Bridging the gap between marketing and comms with Evelina Amanatidou, Global Head of Marketing Communications at Temenos
Marketing and comms, if done right, should work together to convey aligned, strong and valuable messaging across all channels and touch points.
On this episode of the FINITE Podcast, you'll learn how to bridge the gap between marketing and comms with Evelina Amanatidou, Global Head of Marketing Communications at Temenos. Evelina shares her experience leading both teams, challenges that arise and specific notes for B2B tech and SaaS organisations.
This episode covers:
- Evelina’s background in B2B tech marketing
- How does marketing and comms work together at Temenos
- Challenges of bridging marketing and comms
- Where does partner marketing come in to comms?
- How to bridge the gap between marketing and comms
- Is comms always top of funnel?
- Does size and maturity of a B2B org have an effect on comms?
- Women in marketing leadership
Listen to the full episode here:
And check out more of the FINITE B2B marketing podcast here!
Hello and welcome back to the FINITE podcast. The fast paced and exciting nature of B2B tech marketing means that even with over a hundred episodes, now we're still coming across mute and exciting topics to talk about. And the topic of today's episode is how to make marketing and coms work together. We'll be joined by Evelina Amanatidou, Global Head of Marketing Communications at Temenos.
Temenos is everyone's banking platform, specialising in enterprise software for banks and financial services, and they're integrated marcomms approach is a big driver of growth. So we'll gain an inside look into how the two functions work side by side to deliver results. I hope you enjoy.
Before we continue with the episode, I'd like to give a quick shout out to our partner Terminus: The only account based engagement platform built to deliver more pipeline and revenue through multichannel account based marketing. As the only native multichannel marketing platform, Terminus helps you convert target accounts through orchestrated campaigns using personalised advertising, email signatures, and chatbots. Visit terminus.com to learn why doing effective ABM at scale means better marketing.
Hello, Evelina, welcome to the FINITE Podcast. Thank you for joining me.
You for inviting me, Alex. Pleasure to be here with you.
Looking forward to talking. We haven't covered much in this area before in terms of marketing and comms and how they work together, I guess. So I'm looking forward to diving into this one. Before we go there, let's hear a bit about you and your background and your experience. I'll let you tell us a little bit about your career history and then we'll talk about your current role as well.
Evelina’s background in B2B tech marketing
Okay, well thank you for giving me the opportunity. As you can tell from my accent, I'm a Greek, but I've been living in London for the last 20 years. So I consider myself to be a bit of a hybrid. And in terms of my career path, I've done both in equal measures marketing and communications. I started my career in FinTech in an agency environment, and I worked with like sexy, cool types of companies before the term FinTech became trendy.
And then I moved to the pure marketing world, field marketing, leading UK marketing operations, and then EMEA ones at SAP. And now for the last, almost five years, I've been with Temenos and I'm leading the marcomms function. It's something that I've built from scratch and for the last year, which is a bit of an unorthodox type of schema, I've also got partner marketing rolling up to me as well.
And just to give an idea in terms of who Temenos is, we like to think of ourselves as being everyone's banking platform because we provide banking to everyone, whether it's an incumbent bank or a non-incumbent, because these days banking can be provided by anyone. And in terms of size, we serve approximately 3000 financial institutions. And in turn we reach maybe 1.2 billion people who depend on our technology for their banking needs day in and day out. So that's me in a nutshell.
Very cool. And tell us a bit about the overall marketing comms team structure at Temenos. How many people, how big is it? That kind of thing?
So we obviously have our marketing team and marcomms is one of the functions. So it's like part of it is entwined. And in this team we just have a fantastic, amazing team. I feel sometimes I've been lucky enough to set up this statement. It's like being a football manager, choosing your players over the years and having this winning combination.
And we have external communications, which is media relations, social media, thought leadership. And we have internal comms. We have executive communications and analyst relations. Of course, I know I might forget someone, but analyst relations, which is very, very important.
And then adjacent to it, we've got our partner marketing team as well, which I've been rebuilding since last year. I feel a bit like an incubator. I can build a team and then I can float off if need be.
How does marketing and comms work together at Temenos?
Nice. Well, it's nice when they fly on their own and you build a strong team. Very cool. Part of the journey. So I know we're gonna be talking about how marketing and comm's work together. Maybe you can set the scene for us a bit more and give us a bit of a sense of your background spanning both of those things.
