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Creating story-driven marketing messages: Interview with Bart Visser

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 24 Apr, 2019
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"Brands have realized they need to create a compelling narrative that excites, surprises and inspires consumers, potentially through 'immersive' experiences" Bart Visser, Director of Brand Marketing Spark Networks SE

In preparation for the Brand Marketing Summit Europe, we are continuing with our interview series. Our previous interview featured Michal Szaniecki, Managing Director SEAT and CUPRA, Volkswagen Group. In this interview, we speak to Bart Visser to better understand what he sees as the biggest and most exciting marketing opportunities in 2019.

To see the full range of incites from the speakers of the summit, take a look at Incite Group's exclusive whitepaper.

Bart Visser is responsible for all global Brand Marketing efforts for Spark Networks SE, one of the global leaders in online dating. Among its top brands are EliteSingles, Christian Mingle, Jdate, eDarling, JSwipe and Attractive World. Operating in over 29 countries, with headquarters in Berlin and offices in New York and Utah, Spark Networks employs over 250 people from over 30 nationalities.

Creating story-driven marketing messages: Interview with Bart Visser

Could you tell us a bit about your current role and responsibilities surrounding marketing?

As Director of Brand Marketing, I spend a lot of time working out how to best grow our portfolio brands and I am lucky enough to be involved with pretty much every step along the way. This means I get to work with various teams to create a narrative around a brand, establishing the visual and copy strategy, translating that into marketing assets, and lastly creating omnichannel marketing campaigns to support the user growth.

What are your top 3 priorities for 2019 when it comes to your brand's marketing strategy?

Improvement on Omnichannel marketing – creating a seamless experience for an array of portfolio brands is a daunting task, but essential to ensure marketing efficiencies and improved brand recognition.

Actionable Brand Documentation – Although important for the strategic members of the team, brand documentation can be too cumbersome and create more confusion than clarity. Knowing what’s what empowers individuals to make the right decisions faster and keeps the wheels rolling.

Continued testing! Understanding which what formats/channels work for which brands and in which markets is not only a great creative exercise for myself and the teams, it also ensures we continue to improve our marketing strategy and efficiency.

What new technologies or trends do you see impacting marketing and customer engagement in the wider industry this year?

In terms of technology, there has been a lot of talk about VR and AR in the past years, and there definitely are some cool examples on how they are being used to expand the customer experience. Personally, I think examples like the AR make up experience from L’Oreal on Facebook is incredibly exciting, and I would expect a great deal more to be done in this area.

The red line, however, is Story Driven Marketing. Brands have realized they need to create a compelling narrative that excites, surprises and inspires consumers, potentially through ‘immersive’ experiences. It is easy to see how AR or VR can play a role in this trend, but essentially any technology, new or old, that can be used to tell a compelling story will be able to take the stage and brands will continue to focus on the Storytelling path throughout 2019.

How important to your brand is understanding the customer journey and delivering personalized experiences to your customers?

A fair bit. Since we mainly operate premium online dating brands that are aimed towards helping users find a serious, long term relationship, rather then short term flings, signing up to our products is a deeply personal and emotional decision. Every person who comes to a stage in their life where they want to find something more meaningful does this for their own reasons, but through a lot of research, we have been able to find red lines in specific target demographics and build our brand narrative towards that.

For instance, a 55-year-old atheist will be on one of our websites with different expectations and for different reasons then a 24-year-old Christian. Tailoring the messaging, the visual strategy and even the product experience towards those expectations are crucial for us to be able to meet the needs of our users.

As a speaker at this year’s show, what are you hoping to learn and take away from the summit?

I am mainly looking forward to getting inspired by and discussing the creative solutions that Brand Marketeers around the world have conjured up to tackle the key issues in our industry.

Don't forget to access Incite's Group exclusive whitepaper to discover more of the insights gained from this interesting interview series.

Make sure you also find out more about this year's Brand Marketing Summit Europe and who is speaking, as well as download your brochure.

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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