Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Sarah Evans, social marketing pro at HERE:

Carlota Pico 0:14
Hi everyone, I’m Carlota Pico from The Content Mix, and I’m excited to be here today with Sarah Evans, who is HERE’s former global social media manager and has over 10 years of experience in marketing and communications. Welcome, Sarah, and thank you so much for joining us today on The Content Mix.

Sarah Evans 0:34
Thanks so much for having me.

Carlota Pico 0:36
It’s our pleasure, Sarah, let’s jump straight into the interview. To get this interview started off, I’d like to learn a little bit about your background and what makes you passionate about marketing?

Sarah Evans 0:47
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say my love affair with marketing began when I was about 14, and I watched a movie called What Women Want, and it’s Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson for anyone that hasn’t seen it, and in that movie, they are ad execs, not quite Mad Men era, but a little later than that, and there was just something about the way that they were trying to connect with consumers and to find out what makes people tick. And the phrase from that movie for the ad campaign they came up with was “No Games – Just Sport”, and that has stuck with me ever since. So that’s where it all began. I then went on to do a degree in marketing management at the University of Gloucestershire, in the UK. And as part of that I did a year in industry and I actually got a job in San Francisco, of all crazy places to end up. And so I spent a year there when I was 21, and as you could probably imagine, it was a pretty epic year and the cliche is true, and I left my heart in San Francisco and made it my passion and well my goal to move back. So after graduating, I was able to find a job that would bring me back to the US and from there, I worked across the wine industry, the insurance industry, and then came back over to the UK where I worked for TUI in Luton for about a year and a half. And then most recently, I moved on to my role as global social media manager at HERE Technologies, which was a maternity cover contract that I did in Berlin. And I’ve just wrapped that up. And now heading back to the Bay Area and looking for my next opportunity out there.

Carlota Pico 2:23
Quite a diverse background, you’ve touched upon lots of different industries and within the marketing field, and it must be really great to be able to provide all that value from all those different experiences to your future employers.

Sarah Evans 2:38
Yeah, I think it’s been really interesting actually to try both. I’ve been now in the b2c space as well as the b2b space. Just moving into the tech world most recently was really interesting and was a very cognizant decision that I made because I wanted to try something different. And it was a really interesting experience, so it paid off. But I think that having a diverse range of experiences across industries can be really, really powerful, primarily because we’re all talking to people, it doesn’t really matter who we’re talking to, or what we’re talking to them about. We’re talking to people. And I think people is really what’s at the very heart of what we do in marketing and it doesn’t really matter if that’s with travel or insurance or wine. It’s the same thing.

Carlota Pico 3:19
Yeah, no, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. We will be talking about business to human marketing later into our interview. But for the moment, I’d like to talk about your experience at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. So I watched your video on LinkedIn about how HERE helped attendees navigate the Consumer Electronics Show, and I was highly impressed. So congratulations on that. Because, I mean, you really made a success out of that campaign. But I am curious about how a business to business company appealed to consumer audience. So to start off this section of the interview, I’d like to talk a little bit about your relationship with CES. So what did that look like?

Sarah Evans 4:01
Yeah, absolutely. So we were a sponsor of CES and have been for many years. And the primary thing that we get with that is a really nice big booth, sexy booth, right by the convention center, and it gives people the opportunity to come and experience what we do as a business, what our… what our product offering is. And as you mentioned, it is the Consumer Electronics Show, so that very much is a consumer focus, whereas HERE Technologies is in the b2b space. Now, what HERE Technologies does is in the space of location technology, and we have kind of a unique problem in that awareness of HERE Technologies is, is really low. But in addition to awareness of HERE Technologies being low, awareness of location technology, in general is also extremely low. So we sort of have this double edged sword between both category awareness and then also brand awareness being our challenge. So what we wanted to do was really cut through the clutter at CES and be part of the conversation And that’s no easy thing to do when you are on the stage next to the world’s biggest tech brands, and it becomes a very expensive paid media environment. Everyone’s vying for your attention both in person and on your phone. So we really have to sort of think outside the box as to how we can reach people.

