Where before as many as five tools were required to obtain an overview of all their campaigns, today MARMIND takes care of all WAGO’s marketing needs. Besides MARMIND’s clear, consistent processes and its central file storage for assets, it provides, most importantly, a means of transparent communication and task allocation that truly lightens the team’s day-to-day workload. This success is not only down to the new software, but the expert know-how of its providers.
Family-owned German manufacturer WAGO is often described as a hidden champion: though its products are largely unknown to the general public, it is in fact the global market leader for certain technologies in electrical connectivity and automation. In specialist circles, the company is well known for manufacturing industry-standard products such as its flagship “WAGO clamp”.
“Usually, new tools aren’t necessarily greeted with enthusiasm by my colleagues… but within a short time of introducing MARMIND, I was receiving feedback like ‘It’s actually fun to work with!’”
Annika Schünemann, Brand Management and Marketing Control, WAGO
WAGO first considered introducing a marketing resource management tool back in 2012, when the company – and therefore its marketing department – experienced a period of rapid expansion. With more than 80 branch offices, a range of different product brands, extremely heterogeneous target audiences, and an increasing number of both on- and offline channels, it was more important than ever that the marketing team stay on top of their game.
Stand-alone Solutions and Inconsistent Processes Make It Impossible to Keep Track of Marketing Activities
WAGO first decided to opt for a custom-made SharePoint solution, which would allow them to roughly map out their campaign plans and manage approvals. It soon became clear, however, that the most important questions remained unanswered. What was happening on which channel? Which products were currently being promoted? Which key audiences were being targeted? How much money was being spent on each campaign? Which campaigns were performing well? The marketing team was unable to access all the relevant information at a glance, instead having to go through a laborious and time-consuming process of compiling information from different sources to create their reports.
In 2018, the marketing team finally decided that enough was enough; they needed a better solution. The tools they had been using were just too complex and cumbersome to be efficient. As a result, acceptance had been decreasing over the years and staff had started to use a variety of different stand-alone solutions since they preferred working with modern, up-to-date tools. Digital media, for example, was being handled using a ticketing system, while to-dos and checklists were being managed via the Intranet. Communication often took place by email and Excel spreadsheets were prevalent.
“As a result, it was still very labor-intensive to keep track of everything”, says Annika Schünemann, who works in Brand Management and Marketing Control at WAGO. “Our campaign managers had to use five different tools to see how campaigns were performing. If you are using five different tools to manage a campaign, you are also using five different tools to communicate, and that is time-consuming. Not only that, but you end up having to move things around a lot because the different tools don’t interact.”
What was really missing was transparency. Ideally, everyone in the marketing team would be able to quickly and easily check on the status of any task or project. This would make it simpler for them to cover for coworkers who went on sick leave, for instance.
Software Vendors with Marketing Expertise Provide Better Marketing Tools
WAGO’s marketing team began researching possible software solutions online. They came up with a long list of potential software vendors, then selected their top three from which to request a product demonstration.
“We felt that the team at UPPER Network really knew how marketing works and understood our needs.”
Annika Schünemann, Brand Management and Marketing Control, WAGO
WAGO’s decision to opt for MARMIND was not only based on the software itself, but also on the UPPER Network team, as Annika explains: “We felt that the team at UPPER Network really knew how marketing works and understood our needs. Peter Ramsenthaler and Patrick Moser did not think the problems we were facing were unusual. As far as the software itself was concerned, we actually got the feeling that it was not just a general workflow management tool but a tool designed specifically for marketers. It also seemed very intuitive in terms of its usability – and now, we know that it is.”
Minimal Need for Customization – Pre-Defined Structures Make It Easy to Get Started
An important point for WAGO was that the software they introduced, while being configurable, should already fulfill their most important requirements within its standard setup. They had no desire to undertake extensive programming in order to customize and adapt the software to their needs. In MARMIND, they found the perfect solution; while allowing for customization, the standard version was already equipped with all the essential functions.
