B2C Marketing Ops/Tech in Europe with John Van Pijkeren

Michael Hartmann: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of OpsCast powered by marketingops.com brought you by the Mo Pros. I am Michael Hartmann. I am solo hosting today. Naomi and Mike are unable to join. I’m sure we’ll get them soon today. I am. Excited to have joining me, John Van Pijkeren. John is a professional in digital marketing and marketing and technology with a capability to combine strategy with execution.

He has over 10 years experience in delivering digital products, platforms, and campaigns for leading brands in an international environment. He is currently a product manager with Nike, with previous stints, with brands, such as Heineken. He’s also been a consultant and is the co-founder of gift shift, a solution for nonprofit organizations to enable easier donations from supporters.

So, John, thank you for joining us today.

John Van Pijkeren: Thanks for having me here.

Michael Hartmann: All and let’s. Yeah, until let’s, uh, tell our audience, where are you located?

John Van Pijkeren: I’m located well in the Netherlands. Uh I’m today in a small village, the build, [00:01:00] which is very close to your track.

Michael Hartmann: Ah, nice. So once again, we are trying to expand our, our coverage to be a global, so excited to have another person on from, from Europe. So John, glad to have you on here for our listeners who are mostly in the us, um, and mostly in B2B to learn more about marketing ops and MarTech and in Europe. Part one, and also from a, a little more of a B2C context, but I think as we get into this, we’ll see there’s a little bit of a B2B component to what you’ve done as well.

So let’s start with you just sharing a little bit about your career journey with our listeners. Um, you know, what are some of the key turning points or pivotal points in your career? Um, and we’ll just start with that.

John Van Pijkeren: So, so for sure one pivotal point was, uh, in 2010 when I finished my master’s in business administration, which is. A broad, a broad one. Uh, I had the opportunity to, to join a consultancy firm called cap Gemini consulting. Um, not very based, very much based on my [00:02:00] specialties or my skills, but more of my personality and my experience in sports, which I very much related to, uh, with my manager, uh, at, at the time.

Um, and well, It was only after one years and a half that I was on a project from Kip, Gemini with Heineken, um, and Heineken at that time asked me to stay, which I for sure wanted to do so because Heineken is a great organization, uh, based in the center of Amsterdam. Great

Michael Hartmann: on. At that age. I know exactly what you were thinking, right?

John Van Pijkeren: Exactly. Exactly. So that was a, a huge opportunity. Um, so I, uh, I ended up joining, uh, joining Heineken, um, and there, I had to had the luck with, uh, to, to work with a lot of great colleagues, but for sure, one of my managers had great FA in me. Uh, he gave me a lot of opportunities to grow in my well in the eight years that it was at Heineken, um, in different roles.

So great to work with brands like DESS like se, [00:03:00] but for sure as well with, uh, with Heineken, um, to be able to do great things with the James Bond campaigns with famila one with champions league, so huge opportunities there. Um, However, after eight years, I also decided that it was a good time to pursue other opportunities outside of, uh, of Heineken.

And that’s why I, uh, ended up joining Nike, um, almost one year and a half ago. And, um, again, great organization, great brands and, uh,

Michael Hartmann: So can I ask you a, a totally random question, but you just referred to it as Nike. I’m curious to, cuz I know the actual name is Nike. Do people inside call it Nike or Nike or do they, is it sort of open?

John Van Pijkeren: I actually thought the same before I joined Nike that it was Nike, but I got, um, I got told quite quickly that it’s, uh, that it’s Nike, not Nike.

Michael Hartmann: oh, interesting. Okay. Sorry.

I, I didn’t, I didn’t mean to interrupt, but I just, it was, you said that and I was like, oh, that’s not what I was expecting.[00:04:00]

John Van Pijkeren: I can

Michael Hartmann: so I, so when I introduced you, I, I said it wrong is what you’re saying.

John Van Pijkeren: Well, yeah, let’s, let’s put it like this. Nike. It is.

Michael Hartmann: Nike. Okay. Well, good. Uh, and you’ve been at now at Nike for how long.

John Van Pijkeren: Almost, uh, one year and a half.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. Great. And, and during your time at Heineken and I, I think at Nike as well, you’ve been doing kind of marketing technology kind of from a global standpoint, right?

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, exactly. So, um, well, in, in Nike, I’m in the EMEA region, so working very closely with our global counterparts, um, based in the, in the us, um, At Heineken, our headquarters, our global organization was located indeed in Amsterdam, where it was then part of the global organization. Um, very much involved in marketing and technology, always working at that intersection of marketing and tech, trying to.

Or translate what our business, our market is, would need to develop great brands to translate [00:05:00] that into solutions and technology and deliver those and make sure those solutions are being used. Um, and that we AC actually get the value from those solutions.