And as I said, I'm probably someone who struggles to divide what I've done both in equal measures. And when I see marketing and communications work, the best is when they come under the same leadership and when they are entwined.
So it's almost like, imagine communications across the board, feeding into any other pillar that you might have in marketing, whether it's brand, helping with the messaging, whether it's imagination or helping with the comms towards the customers, or providing the overall corporate narrative, shall we say, and key messages that you want to take to market.
And I guess if I was to give an example, a much more tangible example, in the last month or so we went to Money 2020, which is one of the flagship FinTech, third party events. It's all about innovation. And of course, this is where you see my team supporting all the other marketing activities that are happening on the ground. So we are working on the messages that are going to be expressed by our CEO on the main stage. We're talking all about embedded finance and how banking's taking place outside the walls of the bank, but then we also have our press releases coming out as well. Hopefully wins as we had in this case, talking about customer case studies, and then we had our annual analyst relations meetings and our press briefings.
But also we have appointment setting on the ground and partner marketing meetings as well, partner meetings. So it all comes together in one. And you just maximise the benefit if you work together, because in the end of the day, the more you take a message to the market in this same consistent way, and you have to say it so many times you're actually bored of your own voice, this is when you start to just about make a dent.
Challenges of bridging marketing and comms
Are there challenges or maybe bigger differences which are hard to bridge between the two disciplines? I mean, I think what you've described makes perfect sense. And yeah, when you say it like that it's almost obvious, but are there points where maybe the two don't go to hand in hand? Or there's maybe... I'm just playing devil's advocate for the sake of playing devil's advocate…
I think at the times where, if I'm honest, at times that I've seen the biggest clashes is when you don't have the same leadership at the top. And when you have like two organisations almost fighting for power. But if you want things to work properly, these things need to come together in the end of the day. And hopefully I'm not insulting any of my other practitioners who might see these things as differences.
Everything needs to come out from a solid business strategy and then how you articulate your own proposition. So if you've got that lined up, then everything else is just a channel. So it's just the various media that you use to take this message out to market. And if I think of what I was taught back in uni is the medium becomes the message. So then you just tweak according to your channel.
So a LinkedIn post will be different to a TikTok video, will be different to a briefing to an analyst. It will be different to an email you one send to your customer. But in the end of the day, there's a common thread, right? It's the same business strategy to the same audience that you wanna reach. And having an effective articulation of your value prop.
I guess what's always a challenge is to get your blocks in place, to know what your strategy is, to know what your personas are out there that you want to talk to, and also make sure that you keep abreast of what's happening in the market, right? I mean, once upon time, maybe we would all only be talking to banks. Now our business goes outside banks. Our biggest customer, well one of our biggest customers is PayPal.
So changing the way you talk about their needs, challenges and what they want to achieve is also evolving. And keeping on top of these changes or ahead of the market is always a tricky part that, whether you're a communicator or a marketer or both, this is what you need to keep on top of.
Where does partner marketing come into comms?
I'm really interested in the partner marketing side of things, as you said, it sounds like it's not always the case that partner marketing would be owned by someone such yourself or organisationally it can sit in different places.
But maybe you can talk a bit about how you came responsible for the partner marketing function and how you see that sitting alongside the comm side of things. From what you're saying, the importance of the comms is just that consistency of message. Running through everything else that happens in marketing. And I guess the same is true on the partner marketing side too. Correct?
Correct. And I just put my hand up. This is how I ended up with a partner market saying I wish there was a more refined answer to that. And now we have three people strong, four people. And as I said, more and more are running autonomously.
But I guess at the beginning, especially when I was meeting partners, I think they were quite happy that they had one person to go to in terms of both the comms and partner marketing activities, because typically all they wanted to do was articulate our joint partnership and take this message to market. And that was the first step.
So the first thing that everyone was asking was for a press release to start with. So finally, this is a person that we need to talk to. And if I give an example, quite recently, we had our Temenos community forum, which is our flagship event where we have almost 2000 people attend, plus we broadcast this online. We announced the extension of a partnership with AWS effectively taking our digital buying solutions, putting them on the AWS cloud. And again, we worked in tandem, right?
