When marketing focuses on “Promotion” only, it limits itself to 8% of its possible spectrum. And it has consequences! Product-market Fit, go-to-market strategies, or strategic directions for the company might suffer from that tropism on the last link in the tactics chain. Who is to blame? Most of the time, top management.
with 🎙️ Björn Otto, Founder, and Managing Director of Interius Solutions.
💧 Interius Solutions supports Water Technology Companies with outsourced marketing solutions and a very special touch – it’s marketing done by water professionals that understand water technologies.
What we covered:
🚀 How Marketing is much more than just PowerPoints and what to do about it
♻️ How management is to blame when Marketing doesn’t get the place and the attention it deserves in the Water Industry
🔗 How it might be difficult to find Zebras out in the market (a mix of engineers and marketers) and how you shall breed your own ones
ProTip: How water professionals shall invest in themselves and learn new skills – why not marketing?
💡 How marketing shall be able to pitch the company anytime and in any circumstances
🚚 How most companies simply don’t know how and where the end-customers use their product and how to gather that knowledge
🙌 How water companies can build their own market studies in two simple steps
🤝 How to get a fast and effective dive into a new topic by immersing yourself in your customer’s world (even if you don’t understand a single word at first)
🎲 How the Trade Show scene will evolve in the next years and why large ones (IFAT, WEFTEC, AQUATECH) are here to stay
📈 How marketing is about being attractive to the right profiles: the Bar analogy
💧 8 Pro Tips on how to improve your water company’s marketing TODAY
🏎️ The attitude problem on trade shows, helping water companies to develop their marketing hands-on, inspiring voices in the Water Industry, best practices to emulate… and much more!
🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥
🔗 Check Interius Solutions’ Website
🔗 Send your warmest regards to Björn on LinkedIn
is on Linkedin ➡️
How much do you invest in yourself? Recruit the right people!
How to craft the perfect market study? Talk to your customers!
Don’t we have an attitude problem on Trade Shows?
Water C-Suite, here’s a Pro Tip when it comes to Marketing:
How shall you react to your marketing department’s crazy Ideas?
Table of contents
- What we covered:
- Full Transcript:
- Introducing: Interius Solutions
- What’s wrong with the Water Industry’s Marketing?
- Call to Action: Marketing Professionals, GO OUT and meet your customers!
- Marketing is not PowerPoint!
- Why Marketing only focuses on 8% of its Duties
- The story of the Marketing Director with a PhD
- Marketing is never part of Top Management. Why so?
- Starting from the Customer: the Inspiration from Zappos
- What is the #1 Customer you shall connect with?
- How to build your own market studies
- What’s the best channel to connect with your market?
- What’s the role of Trade Shows in the water marketing ecosystem?
- The single mistake Water Companies do on Tradeshows
- Be Different: the Trade Show best practice to emulate
- Why you shall maybe not focus on Blue Oceans
- The single action the C-Suite shall take to up their Water Marketing Game
- The #1 action investors shall take to better the Marketing of the companies they invest in
- The two actions to take as Sales Management to better your company’s Marketing
- Rapid fire questions:
- Other Episodes:
These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂
Antoine Walter: Hi Björn, welcome to the show!
Björn Otto: Hi, Antoine!
Antoine Walter: On one end. It’s been a. Because you’ve been on that show two years ago. Yeah. On the other end, if people have tuned in to one of the water shows, they do know that we’ve recorded lots of pieces together, but this one is different. I’m not here to bring any contradiction to you.
I’m here to raise questions and to start with, there is something which drastically changed compared to the last time that we recorded together, which is at third time we were working for h and e, and today you’re working for a company called Interius Solutions. What is Interius Solutions doing?
Introducing: Interius Solutions
Björn Otto: First of all, thank you very much, Antoine, having me here on your podcast.
Thanks for the invite. After two years, really a lot of things have really changed Over the last two years. I formed the company and I had always in my head, you know, that our water tech companies, they need some more support in terms of marketing because I was always struggling. I was struggling due to the time I was in the position having the market team around me and have agencies around me, and I was always struggling to finding right partners who really understand.
The water industry and as World Tech, even my team, my marketing team, it turned out that sometimes you really couldn’t separate an from an uf and that makes me crazy. And one day, really, I had the idea, one day I will form a company to help our water tech companies in terms of marketing. And that’s exactly what we do here at Interior Solutions.
We are a marketing, consulting and execution company for water technology companies. We helping really water technology companies being visible, making their technology visible to the right people. I’m from the water industry since, since many years. Most of the technologies I know, I know the market, I know the players, not all of them for sure, but at least most of them.
And I know how it is, especially if you’re a startup coming to this world, to our water world, not having any clue what is going on, what is an integrator, what is an apc, even that kind of questions we are answering. And then we just help them bringing that. Product, that technology to the right. Uh, stakeholder.
That’s what we do.
What’s wrong with the Water Industry’s Marketing?
Antoine Walter: The last time we recorded, you mentioned this story of people considering Amazon to be the competitor of the water industry because they also sell water filters. And when I listen to you right now, it sounds like that hasn’t really changed. Let me start by being maybe provocative a bit.
Pardon me if it’s over the limits. Why do water companies do marketing So wrong?
Björn Otto: From my perspective, and that’s exactly what I’ve figured out over the last years, that there are people in charge who have only a little knowledge about the water technology they’re working for, the water company they’re working for.
So what I have figured out really is that most of the people in marketing, they’re just coming from another company which has nothing to do with water, but they did marketing over there, or they’re coming directly from university and having just the marketing knowledge, but they don’t have any water and technology knowledge.
You’re not training your marketing team enough
That is one thing, but the other thing is we are not training them enough. I remember my times, I started after university with Chemviron carbon. It’s an activated carbon company based in Belgium. So I started there as cigarettes engineer and the first thing they did is they took me, put me into an apartment in Belgium for two months and I had to learn everything about activated carbon from the theory.
Up to the practice. I was loading activator com. I was looking how the reactivation is. I had to learn this, this relief before they sent me to the clients. And that’s exactly what I miss in our industry because we are putting people in place, which are maybe great in marketing, but don’t bring the knowledge with, from the industry and from the technology.
And the question really is why do we not train them? In the way I was trained, for instance, and bigger companies do this for the salespeople I heard recently from a, a software startup. If someone wants to start a marketing, he has to spend at least three months in customer service before they let him go to marketing.
That they understand really what the customer really wants. And then they jump into marketing and then they bring the marketing knowledge and then they have the knowledge from the technology or from, from whatever you do. And then they can bring this to the paper. That is much easier as we do it today,
Does Marketing really need to understand the Technology?
Antoine Walter: but I’m still not sure I understand the problem.
I see what you say and I fully agree with you that the onboarding process is second to none for the marketing people within this industry, at least from what I saw. But what’s the problem with that? Do they really need to understand the water industry?