Michael Hartmann: Got it now, I just, for selfish reasons, cuz my, my wife is in nonprofit, uh, world. I’m curious. So, um, and just, cuz it’s kind of interesting that you did something really quite different with this gift shift. What. Can you share with our listeners? Just a quick overview. What is gift shift? Is it still around?

What do you, what’s it doing?

John Van Pijkeren: Absolutely. So give shift is my, uh, my own organization and I’ve launched, I think, two years ago together with, uh, with three friends. And we’re, we’re now running the organization with the four of us, um, and give shift, um, has the ambition to deliver a, the nation platform that allows. The millennial. Mostly and primarily to flexibly, donate to charities because we saw this huge challenge of the charities to connect at wealth, to [00:06:00] reach the millennials and to connect with them and to attract them to actually donate to their charities.

Um, at the same time, we also learn from all those millennials that they want to don’t want to have those long term contracts that they want to be able to flexibly donate. And that is something that we are trying to facilitate through a. But more than a platform or a website or an app. We want to be a beloved brand because we need to inspire, inspire the millennials to donate, and we actually want to become a movement.

And that is a huge ambition, of course, a movement that, um, activates our millennials, our target audience to donate. And that’s where we are trying to make the difference for, uh, for the.

Michael Hartmann: That’s all right. No, I, I, I really appreciate that just on a personal level, but also I, I just, you know, listening to my wife when she talks about strategy for, for, um, fundraising, things like that, right. I think there’s a huge opportunity. Or, or if, if you’re a fundraiser and you’re not really thinking about, [00:07:00] you know, not just the top tier.

Donors right in the, the broader base that are gonna be those future top tier donors. Right. That’s I think there’s an opportunity there. So thank you for doing that. Appreciate it. I, I think it’s fantastic. Okay. So let’s get into this. Like we promised everybody, we talk a little bit about B2C and what it’s like in Europe, in a global organization.

So let’s, you know, when we talked before you were thinking that your experience with Heineken would be valuable to our listeners. So I know you just sort of quickly covered that you were there eight years and in the intersection of marketing and technology, but maybe go another level deeper about what happened during those eight years while you were there.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, so, hi again, I had a great opportunity to join, uh Heineke and was back in 2012 and I joined a department called the web center and that department was relatively small. It didn’t even have, I felt a formal position in the organization in the big organization in Heineke was just. [00:08:00] Digital marketing or marketing technology.

Wasn’t really a big, big topic yet. And it was mostly, uh, back then being managed by the business itself. So by the marketers or the brand managers, um, the,

Michael Hartmann: how, how many brands? Cause I, I mean, I was there’s obvious Heineken, right? The beer, but what, what other brands is under the Heineken umbrella?

John Van Pijkeren: think in total Heineken has over 250 brands.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. I did not

John Van Pijkeren: Um, but there are, those are, there are many, many local brands, uh, like you probably also have in the us, which are under the umbrella of Heineken as a, uh, as a bigger organization. Uh, but there are also some brands which we call, uh, international brands, for example, the soul beer.

I think you would know that one, uh, Kar, uh, the tiger beer. Um, gastos.

Michael Hartmann: part of the Heineken. Okay. I did not realize. Okay. Makes sense. I mean, the same thing happens with the large breweries here in [00:09:00] the us, as far as

John Van Pijkeren: Exactly. And, and all those, all those brands have their brand teams, um, partially based in, um, or fully based in Amsterdam from a web center. So the department point of view, we were the. We try to be the partner of those brands in digital marketing and technology. Um, but however, at the, at first we were just a supplier, almost an internal agency being the supplier of those brands.

And what I think is a huge success is that we, um, developed ourselves and evolved from just being a supplier and doing what’s being asked for, to really become a true partner, becoming end to end involved with all those, um, with all those brands. Starting from the strategy, like, how are we turning? Um, how are we making Ike a great brand?

Um, not only on festivals or with the big sponsorships or with the beer itself, but also online. How can we do big campaigns for famila one and successful campaigns for famila one and James Bond? Um, [00:10:00] and how can we manage ourselves effectively and efficiently? So not, um, Support every brand by brand with different solutions and with different, uh, technologies, but really try to also from an it point of view, be effective and, and scalable.

Um, so in the beginning we

Michael Hartmann: Okay,

John Van Pijkeren: provided.

Michael Hartmann: so, okay, go. Maybe this is where you’re going. I was just gonna ask, like, cuz when I hear web, I think you were doing websites and things like that. Is that primarily the kind of work where you you were doing or were you doing some marketing technology stuff? Like. Beyond

John Van Pijkeren: Uh, so yeah, so back then we, um, we, we divided ourselves into three pillars. One was around project management, so we just had our waterfall project management in place. We provided project managers who could bring and manage those projects to bring websites indeed, but also, um, apps to live from beginning to end, we had another pillar, um, consult.