Obviously our executives were meeting where there was a platinum sponsor, they noted the event, and this is marketing, but at the same time we had a press release go out. We had thought leadership videos would take place that we published externally because we did them in tandem with media companies. But beyond that, there were internal home elements as well because we wanted to amplify the effects of the partnership internally.
So again, we broadcasted that on our own internal TV program that we do too. So, and on it goes, there will be more partner marketing, engagement, more alignment with the executives. There'll be more maybe joint events taking place or appointments setting campaigns, but it all comes together. And in order to be effective, you need to have both elements of marketing and communications.
How to bridge the gap between marketing and comms
You talked a little bit about some of the team structure. It sounds like a lot of your focus is building great teams. And as you said, being the football manager. So I think in a lot of organisations, it's easy for silos to form between different functions.
And this is not just a marketing comms problem. We talk a lot about sales and marketing alignment on the podcast. And I mean, silos exist across any business of a certain size, I think. Are there any things that you have actively thought about or worked on to reduce silos? I guess the obvious first answer is having one person, everything rolling up into one person, function, but other things?
Yeah. Obviously everything eventually rolls up to one person. But the reality is that it's a bit of a mindset, I think Alex. So I hadn't put a name tag to it and then our CMO was referring to it as servant leadership. And it actually made sense in my head because we're talking about a more unselfish way of leading, trying to show authority, but not necessarily fight for power.
And once you have this attitude where you try to make people's lives easier and serve the executives or other marketing teams and colleagues, then I think the silos start to break and people respect you for what you bring to the table. It does require of course, collaboration, visibility. And sometimes you have to tell things like they are and give feedback.
And especially in my team where we have the feedback from partners, from press, from analysts, from our own employees, sometimes you have to give this feedback and it can be a bit hard to take, but it all builds good character. So yeah, servant leadership. It seems to be the case. And after that, I've looked it out and I think there is lots of literature out there that one can read and find out about.
Interesting. I mean, I think with all of these things, they revolve around good relationships at their core. I think whenever we talk about any silos or departments working together, it all just ends up coming back to building human relationships and people getting along. There's no secret weapons or tools or tricks or frameworks that can help, it comes down to people.
Exactly. I mean, you can have frameworks because after a while, especially when an organisation grows, you need a certain structure and certain cadence, but at the end of the day, it does boil down to people, their relationships and how they are.
Is comms always top of funnel?
Absolutely. I'm interested in getting your thoughts on where coms fits in the bigger picture. I know we love to talk about funnels in the marketing world and whether, sometimes people might say that comms sits at the top of the funnel and it's all about building the initial awareness and the brand. And then you've got paid marketing, demand gen, right at the bottom of the funnel. Is that how you see things?
Cause I think we live in a more data driven world where the hardcore digital marketing stuff is the stuff that wins more and more of the budget because it's easier to show the impact and do the reporting. And sometimes comms unfairly gets maybe put in a bit more of a slightly fluffier, harder to touch, harder to measure box, and then marketing and comms can be seen in two different lights from that perspective. But I don't know what your thoughts are on that?
Yeah, I guess the classic way of viewing comms is that it's top of the funnel, in terms of building visibility, making noise or creating more awareness. And then thought leadership, right? In order to create more consideration. But at the end of the day, and that's why I always insisted that the title of the team is marcomms and not just comms, it's about the message. It's about being able to articulate that in an effective way.
So then in that case, the way you draft an email to the customers, or the way you articulate your post on social media, which therefore at some point is gonna lead to your website because this is what you're trying to do. And then hopefully it's gonna end up being a lead.
This is where I see comms penetrating every aspect of marketing. I think just thinking about it as a layer, the top, maybe just with press releases is a misconception. I think marcomms are much deeper in terms of articulating the company narrative and the value proposition that you want to teach to your market.
Are any particular comms more suitable to B2B tech?
I think it's hard to paint with a broad brush, but do you think there's certain communications that are more suitable to the B2B tech world? I know we talk a lot about some of the traps that B2B tech companies fall into in their marketing and some of the themes and trends we talk about are how they are not very human or they're quite dry and boring and not particularly adventurous and quite functional talking a lot about what they do and how they do it, but less about why and what they believe and why they exist.
And the more, maybe the more traditional B2C stuff is maybe more emotive. I don't know whether you've seen across, I know you spent some time agency side as well, so I'm sure you saw a whole range of different styles of companies across your own career too. Is there a particular approach that you see more frequently?
