Questions for Storytellers Series... Hannah Strong
Meet Hannah Strong, Head of Marketing for Newcastle's affiliate and partner marketing agency Silverbean.
What kind of storyteller are you? Head of Marketing
Best part of my job? Planning multi-channel campaigns from inception to execution. B2B marketing gets a bad rep for not being as creative as B2C, but within digital marketing - creative content is king!
Tell us about a project you have worked on that you are proud of... When the original Silverbean brand went from general ‘digital marketing’ to a purely affiliate and partner marketing specialist, the AGY47 brand was born to house our SEO and PPC services. Expanding brand awareness of Silverbean to a global level, and creating a unique value proposition and brand offering in a busy ‘search marketing’ marketplace for AGY47 is an ongoing challenge, but one I am proud of.
A little secret about being in marketing...
The job title carries a number of hats; don’t try to be an expert in all of them. From a digital perspective, I’m lucky to work alongside in-house SEO and PPC experts who already produce great stuff for clients, but for email nurturing, design and dev, and events planning - I’ve reached out to my network for support. There’s no shame in not being an ‘expert’ at everything; utilise those around you where you can. Noone’s superhuman.
Biggest stereotype you hate about your role?
As mentioned above, that B2B marketing is ‘boring’. Fair enough, we don’t have a physical product to promote in a glossy mag campaign under a studio-grade spotlight. But the benefits of the service the agency provides is still tangible. People think marketers are only out to sell sell sell! Or that we want to ‘manipulate’ our target audience into clients, but its just not true - marketers want to make themselves useful to the target audience - whether we’re selling a product or a service.
What’s the biggest change your industry faces in the next year?
As consumer spending slowed in Q2 2020, many in-house marketing teams have been furloughed until supply chains are operational again. This has caused many brands (with short-term trading thinking) to halt higher-spending channels, such as PPC. But we’ve also noticed many are reinvesting budgets and resource into SEO. Marketers still have targets to meet, despite near-future lockdown restrictions, so the agency market is expecting a HUGE bounce back and demand for services in Q3 and Q4 as businesses pin their hopes on a bumper Christmas to make up for lost revenues.
News outlet or publication of choice and why?
Econsultancy. I find their resources applicable to the modern marketer’s challenges of the moment, and a good source of inspiration.
What’s your content guilty pleasure?
Anything interactive! I blummin' love a quiz. Not necessarily the ‘what kind of potato are you?’ type clickbait from Buzzfeed (I’m a dauphinoise by the way), but something useful that I can apply to agency promotion.
Favourite news or social media story in the last 12 months?
Does ‘fake news’ count? The Netflix spoilers campaign created by two students from Miami Ad School in Germany was fantastic; a brilliantly-creative way to urge the world to stay indoors - and looked professional enough to have come from Netflix themselves’ imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right?
What do you want from PR people?
Someone who can get inside the minds of the target audience. I first got into marketing because the psychology behind why consumers behaved they did, and how marketers could utilise this to shift audiences from being ‘aware’ to being ‘advocates’ was a keen interest. Understanding where fellow marketers go for advice and recommendation would be a dream.
What makes a great story?
A hero and a villain. Quite often, brands make themselves the hero in the tale, and their target market is the ‘damsel’ that needs saving; it shouldn’t be about that. Empowering your audience so that they are the hero is the key to successful storytelling.
Top tip for storytellers...
Whatever medium you're telling your story through (YouTube video, website content, radio ads, etc) understand how you can provide value to who’s listening. Whether that be to entertain, inspire, inform or educate, be hyper-aware of how you wish to be perceived and be consistent across your marketing comms channels for a trustworthy brand experience.
To learn a little more about what Hannah and her team do at Silverbean head to https://www.silverbean.com/