Anna Pantus is a B2B Marketing professional with 7 years of experience in the field. Her expertise includes planning and executing digital marketing campaigns across various channels, such as web, email, social media and display advertising, as well as implementing automated B2B lead flow processes.
Why did you choose a career in marketing, how did you start?
My marketing adventure started right after my school-leaving exams when I moved abroad to study. Studying abroad, in a different language environment, required much more intense efforts. Staying beyond one’s comfort zone, far away from family, it is very difficult to find the right path. What is more, subjects such as marketing or PR didn’t belong to the mainstream then. 😊
Unfortunately, marketing studies didn’t convince me that it was the right direction. Therefore, I took a chance on the practical side. I remember sending out my CV everywhere, whenever it was possible, I signed up for unpaid practices, conferences, or free pieces of training. I invested in my development, seizing all the opportunities that came up. All these steps helped me to understand what my talent is and what I can do the best. You shouldn’t be afraid of checking out different paths which can help you define who you truly are.
Tell us a bit about your professional path until now.
Figuring out that digital marketing is the right path for my development wasn’t so easy and quick. I started my career by organizing international events for politicians and entrepreneurs. It was then when I met amazing people who inspired me. Their lives excited my wild ambitions of self-development. Since I worked for NGOs, my duties were disproportionate to my salary. I remember that after one month of hard work I didn’t even earn enough to pay the rent. The salary of my friends who worked as waitresses was much higher than mine at that time. 😊 However, I focused on gaining knowledge.
The following step was working in the Public Relations area and being assigned more and more responsible tasks. At the age of 20, I carried out my first national marketing campaign, which was later launched in several other countries as well.
I’m glad that for the first 4 years of my career I worked in minor companies. I had a chance to prove myself in different areas, find out my assets and weaknesses. It wasn’t until I upskilled and understood what I was truly good at when I decided to work in a corporation.
Working in a corporation made it clear to me that I want to be a digital marketer. Currently, I work for Konica Minolta Business Solutions. I have my team and a chance to manage communication within digital areas. For 2 years I have specialized in marketing automation and lead generation. I believe that each company wants to have a strong position on the net. My job is to help these companies build such a position. I’m responsible for planning and executing digital marketing campaigns across all digital channels including web, email, display advertising, and social media, implementation, and coordination of automated B2B processes lead flow.
What advice do you wish you got when you started your career in marketing?
I assume that the career must be carefully planned. If you know you want to work in marketing, take every opportunity to gain some experience. It’s not worth thinking that ”now I will work 2 years in a cafe and then I will start my career”.
Quickness and flexibility are the features that truly matter in the 21st century. There’s no time for hesitating. You must stay active and gain practical skills. At the early stage try to trace as many paths of development as possible. The first job isn’t usually the one that you dream of but thanks to small steps in the right direction you will take less time to find something that will motivate you to get up every day.
Top 3 learnings in your marketing career that brought the most value?
1) Certificates/diplomas – you don’t have to graduate from marketing studies to be a marketer. But remember: the higher you climb on your career ladder, the more expert power you possess. This power comes directly from your top-level skills and years of experience. Once you hold this knowledge, your peers will regard you as an expert. There’s nothing better than meaningful certificates or diplomas that can have a significant influence on your earnings.
2) References from previous employers/previous superiors – I think that there’s nothing better than word of mouth. In the beginning, you knock at every door, and later you become the door that others knock at. It’s well worth paying attention to good references. People we used to work with can sometimes help us a lot or just the opposite. They may get in the way of our further development.
3) Contacts network – it’s good to look after your weak ties and build up a network of friends who at the right time can provide you with an interesting professional offer.
One result you are really proud of as a marketeer
It’s hard to pick a single campaign or result when every day you try to do something better than before. It’s like asking a mother which achievements of her child she is proud of the most. I assume she would start talking about all the situations that have recently happened. 😊
I like challenging tasks and projects because they show me my abilities and limits I try to extend. The project that was truly complicated for me was to implement a marketing automation tool and configure it with other corporate systems. Companies that are used to traditional selling methods (especially when it comes to the B2B area) are often afraid of online trading. Boards of management, employees, marketing and sales department workers need a person who will take responsibility for implementing all the innovations in a corporation. The technical deployment of a given tool might go quickly but changing business processes and the awareness of employees requires hard and tedious work. You must have a lot of patience and establish a long-term goal. Only then all your efforts concerning marketing automation actions will turn effective and attract new customers.
What’s one important B2B marketing trend that will gain popularity in 2021, in your opinion?
The pandemic has proven that the traditional ways of reaching customers in a digital era are not effective. Aboard the Titanic, nearly 30% of its passengers were rescued. Why? Because the people traveling in the first class had better access to lifeboats. Therefore, during the pandemic, only those who invest in marketing tools and develop their business online can survive and strengthen their position.
1) Invest in data. If you don’t know how many people visit your website each month or which part of your website attracts the most customers, you’re already one step behind. Even such free-of-charge tools as Google Analytics can give you a lot of hints. Your website collects a great deal of data – make use of them in order to increase your sales rates.
2) Create an online ordering system. It doesn’t matter if you work in the B2C or B2B area. Your customers want to have the option to add something to the basket and see the final price of a product. Don’t make it difficult for customers to get access to the price. Consider marketing automation. It’s a considerable expense but you’ll see how fast it will be defrayed if you make the best of its potential.
3) Close the distance using social media. Workers’ everyday life on #homeoffice, backstage of a new webinar, making of a new collection of clothes – that’s what authenticity is. Short distance builds up trust, and trust is one of the selling factors.
Which is the strongest social media channel in 2021, and why?
There’s no universal social media channel that will satisfy all your needs. You should know where to find the target group of your business. It’s worth paying attention to LinkedIn, which in recent years has been on the rise. In comparison with last year, the number of users of this channel has increased by almost 14%.
Therefore, as a marketer, I highly recommend creating groups that will enable you to attract users interested in a given topic or industry. It’s well worth building up the community which will support your brand if you want to become the biggest player and be one step ahead of the competition.
What would you recommend to businesses that want to grow in 2021? What about the tactics they should avoid?
At present, when companies intensely compete for Internet users’ attention, making decisions based on reliable data is a must. In order to effectively grow your business by making such decisions, you don’t have to spend enormous amounts of money.
You can create a single source of data combining different kinds of information from various channels by means of a marketing automation system. Marketing automation platforms offer many opportunities to enrich the data. Aim at storing all the data regarding your marketing activities in the same place. Thanks to that, you will be able to easily assess whether your advertising expenses are viable.