Interview with Barry Tierney, Head of Enterprise Commercial Management & Marketing at Vodafone Ireland

What is your background briefly?

I have over 20 years’ experience working in the technology and telecoms industry both in Ireland and internationally. My career has been made up of both commercial, ICT and product roles in companies including Verizon, Eircell as it was then, Sigma Telcom and now Vodafone where I have worked for the last seven years.

 Does it seem like a logical background to what you do now?

Looking back, it is very easy to connect the dots to my current role as it’s a real combination of developing communications strategies and commercial experiences. Having an understanding of the customer has been important in every role I have had throughout my career but no more so than in my current role at Vodafone. Vodafone has been investing heavily in integrating CXX (our customer experience initiative) into everything we do, it’s at the heart of our culture.

1 min pitch for what you are doing now?

There are really two elements to what I’m focused on at present – developing customer propositions and bringing them to the market and ensuring day to day operational efficiency.

In Vodafone, as in most businesses, no two customers are the same so my team and I constantly work to understand our customer’s needs, wants and business goals and then how Vodafone can partner with them to achieve these. For example, the requirements of a self-employed mechanic versus a large multinational technology company will be very different. This includes everything from how they analyse their bills to how they purchase the technology e.g. walking into a Vodafone store vs. through a complex, multi-stage tendering process.

If I were to sum up my job up in one line, I would say “I develop bespoke packages tailored to every customers’ needs.”

What is hot in marketing now?

My outlook is informed by the mantra ‘experience is the new product’. Having a consistent, engaging, reliable and positive experience is critical to customers. The way the communications industry has evolved and the impact communication technologies have across the business means that we are no longer just dealing with people in procurement or IT but with potential decision-makers right across the organisation from sales, and HR to customer care teams and strategy.

Vodafone is embracing digital marketing but specifically, targeted, personalised content developed by Vodafone and externally. We have a new platform which will allow us to give a customer a menu of content streams that reflects their genuine interests and expertise across the varied segments of this wider audience. In addition, we measure the success of each campaign and will use this data to outline where and when content should be shared with a target audience.

I think content marketing will continue to be an area of focus for marketers. Recent research by Edelman and LinkedIn highlights the influence valuable content has in the buyer’s journey. To take content marketing further, I think we will increasingly see B2B marketers aligning content marketing with marketing automation, allowing them increase the already successful results of their best content marketing campaigns.

How do you assess which strategies and social media platforms to pursue?

In many respects, it’ s not specifically about which social media platform to choose or indeed having to be on every media platform. The key is understanding which platforms your customers or potential customers are living on so we always begin with the customer. Understanding who they are and what is important to them allows us identify what channels they use across both traditional and digital/social platforms. Once we have this worked out, we research what their interests are, their business challenges and ambitions and then we can identify where Vodafone can help through providing the right communication solutions for their business. We also need to consider how best to engage with the customer in terms of the type of content e.g. blogs, video, infographics, print etc. and what will ensure they benefit the most from.

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