Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Gessica Lomonte, Western Digital’s EMEA e-tail marketing specialist:

Carlota Pico 0:14
Hi, everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix. And I’m excited to be here today with Gessica Lomonte, who is EMEA e-tail marketing manager at Western Digital and has over 10 years of experience in marketing and communications. Welcome, Gessica, and it’s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Gessica Lomonte 0:36
Hi, Carlota. Thank you for having me. It’s my pleasure to be here.

Carlota Pico 0:40
Excellent. Thank you. Well, let’s jump straight into the interview. To get this interview started off, I’d like to learn a little bit about your background, a bit about your company and how you got to where you are today.

Gessica Lomonte 0:55
Yes, of course. So I actually graduated from a master’s in international management here in Madrid at IE Business School. And that’s where I started. I’m Italian, but I moved to Spain to study here, a master’s. So I started with that. After I graduated, I joined several high tech startups where I covered the wide range of roles within the marketing space. So mainly focusing on digital, paid search, social, but also communications. And you know that startups you have very limited resources. So you really need to be hands on in whatever role you’re covering. It’s, it’s not really about what your job description says. But it’s about being hands on and being ready to take on more and more responsibility. So it was a great experience. After that, I moved into an Irish telecom company, a small-medium business. I was based in Barcelona at that time, and I was responsible for for retail marketing for EMEA. So I was the one managing and planning all the marketing campaigns with some of our key accounts in Europe and the Middle East. And I was there for three years and a half. But anyone that knows me would say that I’m someone that needs to be challenged in order to thrive. So I was looking for a bigger scope, a bigger opportunity, and that’s when in 2017, I moved into my current company that’s Western Digital. At the beginning, I joined with a role for Iberia, so I was responsible for for channel marketing for Spain and Portugal, mainly taking care of the retail side of the business and the consumer brands for some of our top accounts in Spain and Portugal. And then in 2019, I had the great opportunity and I transitioned into a different role, where I am now the EMEA e-tail marketing manager, so my strong focus and area of expertise is on the e-tail side of the business. So mainly, the online channel and the key partners we have in that space, and then taking care of all the digital and paid search campaigns on the online side of the business, but also content.

Carlota Pico 3:21
Okay, lovely. Well, thank you so much for that introduction. Could you tell me a little bit about Western Digital as well? What is the company all about?

Gessica Lomonte 3:29
Yep, of course. So Western Digital is an American data storage company. It turned 50 this year.

Carlota Pico 3:38

Gessica Lomonte 3:42
It’s a huge corporation that basically manufactures and sells a wide range of storage products, consumer products, storage devices, cloud services and enterprise products, with the main aim of driving innovation in that it allows our customers to preserve and access the data they generate in today’s ever changing landscape. So we have a wide range of of brands. Some of them you might be familiar with, like, SanDisk or, WD or the Western Digital itself brand. Some others are more geared toward the enterprise space.

Carlota Pico 4:25
I’m actually one of your customers! I have SanDisk products…

Gessica Lomonte 4:29
That’s great!

Carlota Pico 4:31
Excuse me?

Gessica Lomonte 4:32
That’s great to hear!

Carlota Pico 4:33
Yeah. I remember back in the day when we all had our own cameras and didn’t always rely on our phones, well, my camera the tip that went inside it was a SanDisk tip!

Gessica Lomonte 4:46
That’s wonderful!

Carlota Pico 4:47
Yeah! Well, since your area of expertise is in channel marketing, I do want to focus on this strength for the core part of our interview. For that reason, let’s start off with the basics. So what are some of the advantages and challenges of channel marketing?