Björn Otto: Can you sell a product if you have no clue about the product?
Antoine Walter: Is marketing’s role to sell?
Björn Otto: Isn’t it part of part of the sales process? It’s always that you start the conversation to bring your technology into the head of the customer until you transfer the lead to the sales department and the sales department is just converting what you have prepared. How can you qualify a lead which might be interested in your technology to a level that you give it to the sales?
Isn’t that exactly where the clinch or the clash between sales and marketing and how industry comes from? Sales are saying marketing has no clue about our technology and marketing is saying sales is doing wrong with all the leads we gave them. And the issue who really is more on the marketing side, as on the sales side.
I’ve worked on both ads and the marketing is giving the sales leads, which are not qualified, where they got a signal, but this signal is not qualify. That this person or this company does really have the intention to take the T to implement the tag and has the capabilities to use the tag for the application.
And that’s where the sales come into place and saying, Hey, there’s no intention and I will not take the leads I get from marketing. Marketing has to move first and then maybe we can bring this together
The ever lasting clash between sales and marketing
Antoine Walter: a little bit more. Isn’t that a clash? Which happens in every single industry that sales and marketing are accusing each other of being responsible for not succeeding.
I mean, sales will say marketing didn’t qualify the leads and marketing will sales, sales didn’t follow the leads. Usually when you win, they are lots of feathers of the victory. When you lose, there are lots of people accusing others. So is it specific to the water industry?
Björn Otto: Well, actually I’m just from the water industry.
I haven’t seen any other industry, so no points. But let’s say I, I’ll give you an example. If there’s a fair trade show, From which budget is that paid? Mostly from marketing. Marketing is saying, I want to go to AgTech, which is this November. So marketing has to pay the bill and then they are sending all the salespeople to, but if the salespeople are not convinced about the show, it will not be a successful show.
Who will be blamed about the Successsful show? First of all, marketing. Because marketing has picked this show and maybe they just picked the wrong, I will never say that ATech is wrong, but it’s just an example. So if they pick the wrong show at the wrong conference and sales have to go there, and then it is not successful, the blame is on the marketing.
Call to Action: Marketing Professionals, GO OUT and meet your customers!
What I encourage, I really want to encourage the marketing. Hey, go out there. Stay the one week effort all day. We’re the salespeople. Half the talk up to the knowledge where you can say, okay, now I’m, maybe I’m missing something. I’m transferring you to an expert, or take an expert risk. And the other example is clearly, Hey guys, go out to the customers.
Try to sell your product. If you are marketing and you want to market something and you have never tried, never ever tried to sell a membrane, a pipe, a bowel valve, or whatever, if you have never tried this, then you have never heard the hurdles you have to overcome. And then you can make the life easier for the seeds if you know the hurdles he has to overcome.
And then you know everything the lead will say against you. And then you can have a preparation in terms of marketing that it is easier to qualify the lead. But if you’re just sitting in your office and thinking all day long, is that in a row or is that an auto ultrafiltration membrane? I don’t know.
Then you will never get this level. And then you will ever have this clash.
Antoine Walter: There’s a lot to unpack in what you just said. I’m putting trade show in the fridge. We’ll come back to that because that is an interesting topic. There’s another one, which I’ll take later. There’s a last element which I’d like to, to grab your brain on.
On that microphone. I had guests like Greg Newbloom from Membrion, Megan Glover from 120 Water, and I have many more examples of very successful entrepreneurs, which were coming from totally outside of the industry. They had no clue about the industry and there’s this thing they didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it.
Wouldn’t it be the same for marketing, like you come from, I don’t know, Proctor and Gamble, you’ve spent your life doing B2C and you learn some tactics and you come into the industry in the water industry, and maybe with your experience of b2c, Proctor and Gamble, you can transfer that into B2B water industry.
Is that fully impossible?
Marketing expertise can come from outside, but needs to be complimented with water understanding
Björn Otto: I’m not saying it is impossible. For instance, one of my clients is an APC contractor since five years, seven years in the market, and they made. Couple of millions over this time, and I asked him, okay, so far there was no marketing at all. Why did you want to hire us? And he said clearly, Hey, I don’t want to run out of my luck.
Up to a certain point, he’s clearly saying, Hey, we need some support to keep that level, to increase that level and to ensure that we are not falling back. There’s never, ever a guarantee with or without marketing that you are successful or not successful. Both ways are possible, but sometimes it is just easier, especially if you have someone who can tell you from the strategic perspective.
Marketing is not PowerPoint!
And marketing is not PowerPoint. I think we are pretty clear on that. But marketing is also not just social media or immuno nurturing or whatever. Marketing is also strategic, especially if it comes to which direction are we going. Is that the right market? Is that the right product? For the right market?
Who’s the first contact? Who should talk to customers or potential customers for your new product before you launch that? It’s marketing. From my perspective, and that’s what’s missing in the industry. Mostly what happened is you developed something like in the eighties, you made a product a little bit better.
That’s the best example we we can find. Quite often you made the product better and then you jump into the market and say, Hey, I have a new product, but the market is not ready for you and it’s not waiting for you, so why not? Upfront really to clients and that’s clearly a job of marketing. They have to talk and to, to clients.
They have to find some potential leads first and then they hand over that. But the first contact if you want to go into a new application, should be marketing. They have to figure that out. And then everything works. Then you send the seal. Cause the seas, they should know all the techniques to really get the product from the shelf to the customer.
Why Marketing only focuses on 8% of its Duties
Antoine Walter: I like to grab your brain on the concept, which I’ve read from Louis Grenier and I know we discussed Louis Grenier together in the past, and I love Luis Grenier and you don’t share that opinions. So I’d be interested in having your opinion on that. Luk thinks that the marketing people nowadays focus on 8% of their job and that’s, this is the reason why they’re not successful.
And his reason for that is that they are three party in the marketing job. A bit like what you just explained, the Jack Nous, what’s going on, what’s the problem in the market finding out. Understanding the market, then the strategy, where should we be going, where should we not be going? And then the tactics, once you’ve decided that, where do we go?
And then inside the tactics, you have the famous four Ps, which you find in in management schools. So product, price, placement, promotion, and usually marketing spends a lot of time on promotion. So the job of marketing is promotion. So promotion is one of the four P, meaning 25% of the four P. So 25% of the tactics.
The tactics are one third of the entire game. So 25% of one third makes 8%. So that’s it. Rational to say, marketing spends far too long on that and not enough from the rest. Mm-hmm. Would you share that opinion?
Management is to blame for this imbalance!
Björn Otto: A hundred percent. But I’m always want to blame here the management, because the management has to take the marketing because they have to have the capabilities, and then you have to use the capabilities if you just throw them the next PowerPoint presentation for the next board meeting and say, Hey, Change it.
