CMO Chats with Peter Yorke, Senior Vice President of Marketing for SunTec Business Solutions

Ortus Chats

Peter Yorke

Senior Vice President Marketing | SunTec Business Solutions

Peter Yorke, Senior Vice President Marketing for SunTec Business Solutions, discusses how to leverage thought leadership, strengthen brand positioning, and multi-pronged content marketing strategy.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Focusing on strengthening leadership in billing and pricing with innovative marketing
  • Executing a successful content campaign, boosting awareness and generating significant leads
  • Challenging the status quo by staying technologically ahead and differentiating in a competitive market
  • Envisioning a marketing future with personalised content driven by data and AI

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Amazing. Thank you so much, Peter. I wanted to better understand: what does your company do?

Suntec Business Solutions is a leader in the enterprise billing and revenue management space. We primarily have global banks, telecom companies, and travel organisations as our customers. Our platform, which is a cutting-edge platform that’s been revolutionary in its design, helps these businesses basically manage their pricing and their billing, therefore leading to a better customer experience, which is better customer delight. Today, we have a presence in about 45 countries globally.

Growth is actually very good to hear, especially with industries that are very passionate about what they do. So, as a marketing leader, or specifically as the SVP and head of marketing in your company, what is your current main marketing focus?

Our main focus is essentially on strengthening our brand positioning as a leader in this billing, pricing, and proposition space. As you can imagine, with a few sets of customers and prospects that we work with, we are well known because, obviously, we’ve done business with them in the past or we have introduced ourselves.

The challenge for marketing is basically to spread the word to a larger constituent base, obviously to get more leads and more inroads into their businesses. That’s number one. The second thing is that we are always on a continuous path of innovation. That obviously necessitates us to dynamically, you know, kind of reposition our proposition to the market. Even as we emphasise digital transformation and innovative customer engagement strategies, we need to drive that growth and awareness to the market. Those are really the main points that we are looking at as we speak.

You mentioned innovation. Can you tell me about a particularly innovative or successful marketing campaign your team has recently executed?

Absolutely. We recently did a campaign on enterprise pricing and billing, which is our bread-and-butter business. Like I said earlier, we have a challenge of low brand awareness among a larger base. We wanted to implement a very robust content marketing strategy to educate our target audience, build brand awareness, and generate leads. So, we ran this campaign for almost 12 months, starting at the beginning of 2023. We created more than 200 pieces of content. These included articles, blogs, ebooks, white papers, videos, case studies, and all the rest. This effort, because it was multi-pronged and ran across multiple channels, resulted in a significant amount of inbound traffic.

We have almost a quarter of a million unique website visitors, about 550 asset downloads, and about 4 and a half thousand relevant contacts getting in touch with us. That, ultimately, came to about 154 market-qualified leads that we were able to put into our system for the sales to take forward. What we learned from this is that we were able to leverage insights from subject-matter experts. We were able to use digital channels and PR channels, and that actually led to a good amount of traction in the market.

What we also saw, and one of the things that we also launched recently, was a LinkedIn newsletter to this base of people we have who are interested. We wanted to keep in touch with them. In a short period of time, in the last six months, we’ve run about 10 editions of this newsletter, again, all based on thought leadership. We have about seven and a half thousand subscribers, 20,000 impressions, 17,000 article views, and 180 engagements. We’re really seeing the success of this campaign and this program in terms of raising awareness about what we do as far as this brand is concerned.

Congratulations on this campaign; very impressive results for sure. You spoke about brand awareness as a challenge, but I wanted to dive deep into that. Aside from brand awareness, what is your current biggest marketing challenge?

I think our biggest challenge is really staying ahead of the rapid technological changes and effectively differentiating our solutions in a highly competitive market. We’re kind of on a treadmill, so we’re continuously running to keep ahead, and we’re also staying ahead because we are the number one solution provider in the space by far. So, it always necessitates that we take the lead and stay ahead of that.

The second thing that we also face, and this, I’m sure, is a challenge for a lot of midsize companies like us, is getting customer endorsements. Our customers have included some of the largest institutions in the world—they are primarily banks in at least four countries: the UAE, the UK, Singapore, and South Africa. We have the top banks that are our customers. We have a telecom provider that’s among the top three globally. It’s always difficult for these giant organisations to really get endorsements where they are willing to come out and publicly acknowledge the work that we’re doing by brand. We are able to get reference cases, which we can use, you know, on a one-on-one basis, but getting something in the public domain is always a challenge.

