Wednesday 16 January 2019

Marketing people: Joanne McLaughlin

Head of Marketing, Esri Ireland

Joanne McLaughlin
Joanne McLaughlin

John McGee

With a staff of 75 split between Dublin and Holywood, Co Down, Esri Ireland works with customers in the public and private sectors in the deployment of geographic information systems (GIS) to help them record where things happen and analyse why, with the aim of providing insight and helping them to make better decisions. As Joanne McLaughlin explains to John McGee, it’s a growing business.

Describe your role with the company

As head of marketing and as a member of both Esri Ireland’s leadership and management teams, it’s my responsibility to lead the company’s marketing strategy. My primary aim is to communicate Esri’s vision and help craft the corporate strategy to achieve our growth ambition of becoming a €10m turnover business by 2020.

I’m focused on communicating what we call ‘the science of where’ and showing businesses how harnessing powerful mapping and location analytics technology can enable them to visualise, analyse and optimise their business data and manage their operations more efficiently.

What marketing challenges do you face?

Esri Ireland’s main challenge is competing in the larger technology landscape and generating mainstream recognition for the brand. Esri was previously seen as a niche technology that could only be used by experts, but our Saas offering has lowered the barriers to entry. We now compete directly with other software vendors for budget.

How do you deal with these challenges?

By focusing on our own strengths. Esri prides itself on offering the very best technology. We make sure to listen to our customers to find out what we can do to improve their experience and we continue to reinvest every year in R&D to improve constantly.

We also concentrate on the emotive nature of the brand. Our work is transforming how people live and this really appeals to customers. The stories and brand experiences that we share help to shape perception of the product and nurture opportunities while demonstrating that we’re so much more than a software and services organisation.

What are the underlying trends in the marketplace?

The move towards digital transformation across the public and private sector is an important trend and one that we’re eager to capitalise on. Many businesses are moving from on-premise to Saas operation models. We were able to predict this shift and offer a Saas solution with a lower cost of entry that has been instrumental to the adoption of our technology.

We’re also seeing heightened demand for managed services. It is increasingly difficult for companies to retain the in-house talent required to manage new technologies. We have launched GIS-managed services, a secure end-to-end managed service for organisations’ GIS environments to enable customers to more quickly and easily deploy geography into their business processes and workflow.

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