Carlota Pico 5:19
Okay, I do of course want to zoom into this because it is a great case study to push out to our show and talk about to our with our audience and with you. So since this was a first for HERE—because I’m under the understanding that this was a first for HERE thanks to our conversation off the record. How did you determine what success look like for your company and also for your clients?

Sarah Evans 5:45
Yeah, so I think one of the things for us is we wanted to do something different. So this technology has been at CES as a sponsor as an exhibitor for the last couple of years. But we wanted to extend the onsite footprint digitally in a way that we never had done before. So I think one of the biggest things we wanted to accomplish was share a voice, we wanted to be part of the conversation we wanted our brand to cut through. And obviously, you can’t do that simply by having a really cool sexy booth, you have to think about how you extend that beyond. And so for us successfully that like being part of that conversation, and I think to do that we really needed to ensure that we created timely, relevant content that would really resonate with the audience. And I think part of that is not trying to create a conversation, but instead be part of one that’s already happening. And so that was really the focus for us…how do we insert ourselves into a conversation versus just to try and create something from scratch?

Carlota Pico 6:40
So how did you insert yourself into a conversation? Did you use different social networks, or was there a CES app that you were engaging on?

Sarah Evans 6:49
So what wedecided to do was social listening, that was where it all started. So we partnered with an agency, 3 Monkeys, you know, out of London, and we came up with this idea, which was to listen to conversations from CES years past to understand people’s pain points to understand what are people talking about when they go to CES, when they’re physically on the ground in Vegas, what are they saying? And what became very quickly apparent was that while everyone loves all the new tech and the experience of being there, it’s hot. It’s big, it’s overwhelming, it’s tiring. You’re on your feet all day, it can be hard to get things to eat. And what we realized was that we had a real opportunity there to add some value. So as I mentioned previously, here, technologies is in the business of location. And really what we do in a very simple level is get people and goods from A to B. So think about having your Domino’s Pizza delivered, or having your Amazon parcel show up at your door when it says it’s going to, the technology behind those services can be powered by HERE. So we thought, Well, what what if we could solve people’s problems, real time on the ground in Vegas, using a technology that’s like ours. And so that’s where it started. And what we did was to set the scene we took people’s real tweets from 2019. And we created animated videos that really set the scene of people saying, you know, the hottest thing at CES this year is going to be me melting from all the walking between exhibits, and we animated them where you could see people sort of on a treadmill getting hotter and hotter, and the sweat flying off and the step count racking up. And that was really a way to set the scene and say: “Hey Vegas, we hear you, we know the struggles that you’re facing, and we’re here to help.” So that was sort of how we set the scene in advance. And then what we did was set up a war room on the ground in Vegas during the event where we were able to pull in a feed of conversation that was happening on Twitter, and engage with people in real time. So the guy who said “Oh man, I really wish I’d brought another pair of running shoes with me because these ones are going to be burned out by tomorrow,” we said: “Tell us where you are, we will deliver you a pair of shoes right now.” And then we would have our team on the ground, go and get the shoes, deliver them to the person exactly where he is. And that is a representation in a very, very loose light and sort of consumer way of representing Last Mile delivery, which is a product offering that we have, which is getting things to people just in time. And so we run that then on the ground and throughout the event!

Carlota Pico 9:31
So basically, you use this event as an example to show your future clients of what you’re capable of doing. And so that’s why you invested so much cash into all these different freebies and also developing all these different graphics and assets before the actual event…is that correct? So it was kind of like a lead generation type of structure or business?

Sarah Evans 9:53
Yes and no. I would say it was more about brand awareness than the lead generation. The lead generation component of the campaign very much lived on site at the exhibit itself. And what we were trying to do with our campaign on social was say: “Hey, we’re here, this is what we do, this is who we are, these are the kinds of products and services that we offer.” Because people really don’t get what location technology is, even though you know, we have it in our hand constantly with Uber and, and all the things we use on a daily basis. And people don’t necessarily put two and two together and say: “Oh, this is actually something that I could have that would improve my product offering and help me better reach and serve my clients!” And so this was a very, very loose way of us doing that, if you think you’ve got a spectrum, over here is selling HERE Technologies, products and services, and then up here is building awareness of our brand in a way that really connects with the human interaction and it’s the human payoff. We wanted to say this guy getting his running shoes in the convention center is probably not actually what we’re going to sell you but it’s a way of demonstrating the human payoff of our products and services.

