Tala Alnounou, LWK + PARTNERS’ Head of Marketing for the MENA region talks to The Ortus Club’s Hannah Hodkinson about the importance of being strategic in developing and executing a marketing plan.
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What does your company do?
LWK + PARTNERS is a leading architecture and design practise. It’s rooted in Hong Kong, and it has over 1,100 creative minds collaborating across 12 offices around the globe, delivering world-class solutions to built environments. Its wide range of services includes architecture planning, urban design, interiors, landscape, heritage conservation, building information modelling, brand experience, and lighting design. With over 36 years of experience in practice, we have completed outstanding projects across different sectors, including mixed-use commercial and residential developments, education, transit-oriented developments, and leisure and public facilities development.
As the Head of Marketing in your company, what is your main marketing focus currently?
As Head of Marketing, I am responsible for developing and implementing the overall marketing strategy for the company across MENA. My main areas of focus are brand management and marketing research. Some words that best describe my role include “strategic visionary”, “leader”, and “communicator”. My key focus is to be strategic in order to develop and execute a marketing plan that aligns with the company’s overall goals and targets for the year. Having in-depth market knowledge gives us clarity to anticipate market trends and identify new opportunities for growth. As a leader, we focus on effective communication to build lasting relationships with customers, partners, and other stakeholders.
How does your company stay ahead of its competitors?
As marketers, my company stays ahead of its competitors by constantly researching and understanding our target audience, their needs, and preferences. We use this information to create targeted and personalised marketing campaigns that speak directly to them. We also stay up to date with the latest marketing trends and technologies to ensure that our campaigns are innovative and effective. Additionally, we regularly measure and analyse the performance of our campaigns to make data driven decisions and continuously improve our marketing strategies. This allows us to stay ahead of our competitors by constantly delivering relevant and engaging content to our target audience.
How do you measure success and ROI in your department?
We measure success and return on investment in our department by setting clear and measurable goals for each campaign and tracking key performance indicators to evaluate their performance. These KPIs can include metrics such as website traffic conversions and new project engagement. We use tools such as Google Analytics and social media analytics to track these metrics and gain insights into the effectiveness of the campaigns that we’re running.
Additionally, we conduct surveys and gather customer feedback to understand how our campaigns are impacting our target audience and identify areas for improvement. To measure return on investment, specifically in architecture companies, it can be a little bit challenging, but we compare the cost of campaigns to the revenue that they have generated and the impact that we are creating. We also track the lifetime value of customers to understand the long-term impact of our marketing efforts.
By regularly monitoring and analyzing these metrics, we are able to make data-driven decisions and optimize our marketing strategies to maximize the return on investment.
Can you share a particularly innovative or successful marketing campaign your team has recently executed?
Usually, as marketers, we’re always faced with challenges. And these are, to be honest, the most enjoyable moments for us in our careers. So last year, our company introduced a new product line that branches into technology, robotics, and smart home. And it was challenging, to be honest, to weave a compelling and convincing offer that married the two worlds together. And believe me, the team has spent hours on the drawing board to make this launch work. We kept an open mind and truly listened to the market, and we have managed to launch the product successfully in the market, which has generated huge interest, which was the ultimate goal from phase one. And now we’re continuing into phase two, which is building more brand awareness around the product and selling it even more.
So the moral of the story for all marketers is to always push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Learn new skills when needed. Always look for the right talent with expertise for support, and you will manage to always deliver results beyond expectations.
“The moral of the story for all marketers is to always push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Learn new skills when needed. Always look for the right talent with expertise for support, and you will manage to always deliver results beyond expectations.”
How does your company integrate sustainability into its overall marketing strategy?
As marketers for an architecture consulting firm, we integrate sustainability into our overall marketing strategy by highlighting sustainable features and practises in our projects, and all our marketing materials. This includes showcasing energy-efficient design, the use of sustainable materials, and the incorporation of green spaces into our projects.
We also create and share educational content that highlights the importance of sustainability and architecture, and the positive impact they can have on the environment and communities. This can include blog posts, infographics, and videos that explain the benefits of sustainable design and how our company is incorporating it into our projects.
We also strive to make our own marketing practises sustainable, such as by using digital platforms to reach our audience, reducing paper usage, and promoting recycling. We participate in sustainability-focused events and awards, and showcase our work in them. We have also established partnerships with companies and organizations that share our commitment to sustainability.
What career advice would you like to share with other marketing leaders?
The career advice that I would give marketing leaders: Stay up to date on the industry trends and technologies. Marketing is a constantly evolving field, and staying informed about the latest trends and technologies will help you stay ahead of the curve and make better decisions for your company. Be data-driven, use that to inform your marketing decisions and measure the effectiveness of your efforts. This will help you make more informed decisions and demonstrate the return on investment on your marketing efforts.
So with this, you can actually gain more budgets, and have more spending. Building a strong team is very important, and surrounding yourself with a diverse team and talented individuals brings different perspectives and skills to the table and makes your efforts collectively much more coherent and productive. And the last one would be being adaptable and open to change. I think for all of us as marketers, this is lesson number one that we learned during the pandemic. Having this agility and ability to demonstrate the adaptability aspect makes you more effective and productive, and it also tests you to be more creative in your approaches and campaigns to reach your target audience and clients more authentically, and be very reachable and accessible to them.
What is the role of the Head of Marketing in one word? Why?
I had to think really hard about it because there are so many characteristics that you would think a Head of Marketing must have. But I think the word for me would be “leadership,” because as a Head of Marketing, the individual is responsible for leading and overseeing the overall company’s marketing strategy and efforts. So, for you, you need to be a leader. Leadership is a key aspect of the role and involves guiding and directing the company’s marketing efforts, ensuring that they are aligned with the company’s overall goals and objectives.
The Head of Marketing must also inspire their team to achieve these goals and make strategic decisions that will drive the company’s growth. Overall, the role of Head of Marketing requires strong leadership skills to effectively guide the company’s marketing efforts and drive its growth and success.
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