Gessica Lomonte 5:06
Yeah, so definitely, it’s, it’s a wonderful role to be in, especially at the moment. So it’s basically managing and running marketing campaigns with partners, that can be both e-tailers or retailers, depending on the business you’re in. And some of the challenges are, I would say, being coordinated and aligned with them. Because you know, you can propose specific campaigns to them, allocate a certain budget to each of them, but then they will be the ones driving and running those campaigns, but you need to be on top of them. In order to achieve the results you are expecting, and get the return you are expecting so that’s definitely a challenge. Another challenge is prioritization, I would say, especially if you work for a big company because you have so many partners, so many different products and product categories, different brands, so you have lots of priorities, and your time is limited. So you need to make sure that you are clear on what your priorities are, what you want to achieve and where you should focus, because you won’t likely have time to be on top of all of them having regular catch ups with all your customers. So you need to prioritize, as I said. And in terms of opportunities… I would say that the greatest one is learning from them, as they can learn from you, you can learn from them. It’s a wonderful chance of interacting with people outside of your company. And it’s it’s a great learning opportunity, because you deal with people that can have a different mindset, a different way of thinking and they can also make you think differently, which is the starting point for growth and for development, I would say.

Carlota Pico 7:09
Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. So spinning off of that response… Essentially, each channel offers a different audience, reach, and potential obstacles. So therefore, how do you gain control of your channel marketing initiatives and keep your brand consistent no matter which partner is promoting your services?

Gessica Lomonte 7:30
Yeah. So the most important thing… I would say that the starting point is: knowing your customers and knowing who you are addressing. In my specific case, because I manage different target customers, different customer groups that are quite diverse… so we have different strategies in place, but you need to be clear on who your customer is, where you can find them, what they’re looking for, and which problem you’re going to solve them, and your messaging. And the way you approach them should be always clear, meaningful and relevant to them, otherwise you won’t be successful. And you need also you need to take into account the regional specifications, especially when you manage a big region like EMEA. You can be consistent in the approach, especially if you work for an international or multinational company where you have like a global strategy and a global approach you need to follow. But then you need to customize your, your messaging and your communication to the regional nuances of of the countries and areas you’re managing.

Carlota Pico 8:46
Okay. Okay, so you’re basically coordinating all your partners, right? You’re giving them briefings on what your brand represents, and then the key messages that you’d like to promote or send out to the different audiences and then your partners are localizing that content and information according to cultural differences and cultural recommendations.

Gessica Lomonte 9:06
It depends. It depends. If they are driving the campaign, yes, that’s the case. But if we are driving a digital campaign, like driving traffic to their site, on the either side, we are the ones controlling everything. So in that case, it’s easier to measure control.

Carlota Pico 9:24
Yeah. Okay. Well, you actually did lead into my next question, which will be about measuring KPIs. So it must be really difficult to measure the impact that your brand is having across all your different channels, because obviously, you don’t have access to the analytics of all your different partners. So could you talk to me more about that, like what KPIs do you measure? And how do you work with your partners to optimize your campaigns?

Gessica Lomonte 9:52
So first of all, I would say that you should be clear on your objective, depending on the type of campaign you’re running, you should be clear on what you want to achieve with that campaign. So in my case, in my specific case, we are continuously launching new products. And in that case, I would say that the most relevant KPI is building awareness. And that’s something that’s not really measurable. But if you are investing in a consolidated or strong category and very well known products, you should be looking at sales at revenues at how much it’s costing you to acquire new customers. Obviously, as you said, when you are running campaigns through your partners, it’s it’s not very easy to measure your efforts because you rely on them. But what you can do is establishing very good and fruitful relationships with them so that they are as open as they possibly can with you. That’s an important piece. But on your side you can also drive digital traffic to, to those specific landing pages or websites or specific sites you want to promote or you’re willing to promote, and then you can measure yourself your efforts. And obviously, you will be looking at the usual digital metrics such as impressions, cost per click, CDR. And obviously, ultimately, its its revenues and cost of advertising and return on investment. That’s what every business would look at.

Carlota Pico 11:33
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. Well, thank you for zooming into channel marketing and the ins and outs of what that entails moving into COVID-19 because obviously, it’s like the elephant in the room all of us are facing the consequences of the damage. And advertising and marketing budgets have been some of the first things to go in businesses, unfortunately. So what major lessons have you learned about marketing during this time, and what do you think the future of marketing will look like post COVID-19?