Carlota Pico 11:02
Sarah, I love this. I mean, what a brilliant, brilliant campaign. But obviously to put something like this into action requires a lot of brainstorming, and also a lot of thinking outside of the box. So how did you approach that challenge? Before all of this started, what did you do? What was the first thing that you did in order to start thinking like humans instead of as a company?

Sarah Evans 11:27
Yep. So we really wanted to focus on the meeting point between the event and our brand. And so I think whenever we approach content, we need to think about this intersection, which is, you know, what is this event doing? What do we do? And all of these people that are attending this event, what’s going to be of interest and relevant to them? And so for us, when we first started thinking about how to approach this campaign, it was where is that intersection? What…what is that? And where do we add value? And, and I think one of the most important things is that we needed to be relevant to our brand, you know, we couldn’t just start doing something that was super relevant to CES, but then not very connected to us because that wouldn’t do the job of raising our awareness. But at the same time, it needed to first and foremost be relevant to the audience, it needed to be very customer centric. And that was a really, really big focus for HERE technologies while I was there, which was around how to be more and more customer centric. And instead of saying: “We need to sell!” we would instead reverse that and say, you know, how can we serve the needs of our customers? And so that was really where our brainstorming started was, you know, how can we do that? And second of all, we’re very much a challenger brand. So HERE technologies is playing in the space with the likes of Google and Apple, who are of course huge brands with huge consumer presence already. And so we needed to very much get clever with our budgets, because we simply didn’t have the money to compete in the same way, which was a very similar experience I had when working with Esurance, an insurance brand in the US, previously where might have big budgets in the insurance world, but you don’t have the same budgets as your competitors. And that’s really how we ended up going down the social listening route. Because to be honest, it’s actually free. All of the information is right there, all of the conversation exists. And all we needed to do is tap into that and build something out of it. And there was no costs for shooting of content, there was no actors needed. There was no odd location needed. And we built really awesome animations working with a fantastic animation studio. And then to be honest, in terms of the on the ground, sort of surprise and delight component, we didn’t spend huge amounts of money. This was not a big, splashy, fancy campaign. It was just about sort of being clever, and getting people the things that they needed in that right moment, and you don’t have to have a huge budget to do that.

Carlota Pico 13:46
Okay, so you’ve been speaking a lot about brand awareness. How did you measure brand awareness, the success of this campaign and what results did you achieve?

Sarah Evans 13:56
So I think one of the the shifts that we’re seeing in the social space is that more often than not, people aren’t so concerned with engagement anymore. Engagement isn’t really the thing that matters. A lot of it is all about lead generation, and how many clicks through to site are you getting and are people progressing in their journey. But with the goal of this campaign, it really was about getting people to engage with us. And we wanted people to know that we exist. And a pretty good way of identifying awareness is when people have engaged with your content. And so that was a really big piece for us, because we wanted people to watch the videos, and we wanted them to engage with us to respond to retweet, to comment on our content. And we focused on Twitter, throughout the event, because of the real time nature of the platform. It’s an excellent place to be when it’s kind of in terms of a conversation that’s happening there and then, again, going back to my point of don’t try and build it, if it already exists, just be part of it, which is why we tapped into Twitter through this. And we managed to drive over 5 million video views throughout the event. And we managed to do that at a cost per view of one one cent, and so it was not… again, it was not…. and that’s pretty impressive considering the nature of the events. It’s a very expensive paid media marketplace because you’ve got all the big brands competing for everyone’s attention at the same time. So I think that that we’re really happy with. And we also measured our performance based on years past as kind of an indicator of “Have we improved?” with the focus on this different a new campaign—did that have an impact? And amazingly, we managed to increase engagement 862%, which is one of those metrics, you’re like, I feel like I’m gonna check that 17 times because it doesn’t sound right. But it was, and we also increased brand mentions 81%, and we achieved a 65% Share of Voice, which meant that we were part of the conversation, people were sharing our content, even if that was just by a retweet. It meant that we were extending the reach of our content and getting in front of the right people.

Carlota Pico 15:58
This is so exciting. How long did that event last?

