Mirroring Your Market
The following is an excerpt from The Evangelists: Insights from Leaders of the Nation’s Most Beloved Brands. Written by Pancho Dizon, this chapter is titled “Mirroring Your Market.” In it, Jasper Sadiang-abay, the Chief Marketing Officer of Booky, is interviewed about how the organization executes its strategy in market analysis.
Jasper Sadiang-abay knows more than anyone else the importance of putting together a team composed of just the right people. It’s something that he makes sure is noted in the hiring process at Booky, a food and lifestyle app where he is currently the Chief Marketing Officer.
Yet he doesn’t place an emphasis on teams just because. Sadiang-abay―with years of marketing experience under his belt that he gathered from working in startups and marketing agencies―has come to realize that the best marketing initiatives come easily when the team comes from their target demographic, is aware of the key metrics they need to meet, and works together well.
“One of the first things we ask an applicant with Booky is whether they have the app,” Sadiang-abay said. “This allows us to gauge just how well a potential hire understands what we offer and whether they can bring new ideas to the table. Though it’s not always a dealbreaker, it’s especially important if they want to come aboard the marketing team.”
According to Sadiang-abay, having a marketing team that’s made up of exactly the kind of people they want to reach makes conceptualizing campaigns easier and also gives them the freedom to create the kind of content that they want. For example, the official Booky Instagram is filled with material showcasing the latest in food and drinks such as the newest flavors of milk tea or the latest variations on Filipino classics such as pandesal (Filipino salt bread)―much of which the Booky marketing team usually orders for themselves during their leisure time.
This ability to stay on top of trends in food and beverages is another ace up Booky’s sleeve. “Trend forecasting is one of the many benefits our clients get when working with us,” Sadiang-abay said. “For example, when we saw a certain food trend was gaining steam, we gave one of our well-known clients a heads up. Acting on our advice, they then released a food product to ride the craze which was instantly a massive hit.”
Sadiang-abay and his team’s eye on local trends also benefits other departments within the Booky family. Their insights on what’s popular helps the business development team close deals, thereby contributing to the growth of the company overall.
In fact, it was Booky’s empathic and efficient marketing team that helped steer the company in a new direction when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Seeing as how the company’s bread and butter was their work with restaurants, Sadiang-abay and his team quickly recognized that sticking to their usual marketing efforts wouldn’t cut it anymore.
“From encouraging people to go out and visit restaurants, we shifted our material to provide Booky users with valuable info they needed during the pandemic,” Sadiang-abay said. “We pointed them to where they could get food and even groceries delivered.”
He explained that the thinking behind this was that rather than have Booky focus on what they couldn’t control during the pandemic, such as shifting community quarantine guidelines or restrictions on travel, it was much better for them to target remaining relevant despite the disruption. After all, Booky wants the app’s users to remember that they never abandoned them during a crisis.
This led to the company exploring even entirely new business models. For one, Booky started to provide logistical support for many of the clients they were already serving. “A lot of the brands we work with already have logistical capabilities that allow them to deliver on their own,” Sabiang-abay explained. “But given the spike in demand following community quarantine guidelines, a lot of them needed extra help. We stepped in to fill that.” It also helped that many Booky users were already asking if the app had a delivery component, even well before the pandemic.
Sadiang-abay credited his team with Booky’s agility and advised businesses to focus on creating a marketing team around metrics, rather than functions. The company has always stressed the importance of converting leads to sales, keeping the team acutely aware of Booky’s overall goals.
The success that Booky then enjoys is also funneled back to the community through a feeding program sponsored by the company. The program encourages kids in a less fortunate community to continue their education by promising them a free lunch when they attend, with Booky even providing Booky Prime users with updates on the scholastic progress made by the sponsored children.
Of course, Sadiang-abay noted that Booky’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives take their target audience’s preferences into account. “We release surveys looking to find out what causes are nearest and dearest to people’s hearts,” he said. “Alongside helping children’s education, we’ve found that people are also concerned about plastic waste in the environment, so we’re looking into that.”
It may seem like such a simple move, but Sadiang-abay’s insistence on forming a marketing team that embodies the same audience they’re trying to reach has been quite the blessing for Booky. When you make sure your team mirrors your market, the picture truly does become that much clearer.
To get more insights from other marketing leaders like Jasper Sadiang-Abay, please check out the full book, available for purchase here.
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