Gessica Lomonte 12:08
Yeah. So I think that the most important lesson I’ve learned is that we need to be agile in decision making. That’s definitely the most important thing you need to make sure you do. But you also you also need to be able to reinvent yourself in a short period of time. And in our case, we did it within a matter of hours or days, I would say. So, we saw a trend towards working from home during the recent and latest weeks and because of this situation we’re living and we have specific storage products and aimed at customers working from home. So we launched the specific work from home campaign across all our sites and channel partners, and it’s actually working very well. It wasn’t easy to implement, because we had no time to think about it very deeply. But it was definitely a good move. And another way to prove that it’s really important, as I said, to be agile, to think very fast, and to be able to reinvent yourself. And and I think that marketing is is going towards digital more and more. And there is clearly a trend for video and audio in the next few years. And some of the key players in the digital advertising space such as Google, but also Amazon on on the either side are working on this. And I’m sure we’ll see very interesting developments on on this one.

Carlota Pico 13:54
It’s funny that you mentioned video because when I asked this question to the person that I interviewed right before you and I started this conversation, he also said that video was the future and that we’re already seeing how video is being used across different companies social media network strategy with the implementation of TikTok, for example, now, I think all major consumer brands right now are shifting their focus from other social networks to now TikTok and learning how to embrace TikTok and use its full potential.

Gessica Lomonte 14:30
Yeah, definitely.

Carlota Pico 14:31
Wonderful. Well, because of your experience in marketing and communications, I do want to ask you about a piece of advice that you would give to young professionals who are looking to get into our career? More than anything because when I started off and marketing communications also, more than 10 years ago now, I thought it was a completely different world than what I was actually getting myself into. And I love it. But it requires one to be very quick and very agile, as you said, and also to never stop learning. It’s not one of those careers where you leave college and you know everything. No, it takes a lot of time to do hands on work. And I think it’s very valuable advice for our audience to hear what you hear your thoughts on the subject.

Gessica Lomonte 15:27
Yeah, definitely. I have more than one I would say if that’s okay.

Carlota Pico 15:33

Gessica Lomonte 15:33
So the first one is–quoting what I said before– spend time to know your customers. That’s really important. And that’s what is going to make the difference between a successful marketing strategy and a not very successful one. So I think it’s really key to know who you are addressing and how do address them. The second one would be to be as much data driven especially possible, we have lots of tools, especially in the digital space, to analyze data to analyze who our customers are, what they are buying, what their interests are, what their spending behavior is, what their mindset is. And we should make sure that we leverage this type of data to refine our marketing strategy and planning. And the last one is to be authentic as a brand. I think that’s really important as well. And the messaging and the communication you use for your products and to your customers should always relate back to the story that you’re telling. Because if you focus your marketing planning around product lead benefits only, it’s very likely that you won’t be successful because customers won’t be able to connect with you on a deeper level…like, an emotional level… and it’s very likely they won’t be loyal customers, they won’t recommend your product. And they will switch to another player or to your competitor as soon as they sell a cheaper product than yours. So it’s the only chance you have to be relevant and to make sure that you build a solid and loyal audience.

Carlota Pico 17:24
Absolutely. That’s actually one of the best lessons that I’ve learned throughout my career is that at the end of the day, marketing is really about having one to one conversations with your potential customers. And you really have to put yourself in their shoes. So it’s not about what you want to hear. It’s about what they want to hear because they’re consumers of the content and they’re also potential buyers. And I mean, at the end of the day, every company wants to sell, that’s what keeps companies alive, right? Revenue! So…you know.

Gessica Lomonte 17:54
When when you’re building assets for specific campaigns, most…most of the companies make the mistake of choosing the assets based on what they like or what they don’t like. But you shouldn’t be the one that has to like those assets, you should think about your customers and have like your persona in mind. Because they will be the one served with your message.