For sure, referrals are very helpful, especially when you want to spread more of your brand word of mouth, which is in particular something that has been successful through and through. You’ve mentioned staying ahead. So how does your company specifically stay ahead of its competitors in terms of marketing?

We stay ahead by focusing on thought leadership. That is something that we’ve been working on very, very consciously for the last four to five years. We leverage insights. We maintain a very strong focus on what our customers’ needs are. Thought leadership has held us in good stead all throughout this period.

Now, identifying thought leaders is a big challenge, as you can imagine. Not only that, but the biggest thing that thought leaders face very often, and when you pick them from the delivery teams, the engineering teams, or the product development teams, they tend to have this great fear about developing content that can be distinguishing. We took a very simple approach: we said, “Look, we are not expecting you to come and write anything. What we expect you to do is have a 15- or 20-minute conversation with us.” That’s how we actually kick-started this whole movement four years ago. Today, we published about a hundred articles very easily across various channels. We have a group of thought leaders that started with a reluctant one or two people. Today, that has grown to almost 20.

We are even receiving requests from specific teams in the organisation, saying, “Can you train us to be thought leaders?” Ultimately, that is something that will hold us in good stead because they see themselves getting appreciated by their customers and the public in general because we put their articles on our website. Some of the good articles are qualified and even get into the media at large. It’s boosted their confidence because of that.

That’s basically one of the things that we do. We’ve also recently published a thought leadership book, which features the dozen or so best articles that we published over the last 12 months. This is again available for circulation. It’s available on our website, and we send it to our customers. That’s the way we stay ahead of the competition: It’s just pure, well-thought-out leadership.

Yes, and the content that you were able to generate definitely reached a lot of people, and because it is relevant, there are a lot of receivers and viewers of these materials. In your opinion, Peter, what does the future of marketing look like?

Sabrina, the future of marketing is going to be evolutionary. It’s going to keep evolving over a period of time. If you ask me the same question one year down the line, I will probably give you a very different answer.

But as I see it today, the future is going to be based on personalisation. It’s going to be based on the ability to get as much data as possible. Data analytics and also artificial intelligence, which is no surprise at all. We are talking about this all the time.

Marketers, in my opinion, will need to be more agile. They’ll need to be more adaptable. They will have to leverage technology to create campaigns. The traditional spray-and-pray approach is a thing of the past. Prospects today make decisions. They almost make up their minds 90% before they even contact the company or even go to their sales representative and say, “Can you give me a demo?” This means that your public-facing assets, primarily your website, have to be incisive and dynamic. We are now embarking on a journey where we are trying to use the insights of those who come to our website, either by IP address, region, or whatever it is, and try to provide context-driven content to them. Something that will be relevant to their customer profile. So that’s a task that we are currently doing. We have to be personalised, contextualise stuff, and be absolutely relevant to their needs. It really is what the future of marketing is going to look like.

“We have to be personalised, contextualise stuff, and be absolutely relevant to their needs. It really is what the future of marketing is going to look like.”

I love what you said about context-driven content because having content is good, but making it relevant, making it very bespoke or personalised is also important so that it reaches the right market or people that you’re sharing it with. Peter, what is the role of the CMO in one word for you, and why?

I think the one word I would choose is visionary. The CMO must have vision and foresight, be able to anticipate market trends, understand end customer needs, and provide direction to the organisation. The CMO has to be a lighthouse that enables the organisation to basically see what is ahead of them. I’d liken it to being the captain of the ship. You need to spot the iceberg well in advance.

Fortunately for us today, there are enough tools and technologies to help you do that. You have to be visionary, because unless you’re ahead of the game, you’re not going to do justice to marketing or to the organisation at large.

Lighthouse, we keep adapting to what we see, what’s coming, and maybe any unforeseen circumstance. Last question for you, Peter: What career advice would you like to share with other marketing leaders?

The only thing I would like to say here is that you have to embrace continuous learning. Learning has to be a continuous process. That’s the first thing. The second thing is that you have to be open to new ideas, technologies, and ways of doing things. You can’t be rigid. Adaptability is extremely important.

The other thing is that the ability to communicate is very important. By that, I don’t mean that you need to have good language skills, but you need to be able to understand the user, empathise with them, and speak to them in the language that they want to hear. The ability to translate that into something relevant is absolutely very important. For young leaders, particularly from a future perspective, you need to build a strong network, and that is something that will hold you in good stead for long-term success.

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