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Judith Landstra – de Graaf about Marketing for Owlin

At Owlin, we couldn’t do what we are doing without the great work of everyone working with us. In this interview series, The people of Owlin, we ask them about their daily work, background, and where they see Owlin going in the future. This month: Judith Landstra – de Graaf, our Marketing Manager, talks about working for Owlin, where she started a year ago. Discover her approach to developing marketing strategies in the fast-paced world of technology, combining psychology, creativity, and data expertise.

Could You Tell Us a Bit About Your Background? 

“I studied psychology at the University of Groningen (master in social psychology). After that, I joined a traineeship at the Municipality of Amsterdam. However, my passion for writing and creativity led me to apply for a position as a Content Specialist at an online marketing agency. Working there provided me with a crash course in online marketing! Also, it helped me realize there is a strong overlap between psychology and marketing, as understanding human behavior is crucial for effective marketing strategies.”

How Did You Join Owlin? 

“In 2021, my husband started a rotation (via KPMG) in New York City, and I accompanied him. During an event organized by ‘Nederlanders in New York’ (Dutch people in New York), I met Stefan, the Chief Growth Officer at Owlin. He inquired if I would be interested in working for Owlin, but I had to wait for my work permit to be approved. 

While awaiting approval, I started writing about life in New York, which satisfied my creative urge, but I was so happy when I received permission to work in the United States. Of course, I reached out to Stefan again, which was the beginning of my journey with Owlin, which is not ending soon because I started at the Amsterdam office this week!”

Can You Tell Us a Bit About Your Journey at Owlin? 

“I remember quite well that when I joined Owlin, everything was new and different. Although I had extensive marketing experience, Owlin’s products and services were completely distinct. However, Owlin allowed me to grow into an all-around in-house marketing manager. Moreover, doing this in a scaleup environment allowed me to wear multiple hats. Which to me, adds to the excitement and challenges of my role.”

What Marketing Strategies Have You Found Most Effective for a Company Like Owlin?

“Marketing strategies for a product like Owlin differ significantly from, for example, selling a pair of pants. When purchasing pants, customers often have a specific idea (they at least know what pants are), conduct a Google search, and quickly decide based on variables like price. However, with Owlin, informing about our product’s what, how, and why is still a big part of our marketing.   

A major inspiration for our marketing strategy at Owlin is the book ‘They Ask You Answer’ by Marcus Sheridan. This method focuses on providing as much information as possible before even talking to a prospect. By applying this concept to Owlin, we have been able to create a continuous flow of organic leads simply by putting ourselves out there via our marketing channels.

Where Did You Start? 

“By just generating content based on questions our (potential) customers already asked and keeping the answers to these questions simple and easily understandable. For example, one of the initial ones I tried to answer (for our FAQ page) in my first weeks was, “What does Owlin do?” While seemingly straightforward, questions like these challenge us to simplify our product’s explanation and ensure better comprehension.

Another example is comprehending the concept of AI. Before joining Owlin, I knew it existed, and people were working with it, but it felt intangible. However, upon starting at Owlin, I discovered they had been utilizing AI for quite some time to generate risk insights. Again, I tried to understand the concept by writing blogs like ‘Adverse media check? Why a Google Search isn’t enough’ to get familiarized with how Owlin adds value for its customers.”

What Are the Top Three Marketing-Related Best Practices for a Tech Scaleup Like Owlin? What Have You Learned? 

“This may be obvious, but focusing on a specific target group and defining why your product adds value for them is important. For this, input from the sales team, that speaks to customers daily is important. You can start building a campaign after you know who you want to target and why. 

I also learned that partnerships with other companies are important because we can combine our strengths through these collaborations. For example, we have partnered strongly with Venminder, a third-party risk management solution provider. Within Venminder’s VenmonitorTM for example, we provide insights for the risk domain adverse media monitoring

Another thing I learned is that press releases still are a thing. In February, we issued one for our campaign, KYC for PSPs. We distributed it through a traditional provider and of course, via our marketing channels. Initially, I thought press releases were outdated, but this approach generated the highest number of demo requests we’ve ever received in a month. The advantage of a press release is that it reaches a global audience and can help you connect with relevant readers.”

How Do You Balance Creativity and Data-Driven Decision-Making in Your Marketing Approach for a Tech Scale Up? 

“Currently, a significant portion of our content creation is done in-house, which allows me to channel my creativity in many aspects of our marketing efforts. However, I also really like the data behind everything we do. I daily analyze the numbers via tools like Hubspot, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console, seeking opportunities to improve results and explore different approaches. This analytical approach stems from my scientific background, as everything should be supported by solid evidence and data. It is precisely through these numbers that we can strategically apply creative enhancements.”

What Metrics Do You Find Most Important to Track Marketing Campaigns? 

“Measuring a customer’s precise origin and path is always a challenge in marketing, but the most concrete metric for me is the number of demo requests we receive. Additionally, there are other indicators that a campaign is doing well (or not) like engagement on social media, website visits and click through rates for e-mails. Also there are what I like to call ‘soft’ leads, who often have the potential to become concrete leads over time. Soft leads engage with us by downloading whitepapers, subscribing to our newsletter, or liking and following our content on LinkedIn.”

How Do You Stay Up-to-Date with the Latest Marketing Trends in the Fast-Paced Tech Industry?

I stay attuned to the latest marketing trends by embracing diverse sources. Firstly, I like to keep an eye on what other marketers in the industry are doing by following them on LinkedIn, Instagram and listening to their podcasts. I also follow organizations that inspire me and like to check the content that thought leaders like Hubspot create about marketing. I find inspiration from everything around me, even if it’s not tech-related. You just have to watch and listen. 

What Do You Aspire for Owlin in the Upcoming Years?

With Owlin we are just starting to scale up our marketing efforts. Currently, our marketing team consists of two individuals and I would love to expand this, and continue pursuing ambitious ideas and new content formats. I see tremendous possibilities for Owlin and we are on the right path.

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