We spoke with Dr. Jelena Rašula, the Head of Marketing at Skaza, where she is entering the fifth year of co-creating the future of the Velenje-based family business. With over 20 years of experience in business informatics, sales, and marketing, she is opening doors to new sales opportunities and successfully strengthening the brand position of Skaza.
Dr. Jelena Rašula, head of marketing at Skaza.
Technology as the Foundation of Successful Strategic Marketing
We talked to Dr. Jelena Rašula, the Head of Marketing at Skaza, where she enters her fifth year of co-creating the future of the Velenje family business. With over 20 years of experience in business informatics, sales, and marketing, she opens doors to new sales opportunities and successfully strengthens Skaza's brand position.
How do you define the role of strategic marketing?
I don't see marketing just as a "promotional tool" for the company but as a crucial driving force that represents the company globally and opens doors to business partners and customers. In my opinion, marketing should create sales value, walk hand in hand with leadership and sales, giving it a significant strategic position. In my view, the three pillars of strategic marketing include understanding the company's vision, mission, and values, supporting the strategic sales goals, and using technology to enhance work efficiency.
How do Skaza's vision and mission influence your work?
Without understanding the company's mission and vision, we cannot talk about strategic marketing. Using Skaza as an example, whose vision is to be the first choice for partners in developing sustainable solutions and plastic products, my task is to choose projects in the next year that will help position the company in this way in the market. All marketing activities will be focused on being recognized as a trustworthy partner specializing in sustainable solutions, the use of recycled materials, and solutions for proper handling of organic waste.
How do you search for partners?
Partners aligned with our vision and values are leading global companies looking to transition from "virgin" plastic to recycled sustainable materials. In collaboration with us, a development supplier operating since 1977, they develop quality and sustainable solutions, build their brand reputation, help reduce development costs, and optimize logistics costs as we are located in the heart of Europe.
How important is the synergy between marketing and sales?
I highly value my colleagues, and I can say that we have built a strong bond between marketing and sales in the last year, breathing as one team. If sales, as part of their strategy, sets target markets and figures, we are their captain on the ship, pointing out opportunities where goals can be easily achieved. We complement each other, support each other, and learn from everything we do right and sometimes wrong. This requires extremely high maturity, honest mutual relationships, and respect – and we have that, and more, demonstrating it every day.
In the last two years, you have been involved in implementing certain key technological solutions in the company. What are the most effective tools crucial for modern marketing?
My approach is quite simple: use tools that truly add value or enhance work efficiency. Analytical tools, for example, enable us to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, optimize websites, and analyze existing customers. We can also use them for predicting trends, understanding the target audience, or rationalizing marketing budgets. Analytical tools are indispensable in modern marketing, facilitating better decision-making and better alignment of efforts towards achieving business goals, whether we're talking about Google Analytics or pivot tables in Excel.
Why have you integrated ERP and CRM systems into your marketing activities?
The ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is crucial for our work as it is an integrated information system designed to optimize and automate business processes. We upgraded it with Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for informed business decision-making. Two years ago, we implemented SAP, indicating recognition of the marketing role in the company. As a marketing representative, I was one of the key leaders in the project implementation, which is quite rare.
We also introduced the HubSpot CRM system into marketing and sales. This allows us comprehensive management of marketing campaigns, process automation, management of the entire sales funnel, and reporting on key indicators of success and marketing effectiveness. CRM is the first mirror of the sales-marketing team and a tool that every major company should have.
How did you contribute to the Skaza 5.0 project, and how does it reflect on the marketing field?
As a technology enthusiast, I embraced the Skaza 5.0 project with open arms, valued at over 4 million EUR. Together with external partners, we embarked on a comprehensive digital transformation of the company's value chain. Although the project focuses on implementing modern digital technologies, such as computer vision with elements of artificial intelligence, a digital twin, and other forms of production automation, it also allows the introduction of tools that support sales and marketing.
As part of this project, we are creating product models in AR/VR (augmented/virtual reality) environments. This allows consumers to better understand our brand products, virtually place them in their homes, and view them from all angles. Simultaneously, we are introducing the Digital Product Passport (DPP). It is digital documentation that tracks and records the life cycle of a specific product from production to final use or disposal. This digital passport is used to track and manage various phases of the product, its components, and related information, such as materials, production processes, environmental impacts, service information, etc. Legislation on DPP is being prepared in the EU, and we have somewhat exceeded it, positioning ourselves as trendsetters in the market.
How do artificial intelligence (AI) tools enhance the efficiency of your work?
I am excited about the emergence of new tools and the development of their capabilities. I regularly encourage our team to incorporate them into their work. With certain tools, such as Bard and ChatGPT, we significantly sped up content preparation. We optimized video production with Elevenlabs for multilingual voiceovers, Kapwing for sound quality improvements and subtitle translations, and Ideogram for generating ideas and new products.
What do you think makes Skaza's marketing excellent?
A comprehensive approach to modern marketing, combining technological expertise, sales, and goal orientation. All of this wouldn't be possible without excellent colleagues willing to embrace change and new challenges. In the future, we will undoubtedly use even more solutions and approaches, as we are highly motivated to learn and ready to use new technologies for higher efficiency. At Skaza, we believe that technology doesn't take away jobs but enables more efficient management, allowing us to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of our work.