I was one of the consultants. So we had consultants for, [00:11:00] uh, well functional consultancy. We called it and technical consultancy. And we had a pillar called operations, uh, where we managed domains, where we, uh, managed the hosting, the infrastructure, et cetera, uh, and where we also done, uh, parts of the analytics and making sure that we could properly measure the effect and the impact of our campaigns.

Um, We started very much of back then, um, doing the websites. We weren’t heavily involved yet in campaigns, but that also came, uh, came our way. Uh, then apps came our way, social media advertising, um, so across and that’s, that’s where we ended up with. So, um, a few pillars around data around. Content around advertising experiences and platforms.

And, um, not only delivering those websites and apps, but also delivering and selecting the right, uh, technology to be able to do so.

Michael Hartmann: Got it. A and during, during that time, you, you know, you were there eight years. So [00:12:00] how did your, like your actual role, what was it initially? How did it evolve?

John Van Pijkeren: so I came in as a consultant for digital analytics. So my first. Role was to really make our, um, marketers aware that we should not bring campaigns successful to life, but should bring successful campaigns to life. So we should really start measuring, uh, what the impact was of our campaigns, rather than bringing the campaign to life, turning our rack and, and go, go after the next campaign and go after the next project,

we didn’t

Michael Hartmann: you just, left out of the room? Were you just left out of the room then?

John Van Pijkeren: well at the start.

At the start, the storyline of, um, how successful a campaign was wasn’t already ready was already there. I was only asked to provide the right data to provide the right numbers that actually support that story. Well, that’s, that’s the other way around of how I, which, uh, envision it to be, uh, and it [00:13:00] was a long way, but we, what we finally got there and we, uh, we really started measuring the impact of our campaigns and our platforms, et cetera.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. I mean, I, for the, our listeners, right. I was just sitting here nodding, like, yeah, I get it. Right. The everyone wants to, like so much effort is put into yeah. Any campaign that we’ve any of our listeners have probably been involved with it. The idea of then actually taking the time to pause and review it.

If you don’t have dedicated resources, which I think a lot of people don’t nor even if they do, they don’t necessarily have the right skill set to do the analytics. Or they can do the analytics, but can’t really get insights from ’em.

John Van Pijkeren: Uh, I think that’s, uh, that that’s totally fair. And, uh, well, many don’t have. The solutions to collect the data or don’t have the data at all. Once you have the data indeed. How do you get actionable insights from it? Uh, and, um, once you have those actionable insights, do you actually follow up on those insights and do you actually try to, uh, optimize [00:14:00] the campaign itself or do you try to take the learnings and to, um, to take those into account for a future campaign or that didn’t happen a lot within Heineken at that time, it was just based on experiences and.

Yeah. A Heineke campaign is, uh, quite successful or really if you look at reach and if you look at how many people would see it, then yeah. Yes, it is, uh, successful quite, quite quickly because you are reaching a lot of people. If you put, uh, sufficient budget behind it in terms of advertising.

Michael Hartmann: Right. Okay. So these were mostly B2C campaigns. Okay. So you were doing the, the analytics piece. After that did, were you, is that what you did the majority of your eight years there, or did it evolve over time for your,

John Van Pijkeren: Now, I think that was, uh, just maybe the first year. Um, and I did that mostly for, well, I did it for all the brands, but, uh, the one brand that was mostly interested in it was Desperados. So those were, um, yeah, maybe, maybe the, the ones going more after the data driven [00:15:00] marketing than, than some others. Uh, and that’s also one of the reasons I ended up becoming the, uh, the lead.

Well, the digital marketing lead for DESS. Um, and that that’s from that, that moment on where’s my scope expanded to not just DESS, but then adding soul, adding to tiger beer, adding TECA beer. Uh, so that’s what I’ve done over the, uh, the next couple of years being the overall digital marketing and technology, uh, lead.

So. What we call the singles point of contact for all those brands and making sure that we could, uh, indeed deliver the solutions, but also deliver the platforms, any experiences,

Michael Hartmann: Okay. So I wanna get into the international piece of this cuz if I, I probably probably know too much about beer. Um, but if I remember I had tigers in.

John Van Pijkeren: Asia?

Michael Hartmann: Asia somewhere, right. Philippines. If I remember right. Indonesia, something like that.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. Singapore and Malaysias.

Michael Hartmann: And then soul and Tekaia Mexico. And I forget the other one, the other one, I’m not familiar with that you [00:16:00] mentioned, but, so it sounds like were you dealing with teams and stuff globally and all this stuff that goes with it, like translations and things like that.

What were some of the big challenges you had then?