We need it. Any new style, then you shouldn’t wonder why they are just using 8% of the capacity. But if you really bring them on board, they should have the highest knowledge about our clients. And if you bring this knowledge on the table upfront, and then we have it, we have strategy, we have the management, we have all the decisions up to the tactics, up to promotion and communication.
But you have to start early. And most companies I met are using just the tactics. How can we be visible? But the strategy element, For yourself. The CEO was doing this with the cfo, F, or just the board is saying, cool, this is Li let’s jump into the LI game. Or this is the semiconductor industry in Germany.
There are a couple of in companies coming. Let’s jump into that game without really having a fundamental action plan and a strategy and an evaluation. Is that really possible for us? Do we have the manpower? Do we have the technology? Things like that. That’s all on marketing, don’t get me wrong. That’s marketing, but it is used to Salem.
And why is that? Again, you cannot send someone for finding out a process water treatment in the semiconductor industry if this person has no clue what the water industry, about the technologies, about all other technologies, and that is a missing point. We are using people from marketing, we just have a marketing brain, is these kind of, as you said, these kind of promotion brain.
They’re maybe good in promotion, they can write a good copy, they can create a good visual or whatever, but all the work upfront, which is much more important than that, is missing. And it is not used because most of the marketers, they don’t have this knowledge and that’s why it’s not used. So I want.
Really to see a shift, take your engineers and train them in marketing and keep them with their a water knowledge with their engineering hat. You told me once, two years ago, you told me a zebra and because I have an engineering hat and I have a marketing hat and I want to encourage the companies, use people.
If you can’t find them, it’s pretty hard. Believe me, if you can’t find them, train them. You have engineers. Train them to the point that they’re marketing. Same you should do, by the way, for sales, all the sales leaders, they should be the go-to person in terms of all sales techniques, so they should be trained on sales as well.
So we send our r and d all over the world that they get trained, but we don’t do it with, for instance, marketing. And that is a missing link here. But I fully agree with the study with 8%. I never heard about that.
Antoine Walter: So you agree with Louis Grenier, I’m happy because he’s French and I know that you have sometimes a hard time to agree with the French.
Björn Otto: I have only a hard time to agree with you sometimes!
The story of the Marketing Director with a PhD
Antoine Walter: What you said made me think of Saltworks. Ben Sparrow, the CEO of Saltworks, was my guest on year ago. And by the time this episode airs, there should be another one with him airing shortly before. And the reason why I connected to that is that the person in charge of marketing at Saltworks is a guy called Pierce Maguire.
And he has a PhD in what? In, uh, engineering. Okay. So he knows. The ins and outs of the technical part, and just as somehow we realized that he was more attracted to the marketing element of it. It’s the first time ever I’ve met a responsible for marketing, which has a PhD and I don’t have many other examples maybe outside of you, of an engineer in that marketing role.
Why that? Why in an industry? 80% of the people being an engineer. Why don’t we see more people in marketing?
This is why we should breed our own marketing Zebras!
Björn Otto: I think just today we have the example that someone said he had an engineering study and after that he decided, okay, I want to go into on the commercial side, first of all, you need to offer this to your people.
If you have a team of engineers, see it’s engineers and so on. Process engineers, why not going around and figuring out maybe there’s one or two person who are very active on social media or they are doing other things as well. Why not asking them, Hey, wouldn’t that be interesting for you if you would jump a little bit into that role to commercialize our product?
There are engineers who want clearly to sit on the table non-visible, and they want just to have process design for a plan somewhere, and they want to get this done. Food. And that’s good. And there are others, for instance, like me who don’t want to, who don’t want to be, to sit in the office all day long over these, you know, calculations and things like that.
For the process to get this done. I want to bring this to the people, especially if you, if you look into the sales department, sometimes you find some, some golden nuggets, which maybe wants to transfer, but offer that, train them, bring them to the position, and then they bring everything with, they have knowledge about market, they have knowledge about the technology.
More important, they have the knowledge about your customers. Come on. So train them, find a person, ask an open question. Is there someone who wants to jump into the marketing and tell them it’s not about a problem presentation, it’s about all the other things. And then why not? Today?
Marketing is never part of Top Management. Why so?
Antoine Walter: You’re a ceo Wow. Of your, of your own company, but you’re a ceo.
Yeah. Your last job before that you had the title of cmo. Did you Correct. Were you part of the board as the cmo? Now, do you know any example within the industry of a cmo, which I mean, would it be a standard that the CMO is part of the board? So c. Chief marketing
Björn Otto: officer in our industry. I don’t know really, but I read an example from Infineon, for instance.
Clearly there’s a CMO and clearly he’s covering all the a hundred percent you’re saying? Not alone. He has a big team, but he’s clearly on the board if it comes to the, you know, crucial decisions. He’s part of that because everybody wants to gather his knowledge because he knows the customers. He is creating the strategy, he’s creating the go-to-market strategy, and then he’s trickles down to the team.
Antoine Walter: My question is really, if you look at the typical extremely successful startups, usually you have the founder, maybe the founding team, one of them. It’s gonna be the chief growth officer or whatever trendy name, which when you think of it, is the chief marketing officer. And they will always have marketing.
Like one of the pillars, sometimes even before the product. You have some people who market the idea and the challenge and their prototype long before having a product. So it is integral to that management team In the water industry, often the marketing leader will report maybe with the dotted lamb to the ceo, but he’s not part of the management team.
Or he will report to the sales director. Exactly. And then there’s a clear imbalance between sales and marketing. Does that mean that we have it structurally wrong?
Empower your marketing people!
Björn Otto: Maybe not wrong, but maybe we should open to test this out, whether the works or not. If you have a strong marketing guy who does have the knowledge, bring them in the leadership team to gather the knowledge and to develop something.
But again, you have to have the right people. If you just have someone who’s just, you know, the one of the four piece, that doesn’t make any sense. You need to have a strong person. You need to have a strong person who knows exactly as I said. Market technology and customers if you have one of these, and to Yes.
Also these strategic elements. The background of marketing, which is not PowerPoint. I can’t repeat myself as often as possible. If you have this, bring them in the leadership, ask them, put them together, keep them at least on the same level as a sales director. As a sales directors, quite often in our industry, use on that level, but the marketing, not because of lack of competence for marketing an issue.
You’d been the marketing, not the management. Well, Both. First of all, as management, you have to figure out, you have to install in this position someone who has the capability. And if you have someone who has not all the capabilities, train them other way around. If you want to be in that position as an engineer, hey, jump up, increase yourself, raise your hand, and try to go into position.
Water Marketers, Pro Tip: Invest in Yourself
This position, they are both ends, right? But bring the capabilities. One of the questions you, you always have, if you go to, let’s say, an interview for corporate or for one of the questions the applicant mostly have is, what kind of training do I get? How often do you train me Is any kind of training program?
