In today’s MarTech conversation, we speak with Antonio Molina Cubero, the CMO of Qualifio, one of Europe’s leading data collection companies.
In this conversation, we discuss with Antonio why too many companies get bogged down with lead generation, forgetting that marketing is all about inspiring your buyers and distinguishing your brand through great content.
Tell us about Qualifio
Qualifio is the leading data collection platform in Europe. We focus on interactive marketing and specialize in media and B2C brands.
Qualifio was founded in 2011 and has around 70 employees. We’re based in Belgium, but we also have offices in Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, and the Nordics, so we focus on the European market. We have some great clients, including L’Oreal, Nestle, and most of the large European newspapers.
As a European data company, we’re well-positioned. With data collection, GDPR is key, so being based in Europe has really given us the upper hand—in fact, this is one of our main advantages.
And, of course, it’s an evolving world. Not only has the pandemic triggered some changes, precipitating a lot of companies to make the move to digital. But also, with the end of third-party cookies fast approaching, there is a shift in how brands are collecting zero- and first-party data. They need to be efficient and innovative in how they do this in order to make the most of the data they’re collecting. We’ve been working in the zero- and first-party data ecosystem for around 10 years already, so we’re well-positioned to guide brands through these changes.
What do you do in your day-to-day work as CMO of Qualifio?
As CMO, I report directly to the CEO and the marketing team reports to me. The SDR [sales development rep] position in our company is actually part of the marketing team, not the sales team. They are the link between marketing and sales.
A big part of my job is managing my team. I have a team of seven people, so I try to create a clear set of processes for the team to follow and to challenge them with team goals and milestones.
On one hand, I’m focusing on building a strong marketing strategy with a clear plan, an established calendar, and so on. Then, on the other hand, I need to stay close to the day-to-day progression of business from a sales and marketing perspective. This may mean collaborating with the SDR to find out, “Okay, how can I help you to close these deals?” but also making sure the relation with our marketing partners is smooth and our content reflects our identity. So, for me, it’s all about creating a real link between marketing and sales.
The main tools we use on the marketing team are HubSpot and Qualifio. We use Hubspot for lead management, and for internal communication and collaboration with the sales team. And then, we use Qualifio for the more creative parts, like setting up interactive campaigns. We also have sales tools like SEMrush.
What are some of your challenges at Qualifio?
There are two main types of companies. One type is the companies in the early stages where marketing is basically a cost center. Then, there are the more advanced companies that see marketing as more of a revenue center.
I think we’re almost at the point where we could move toward becoming an important revenue center. So, our main challenge and goal is trying to scale: I might have a clear process, but if my CEO comes to me and wants to double the budget, I need to be able to double the result.
What has been most effective and why?
Transforming the marketing strategy to create more of a revenue center means empowering my marketing team in a new way. It’s about telling them, “Okay, you’re not only going to be building great content, great messaging, great events. No—you’re doing all of this because there is a business logic behind it.”
What challenges are you still trying to find solutions for?
We’ve tried to increase the emphasis on reach in the prospecting phase in order to put the brand within the scope of the buyer.
In terms of measuring success, I’m not a big fan of vanity metrics. I think they can often create silos in companies.
I think if marketers stop talking about leads—trying to increase the conversion rate by 0.1%, for instance—and refocus on traditional marketing, the revenue will come. You cannot measure marketing only on leads. You need to be able to reach buyers by other means like brand awareness.
I try to differentiate between low-intent and high-intent leads. The focus, of course, is the high-intent leads. So, focusing on getting those high-intent leads that are actually requesting demos and moving forward is something we’re actively working on.
How does content marketing fit into your strategy?
I think content really is the heart of marketing in B2B and B2C. For me, a marketer needs to be able to create content, or at least be able to understand the value of content.
So, do you try to focus on proving you have a 0.1% conversion rate on your landing pages, or do you try to establish yourself as a voice in the market?
Right now, many companies are focusing on the technical side of content—being able to change this 0.1%. However, the focus needs to be on being able to resonate with the mindset of the buyer. This means good messaging, good content strategy, a good distribution strategy, and so on.
Gong [a revenue intelligence platform] is a good example. They’re doing B2C marketing and they understand marketing not as lead generation but as having a voice, having a recognizable style.
This is what I’m always trying to do with my marketing team. My motto is, “Let’s inspire people.” We are selling marketing at Qualifio, so let’s show our buyers how they can improve their marketing, too. Let’s not talk only about features—let’s talk about what they can actually do as marketers.
I mean, when I’m looking for marketing products as a buyer, I get bored by lead generation content. That doesn’t get my interest. So, I know, I can’t push a buyer to request a demo. I can only inspire them to realize they need our product. So, I focus on differentiating Qualifio from our competition with our personality and our content.