Mastering the Art of Strategic Marketing for Modern Organizations

By: Alexandra Lewis, Chief Marketing Officer, Reinsurance, Aon | Tuesday, 21 May 2024

Alexandra holds over two decades of experience in the marketing industry. She specializes in turning enterprise goals into marketing and communication strategies, combining creativity with business acumen. Having worked with Aon for the last 19 years, Alexandra has built a strong understanding of the risk industry and how we can better protect and enrich the lives of people around the world.

GWL Team speaks to Alexandra to learn about her journey where she talks about global risk management and better informing businesses, communities, and governments through marketing campaigns. To know more about what she said, read on to the conversation below.

In business, strategic marketing is a term used by many companies while seeking to improve their competitive advantage. In that context what are some unique strategies that experts in this field should implement for organizations' growth?

There's a vast array of fascinating exciting approaches to marketing. However, I believe the most crucial one is shifting from what you want to sell to what your clients need. It's about aligning both of those objectives, yet always prioritizing putting yourself in your client's shoes first. Then, you can think about how to align that with your core business capabilities. One of the opportunities lies in taking a more holistic view across your company, rather than focusing solely on individual products or teams. It's about considering how to combine those capabilities to offer something more strategic and far-reaching to your clients. This sometimes requires a shift in mindset.

Often, it's the loudest voice that receives support in marketing.

However, marketing teams must ensure they are focused on driving revenue, attracting new clients, and engaging them by addressing what's on their minds. We conduct the Global Risk Management Survey, where we ask our clients what's important to them. This input helps shape our marketing efforts. We recognize that topics such as talent retention, cybersecurity, navigating economic changes, and protecting reputation are crucial to our clients. Therefore, it's vital to begin marketing by addressing these concerns. By adopting this perspective, you'll often discover multiple capabilities to address these challenges for your clients.

Can you describe how you track and measure the success of your marketing campaigns?

Marketing is a strategic function. It's just an integral part of any business. We all need to communicate and sell to be successful. In the 20 years I've been working, it’s been fascinating to see how it's become so much easier to track and measure what you're doing. I remember my first job; all your press cuttings would be printed out and faxed to you every day. I don't think anyone's owned a fax machine for a very long time now, but going much more digital means that we not only receive more granular data on how clients are engaging with email campaigns, for example, but we can also see that information in real-time.

So, there are various tools and technologies that we use to track. And while measuring the impacts of the press is still extraordinarily important, it's also about looking at your direct email campaigns for clients and using channels like social media. In the part of the business that I work in, where we work with insurance companies around the world, we support a very relationship-driven business by bringing extra insights to our insurer clients when our colleagues can't be face-to-face.

We've found that fascinating. The fact that you can tell who's reading your content, and which companies are showing the most interest, is invaluable information. And if you think about print advertising, which I still think has a really important brand impact, sometimes it's a little harder to measure, especially if you don't have a QR code or a specific call to action.

But at the same time, to ensure we align with the brand values, we conduct C-suite assessments to drill down and understand how perception is changing. That's a lot more complex to track, but it's incredibly important to see how what you're doing is not only triggering an action from a client but also changing their perception and their willingness to engage and collaborate with you.

Marketing leaders should support the professional growth of their team members. How do you build relationships and partnerships with other departments and leaders within the organization?

Interpersonal skills are essential and it’s a misjustice to categorize these as ‘soft skills’. They are fundamental to building relationships within your marketing team but also forging alliances beyond, engaging with counterparts from diverse functions, such as the legal and HR departments to ensure content compliance and defective talent promotion strategies, respectively.

Cultivating relationships with C-suite executives within the organization not only elevates your professional standing but also underscores the strategic contributions one can offer. It's essential to demonstrate the value that marketing brings to the table to bolster effectiveness and influence.

Marketing trends and technologies are constantly changing. How do you stay ahead of the curve and ensure your team does too?

AI is one of the most significant opportunities for marketing professionals worldwide. It's remarkable how AI can streamline tasks, such as refining content for brevity or crafting concise headlines. Moreover, AI illuminates best practices, advocating for succinct subject lines that enhance email open rates.

Professionals must stay informed about technological advancements across industries while collaborating closely with privacy, compliance, and legal teams. This ensures that any exploration of new technologies aligns with company guidelines.

Additionally, maintaining an open mindset within marketing communications is crucial. While individuals may specialize in areas like PR or events, understanding the interconnection of marketing elements is essential, as no single channel or tactic operates in isolation. Encouraging experimentation and broadening expertise beyond your specialization enables a holistic understanding of marketing campaigns. By considering diverse perspectives, marketers can effectively align various elements of their campaigns. Therefore, while recognizing the importance of technology and adhering to guidelines, exploring diverse marketing approaches and staying updated on industry best practices enriches creativity and strategic acumen.

Do you have any messages you'd like to share with readers?

Have confidence in your unique skills and abilities. Do not simply replicate others, but instead draw inspiration and consider how to adapt qualities you admire to your personality. Additionally, it's essential to cultivate a supportive network that will aid your career progression. Ultimately, enjoying your work is vital, and appreciating what makes your role brilliant to feel energized.