or parting advice, to end the interview?

Francesco Pastoressa 20:48
My final thoughts?

Shaheen Samavati 20:50
Yeah, any advice for other other marketers in Europe?

Francesco Pastoressa 20:56
Okay, so being a marketing manager, a generalist, okay, so if I would set up from scratch, a business department, I would definitely hire or make sure to have a Content Marketing Manager, because that’s pivotal for everything you want to do. Then you can obviously make a good use of having good contents, you can make good use of the digital channels. And then you can hire a digital marketing specialist or manager. And then you can have also a marketing operations specialist. But these two basically cannot work without a good content marketing manager.

Shaheen Samavati 21:55
Yeah, that’s a very good point. And so with now like the channels and the way we do marketing changes, it’s important to have like the responsibilities to match the strategy, right? So that’s great advice. Well, thanks so much, Francesco for being on the podcast.

Francesco Pastoressa 22:11
Thanks to you for having me on the podcast.

Shaheen Samavati 22:15
And thanks, 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. See you next time. Bye bye!

Francesco Pastoressa 22:25

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