I try you, you said I’m ceo, I, I will never use this kind of title because I’m a very small company and CEO means for me something different. But let’s. Management director, at least from a legal perspective. And we want to hire people. And if I get the same question, I always ask back how many hours you spent yourself in training yourself, reading books, taking courses on your own pocket?
What is the most common answer? Zero. I know you. You know me. So I spend hundreds of hours on books, on courses, on videos to become better. And these are the persons you have to reach out. These are the persons you have to look for and then bring them to the. And then you will have a game change in your company.
Starting from the Customer: the Inspiration from Zappos
Antoine Walter: You present that element of the training. You are known, at least to me, to be a very black and white person. So I will ask you a very difficult exercise, which is to have definite answers to broad open questions. I dunno if you read that book. It’s a book from Tony Hsieh, he was the founder of Zappos. No.
And his book is called Delivering Happiness. Mm-hmm. And he explains the process he put in place at at Zappos, and the process was, regardless of the job you’re gonna take, and it might be the most senior management roles, you would have to start by two weeks at least in customer relationship. Mm-hmm. Like taking the calls of the customers, like really in the, in the call center.
Yeah. So to him, that was the single best place to understand what Zappos was about. You mentioned that a new marketing person would have to understand the product, so I guess. Being hands-on, on the product. You mentioned your, your activity, carbon experience. You also mentioned that they would have to jump on the call and sales visits with sales guys to meet the customer.
Those are two things, the customer and the product. If you have a single one, what’s the single most important
Björn Otto: one? Customer. Customer. Clearly. Clearly you have to understand what a customer really wants as a marketer. You don’t have to understand the technology in that depth. S e r and D person, that’s not necessary.
But he should be able to go into a room with a client and you should be able to pitch what your company is doing. If you are not able to do so, you’re on the wrong position or I blame the management. You haven’t trained your marketing enough. It’s on both end. I know clearly that there are many marketers out there in our water industry who doesn’t like what I’m saying.
I get a lot of feedback, positive feedback if I say things like this from management, from sales, but marketing feels a little bit in the defense some. Are forced to reach out to me to figure out what kind of service I’m offering. And directly after a minute, if I realize that, I mean they will not see the say this directly in the way that they were forced to reach out to me.
But I realize that, that they are somehow forced. Someone said, Hey, this is a cougar. Reach out to him. Figure out, there will never be any business, any relationship, because they don’t want to be in the position. They feel really, damn, there’s someone saying something against my position. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong.
But all others around me are saying he’s right. So that puts me a little bit in the spotlight and a little bit into the dark light. And they don’t want to be that, and it’s not my intention to do so, but I really want to encourage both. Step out, bring the knowledge risk, step out from the 8%, go to the level that you can teach a board about strategic decisions on application, on market, on geographic, whatever it is.
And don’t focus just on, you know, social media, Facebook or whatever.
What is the #1 Customer you shall connect with?
Antoine Walter: I’m coming back to this story of the customer to connect to the customer. The water industry is a difficult beast because is it, I fear. So it’s, you have this, this food chain. If you are the product supplier, you sell to an integrator. If you’re an integrator, you sell to an oem, the ems, to nepc.
The EPC to a general contractor. The general contractor under the watch of a consultant, maybe to the end customer. Let’s say you are an OEM or integrator. You, you sit in that middle, low part of the food chain and you want to understand your customer. Who are you visiting? Both. So what do you mean by
Björn Otto: both?
If you are in the middle of the food chain, you need to understand, let’s say if you sell to an apc, You need to understand what the EPC is doing. You need to understand what is this EPC looking for, that they will consider my attack into the next project. But also you need to understand if the EPC goes, for instance, B A S F or Tesla or whoever is the end customer, you need to understand what is the process over there?
What are they treating? Are they treating process water? Is it groundwater to process water? Is it wastewater and they want to reuse it? What is that? You need to have, bring this knowledge with? That’s what I’m saying. You need to understand the market client. Yes. If the EPC is your client, if you are always going to EPC or EP company with your tech, you need to.
Understand how you can reach that. What are the triggers that he will consider my technology for the next project? You need to have an overhaul understanding from the market. The journey doesn’t end if you know that your product is somewhere installed on a wastewater treatment plan. Somewhere at Novartis in Switzerland, you should at least know that maybe there is a market for your product, but you haven’t considered.
Do you understand how and where your product is used?
Maybe there is a market for the chemical industry where you fit. Maybe you go in a vertical way, and that’s why I’m saying you have to understand, sure, how you can reach by marketing activities to your client if it is C E P C or whoever it is. But you need to understand the entire process. You need to understand everything up to the end customer.
What is he doing with that? How long does it last? How often do you have to exchange that? Because it also is interesting if you wanna have a service business, things like that, even then you can have a kind of marketing strategy to nurture them or whatever, right? That is the point. So you need to.
Holistic. I don’t like the word holistic, but in principle it is a kind of holistic approach to see the entire market, the water industry. Complete industry and not only focus on, okay, what is my customer doing? Okay, I’m giving them the product and then I’m out. So forget that that doesn’t work, then you are not that person we described.
Then you’re back to the 8%, maybe to 25%, but you’re not to the other
How to build your own market studies
Antoine Walter: elements. Doesn’t that sound like a 20 century approach? I mean, nowadays you can just buy a market study.
Björn Otto: The best market study you can have is grab your phone, take the next flight, go to the customer and talk to them. Go to a fair trade show where your customers are and just talk to them.
Do a round trip, go to a conference where customers from you are, and ask them directly what is it, what you want to figure out, what is the trend for the market? And then you have realistic numbers and maybe then you can go to company, which will sell you kind of these market reports. Be very careful with that to get a complete picture.
But if you just go out and take the cheapest market report on, I don’t know, take an example for mbr, you will never, ever get the information which are real. And true to set up a strategy that doesn’t make any sense, go out and ask your clients, and that is, again, that is marketing job. If you saying, well, that could be an interesting application, maybe we should go there.
Send your marketing team out there to figure that out. And if you just put 5,000 on the table to get a market study to figure out whether you should go or not, that is the wrong decision. Put the 5,000 somewhere else. Put it in all the flight and hotel expenses that your market team can go there to these places and let them torque.
That is much more effective than just buy a report.
Is there a risk to overcrowd your customers?
Antoine Walter: If I don’t take the other angle, let’s say it’s a water company who goes by the book you just described, which sounds very clever, to really go and meet the customers and understand where they leave, what’s their daily struggles, how you can help and everything.
So marketing goes out and meet the customers. I hope sales goes. And meets the customer. Maybe there’s global business development or local business development and they go out and they meet the customers. Maybe you have product managers and they go out and they meet the customers. By the way, we’re recording that in Istanbul, which you might be hearing right now.
That makes a lot of different stakeholders who go out and meet the customers. Isn’t there a point in time where it’s too much interactions of too many different people within the same company? Definitely.