The fact that there were going to be regular updates to the standard version meant that WAGO would benefit from ongoing improvements. What’s more, the standard version came with a pre-defined structure – another important aspect for the marketing team at WAGO, as Annika explains: “Since a huge number of people on the team were going to be working with this tool, it was very important to us that it should be easy to learn, understand and use. We were looking for a solution with a pre-defined structure that we could build on instead of having to create the entire thing from scratch.”
Smooth Implementation Thanks to High User Acceptance
Once WAGO had found the right marketing tool, it was time to start thinking about implementation – the most critical stage when it comes to introducing new software in a company. What did this process look like?
First, a one-and-a-half-day workshop was organized to define work packages. There were three important questions be answered:
- How do you define a structure in MARMIND that accurately represents WAGO’s marketing?
- How do you standardize and digitize the approval workflow?
- How do you map budgets and costs?
To address these questions, WAGO brought together a core team of staff from different areas of marketing. Since everyone involved pulled together, the greatest challenge was not to gain acceptance for the new tool but to standardize processes that had been in place for many years.
The problem was that since there were no standardized marketing processes, each team had come up with their own solutions, which now needed to be harmonized for everyone involved. Annika explains: “This process actually had relatively little to do with MARMIND – it is simply a time-consuming task that must be carried out whenever something new is introduced in a company. Since we had always somehow managed to keep on top of things, I first had to create the awareness that we could become far more efficient if we took enough time to standardize our processes while introducing this new software.”
Another fundamental question at the beginning was whether WAGO’s existing systems should be replaced or integrated – both are possible with MARMIND. The marketing team quickly opted to do away with many of their systems and replace them completely. Only their budgeting and PIM (Product Information Management) systems would be integrated.
All in all, the introduction of MARMIND went very smoothly. Annika had expected to encounter more resistance, but reports: “Usually, new tools aren’t necessarily greeted with enthusiasm by my colleagues…but within a short time of introducing MARMIND, I was receiving feedback like ‘It’s actually fun to work with!’”
Efficient Teamwork Thanks to Transparent Task Management
Annika highlights task management and efficient teamwork as the most useful functions of MARMIND. “The feature we find the most helpful at the moment is the ability to save your own to-dos as bookmarks and pull them up at any time. You can also communicate directly within to-dos. Based on the status of a to-do, you can see where someone is with a particular task, what has already been done, and what comes next – so you have an overview of the entire process.”
She further adds: “We are planning to use the marketing plan more often to see all our campaigns at a glance. To that end, we would like to see the plan view options expanded further. The other thing is that we have to create the awareness that we will be much more efficient if we start using the plan.”
Effective Task Management Instead of “First Come, First Served”
What specific improvements have there been since WAGO started using MARMIND? Annika summarizes the main benefits:
- Processes are clearer thanks to standardization
- Assets are stored centrally in MARMIND, making them easier to find and manage
- Communication has become more transparent
- Bottlenecks are easier to detect
- Tasks and campaigns are more easily prioritized thanks to a better overview
She gives an example of how MARMIND helps WAGO with task management: “Each week, we sit down with our graphic designer and go through his tasks for the week. If necessary, we’ll prioritize certain campaigns – for instance, the most successful ones, the most important ones, or the ones we’re putting a lot of money into. Before, we were taking these decisions on a first-come, first-served basis – whoever shouted the loudest had their campaign prioritized.”
The fact that MARMIND continuously updates and improves its software based on user feedback was a positive surprise for the WAGO team. “Since we are using the cloud version of the software, we benefit from these regular updates,” Annika explains.
Next Steps: A Better Software Stack and Improved Monitoring and Control
Going forward, WAGO wants to focus on optimizing the software stack. The idea is not to find one application that can do everything, but to use a combination of different tools in the way they were intended.
With that in mind, the marketing team would like to see MARMIND’s monitoring and control functions expanded further, as Annika notes: “There have been several updates in the last few months, but I’d like to see MARMIND go that little bit further. We’re sure they can do a great job of making these features even better.”
Specifically, WAGO would like to be able to measure campaign performance more accurately, allowing the marketing team to make recommendations for future campaigns based on their past results.
And one last thing: in the future, it would be ideal if the marketing team could collaborate on Office documents within MARMIND. The hidden champion – always one step ahead.