Author: Gabriela Hein
Ann-Katrin Maiworm joined Slack as the Head of Marketing DACH in 2019 and prior to that, she exclusively used e-mails for communicating in business settings. Nowadays, she hardly writes any e-mails and sometimes even forgets to check her inbox.
We asked the marketing expert which challenges Slack faces in the German market, why data storytelling is so important, and which marketing trends she sees in the coming year.
Before I joined Slack in 2019, I was familiar with work-related communication taking place primarily via e-mail. And for me, Slack itself was more of a chat tool to have a one-on-one exchange, send a file, or make a quick phone call. Through my work at and with Slack, I have learned that we are going through a transformation of our work practices. With that, I mean that tools give us the freedom to work with greater flexibility, to communicate more efficiently, and to illustrate processes much more rapidly.
For example: Here, all information is summarized into one channel and everything is pooled into one place. The people – be they internal or external, the to dos, and also the tools. This gives people the possibility to work more efficiently, to free themselves from silos, and to usher change into the company.
Many companies have also realized this – if somewhat unwillingly – in the past 1.5 years. The demand from the HR and internal communication departments was enormously high. Not only because people wanted to transform work into the tool but also and especially in order to preserve the culture and communication that normally took place at the office.
Our goal is to position Slack as a platform because most people continue to regard it as a pure chat tool. Messaging is only a feature among many others. We work in channels, follow workflows in real time, work with all important tools from Slack, and integrate external service providers and clients in Slack Connect channels. This is how collaboration on one platform comes into being. Particularly in the German market, we still see a need for clarification in this regard. Moreover, many people think that Slack is primarily suitable for developers and IT specialists. But Slack can be gainfully used throughout an entire company.
This is also the reason why we cover a broad spectrum in our marketing approach and do not have a single target group. With regard to content strategy, this means that there needs to be a good mix of product-focused and thought-leadership content. In addition, I can no longer only rely on one medium nowadays. In order to address different target groups with the right content, we need different content formats, from webinars to podcasts to traditional e-books and blog posts.
In my marketing strategy, data storytelling is paramount. It is incredibly important that whatever is said about a product can be demonstrated. And the best way to do that is with numbers, data, and facts. When that’s not done, it can quickly come to pass that the content appears implausible. Here in Germany in particular, storytelling is highly valued. In my opinion, the most important thing is that the story be told from the client’s point of view. Along the lines of “what the customer could do better with our product.” When that can be demonstrated with numbers, it’s a win-win situation.
Because digital communication is becoming increasingly faster and attention spans continue to shrink, it is important to produce meaningful and compelling content. For this reason, it is crucial to cover all formats. So, as we for example have done with Statista Content & Information Design, we have developed a study, from which elements are in turn presented in webinars. Moreover, an infographic and an interactive microsite have come into being from its contents.
An additional example is our webinar series, “Pioneers of Change”. This format has become prevalent in the past year especially, and in spite of webinar fatigue, it has been successful up until now. Why? Because in terms of content, we focus on thought leadership and allow our customers to speak. It is all about producing high-value content that provides listeners who are in the process of digital transformation concrete tips and best practices from other companies. In addition, we market the series content in a myriad of content formats. Participants have the option of watching the video or listening to the interview as an audio file. At the end, there is also a visual summary in the form of a graphic recording as well as a synopsis of the content in our Slack Blog. More than ever these these days, it matters that high-quality content is offered in as many formats as possible so that customers can decide for themselves how they want to consume the content.
Many years ago in school, I had the assignment, “What do you think communication will be like in the future?” Digital communication via SMS and e-mail was already an enormous achievement and looking back now, I realize that I couldn’t have even begun to imagine what communication would look like in the year 2022. If someone had told me back then that I would be working with a tool such as Slack and how rapid communication would be, I would not have believed it.
When I look to next year, then I believe we will learn from the pressure that emerged from the pandemic that we can work in even more agile ways and that asynchronous communication will take on greater significance. I also believe that personal interactions will continue to remain important, but they will be used more strategically, and people will appreciate other people’s time more.
If you want to know more about our collaboration with Slack, please have a look here.
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