John Van Pijkeren: Um, yeah, so we were dealing with a lot of operating companies as we call them. So those are the countries, uh, that Heineke is, is working in, uh, we had over 80 operating companies and not of, oh, not all of them, even equally mature. Right. Um, uh, And neither did we, uh, really have conversation with all of the operating companies, but at least with about 15 to 20 to 25 on a regular basis.

Um, and making sure that we need that we, um, supply them with the right material to, at one point we had this global approach. We bring to life Des far dot and we tell France, we tell, uh, the us, we tell UK. Here is your Des browser, Des browser.com. We need you to translate some of the copy and then we we’ll make sure, uh, that you will have [00:17:00] your local version of Des browser.com, but that’s not how it worked.

We thought so, but that’s not how it works. Like every country is

Michael Hartmann: best laid plans. Right.

John Van Pijkeren: Exactly. Exactly. And every, every country is, is different. Um, and we couldn’t really yeah. Make that, made that connection with the, with the operating companies, always as good as, as we. And we were perceived to be in this ivory tower, making all the decisions in, at the, at the center, in, at the global office.

So that also hampered and heard the relationship that we had with our operating companies. So that was, um, one thing that we for sure had to change and we did. So by involving the operating companies more and more, making sure that we also brought in their perspectives, their needs their requirements to make sure that we land a website as DESS also.

Um, in such a way to that is relevant to their local consumer.

Michael Hartmann: So it’s interesting because I’ve got a little bit of global [00:18:00] experience. I don’t think, not quite as much as yours in particular. Um, Wh when I think about international from a us going out perspective, which is more often than not what I’ve dealt with, even though I’ve worked for a Japanese based company at one time in my career, the, um, yeah, I think a lot of companies break up the, the globe into the Americas.

EMIA AsiaPac. Um, some will break out Japan separately just because Japan’s market is so different. But I think, I always think of, you know, Europe and, and the Americas are relatively homogeneous, right? The way you go to market, the way business is done is fairly similar. But Asia to me is the biggest one where it’s like each country is almost a unique market.

Like how business is done, like the importance of having local. Con localized content translated. If you are, you know, you need to have the right kind of people, you [00:19:00] know, on site, you, right. You can’t just send people over and they’ll generally do well. I mean, there, I’m sure there are exceptions to that rule, but I mean, did you find some of the same things where, and then did you, part of, I’m curious as part of that working with those, uh, operating businesses, did you like is part of what you did actually, did you go travel to them right.

To help build relationships? Just

John Van Pijkeren: Um, not too much, actually. So we had a lot of conversations, but a lot back then already virtual. So, uh, also pre COVID. We were, uh, having all those virtual meetings and not traveling too much. So I’ve been once to, uh, to Singapore where I met a lot of my Asian colleagues who came from Malaysia, from Singapore, from Vietnam to be indeed in workshops to identify what would be the best approach to bring tiger beer to life.

In a way that it’s relevant for the UK and for Malaysia, for example, um, and indeed many of those markets are different and as such, uh, the content should [00:20:00] be different. So you mentioned already, it should be localized. Of course it should be translated, but also in terms of the imagery that you’re using, that that should also be a proper fit to, uh, to, to the local consumer in Malaysia.

And that. That’s just one example, but then you also have regulation. So in Europe we have GDPR, which is something that we need to adhere to, which is I think, uh, different still in the us. Uh,

we have.

Michael Hartmann: just about any company, if you’re dealing. I, I I’m sure there’s some companies, especially smaller ones that are just local businesses that don’t have to worry about that. But just about any company I’ve worked for, has we have to assume there’s gonna be global visitors to our website, for example, and people are interested in our whatever product or service we’re offering that are gonna be outside of this.

So we have to, I, I don’t know a single company, that’s not thinking at least a little bit about GDPR compliance or privacy in general, and it is evolving in the us. What makes it harder in the us? We should probably do it just a whole [00:21:00] podcast episode about this week is that, um, it’s not evolving at the national level.

It’s evolving at the state level faster than it is at the, at the, at the national level. And so,

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. And how do you keep track of all those developments? If you’re not on the ground, if you, you cannot keep track of it just at a, at a, at a global level. So that is a, a huge, uh, challenge. Um, in Europe we have so many different languages. So many different currencies, if that would be well applicable to eCommerce.

For sure. Um, so that’s something that we, that you need to take into account when, when expanding from, for example, from us to, to Europe, um, countries with multiple languages, how are you going to select the right language for the light, for the right consumer? That’s all, all those type of things that you need to

Michael Hartmann: I mean the only place near here that we have our friends in Canada have to deal with that. Right. When they’re.

John Van Pijkeren: Exactly. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: stuff in, in, uh, in Quebec. So, um, okay. So this is, this is fascinating, but I love the international connection. [00:22:00] Your, your point about being seen as on the ivory tower, I was, again, our VI, our, our listeners couldn’t see me.

