When it comes to marketing success, developing a strong marketing strategy is key. With over 53,000 employees worldwide, Zurich Insurance relies on a holistic framework for marketing activities, which is led by Marco Buscemi, in order to achieve a flourishing marketing process and successful implementation.

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Marco Buscemi, Head of Marketing Operations & Services

Marco Buscemi, Head of Marketing Operations and Services, Group Marketing, has been with the company since 2009 and was instrumental in developing a strong Marketing Operations team to ensure that the Zurich marketing teams around the world have the tools and processes they need to do their jobs perform effectively and in a way that is performance-based both for results and financially for Zurich.

Here, Buscemi shares details about Zurich Insurance's marketing strategy, its effectiveness and how the pandemic has changed the way it works.

  • How did you design and manage the marketing activities at Zurich Insurance so that you are there today?
  • Why should you say in one sentence that marketing activities are vital for modern businesses?
  • When you look at Operations, Strategy, Planning, and Business Transformation, there are so many different things you can do. How do you prioritize what you do and where do you focus your time?
  • How do you deal with the infrastructure and how has this possibly changed or accelerated since the lockdown?
  • Is there a central model for buying new tools in Zurich or do you just give instructions and the markets can then get instructions from there?
  • Based on your experience and knowledge of cross-functional work (IT, sales and marketing), what advice would you give others?
  • In your opinion, what are the most important goals for you and your team in Zurich?

How did you design and manage the marketing activities at Zurich Insurance so that you are there today?

Marco Buscemi: To be honest, on the one hand I am interested in growing and learning more and being active in various roles and projects, which paved the way for the current appearance of the marketing infrastructure. On the other hand, my predecessor, the former head of operations, led me in a direction in which she eventually passed the baton on to me. In the beginning it was both operations and change management so it was a bit challenging after she left. A restructuring followed and since my predecessor had also been my mentor for the last seven years, basically through my interest he showed me the possibility of making sure that we have more visibility.

It was a win-win for him to have someone on his team who wanted to learn more and do more for the role, to make sure there was someone who was really just trying to put pressure on and get more attention. I just wasn't shy about entering an undeveloped area, like IT for example.

In retrospect, it was a very good exercise for me to get to know new people and new challenges. For me, marketing activities have different challenges overall depending on the organization and understanding of marketing operations. Marketing activities are strategic and not just "operational". In another role, in some other companies, this could be a very small role dealing with some financial, administrative work and processes and that's it.

Why should you say in one sentence that marketing activities are vital for modern businesses?

MB: This is critical as it is at the heart of the businesses that want to drive growth and offers a holistic view of the marketing function.

When you look at Operations, Strategy, Planning, and Business Transformation, there are so many different things you can do. How do you prioritize what you do and where do you focus your time?

MB: As you know, strategy has a small cycle, so I start by allocating my time and resources when it comes to planning time and creating seasons – since my main role in strategy is making sure the process will tracks and delivers my input in a coherent and consistent manner. But I also have a double hat not only to provide input for my own area, but also to ensure that the process runs smoothly and that every stakeholder in the various teams we work with is fully involved. This enables us to link the marketing strategy with the corporate strategy without losing focus.

Before we begin the planning cycle, we make sure we are taking full advantage of our learning through a measurement framework that my colleagues in Research and Insight have created. We go through the activities that we started in the last year or years and try to analyze the results to make sure that we can influence the planning phase with the results that we have obtained from historical data.

How do you deal with the infrastructure and how has this possibly changed or accelerated since the lockdown?

MB: Well, as I said, it was an acceleration towards a more digital workplace that also works with various tools that have replaced meetings. As in Zurich, we use Microsoft tools, so face-to-face meetings were transferred to teams.

Digitization as a whole has also just made progress. In terms of infrastructure and IT, we were looking for new tools. We chose a faster decision-making process, and our IT played a key role in making sure we were speeding up the data too. The whole company moved in the same direction as in times of crisis.

Is there a central model for buying new tools in Zurich or do you just give instructions and the markets can then get instructions from there?

MB: We give some pointers, but the local markets can make their own decisions about campaigns, with the exception of tools and infrastructure, which are centralized. We work with IT so we have internal processes that create some kind of freedom within the framework but maintain a degree of consistency.

Regarding IT procurement, there are also regulations. So when we need something that is more digital and IT related, we work with our IT department and / or our IT business partner. We are not that independent.

Based on your experience and knowledge of cross-functional work (IT, sales and marketing), what advice would you give others?

MB: The advice is to see yourself as a partner and part of the same company and to work together in a productive way, trying to go beyond each specific area to see the ultimate goal that relates to the company. It's not about marketing. It's not about sales. It's not about IT. It's about the North Star Goals that define the company we all work for.

In your opinion, what are the most important goals for you and your team in Zurich?

MB: In terms of functions, it is important for me to have a large focus on finances and processes. Process means planning and control and not just finance. Basically, this can ensure safety if we understand that we are on time and on budget. that we are on the right track. Also in terms of managing the planning, implementation and control, all activities should be tracked to determine which workflows have been delayed so that we can correct the course.

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Originally published on September 3, 2020 at 3:09 pm

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