logo (6) 4

Growing internationally with a demand generation strategy

How Royal Mosa is transforming Sales, Marketing and Customer Care and growing its business in new markets. Result: +200% website traffic.

Royal Mosa, a company with strong "roots" in the Netherlands wants to expand into new international markets with its premium ceramic tiles. In 5 years, Mosa's commercial team has successfully rolled out an Inbound Marketing strategy in the organization. This is now reflected in significant growth in website visits, leads and customers.


Mosa: strong Dutch 'roots

Mosa: it's Latin for 'Maas', the river that flows through the Dutch city of Maastricht. It is also the name of Royal Mosa, producer of ceramic tiles, founded in Maastricht in 1883. Although Mosa's foundation is in the south of the Netherlands, they produce state-of-the-art ceramic products for architects and designers from all over the world. And not without success: Royal Mosa's sales were 101 million euros in 2017.

Royal Mosa's intention to architects is clear: to deliver a premium ceramic product and facilitate the design process in the best possible way. To live up to this high level of service, Mosa counts the construction process and tile installation as a crucial part of design. Sustainability, tailored service and design are therefore embedded in Mosa's DNA. Today, Royal Mosa supplies 6 million square meters of ceramic tiles in more than 50 countries.

The challenge

Royal Mosa committed to a new approach to creating demand in new markets, divided into three phases: attracting prospects, setting up the lead nurturing process, and working on closed loop analytics. This approach required a change in processes, people and skills, and tooling. Important was the integration of Marketing, Sales, and Customer Care, and the use of inbound marketing philosophy to attract customers with solutions rather than push products.

The solution

Royal Mosa implemented an integrated approach to demand generation focused on attracting prospects, establishing lead nurturing processes, and applying closed loop analytics. This method was focused on creating demand in new markets by integrating Marketing, Sales, and Customer Care, using inbound marketing principles. This allowed Royal Mosa to communicate and build relationships with potential customers more effectively.


Tapping into new markets. Where to start?

Mosa's high priority on design and branding is a conscious choice in marketing their premium products. Even though the economic crisis hit the Dutch construction market hard, Royal Mosa managed to remain profitable - even in those years.

Sales declined slightly, however, as housing associations put pressure on prices. This was an important turning point. It was 2014 when Mosa started heading toward growing sales by increasing exports. To generate demand in new markets for their premium ceramic products, Mosa needed to roll out its strong Dutch brand internationally - with the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K. and Switzerland at the center of this strategy.

The team at Mosa was very aware that their brand was not as strong internationally as it was in the Netherlands. In addition, they realized that the way customers orient and purchase today has changed. Not only in B2C, but also in B2B. The architect - Mosa's main target group - looks online for solutions to problems and inspiration for designs. Another key focus was the declining interest among visitors and exhibitors for certain trade shows. When several other major companies stayed away from the trade show, Mosa decided it was time for a new strategy.

This case study shows a snapshot from 2014 to mid-2018: how Royal Mosa is transforming Sales, Marketing and Customer Care and growing its business in new international markets.

Marketing, Sales and Customer Care: three separate islands

To create global demand for premium ceramic tiles, Mosa had to take a critical look at its current commercial approach. How visible is the company - online and offline? Fortunately, Mosa's management was aware that not only Sales, but also Marketing and Customer Care play an important role here.

At the time, however, these three disciplines were not yet an extension of each other. Bas Urlings, Senior Online Marketer at Mosa: "There were no processes yet between Marketing, Sales and Customer Care in nurturing leads, from first contact to closing the deal. 'Is this a good lead?" and "Can we turn this lead over to Sales?" were questions we struggled to answer. Goals of Marketing and Sales were not aligned. As a result, Marketing could not demonstrate the ROI of certain campaigns.

We realized we needed to make the switch from offline to online, and from a design-driven to a results-driven approach. We were confident that we could stick to our core values: high-quality design, service and sustainability. We were determined to move into new international markets, where we could create more demand for our products.

Creating demand in new markets requires a new approach

Bas had clear what his team wanted to accomplish: create demand for products and understand the ROI of marketing campaigns. They decided to divide this organizational change into 3 phases:

2014: Attracting prospects (through SEO, SEA, blogging, offline media, social media and by improving the website) and generating good leads (with Call-to-Actions, landing pages, email marketing and forms).