Björn Otto: Let’s say what you described is, for instance, an approach you have at gf. I know that because you, we talked about this, but let’s say all small and medium size, they don’t have this marketing team which goes out.
They don’t have this business development team, which can target, they don’t have the product management team. Sometimes they have sales, which are more process engineers as sales. So I think we are talking more about these companies. If you have all of these together, If you have the people and the team on board who can go out with different hats, then you just have to define the order and what is the purpose, what do they have to find out?
Then you can send, for instance, marketing first to gather the first information. If that is interesting, and you get the right signal, send out the BD team and then you can send out, there’s really interest. Maybe you can send out the product team or associate to turn that, to gather the first information.
You should send out the marketing team that took me the first point of
What’s the best channel to connect with your market?
Antoine Walter: contact. Now you’ve listed many different channels, so you could go to a trade show, you can join a sales call, you can go to conferences, you can go visit sites. I mean, I’m not repeating all the ones you gave us. I’m back with my black and white question.
If you have to pick one, or actually if you have to start with one because that’s where people would have something very actionable at the end of that conversation. Where should
Björn Otto: they start? If you are a very young company, especially startup, and you don’t have any context at all, I would clearly go to conferences.
I would go to conferences and I would use the time, especially between the speeches, the keynotes, and I would try to talk as many as people as possible. I did this years ago. I went to a food conference. I had no clue about what they had topics on stage. I never heard about. There was, you know, a cake factory, a beverage company, a chocolate factory, and they talked about production things.
I never heard about that, and you know, it was, it was not my topic. But what I did is I tried to talk as many as people in the breaks about a topic I’m interested in. How do you see this? How do you see the market? How is the development? What would you do if, what is your biggest pain? Things like that. And they are open to talk to you.
I mean, it’s a, it is a talk during a coffee and that’s where you gather the first information, whether that is the right direction. And then you can collect couple of emails or phone numbers, and then you can have a second step. Maybe you have a deeper conversation. Let’s say if you really start from zero, that would be my first sec.
More mature water companies: dig your CRM!
If you’re a little bit more advanced and if you have a CRM system, hopefully in place, then you have a list. I would pick the telephone list. I would start from the top to the, to to the bottom, and the high potentials. I would go and visit clearly.
Antoine Walter: So you would start. By visiting the
Björn Otto: best customers? Not the best.
I am the high potentials in terms of which can give me the highest value of information I’m looking for. It doesn’t need to be my best customer. Maybe it’s a very small customer for me, but he has a vertical for something different, which I might be interesting. And then I go to him, maybe it’s a small customer for me, but maybe it can be a big one or he has the information I’m just looking for.
Antoine Walter: number one was conference
Björn Otto: number two. If you, if you have nothing, if you really start from zero, clearly I would go to conference, but not a conference above water. I would go to conference where my clients are. This food conference was, was interesting. As I said, I was sitting there. I couldn’t follow the, the keynotes because it was absolutely not, not my topic, but I tried to get the people.
During the break, and then we had the conversation and then we followed up during dinner and the day after. And then I called them and then I got the information I wanted to
Antoine Walter: have. So if you start from scratch, you go to a conference from one of your potential verticals, maybe food and beverage, maybe, whatever.
Yeah. So not to a Global Water Summit or a Blue Tech forum.
Björn Otto: Now they, they are the same people, uh, as me. So that doesn’t make any
Antoine Walter: sense. Okay. And so if you are more advanced, like you’re taking over a position in a company which exists and which has a proven database, you start with a CRM and you take the most promising leads.
What’s the role of Trade Shows in the water marketing ecosystem?
Yeah. Okay. I cannot just, just not notice that you didn’t mention trade show. And I do know because we had that conversation in front of camera well ago, I’m not a big believer in trade shows. And you do think that they are still a very, very actual thing, which brings a lot of value. So what is the role and position of trade show within that ecosystem?
For the water industry?
Björn Otto: Yes. It is still a place where people come together and can talk. About projects, about technology, about news of the industry. It is still a place coming together. What we will see in future, there are, there are two aspects here I want to mention. What we will see in future is we will have less trade shows.
Clearly. All the small ones, which are not so lucrative, especially after Covid, they will disappear. But the big ones left. Tech afa, tech Effa, these are really the big ones. They will stay, they will stay and they will stay important. We need a place to talk, even if it is on supplier to supplier level, doesn’t mean necessary all, all the time that we have a talk to a lead or to a client, but even our existing clients are running around there and we can have another talk about how’s it going?
If you can hear, really have. A place where you can meet all your clients, where you can meet suppliers, where you can meet partners, and that is still important. We are humans. We want to look into the other’s eyes, and the camera is good up to a certain level, but at a certain point we need to meet and we need to have coffee together because that helps so much the relationship.
It is still business between humans. This is H2H, humans to humans. Even if you are b2b, b2c, or whatever, however you want to call that we are talking to humans. That is the one
Do you really need to have a booth?
Antoine Walter: aspect. But none of the elements you mentioned. Command for having a booth, you can meet your customers by being asking the trade show.
Björn Otto: what I said, the was the first element. Okay? The second is, and that will change dramatically, or let’s say you have to change. If you are a company and you want to present your technology, you have to think in a different way to use a fair trade show, as in the past, in the past was you booked some space, you had two walls, one machine on your, on your, on your booth.
Five sets, people, uh, sitting in the back playing on their mobile phones. So that is the normal case. I’m over picturing this, you see in
Antoine Walter: the past, is it still
Björn Otto: the case? It is still the case. I recently, I’ve been to do to my last air trade, and even though I saw that what you have to do today, I mean, we are living in a digital world.
Everything is digital. Even our industry, even the b2b. So give them a reason to meet. I’m always saying to my clients, look, it’s the same as you go into the bar and you want to meet the other sex. Whether it’s a male or female, it doesn’t murder, so you need to be attractive enough that they recognize you, that you are there.
It’s the same if you go to F Show. If you go there and you have a boost and you want to present your technology and sure that the people know that you are there, give them a. Two, stop by and having a clear message this one should take with, and then as final point, create content, content, content out of that.
You have one week. That is the longest, I think, per show we have, ASFA is really, one week is pretty long. You have the team over there, create content, have meetings, have meetings with your clients, suppliers, put videographers on the booth, create events out of that. This is what you have to do if you just go there and have your machines and five salespeople, you will not be successful anymore in the next years because this is how we did it in the past.
But the time has changed first. I don’t
The single mistake Water Companies do on Tradeshows
Antoine Walter: like that idea because that means much more competition for me. No, I’m joking. It sounds, sounds really like, like, like the good way to, to address it. I’m just wondering again, I’m sorry, I’m pushing you only with black and white. What is this one single mistake you see companies doing again and again on trade shows, which really, which you find horrible like it’s.