Carlota Pico 18:21
Yeah. Personally, I’m a big fan of A/B testing. Because at the end of the day, it’s really difficult to know what your potential customers want and like, and so I do a lot of A/B testing and then I measure the results, and I look at the data, and I see when a campaign is performing better, and then I optimize that campaign, of course. But that’s my approach and so far, so good. So yeah!

Gessica Lomonte 18:47
I do the same and it makes sense!

Carlota Pico 18:49
Yeah, I think a lot of us do the same. Okay, moving into the set of rapid-fire questions that will be your recommendations for ouur audience. The first question will be: Your favorite app at the moment?

Gessica Lomonte 19:04
I think it’s not just at the moment, but it’s my all time favorite app is the TED Talks one. I find it very useful. It makes me think. And that’s the reason why I like it. They have very short keynotes that you can listen to going from five to 15 minutes around different topics like entrepreneurship, business, analytics, marketing, branding, or even life or lifestyle. It doesn’t require a huge amount of your time. You can listen to a five minute speech, but it makes you think, and as I said, I think that that’s the ignition point of any growth and development for both individuals and companies.

Carlota Pico 19:56
I love TED Talks. I’m a huge fan of them as well. Especially at night, because I’m so tired that from working all day and from other responsibilities as well that when I get into bed, I don’t necessarily have a lot of energy to read. But at the same time, I do want to consume content, I just don’t want to read content. And so putting that video, pulling that video up and watching a TED talk about a subject that I know nothing about, but it’s delivered in such a light manner, that it’s so easy to understand, and it’s so engaging… and I think that’s key in marketing as well—to deliver content in a light manner to really like, not talk about very complex terms and try to simplify everything as much as possible so that it reaches a general audience.

Gessica Lomonte 20:47
Yeah, and you don’t lose them, otherwise you would lose them.

Carlota Pico 20:51
Absolutely. Okay. What about a resource or an influencer from your country that you admire or that inspires you?

Gessica Lomonte 21:01
I would say that the one that inspires me the most is not European, but he’s amazing, he’s brilliant! It’s Seth Godin. I think, don’t, I never spent one day without reading his blog… it’s just brilliant. And all his ideas are, I’m not sure that the listeners are familiar with him, but his is a best selling author and the marketing guru. And he talks about digital marketing and the current landscape with digital media and online marketing in general. And the thing I like about him is that he has a blog, and he has very short posts. And if you subscribe to his blog, you will get them in your inbox every day. And it’s very short paragraphs. It’s the basic ideas he develops every day. But as I said before, they make you think about lots of different topics. And in most of the cases, it’s basically as you can apply to your daily life not only to work but even to your personal life. And that’s what I really like about him. He’s also a bestselling author, he’s published lots of different books. I loved Linchpin, that’s about elevating your profile, especially on the professional side. But I would recommend this blog and it’s for free, that’s the best thing.

Carlota Pico 22:34
Excellent, well, I’m sold! I’m gonna have to subscribe to the channel as well so that I can get those blurbs on what he’s thinking every day! Okay, what about an event or a publication that you highly recommend to our audience?

Gessica Lomonte 22:51
Yeah, there is actually a group in LinkedIn that’s a global marketing and communications professionals group. And it’s a great one. It has an audience of about 8000 marketing professionals all over the world and they share lots of interesting content on a daily basis. And if you join that group, you will be able to interact with those professionals, see the content they publish, comment on the content and, and it’s also good for networking, I believe. You get in touch with very interesting people, you can establish relationships that can also be beneficial for for your professional life. So that’s something I would recommend.

Carlota Pico 23:37
Excellent, Gessica. Well, those are all great insights and great recommendations. It’s been lovely to have you on The Content Mix. Thank you for joining us and for sharing your experience with our audience.

Gessica Lomonte 23:51
Thanks to you, it was really a pleasure.

Carlota Pico 23:55
The pleasure was ours, Gessica. Thank you again. And to everyone listening into us today, thank you so much for joining us on The Content Mix. For more perspective on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out on We are also available on iTunes and on Spotify and across our different social networks. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every week, so keep on tuning in. And thank you again! See you soon, bye!

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