Sarah Evans 16:02
So the event is it’s pretty much just three days actually. So everyone’s there for a week really. But the event itself is just Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, for the most part.

Carlota Pico 16:10
Okay, and what type of… how many attendees normally go to see?

Sarah Evans 16:14
Oh my goodness, you know, I don’t actually know! But it is a huge, huge number. This is the biggest event of its kind in the tech space. So it is that Vegas gets completely taken over for the event.

Carlota Pico 16:26
Wow, this is a wonderful case study. So I do want to talk about business to human marketing, because it looks like you apply a lot of business to human marketing in what you did at CES. So according to Oracle’s corporations, co founder and worldwide influencer, Larry Ellison, he claims that human capital management and customer service are the foundations of a successful modern enterprise, and that the future is not b2c, not business to customers or b2b business businesses, but that is actually b2h, business to humans. So taking into consideration your social media experience, do you agree with Mr. Ellison? And if so, why? Why is the future of marketing business to human?

Sarah Evans 17:09
Yeah, so I don’t think I could have said it better myself really. And my colleagues at HERE technologies if they watch this, they will chuckle to themselves because this was my big campaign while I was with the company, was really, really trying to make us see that we are talking to human beings. So sure, you might be talking to a director that makes big decisions and signs the checks that are a big Fortune 500 company, but that person’s also a dad that plays soccer with his kids on the weekend and, you know, enjoys a beer and a curry with his friends on the weekend. And that’s actually the person that you are talking to on social media. And social media, it’s an innately personal space, you think: what is it that we’re doing on social media? We are looking at where we may want to go on holiday with our family. We’re looking at what our friends did last weekend. Even on LinkedIn, which is probably the most businessesy of the social platforms, it’s all about me, it’s all about my brand is about my, my personal work history. It’s about where I’m going to work next, who I want to engage with, what I want to read. And so I think that, that brands that acknowledge that and take that into consideration as the content plan are the ones that really win. And I came from the consumer space, and I think that’s actually one of the reasons I was hired into this b2b role was to bring more of that consumer focus to everything that HERE Technologies does in the social space. And, something that I think we always need to consider is that when we as brands are competing for people’s attention on social, we’re not competing against our competitors. We’re competing against everything else on social so if that’s Nike and Starbucks and my friends, and so how do we ensure that our content can compete in that space? And that’s really the most important thing for us to think about. And Claudia Bates who was head of technology at FleishmanHillard, which is a PR/Com agency I believe, she said that modern b2b marketing needs to appeal to both the hearts and minds. And I think this is a really, really important thing to remember is that decision makers don’t leave their personalities at the door when they go to work, you know, they bring their emotions with them. And that’s really what we need to be focusing on as marketers, particularly in the social space. And I think that there are a lot of brands that do a really good job of it. And in, in sort of the b2b tech space, I’d really encourage people to take a look at a video from Bosch, called Like A Bosch, and this is talking about their IoT product. And it’s just a really, really funny piece of content that makes people want to sit up and pay attention. And ultimately, that’s the kind of thing that will position you correctly with your target customer when it comes time to make a decision about what you need to buy.

Carlota Pico 19:55
I love it. So when it comes down to it, our emotions, it’s all about emotions, creating emotion in people…Sarah, taking into consideration your very diverse background and also your very successful career up until now, what is the future have in store for you? What’s next? Besides obviously moving to the Bay Area? What are you looking for?

Sarah Evans 20:14
Yes! That’s a great question. And it’s something I’m actually spending quite a lot of time in lockdown thinking about in terms of what is next. For me, having done both the consumer background side of things and moving into the tech space. And I think for me, I realized it doesn’t matter what I do. Now, in terms of the subject matter in question. For me, it’s all about the attitude of the brand that you work for, and the people you work with. And it’s quite funny because when I used to work in the wine industry in California, people would always ask me questions about work, and everyone was really interested. And then I moved over to insurance. And when people would say, oh, what do you do? I work in insurance. Oh, and how’s the weather today and what did you do at the weekend? No one was interested because it’s insurance and it was boring and not interesting. But for me, actually, it was one of the best best parts of my career was the time that I spent at Esurance doing really, really awesome things, and really awesome people. So I’m really excited to find an amazing new team in the Bay Area, and really kind of bring this focus of people and emotions and appealing to what people care about. And that’s what I’m really looking forward to doing wherever that may be. And it’s an interesting time to try and get a job in the US right now, so we’ll see how it goes!