2015 - 2016: Setting up the lead nurturing process - from lead to closing the deal (with lead management, webcare and marketing automation)

2016 - 2017: Working on closed loop analytics (with NPS, Analytics and in-depth reporting)

Achieving these goals required a change in processes . Collaboration between Marketing, Sales and Customer Care was crucial. Many leads talk to the Customer Care department first because they are responsible for handling and referring direct inquiries from potential customers. Marketing needed to start expanding its responsibility into the commercial process. They faced the challenge of finding a way to generate good leads; something they had not done before in international markets. Their main task was to identify building projects where architects might install Mosa tiles. Finally, Sales had to ensure proper follow-up on opportunities that Marketing had identified.

In terms of people and skills, Mosa was determined to build a new Marketing team. Because customer experience is important, Customer Care also had to be redesigned. Finally, tooling came into play. The tools used by Marketing and Sales had been selected by the IT department, and not from a commercial point of view. This meant that not all software was integrated with each other, and important data was scattered across systems. Moreover, many Sales colleagues worked in their own Excel files, isolating crucial customer information from the rest of the organization. This also had to change.

Bas: "It was important to gain support for our plans throughout the organization. To create visibility, we even changed the organization chart so that everyone was aware of the new structure. This was a very conscious choice. Another important thread in our approach was the Inbound Marketing philosophy: attract customers with your solutions, rather than pushing your products.

The commercial transformation of Royal Mosa

Initially, Bas was looking for other software to integrate Sales and Marketing. During this search, his team came in contact with Webs. Bas realized Webs could add value to Mosa's commercial transformation.

Together with Webs, Mosa (further) rolled out theInbound Marketing strategy in the organization, using theMarketing Automation software from HubSpot.

Bas: "In four intensive workshops, a strategic Growth Plan was shaped to increase exports and grow internationally. The team helps us create structure, brings new ideas to the table and also supports us in creating physical content and marketing funnels to appeal to architects, our main target group. From strategy to execution, we find in Webs an important sparring partner."

Key milestones:

  • Create a Growth Plan to generate demand for Mosa products in international markets
  • Establishing three teams: Market Management, Inbound Marketing and Customer Care. Focus was on transforming the organization;
  • Align annual goals of Marketing and Sales;
  • Take the business-to-consumer branch of the Royal Mosa website offline and focus entirely on business-to-business
  • Start using Marketing and Sales software that is results-driven, not IT-driven;
  • Bring Customer Care and Marketing into one department and work intensively together to help leads and customers with their challenges;
  • Start with content creation to help potential customers solve problems.

Bas: "The customer is our focus in everything we do, so bringing Customer Care and Marketing together was an important step forward. This means we can provide customers with high-quality service. At the same time, we are getting to know our customers better and better. We rebuilt the website and added valuable content - sometimes behind forms, so that we also generate leads. Furthermore, we conducted in-depth research to discover where our target audience - architects - get information from. The insights gathered are helping us increase Marketing ROI, because content has never been more specific."

Creating international demand

Between March 2014 and today, Mosa has worked hard to implement the tooling and work according to the new Inbound strategy. The results are worth mentioning:

  • The vast majority of the blog's readers are from the United States. This is an important signal for Mosa that its approach is working in new markets;
  • The quality of leads (construction projects) has increased significantly;
  • There is focus: all Marketing, Sales and Customer Care activities are in line with each other and all departments work for the same B2B markets. The consumer branch is no longer a priority;
  • The average value per construction project has increased.

More website visitors: Mosa increased from half a million website visitors in 2014 to 1 million website visitors in 2016 (In 2017, there was a small decrease to 900,000 visitors. However, this was expected since they took the entire business-to-consumer branch offline).

More, and better leads:from 328 identified construction projects in 2015 to 1650 construction projects in 2017. These are qualified leads, which Sales can work with immediately. The combined value of construction projects also increased from 46 million to 48 million euros.

Mosa wants to achieve 35% more sales by 2020

Bas: "That's an ambitious goal! Fortunately, the Inbound philosophy has really landed in our organization. We have made great strides and are proud of the results we have achieved so far. But we're not there yet. We are in a dynamic environment, so we need to stay sharp on new opportunities. Creating demand for products in completely new markets is not something that happens overnight. I am very much looking forward to further rolling out the Inbound Marketing strategy so that we can grow even further internationally with the help of Sales and Marketing."