I was like nodding my head vigorously, cuz I’ve been in that same boat. And the reason I ask about you traveling is what I found most, uh, beneficial, particularly with Asian teams is. At least going over there and meeting, meeting people at face to face. Right. It doesn’t have to be where they are. I think that’s better.

But your point about meeting in Singapore with the teams over there, I suspect your ability to communicate with them really dramatically increase after that face to face meeting.

John Van Pijkeren: Absolutely. Absolutely. Uh, that that’s and well, the communication, um, like being able to. Understand, both tech and business is one of, I think the key capabilities that a, that I needed, uh, back then at Heineken. Um, and indeed once you have met certain people and you have, have not only met them, [00:23:00] um, in a work environment, but also after work, uh, with a couple of beers that makes life a lot easier.

And the collaboration a lot more well, fun and effective.

Michael Hartmann: No. I, I think that’s totally, totally true. And I mean, it’s cl I mean, it, I think it applies everywhere, but it applies particularly when you’re dealing with people remote in other countries with different cultural sort of norms and things like that, but we can all bond over beer. Right, right.

John Van Pijkeren: exactly. We have the right product to do so.

Michael Hartmann: all right. So, so you, men, you sort of hit on this a little bit. Uh, I wanna go back to it, but you told me when we were kind of planning this, that you, one of your. Your major accomplishments that you’re proud of is, was aligning, you said 80 plus I think I have in my notes, 82 operating companies on their MarTech stack and processes, you know, first off is like, did I get, did I get that right?

And then if so, or either way, right? What are some of the lessons you learned from that that would be helpful for our listeners?

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, I think so. Um, you’re, you’re, you’re partially, right. So I [00:24:00] think we, um, we created a framework that was relevant and applicable to all the operating companies. And so this MarTech framework, uh, we call it, um, Covered solutions for data. So how do we collect data? What kind of solutions do we, and what kind of technology do we use to collect data, to store data, to make data available to other operating operating companies?

We had one around content. So how do we. Create content, how do we store content? How do we manage content and share content across? So that was really our well partially our digital asset management solutions, um, and content management solutions. We headed around advertising. So that was well that, that framework with data, with content, with advertising, with our platforms.

So all of our websites that we had in place for our brands and as well with all those experiences. Whether it was on platform, [00:25:00] so on website or whether it was, um, outside of the Nike environment. So for example, on social media, that was all to, to that framework. Everybody could kind of relate and that was applicable to everyone.

And from there, we had a, um, a, a process in place where for some of. Areas we had a global solution and the, the, the, the reasoning would be, if you need a solution to store data, you first go to global being an operating company, and you ask for this solution. And if that solution, um, can be used by, uh, by that operating company, that was the way to go.

If that couldn’t, if, if you couldn’t use it and for that, you needed to have a very good case, then you were. Maybe allowed to deviate from this global standard and to apply your own solution. And that can be, uh, because of, uh, of budgets because of maturity because of the use [00:26:00] cases and maybe even regulations.

So, um, that was kind of the process and that I think that. That’s one of the big successes that we were able to land that process, but that didn’t mean that we were in the end, able to fully standardize our, um, our MarTech stack, but at least optimize our MarTech

Michael Hartmann: Got it. Okay. So I just wanna make sure, so that you use the word framework, so framework included. Um, how should I say a recommended tech stack? Right. Was key components to it and how those were gonna be operated, uh, along with the processes that would be used for building content and deploying and publishing it along with, uh, tracking and analytics.

And then I think the other part you said was advertising. So I get that, um, for those operating companies where, for whatever reason, right? The recommended tech stack didn’t seem right. Was it more often because of cost or complexity or just simply [00:27:00] staffing. Right. And how did you, did you support them with staffing?

How did you, how did that work?

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, so that was also, um, so staffing was, um, so we did a lot of support from the global organization. Um, and we also did quite a lot of times and assessment on the maturity of our operating companies in terms of, uh, budgets in terms of staffing, in terms of knowledge and skills. And, um, if they wouldn’t be mature enough for any reason to adopt.

Big global, um, technology, like for example, Salesforce, then we could potentially deviate from it, um, and, um, decide collaboratively on what would be the right alternative for them. But that could ferry will be for budgeting reasons or for staffing reasons. Um it’s and sometimes it wasn’t, um, Just staffing or budgets or skills, but just because of a local agency telling them that [00:28:00] sales for Salesforce would not be the right way to go, but them pushing their local, uh, local solution.

Yeah. For them for a, for a commercial reason.

Michael Hartmann: Okay. Got it. And, but like, in some of these, some of these we talked about, right. Some of these markets are highly dependent on relationships, right?