That thing, which makes you sick. If I can
Björn Otto: only pick one, that’s, that’s a hard one. What makes me really sick is if I see people on the booze working, watching the mobile phone are distracted by other things and not taking care about the people who are running around. That makes me, if I see that I want to go on the booze, I want to shake this person, someone spent thousands of euros for this booze to bring the technology to here, to bring you here, and you are sitting over there and you are playing on your mobile, what sense does this make?
Nonsense. So that is, for me, the biggest thing I see quite too often. All others are, let’s say that you are just boring. You don’t tell the people that you are there, you, you’re not attractive enough. Back to my bar example at EF ot, they’re coming thousands of people every day and you have competition with all the other boosters.
How many boosts and series. Talks you can have over this one day in these eight hours. I dunno, pick a number. 10, 15, whatever that is. So that means there are 15 talks. I can have two, I dunno, 3000 exhibitors. How do you ensure that you are on my list? And most people don’t think about that. They just say, Hey, we go to Yfa and the people will stop by, but this will never happen.
Give me a reason because there are others I can stop by and maybe they give me a reason and then I go there. That is the other mistake I
Be Different: the Trade Show best practice to emulate
Antoine Walter: quite often see. That was the negative side. Let’s look at the positive side. You’ve been at most of the big trade shows. You recently went to smaller ones. Mm-hmm. Out of the water industry, can you pick three very good practices that people could steal and replicate straightaway in a very short fashion?
Like that one is great. That one is great. That one is great for trade shows. Yeah. Things you’ve seen where you. That is really a good one. Um, doesn’t that silence already say a lot about the lack of
Björn Otto: good practices? What attracts me most is really if your booth is in a different design and your behavior as people on the booth is different.
To all the boring other ones. So that is the first thing. Again, they are, I think, 3000 exhibits, 3000 boosters above water, or I fat, please don’t name me on. On the number from the magnitude. Yeah, it can’t be wrong. So you have to ensure that you stand out. I left my bar example. If someone comes into a bar, you have to ensure that you get recognized if that is your target group.
And it’s the same with a boost. You have to ensure if someone comes to the show, they cannot. Whatever you do, they cannot ignore you. You can do this with funny things. I had to talk once with a professional Triad Light, and he said one of his sponsors was a machine company and he booked him to be on the Fair Trade Show, and then he took his bike was a 8,000 eurobike, and he had just this bike and the bus, and sometimes he was driving with his bike on the floor.
And everybody, I mean, we are engineers. In the end, I’m always saying we are stupid engineers because I can say that I’m an engineer. We want to see things like that bring things. I have seen the DeLorean, I have seen a very old motorbike from the forties. Well, one of my projects, I had the, the story of the founder, so I said the first picture of the, of the founder was he was sitting on a motorbike in the thirties and he went to the first customer, let’s take this bike and put it because we are engineers.
We want to see, we want to talk, and then we have a story to talk about. So
Antoine Walter: a a pattern interruption Yeah. That you, you break Yeah, a bit. The walls of Booth and. It’s something which makes you stop and look at the booth. Yeah. But then you need to have the messaging. Right. Exactly. How do you convey a message in such a crowded environment?
It makes me think sometimes, you know of Times Square in New York, there are so many ads everywhere. Why should you focus on one when there
Björn Otto: are thousand? You know? You know what I tell you? A secret, for instance, EFA is every second year. The Aquatech is every second year. So that means after the last, you have two years time to prepare your clients.
To tell your clients that you are again there and give them a reason to come. So that doesn’t mean that you have to have this message only during the one week at the Yfa Munich. You can have this message in different ways. And then we are back a little bit to promotion, how you can promote this and if they see all the time, similar message and give me a reason to come.
And then I’m coming to the show. And then I, as you said, you break the pattern because something is different. And then I’m watching and you’re telling me the story which you tease at me upfront over the last two months. And I’m curious about to hear that that is one thing that is how you it because.
You don’t have to concentrate just on the couple of days how long the trade show is. You can’t prepare that. And then also there’s an element after the show. Don’t forget that the show doesn’t end, that someone stopped at your booth and said, Hey, what a good technology. Tell me about that. It doesn’t stop at that point.
It goes further. And this you have also to consider as
Why you shall maybe not focus on Blue Oceans
Antoine Walter: marketer. So before we close that deep dive, I want to take you to a last field, which is maybe a bit more philosophic. There is this theory of you should go in terms of strategy to a blue ocean. Mm-hmm. Which is opposed to a red ocean. The beauty of a blue ocean is that you have less competition and you have a broad perspective and a great market, which you can tap into.
The downside of that approach, if you’re in the water industry is that as Paul O’Callaghan shared on that microphone a while ago, it takes very long for a new tech, a new solution to take off in that market. We are speaking of. Decades. So if you’re in a blue ocean and creating a new category, open a new section of the market, you are facing an ocean that’s fully flat.
There’s no wave, there’s no wind. So it might be a blue ocean, but you are alone and it’s not sure you can move. On the other hand, the red ocean has this drawback of ships everywhere and a lot of competition, but you’re absolutely sure that there is a market and if you deliver better than the others, because you have the right marketing people in place and they understand the ins and outs of the market, they understand the customer and your product is legend and you know how to nail your go to market route, then maybe that is also a competitive advantage.
And you are building kind of a blue ocean category within the red ocean. Absolutely. Aren’t you concerned when some of the young companies you’re dealing with say, look, we don’t have competition, we. Very new. We open a new category. Don’t you want them like beware The blue ocean can be dangerous. Who am
Björn Otto: I to want someone, if they define the strategy for themself, if they ask me about my opinion, then clearly, but let’s say up to the point that I’m jumping in and helping them, they are sometime left.
They develop something and they have a clear, strong signal that they want to go that direction. Principle, I don’t judge that at the moment. What I do judge, is more for the existing customers who are since years in the red ocean and since years, having losses over losses. Over losses or not profit. Call it this way.
And then you should think about, okay, doesn’t it make sense to change the strategy? If a startup wants to jump into a new business, into a new category, let ’em try. Sometimes you bring things with and an opinion. And a behavior is we have never seen before, and that’s good for our industry. I would rather that judge that for existing clients.
And there are so many examples if I have a strategy session with my clients. And we go over that. I’m giving them some examples, and I think I published this once. For instance, in the activated carbon world, there are tons of activated carbon suppliers. Most of them, they are somewhere in Belgium, but we have also some German ones which try to fight against the big players, but mostly they fail.
Build your little Blue Ocean in the middle of a Red Ocean
But there’s also another company he’s in the, which is in the ka, it’s called Luca. Luca is a very small company, not, it’s actually not a small, it’s a company with a long lasting history and they have a special product. Made out of activated curb. For instance, they have developed years ago, they have developed a, an activated curb with a so face, much higher, much better kinetics, just better product as all the others had, and they opened in own category.