I think in the end of the day, your end consumer is a person. Now whether this person sits in their home and wants to buy toothpaste or whether they are sitting at home these days in front of a laptop most likely, and they're evaluating banking software, at the end of the day, your comms will land in front of a human.
And I think this is something that you always need to have in mind, in terms of being well understood. Simple, not simplistic, not to hide between acronyms and difficult to understand sentences because I think people who really know their topic, they can actually articulate it in simple language that anyone can understand.
Of course, technology has its own terms like a medical profession, for example. And when you write or when you speak, you need to have that in mind so you don't offend them by talking about the obvious. But simple business writing is what people want. And think about the time that people have to read or consume any information these days.
I don't think anyone goes past the headline. So unless you can grab them, then you've lost them. And in order to grab someone, you have to be interesting and you have to be more and you have to be human and empathetic, especially post pandemic or even more so during the pandemic. Having empathy in your communications is quite important. Having empathy as a company is very important.
Does size and maturity of a B2B org have an effect on comms?
Absolutely. What about the size and maturity of the industry? Do you think these will have an impact on how companies communicate? I think when we talk about companies being boring, is that a byproduct of a certain size and scale when businesses get to a certain point and become a bit more serious?
Well, when you're young as a company, you need to be more provocative by the very nature of who you are. It's almost you're trying to take over the Goliaths of this world. So there's perhaps more that you can do, and perhaps you have more restrictions in terms of legal corporate teams, brand teams, you're challenging, also investing in marcomms at the start is quite important, because you want to get your name on the map, you want to talk through the analysts so they understand what your technology is all about.
But then as you mature, I guess having this external view and being critical of what you push out is quite important, and taking sonic tracking things right? Because you might think that you're good at what you do, but having the humility to take something to a customer or to an analyst or to a journalist and even ask them what they think and taking on board the feedback is very important.
Women in marketing leadership
I know that you're a passionate advocate for women in leadership. I'd love to wrap things up by talking a little bit about that. Maybe you can tell us a bit about where the passion comes from?
Oh, I think the passion comes with the fact that I'm a mother of three girls. And when I see how amazing and driven they are and competent, I for sure want them to have the same opportunities as anyone else in the world. And sometimes seeing how good they are in academia.
For example, I'm thinking, where are all these girls having degrees, et cetera. What happens? Why are they not 50/50 in terms of when you look at management boards and executive committees. If women are 50% of the population, which they are more of, then there needs to be equal representation everywhere.
And there are things that companies can do in terms of encouraging women to take on leadership positions. I think active sponsorship is one of them, having leaders supporting and giving these career breaks that women need, because I guess sometimes unless you're given the opportunity, you won't take it.
And also certain things like, for example, maternity leaves or being a mother, should not be viewed as a disadvantage. And that's something that I'm also quite firm believer of. When women come back from maternity leave, they need to be supported. And they shouldn't be bypassed for any opportunities. Common misconceptions are that women coming back, they want to spend time with their babies and they don't want to go for the next career promotion. That might not be the case.
I mean, obviously you have to discuss with your female employee, but they might be up for it. And they should be given equal opportunities for pay increases and promotions and supported accordingly. In fact, in my experience, many of my female colleagues, myself included, we came back much stronger, much more empowered, much more able to prioritise and see the big picture. That's something that company leaders, all company leaders should have in mind.
Absolutely. Yeah. I couldn't agree more. Do you see any specific challenges within certain marketing roles? I mean there's such a diversity of roles out there in the marketing and comms world, but I guess some roles are maybe more technical. Others are more brand focused or more creative. Are there areas where you think diversity is a bigger problem?
I would like to see more female CMOs. There you go.
Generally in leadership. Fair enough. Absolutely. Well, Evelina it's been a pleasure talking, that's absolutely flown by.
That went so fast.
It did go so fast. We could talk for hours, I'm sure. But we like to keep the episodes short and sweet where we can. I was gonna say so that people can listen to them when they're commuting, but I'm not sure how much people are commuting these days, but either way, thank you so much for joining the podcast and for sharing everything.
Alex, thank you. It's been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you.
Thanks for listening. Before we go. Just one final shout out to our FINITE partner, 93x, the digital marketing agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth, B2B tech and SaaS companies visit 93x.agency to find out how they partner with marketing teams to drive growth.
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