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, absolutely. And, and, and those agencies collaborate with the local brand manager. On a daily basis, those agencies are also becoming true partners of those brand managers. And so they can very well convince them that they should go for a local, uh, local solution. And again, that agency can for sure have a commercial reason behind it, and it might not be the right right way to go, uh, at the end for, for Heineken, because also we needed to kind of simplify our MarTech, uh, landscape because if every operating company and that literally was the case could choose their own. Solution for which use case at all. Yeah. Then at one point you have a very large landscape, which is not, uh, [00:29:00] manageable anymore.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, no, I, and there’s like as a, from a corporate standpoint where you, I’m sure you get the benefit of buying power and things like that when you’re buying at scale and so on. So that, yeah, I understand. I also sort on the flip side, understand the individual businesses or, or, um, operating companies that they want to have a little more control over their own destiny.

Right. So.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: It’s a trade off, like

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, exactly. And, and as a global organization, you’re, you’re not always very quick. Right. And you also have to prioritize. Operating companies go first and which operating companies are later on the roadmap. And of course, a local brand manager doesn’t want to wait on that roadmap. He wants to move.

He wants to be on the market quickly and yeah. And then, yeah, it’s, it’s quite, uh, tempting, to, to go for a local solution.

Michael Hartmann: it is. All right. So, um, again, I think we alluded to this a little bit. So the majority of [00:30:00] the campaigns you initially supported were B to C um, Is was there, is there a B2B component to what you, it evolved to? I mean, I’m, and I’m thinking that maybe there’s something to do with like the distribution part of it, as opposed to the advertising to support, um, retail, uh, purchases.

Um, so walk us through that is how much of it was B2B, how much B2C.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. So personally it was, um, I think for myself, 95% B2C, however, I was part of this digital, uh, commerce. Department looking after the commerce technology of which my department and my team looked after the marketing technology, but it was also a team looking after sales technology, and more focusing on B2B and within our team, we had a lot of conversation.

Okay. How can we utilize the solutions that I’m selecting for? B2C that can also [00:31:00] be applied for B2B and the other way around. And also again, in order to be more, uh, flexible, to be more scalable and to in the end be more effective and efficient with our technologies. So a lot of conversations, um, cuz on B2B platforms you need to manage your content.

Uh, Just like you need to do on, on B2C, uh, platforms. And if you need to do translations effectively and efficiently, why wouldn’t we use the same solution across? So there were many use cases that were applicable to both B2C and B2B. And for those use cases, we tried to, well simplify again, our landscape and use the same solutions.

Michael Hartmann: Makes sense. Okay.

John Van Pijkeren: And what I, what I like a lot actually is, um, in the end, B2B is also kind of B2C, right? There’s also one person sitting at the other at the other end of the screen, selecting, uh, and, and buying, uh, whatever, uh, is best for, for the company. But you can potentially just freedom as a, uh, as a consumer, too.

Michael Hartmann: Well, if we, if we had more time, I could take us way down a rabbit trail about what I think about like the content generated by a lot of B2B companies. And, [00:32:00] and I start with websites where you go to their website. And if you don’t know anything about the company already, I’d say your, your chances are about 50 50, that you’ll be able to figure out what they do.

Uh, too many of these companies try to be creative or not even creative, uh, clever, I guess, is the right word and, and not a great way about describing what they do instead of keeping it relatively simple and like, uh, it’s just, it drives me bananas. So

John Van Pijkeren: yeah, I, I can totally imagine. Yeah. Yeah. There is some, uh, some wins to begin over there.

Michael Hartmann: yeah, I mean, just at the end of the day, People are like people are buying from you. It just happens to be a context of they’re spending somebody else’s money, right. As opposed to their own.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And if you also, like, if you, as a, I don’t know, someone, someone in B2B, if you can showcase this within the organization that you are. Driving, uh, a particular solution that can [00:33:00] also be, uh, one, one very good reason to, to buy something. And then you’re still that, that, that one person driving it rather than doing this on behalf the whole, yeah, you’re doing it on behalf of the whole organization, but starts with yourself.

So you need to have that, that proper, proper experience on that website, on that app in order to be attracted, to buy something on a B2B platform. So yeah.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah. It’s

John Van Pijkeren: valuable for the person.

Michael Hartmann: like I said, I think we could, that could be a whole separate conversation. Um, so, um, okay. So you mentioned, um, Something about prioritizing the, like the times in which you would kind of, uh, I dunno if it’s roll out, but you know, start to implement some of these sort of St. The, the framework components with different operating businesses.

How, you know, how did you, this is a another area where I have, I’m pretty passionate about, like, how do you go through prioritization of that? Because I think there’s lots of different ways to do it. Um, this is maybe even [00:34:00] a, a level higher because you’re talking it. At a pretty macro program level. Right.

And I’m sure that you have, yeah, I think of it, but internally as a someone running marketing ops, right. I think about prioritization in terms of some version of an ROI or cost benefit analysis that drives. That against sort of capacity to deliver, you know, special project versus ongoing stuff and thinking about how do I prioritize?