The point there was they had just a small market share, but therefore they had a very, very high price and a very high profit. That was the interesting fact, and I’m always taking this example with that. They opened some kind of new category also with other activated carbon products. They didn’t jump into the drinking water or they didn’t jump into.
Where all the Belgian companies are, they developed something really special activated carbon and forecloses for military applications or something like that. So they jumped really in the niche for sure. They know that the market share is pretty low, but the profit can be even higher. And if you check the numbers, because they all public companies, you can see the numbers.
I show that in my strategy session. You can see what you see, how this, how this is growing. And then you take a couple of examples from German companies, for instance, which are just in the activity carbon business. And then you see they’re struggling all the time and things like that. It’s also, I know membrane companies.
Who are really focused on a special application and they don’t want to fight against, you know, Kubota against Zvi against all the other well known. They, they keep in their niche for their niche application, but therefore they are clearly the market leader and they have a high price. And I really encourage the people which are struggling with numbers to look, maybe you shouldn’t fight all the time against all the big ones, established ones, because your product is just 5%, 10% different as the others.
But it’s not enough that you convince with that the client, because the other company is well known and maybe he has a better price, so it’s not enough. Maybe you should step back, have another look, and then you go into a direction they are not in, and then you can define your. Kind of blue ocean. Blue ocean red is always black and white.
It’s clearly black and white. There are many shades between, and that’s what I’m saying. Saying to to my customers, Hey, we have to fight a niche where you can jump in, where you don’t have to fight against the big ones. And that is interesting. It doesn’t need to be a completely blue ocean, but at least make it a little bit less sharky, you know, with less sharks.
Call it this way. And you have
Antoine Walter: like a playbook as to how to identify that section of the ocean. Yes. But that’s the secret. I guess people would’ve to contact you if they want to. To tap into that, to close that deep dive, I’d like you to come back to look at the full journey. You’ve given many different pieces of advice, but a journey starts somewhere.
There’s a beginning of the road. So from the people listening to that, from the different profiles they may have, what would. The single action they have to take. Let’s start with a first type of profile for the CSU decision makers, which are listening to this. What is the first action they, they can take if they want to up their game when it comes to marketing?
And don’t answer me. Call me. I can help you. No, no, no. Because that is a given. No, no, no. They should call you and and you will help them. But what is the simple action they can take?
The single action the C-Suite shall take to up their Water Marketing Game
Björn Otto: Take marketing serious. That is the most important thing. Take them really as a strategic partner. Bring them to the. Level and ensure that they have the knowledge to deliver everything from strategic tactic, market knowledge, all the thingss, train them to the level that you have someone who can talk to you if you are the ceo, if you are the bird, which can talk to you on eye level and give you clearly advice for the next thingss.
I encourage them to take that serious, to train the people in a way that they are able to deliver what you’re looking for. That you don’t have to do this your own, or to outsource that. That doesn’t make any sense. Have the capability insights
Antoine Walter: for the finance and investor, people listening to us, do they have to interact with marketing and what should they do or act on the marketing
Björn Otto: level, the finance people, the investors there?
Any advice I can give to them? Um, I don’t know.
The #1 action investors shall take to better the Marketing of the companies they invest in
Antoine Walter: Let me elaborate a bit on it. I’m thinking I’m an investor. Mm-hmm. And, uh, I’d like to put some stakes in a company, which just gave a good pitch. Yeah. My line of thought would be something like if they don’t understand marketing right, they probably. Misjudge whether the markets or the persona or the customer or the leads.
And if they don’t nail that, then how serious is the rest of whatever they
Björn Otto: propose? I think pretty important for an investor is that they understand really the go-to market strategy for the product and there should p people be involved in that who really have access to the clients. If it just come from the C F O and from the CEO and there as a team behind, talk to the team who develop this strategy because it’s never just a C level strategy.
They not working on this alone. And if you investor try to ensure that this strategy is correct and is. Based on fundamentals, on serious numbers that someone has really talked to the clients that what is in the pipeline is really serious. By the way, it could be, we could spend another hour on, on pipelines, but if you’re an investor look into that, does they have a team?
And I’m, again, I’m not about the promotion part, really about the strategic part that the marketing or at at least there is a person who’s taking care about the strategic aspect and it’s not the ceo. The CEO has to run a company and he has to have a vision and he has to have total different things and total different playbook.
That must be someone who’s having these kind of develop these kind of go-to-market strategies and they have to ensure that this market and application they want to go into are correct. That there is a market that they don’t fall into the trap and say after year, oh well we figured out, well there is not really a market, sorry for that.
The two actions to take as Sales Management to better your company’s Marketing
Antoine Walter: So for the C level, take marketing seriously, look at them at eye level, train them if needed, but take them as sparing partner. Yeah. For the investors, Ensure that the go-to market is based on the right assumptions and that there is a product market fit and that there is a market to look after. Last, personal.
The salespeople listening to that, what is the first action they should take? The
Björn Otto: salespeople? Uh, I think there are two actions. Let me give them two actions. Okay. Fir first is if marketing comes to you with new ideas, try it. Don’t be so defensive and say, haha, we did this doesn’t work. Maybe there’s a reason why the marketer or the marketing person or the marketing team wants to test something new.
And the other thing is, if you want to jump into that game, go to your boss and say, Hey, I want to go into that game. I want to train myself. I have this knowledge, I have the passion for that. It’s not about PowerPoint, it’s really about marketing the company and everyth. Belongs to that. If you have a passion for that, go to your boss, train yourself.
There’s so much stuff out there. Come with knowledge. Be a good exchange. Partner for the marketing team to grow with the marketing team. Take a leadership position, maybe marketing if possible. I want to encourage these salespeople to think about more from the marketing perspective, not only from the sales perspective.
Antoine Walter: You were speaking of passion. I think whenever you speak about Marketing, one can feel the passion that you have for that field. So it was a pleasure to have that renewed deep dive into marketing. Maybe you can come back in two years or maybe before that. I would love to, as we discuss about this pipeline topic, I think it would be a good additional hour.
I have to improvise some rapid for questions to close with because we already had my first list.
Rapid fire questions:
Antoine Walter: What is the craziest. Water attack you’ve ever seen? Ooh,
Björn Otto: that is a tough question. The craziest water attack for osmosis. I left the concept of of forward osmosis and it’s one of the craziest things from the technical perspective to understand that. But also from the market and application perspective, there are a lot of question marks still in my head, and hopefully we will see this more, but I think there’s a potential, but it’s a tough one for ho osmosis.
What’s this? One of the craziest, I think there are many, but let’s say I have to pick one. So yeah. French car or German car. I can’t imagine that you are asking me this question. Uh, clearly a German
Antoine Walter: car. I wanted to give you a simple one. So you, you mentioned that you were reading a lot of books. Oh yeah.
