Meet the Marketer | May 2022

Niklas Vernersson, Head of Marketing at B2B scale-up

“When I started out, marketing was this sort of ‘black box’. You invested money, but you didn’t really know where the money went. I want to unfold this black box.”

In order to understand the ever-changing climate of marketing and adapt to the rapid shifts, we wanted to understand the marketers of tomorrow and to benchmark the leaders of today. We wanted to learn about their mindsets, but also to shine a light on the marketer. This is an interview series where we present leaders within marketing, creating a forum for them to speak their thoughts and share insights for the marketers of tomorrow.

Niklas Vernersson is Head of Marketing at Digiexam, a disruptive B2B scale-up in the educational segment. In the above interview, he talks about how he in his everyday life tackles the challenges and what he believes are the most important insights to share with aspiring marketers. In the interview, Niklas emphasizes the importance of understanding a wide range of marketing specializations and the need for data-driven marketing strategies.

How did you end up at Digiexam?

I was looking for a company in a scale-up phase expected to grow quickly. I was looking for an interesting product, platform, or service in an industry with the potential to become something big. But besides that, I was also looking for a team that could take me to the next level. As an example, I’m very proud of the latest project we did for Digiexam where we branded the website and updated the whole brand and positioning. We found a more mature branding, where we can position ourselves better towards our new target market.

Have you seen any changes in how companies approach marketing during your career?

When I started out, marketing was this sort of “black box”. You invested money, but you didn’t really know where the money went. How I approach marketing is that I want to unfold this black box – I want to show what’s inside. What sort of investments are you doing, and what do you get out of these investments?

What are your strengths as a B2B marketer?

I would say it’s that I’m very curious. I’m eager to find out what is working and what is not. I’m data-driven in the sense that when we are going to make investments of any kind or form, I want to see and understand the demand. What sort of data points do we have that we can rely on? And I’ll try to match this with the customers’ point of view by speaking to customers and trying to understand their real needs and wants.

What would you say are the biggest challenges for the CMO of the future?

I believe that the CMO of the future needs quite a large toolbox. First off, they need to understand the digital landscape and how to use their tools to find their audiences. They need to understand how they create the brand and stimulate demand in a very noisy world, and they need to be able to show and deliver value across the organization. Not only that, but the CMO also needs to understand the team that they are managing to make sure that the right skills and competencies are in the company.

One of the main challenges for the CMO of the future is that, in a lot of industries, there is a lot of noise. So the challenge they need to overcome is to recognize this and understand how they can break through that noise and stand out from competitors.

Do you have any insights you want to share with the aspiring B2B marketers of tomorrow?

My advice to any marketer who wants to excel in their profession would be to stop sitting behind the desk and looking at the numbers – actually go out and talk to your customers. This, I believe, would give the marketer and their company a better understanding of the market. Being the best marketer you can be is not only looking at the numbers or the gut feeling but also speaking to the customers, understanding their pain points and understanding how your solution or company can add value to them.