So it’s not just a stack ranking. Yeah. You’re talking about like, how do you apply this to complete businesses? So did you use a similar kind of approach to prioritization? Was it based on revenue levels? Was it on potential customer size market size? Like what did you use to help drive that?

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. So we mostly started off with the size of the business and the size of the operating company. So therefore, uh, Mexico would, uh, a lot of the times be as like us, but also very much start Africa and fi who are really big operating companies, [00:35:00] um, in terms of volume and, uh, well for Heineken. So that would be one of the metrics that we would for sure use.

Um, we would also have a look at their. Local strategies and their local plans. Um, we have a, we had a, and Heineke still has a global strategy, but the global strategy is set up out all those local strategies. Um, and all those local strategies are, um, well, roadmaps are part of those local strategies and all their plans we need to take into account and we try to as much, um, also relate our plans to, to their, to those local strategy.

Um, And I think, um, and I think that was, that was, that was one, uh, one of the challenge to, to prioritize it because we, we couldn’t always do that very much accurate. It’s also quite a lot of times based on, on gut feel based on relationships and based on, uh, smart politics that, that maybe operating companies apply to, to the conversation that they have with global.

So it was a very, it was very [00:36:00] difficult, but we tried well for sure. Start with the, uh, with the size of, of the business. Uh, and then look at the local roadmaps and local strategies and try to support those as well.

Michael Hartmann: Totally makes sense. Yeah. Um, okay. So I was about to wrap up, I think, but I have 2, 2, 2 questions. I want us to finish up on. So one related kind of the follow up that and two, uh, second one, a little more about what you’re currently working on. So on that last one, so you mentioned some challenges, right?

What, are there any like major challenges or, or that you had in kind of rolling this stuff out globally that we haven’t already talked about that you think, oh, this was like, From a lessons learned standpoint, we, we saw this challenge is how we dealt with it. And then, so that’s question one sec. Second question is, um, really more like, yeah.

How did you, how are you applying what you learned there to what you’re doing at Nike? Uh, I almost said Nike again at Nike, or are you doing something completely different at Nike? I don’t even, I [00:37:00] don’t think we had a chance to really get into that.

John Van Pijkeren: Um, yeah. To start with your first question. So one of the, the key lessons learned, uh, in my time at time at Heineken and, uh, one big challenge that we needed to go to overcome is who is the actual decision maker on technology and who is the owner of the technology? Um, so at Heineken you had quite a clear distinction between marketing or business, and it, um, in the beginning, marketing was asking for.

Technology. And we were just providing it. However, at one point we also had our own view on architecture and the whole landscape and that we needed to be able to integrate, uh, technologies across and to be more scalable and efficient, et cetera. So we were taking more and more the ownership and you control over, um, the.

Technology that we had in place and that we offered to our, um, to our marketers. Um, and that was a friction that we needed to overcome. So they, it wasn’t just them telling us [00:38:00] what to provide anymore, but it was more of us, um, telling them what the options could potentially be. Um, and then, um, selecting the right ones altogether and then also making sure it’s, um, in the end, Challenge. It’s not just selecting and you know that for sure. Marketing operations, it’s not just about selecting that one famous big technology, and then waiting until the magic happens. There is, there are people required to have the skills, to have the knowledge to operate those systems, those solutions.

And that is very much, um, a challenge in Heineken. At first, we didn’t really identify who were the actual users of the solutions. And then once we identified the issues, we needed to train them. And that took a lot of time. And especially if you take it to account the turnaround of people, it’s a constant journey to make sure that the technology that you have selected are being used to actually gain the value [00:39:00] out of those.


Michael Hartmann: Yeah. I mean, that, that your point about, uh, understanding who the decision makers are really hits ’em and I had, I. Consistently run up against that. Right. It’s I always say, I, I wanna know whose heads need to nod to, you know, give us the green light to give us something, but I want that to be as small number as possible, ideally one, and I really, really wanna avoid people who can veto.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: That’s really easy just to knock something down, but to, to commit yourself, to approving to something is another deal altogether. All right. Anyway, again, another thing where I could get. Stomp and talk for a while. So tell us a little bit about what you’re doing at Nike and how, what you learned may or may not have applied to that.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. So, um, very. It’s different than, than what I was doing at Heineken. So at Heineken, I was focusing mostly on our own platforms and to bring our campaigns and content across on those platforms. Uh, today at Nike, I’m focusing more on the marketplaces. So working [00:40:00] very closely with partners, um, like JD, um, where we we’re also, uh, Nike products are being sold to make sure that we elevate the experiences for our consumers on those partner platforms as well.

Making sure that we, um, Offer the best experience, the right products that we make sure that the products are available. So connect the experience, connect the data, and also try to connect the inventory. And that’s where I’m, um, working on today at Nike.

