Marketing Pioneer of the Year

Recognising and celebrating impact

We are proud to have partnered with the 2021 Belgian Marketing Awards to introduce a special award, the Marketing Pioneer of the Year. The award was presented to ERA, a market leader in the Belgian real estate sector that successfully pioneered new marketing approaches.

ERA received the Marketing Pioneer of the Year award at the 2021 BMA ceremony, which was held at Deloitte Gateway, for demonstrating the most complete company transformation based on technology and data, designing customer-first new services, and achieving remarkable growth. Ethias and Janssen Pharmaceuticals were the two other finalists. 

These three companies stood out from the rest of the nominees for placing the customer experience at the heart of a holistic end-to-end strategy that combined digital and offline channels. Moreover, they talked about the transformation of their entire organisation, not just the marketing department, integrated innovative technology and data, featured data-driven marketing, and demonstrated impactful business results. 

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As a market leader in the residential real estate sector in Belgium, ERA’s ambition was to digitally transform, educate, and implement best practices in the business to realise their growth ambitions. 

The biggest challenges they faced were to express a consistent brand identity on a national level, considering they work with many offices, and foster the adoption of new technologies.  

ERA's strategy has revolved around investing in digitalisation and automation tools to digitally transform operations, marketing, sales and services to stay ahead of the competition. These investments were made to support local agents, to save time and money by allowing them to focus on their core business. 

In this regard, a major pillar of this transformation has been to centralise and automate marketing, while translating the rebranding throughout all channels. To achieve this, a key consideration has been to foster the adoption of new technologies and tailor innovations to their needs. 

This undertaking has proven very impactful as ERA’s business success has significantly increased with the help of new technologies. The largest agency of the group has almost doubled its turnover, website traffic has increased by a staggering 78.3% and conversion rates by 19.6%. 

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Janssen Pharmaceuticals

For an industry that relies on face-to-face interactions with strict regulations, the biggest challenge has been to evolve within the area of digitalisation. Especially considering it goes hand-in-hand with a reassessment of risk, compliance, and privacy guidelines. 

However, Janssen, a pharmaceutical company that fights sickness with science, took up the challenge for the launch of its two new brands and has become an example in the pharmaceutical industry. With a well-thought-out marketing strategy, comprised of strict targeting of healthcare professionals, multi-step campaigns supported by machine learning and lead scoring models, Janssen has been able to leverage digital innovations and data to create a competitive edge.

They understood that the key to success in the future will depend on data-driven feedback loops and continuous optimisation by using the agile methodology. However, the future is not without its challenges and Janssen realised that its strict content approval process is unsuited for digital content needs. In addition, its current governance is not adapted, given the evolution of the industry, which is why they are working to develop corporate compliance that protects the public. 

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To operate under the complexity of the insurance market and remain one of the top insurers in Belgium, Ethias needed to align culture, people, structure, technology and processes with each other. They also needed to align with the company strategy and the challenges of a constantly changing digital landscape. Therefore, since 2019, Ethias has implemented a Marketing excellence initiative, aiming to transform and boost its marketing activities and organisation. They have made this possible by building new skills and team cultures, implementing new ways of working and processes, and enhancing the adoption of existing technologies.  

To leverage innovative and efficient capabilities in their communication with customers and prospects, Ethias invested in various technologies such as Salesforce CRM (Customer Relationship Management), Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Adobe Target and Analytics. 

To fully capture the value of those technologies, Ethias also adopted new ways of working: customer-centricity, agile methodologies, digital and data mindsets. 

With these investments, Ethias seized the opportunity to leverage a large amount of already available data around its existing customers and to define and set up several automated dynamics and cross-channel customer journeys leveraging those data, enabling them to segment and personalise their communication to fit the needs of their customers. 

They also enhanced the customer experience throughout the customer life-cycle by providing guidance and answering their needs along the way, on their preferred channel, while using the learnings to reach new potential customers and build long-lasting relationships with them.  

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