And following a lot of courses. If you had to recommend one book and one content resource for water professionals,
Björn Otto: what would it be? From the book perspective, now I have to find the name. It’s APO from ClickFunnels. I read many books, Arnold Fran, for instance, the biography. It’s pretty amazing, especially if it comes to his 10 rules.
But this is not the book I I really want to put on the table here. One is really Russell Branson, which is the founder of ClickFunnels, and he wrote expert secret.com secrets and another one. And that was the first time that I read a book. I read it to the end, I closed the book and I was saying to myself, I got it.
This never happened with any other book, but there was really, I got it. And there was one of the books which encouraged me and, you know, helped me to form the company, to find myself, to find my voice in the industry. And I would really recommend cost, I think 10 euros on, on Amazon. Get this, I think you can also get this free in a, in a, in a, in a kind of PDF version.
But this was so helpful for me at least. Really that’s the
Antoine Walter: book recommendation. Now the content, content for what you, you mentioned how you, you’re following courses, uh, leave it really open whatever content source, which is really inspiring for very specifically the water industry. I mean,
Björn Otto: the one source I really follow is, is clearly linked.
And there I have a couple of people I follow and look
Antoine Walter: what they’re doing. Let’s be more specific than LinkedIn. Who are those persons?
Björn Otto: Now, you get me in trap a little bit. I mean, obviously I have to say one of the person is you and, and, and your podcast.
Antoine Walter: He, he had to, it’s, it’s mandatory. If you want to be on the podcast, you have to be very positive about me.
I, I’m this kind of
Björn Otto: person, you know, also the, the CEO of Acceptance, Al he’s doing a lot of things and which really made me think of couple of content pieces. But one person who really inspired me over the last six months was Patrick Decker, the CEO of Xylem. Not because of his move to take over a wfa really about his, what he’s posting in a such a humble way.
I will never forget the post last year during We Tech, he posted on his personal profile just some three lines of text. I will be next week, Tuesday from, I don’t know. Two to five at the booth at Tex, that’s asylum bus at beta. Come to me, say hello. Talk to me. I, I felt really that it was his intention that if you have an interest going to him to talk to him, to get his mind, get his few, even if you get just five minutes.
But he mean that in a humble and serious way. And I saw a couple of posts like this over the last time from him sometimes. Just recommending music. I mean, he’s the CEO of one of the biggest water companies we have, and he makes it on a really personal level. So if you really want to have, I don’t want to use the word role model even if I use it right now, but go over these two CEOs.
Take the piece maybe you want to have, and, and to find your voice. My favorite
Antoine Walter: of Patrick Decker. So obviously the one way sees that, hey, that awesome interview with, uh, with Ottowa on the Water podcast, za, you should listen to it. So I really love his posting since that, no, so I got
Björn Otto: the money now back, right, because I give you the
Antoine Walter: bridge, the joke, joke aside.
Uh, I, I share your recommendation. I’m really amazed by what he ISS posting. And I, I really like the fact that the CEO of now with the acquisition, the second largest water company, shares music recommendation and explaining why he likes that music. That makes
Björn Otto: a personal connection. Exactly. And that’s the point he’s the CEO of, but he comes.
To us call it this way. And he wants to talk to us, to you and me and to all other water professionals. And it looks like, and it feels like that he’s one of us. If he invites me, come over to talk to me. Actually, I was not at We Tech. Hopefully he will do this again on a show where he will be and I will be, so then I will definitely reach out and will see whether they mean that seriously.
But I’m a hundred percent sure that was a serious invitation. Much shorter. Aquatech or Effa. More and more AFA tech, more and more AFA Tech. I like the technologies and Aquatech is really technology driven. While iffa is really focused, really on installations, on process, on, on bigger things, on the, from the bigger scale.
I’ve fall in love with really the architect favorite movie top. I left Tok. Tok or the new Top Gun? Both, definitely one of, one of the movies in Germany. It’s called, uh, will Smiths. I don’t know the English title. Maybe you can help me out here. Oh, I know it
Antoine Walter: in French. I’m not sure it helps us because now we have it in Germany
Björn Otto: and in French.
But it is exactly how he was his son. He lived on the street and he growed up. It’s a, it is a, it is a real story. And he became a investment banker and he said one thing to his, his, I get some goosebumps if I think about that because I’m saying this to my boys as well, but if someone says to you, you can’t do it, he’s wrong.
You can do whatever you want. And he has proven that. And that’s really one of the concepts I tell my boys, whatever it. You can become everything.
Antoine Walter: And if your son says, I want to become a water entrepreneur, we say, no, don’t do that. Not that industry, don’t do that. Or would you encourage him?
Björn Otto: Well, if they want to be, you know, of offshore, if they want to be an an
Antoine Walter: entrepreneur, not an entrepreneur, a water
Björn Otto: entrepreneur, even if it is water entre for sure, I would encourage them.
You have. To consider one thing, and that’s normally one of the questions you are asking.
Antoine Walter: Let’s make it proper way. What is the thing you learned the hard
Björn Otto: way? Really the hardest way over the last two years for me was it is not hard to find clients and to find money. It is hard to find people who has the same passion and has the ambition to work with you for these clients, which gives you money.
Finding people in our industry with knowledge, the passion, and the strive to come to the next level for your clients. That is a hard way. I really learned, I was thinking other way around that is harder finding, finding customers, but it’s not, it’s totally the other, other way. And that is really, I’m struggling still today, so shout out if, if you, if you are interested, reach out to me.
Uh, we are always looking forward to, to hire new people. I was going to ask if
Antoine Walter: you were actively recruiting, but you Absolutely. Directly always. And I guess if someone listens up to the rapid fire question, you can guess that’s, they can. At least connect to what you’re sharing. Yeah. My closing question is very simple.
Will you have someone to recommend me that I have to invite on that
Björn Otto: microphone? I mean, last time I, I recommend you someone and you didn’t invite him, so I mean, clearly. I, I, there’s just one person I really want to have on your microphone. We came with, his name is Patrick Decker. So Patrick, if you hear this,
Antoine Walter: but I already had Patrick Dick on that
Björn Otto: microphone.
Yeah. But it was not really this interview, this kind of format. True. And I want really to have him on this format. Okay. I would really listen. So I do you the favor I take this name.
Antoine Walter: I, I have to say I agree with him, Patrick, so, well, thanks, Burd. It’s been a repeated pleasure to have you on that microphone.
I’m serious. We can have that update whenever you want. Again, it’s always good to discuss the depth of marketing with you. I feel like we’ve scratched the surface again, like every time we discuss marketing with you. But if people want to follow that, what’s the best place to, to get in contact with you?
Is it LinkedIn?
Björn Otto: Yeah. It is LinkedIn. The day you find everything from me, from from the company, reach out to me. Send me a message. Not only Hi, say hi and maybe a short message that will, that would help. Yeah, clearly.
Antoine Walter: Thanks a lot. Thank you.