Michael Hartmann: Oh, okay. So this is a little, it sounds like it’s a little bit of a mix of, I. To dumb it down to merchandising, but it’s a little bit of merchandising business operations, and then marketing right. Is a little bit

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, it’s the, the, the marketplace is marketplace partners and, and merchandising indeed. And, um, and what makes it different? It’s that’s on a third for, for me a third party platform rather than my own platform. And what makes a difference different is that today I’m in the region and not at the global head office anymore.

So not having [00:41:00] all the, the power and that’s, uh, something that is, uh, driving me crazy sometimes.

Michael Hartmann: yes. So now you’re on the you’re on the other end of it. I get it. So , uh, I appreciate that. Wow, this is great. Um, okay, so, well, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Uh, I think hopefully our, our listeners have, have gained a little bit of insight about some of the challenges with global kind of working on a global organization, across different countries and markets, uh, and regions.

Is there anything that, uh, we didn’t cover that you’d like, I wanna make sure that the listeners hear about this little nugget.

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah, so. In my view. Uh, and I had a conversation actually, uh, last week again in one of our team meetings, in my view, um, is the relationship is the partnership that makes you successful. Um, it’s not you for instance them, but it should really be a, uh, a true collaboration, a true partnership between, uh, marketing and, and technology or marketing.

And it, um, [00:42:00] Collectively deliver value and, uh, and it should be an equal partnership and not, um, uh, not a supplier relationship. So, um, I think technology should not just focus on tech, but also should focus on the ability to make that connection with the business, to understand the business and to be able to have that conversation with the business, not just about technology, but also about strategy.

Michael Hartmann: Yeah, I think, I think for our listeners out there, I think this is a really, really good point in that I, I am a big believer that building relationships, whether it’s a global organization or just in your own organization, if you’re not thinking about. If you’re interpreting somebody coming to you with something, and you’re saying, oh, they’re doing this because they don’t understand.

Or they’re just, you know, whatever. Right. They’re telling me what to do it. I would encourage you to start thinking about you, call empathy or whatever, but thinking about like, understanding where their perspective is coming from. Because I think there’s a lot to be learned from that. [00:43:00] And I think there’s lots of opportunities, marketing ops professionals to, you know, do something you don’t necessarily agree is the right thing to do right then.

but if it’s small enough, right. Where you can gate, like you build some trust, right.

John Van Pijkeren: Exactly. Yeah.

Michael Hartmann: it’s a huge, it’s a skillset that can be developed.

John Van Pijkeren: Absolutely. And I very much appreciate all the, um, all the effort that Heineken was taking to really develop their employees in, in, in those type of skills. So many soft skills trainings, ONT on listening skills, on asking the right questions and indeed building trust and building in the end. That true partnership.

Michael Hartmann: and we need to come up with a different term than soft skills, cuz I think it’s just, it’s

John Van Pijkeren: Yeah. Agree.

Michael Hartmann: it undervalues. I think the actual value of those skills. So I don’t know what they are cuz I’m yeah. I was talking to somebody just like within the last week about how I, I think those are, those are underrated skills.

I mean, we it’s, they’re harder to measure.

John Van Pijkeren: Yep.

Michael Hartmann: be harder to learn for some people than others, but that’s probably true of just about any. [00:44:00] Right. So anyway. Yeah. So I think that that’s a great point. I’m glad you brought that up. All right. So, John, thank you so much for this. If people wanna keep up with you or connect with you after all this, uh, because you, you know, I’m sure once, once this goes live, you’re gonna be inundated with all kinds of requests to learn what what’s the best way that people can connect with you at.

John Van Pijkeren: Well, I, I think that would be really great, uh, if we would have indeed follow up conversations based on our conversation today. Um, and the best way I think to find me is on LinkedIn. So, um, it’s probably not, not the most easy, easy name to, to type in, but once you’ll, uh, have the right name, you’ll probably find me.

Michael Hartmann: Well, we’ll, we’ll do our best to get, get a link into the, the show description. I know that when I, uh, uh, I post about it, I will definitely link to you so that way people can find you, John, it’s been great. I really enjoyed it. Um, it’s always fun to get a nice perspective. I know, um, coordinating this was not the easiest thing to do with our time zone differences.

But, uh, no, no apologies. It’s it’s life these days. [00:45:00] Right. So I’m glad we could make it happen to all of our listeners. Yeah. To all of our listeners. Thank you for joining us again and continuing to support us. If you have, uh, Comments suggestions, feedback about all this, uh, and any of our other episodes.

Please send them our way. If you are, have an idea for a topic, uh, or a guest, please let me know. Or Mike Rizzo or Naomi, Lou who couldn’t join today without everyone. We’ll talk to you next time. Bye.

John Van Pijkeren: My.