Q&A with Yolanda Valery, Head of Digital Engagement at Ocado Group

Yolanda Valery, Head of Digital Engagement at Ocado Group, comes with a portfolio of audience growth and engagement projects on mobile and social; digital transformation in newsrooms: content and workflows. She has a good eye for stories and a passion for telling them in a meaningful way.

Digital is a very busy ecosystem, so nail first what you are trying to achieve, who you are trying to engage with and what you want to convey.


MEDIA 7: What inspired you to build and pursue this career?
YOLANDA VALERY:
It is an interesting one, because I don’t think I saw myself doing this 10 or even two years ago. I come from a background of journalism, and I mean very stereotypical journalism: I have chased police cars, I have taken MPs to task, I have crossed many miles by land to cross into a lockdown country, and I better stop there or I never will! I’ve worked on every platform that you can think of, including the privilege to help 40 international teams across the world figure out their social media.
At a certain point in my career, I felt that I had done everything that I wanted, and was itching to explore what else I could do with what I knew. The challenge of jumping to an unknown is probably one of the biggest pulls that brought me where I am. “Transitioning”, while taking with me storytelling, content gathering use of platforms, it all sounded very tempted. And here I am, pursuing content marketing for a great business.


M7: What is Ocado Group’s digital communication strategy for generating leads and increasing user engagement?
YV:
Ocado Group is an interesting B2B company when it comes to marketing as the product it sells is very particular. You really wouldn’t expect anyone to invest in an end-to-end online grocery platform off the back of having seen a Facebook ad. As a marketer, you could say this is good news and bad news. On the one hand, I am not expected to generate any leads. On the other, it means my work implies nuances and sophistication that you may not need otherwise when you are in the business of straight-supporting your sales department.

The stage that we are at, my challenge is still very much help build the identity of the company outside of Retail, or the supermarket, with which the name “Ocado” is very much associated with. I believe this is best achieved via content that matches what the business wants to say (purpose) with what the audience will be prepared to engage with (value). We have developed what we call the “PAVE” (Purpose, Audience, Value, Execution) that we apply to every single piece at the ideation stage. This is key to make sure you make the best use of available resources, avoiding content for the sake of content, and addressing specific business needs with regards to strategic audiences.

I have counted the word “audience” three times (now four!) in this paragraph, and that is 100% a journalistic thing: they need to be at the center, if nothing else because in this noisy world that we are a part of you don’t stand a chance if you don’t offer them something that they think it’s worth their time, whether they are an investor, a partner or a job candidate.


Be prepared to move and adapt, and never be discouraged if something doesn’t work out the way you expected it.


M7: What are your preferred channels for marketing your products and services?
YV:
I think this is again dependent on the audience, but if you ask for my all-encompassing favorite I would have to say the corporate website. At the end of the day, it is your home, the go-to place for all of the different audiences, wherever it is they have encountered you first. We are talking, of course, of a properly SEO-optimized website, so if you count Search as a channel, I would say this is tied in the first place. In terms of social media, we have a portfolio around different audiences. We don’t have a presence on every channel, and we have more than one account in some of them.



Days are shorter on digital: the sun shines again soon enough, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

M7: What is your advice to aspiring marketers about digital engagement?
YV:
Don’t forget your basics. Digital is a very busy ecosystem, so nail first what you are trying to achieve, who you are trying to engage with and what you want to convey. Resist your colleague’s temptations to solve every problem by creating a social channel! Also believe and value your skills: just because anyone can have an Instagram it means they can create good content for it.

Identify good newsletters and read them avidly: this is also a rapidly changing landscape. Be prepared to move and adapt, and never be discouraged if something doesn’t work out the way you expected it. Days are shorter on digital: the sun shines again soon enough, so don’t be afraid to experiment.

ABOUT OCADO GROUP

Ocado Group is the world leading providing of end-to-end grocery shopping solutions, including software, robotics and automation systems. Based in the UK with 10 international partners, Ocado Group is changing the way the world shops across the globe with its unique Ocado Smart Platform.

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