Carlota Pico 21:29
Yeah, definitely. I mean, my American accent isn’t by coincidence, I was raised in the US, although I am Spanish. And yes, the US is definitely going through an interesting time. But I agree with you. I’m a big fan of the Bay Area. I love California as a state in general and also left my heart on the East Coast, actually in Washington, DC. So hopefully one day my travels and my work will bring me back to where my heart was left off. So yeah, maybe we’ll meet again in the US in time. Okay, moving into our rapid fire questions, which are basically your recommendations to our audience: Who is a recent… what’s a resource or an influencer from your country that you really admire and that you’d like to recommend to our audience?

Sarah Evans 22:15
Yeah, so actually, one that I came across reasonably recently, is actually an agency. And this is really the first time I’ve ever been able to say this, because I think often agencies⁠—No offense, guys, I love you all⁠—but there can be a lot about “We just won this award!” and “We just got this award!” and “We just did this great piece of work!” And this agency is called Born Social and they’re based out of London, and I came across them while researching agencies to work with at HERE. And what I love about these guys is that they add value for me. So as a social media manager, you know what I would like to see is a roundup each month of all the different updates and changes for platforms because it’s kind of hard to keep track of all that stuff. These guys do that. They write white papers, which are really, really interesting and insightful. They hold webinars. And they have interesting tidbits on their Twitter feed. And so for me, they’ve been a really great resource. And I really, really appreciate the fact that they are not sometimes the self serving mindset, you can come across an agency, they’re very, very different to that. So I really love that. In terms of something that’s just funny, I’d encourage everyone to follow Dong Draper if you don’t already, it’s just really amusing content, which you say, yeah, that’s painfully true! And, and I think in terms of something that’s a bit more escapism, which is not so much about social media necessarily, is How I Built This by Guy Raz. It’s a podcast series, which I just find to be a really, really inspiring thing to listen to if you’re on a walk, or you’re commuting on the train, driving… I think that that’s just a really, really great way to start and your day feeling super inspired by the stories of how great brands were built.

Carlota Pico 23:53
Excellent! What about a book or a publication or an event that you’d love to attend again, or read again?

Sarah Evans 24:02
Yeah, so I would say last year, I was lucky enough to attend Web Summit in Lisbon… no idea if it’s happening now this year…I’m assuming probably not, but maybe a virtual version. And I went actually for work. So HERE Technologies sponsored the event. And so I went in that capacity. But while I was there, I was also able to attend a lot of really great sessions and heard from CMOS of Burger King, JPMorgan Chase SAP, and actually thought that was a really nicely run event. So I really encourage anyone if they have the opportunity to participate in that either in person or virtually, and that it’s well worth doing. And, and one other thing, actually, which is something that just occurred to me because it came up yesterday, again was Adweek chats. So this is this is definitely probably something that comes from a US focus, but Adweek does a chat. I think it’s Wednesday afternoon, and they asked different questions and you can kind of engage with your response and it can be a really fun way to sort of learn from your peers in a conversational back and forth way. So I’d recommend that to you.

Carlota Pico 25:03
Wonderful. Well, actually, I was in Lisbon last year as well for the Web Summit. And I loved it! I had so much fun. I was there for work as well. And actually, the Web Summit is going to be taking place online this year for our audience who’s now tuning into our podcast. So anybody who wants to join can virtually join the Web Summit 2020, which I believe they’re going to be making, making it as a free event. Yeah, that’s a big deal!

Sarah Evans 25:30
Yes, definitely! Get, get involved, for sure.

Carlota Pico 25:33
Definitely. Okay. Well, we are at the end of our interview, Sarah. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show and learning about your experience and that awesome case study at CES. I mean, talk about thinking outside of the box, you really nailed it! So Congratulations once again. And thank you for joining us on The Content Mix.

Sarah Evans 25:55
Thanks so much for having me.

Carlota Pico 25:56
And to everyone listening in for more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out The Content Mix. We’ll be releasing interviews just like this one every week. So keep on tuning in and see you next time. Bye!

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