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Vice President Digital

Dr. Alexander Thun

As Vice President Digital at WAGO, Dr. Alexander Thun and his team have been working since 2018 to make sure WAGO makes the right impression on digital channels. In this interview, he talks about what the trends of “customerization” and “exploration” mean for his work and who he is looking for in his team.

What did your previous job look like?

My career began more than 20 years ago with the online start-up bol.com from Bertelsmann. That was right at the beginning of the first e-commerce high-level phase. And since, the digital business has not let go of me because the developments here are incredibly exciting. Then I went straight to the Internet pharmacy DocMorris at which I set up and managed the marketing effort. Since then, various positions as managing director and as head of digital business in wholesale followed. I have been at WAGO for over three years now, and this is my first time working for an industrial manufacturer – which is also what makes it so appealing to me. As Vice President Digital, I can combine my passion for marketing and IT.

As Vice President Digital, you are responsible for a large team of 45 people. What are your areas of focus?

This is indeed a colorful mix, which can be summarized quite well like this: We take care to make every media contact our customers have with WAGO a positive experience. This is called “Customer Experience Management.” We are primarily responsible for the digital channels, e.g., corporate website, the eShop, online marketing and social media. We steer the marketing campaigns in a budget-optimized manner to inspire new customers for WAGO. A special feature is that we also develop and operate all the IT systems that are necessary for this purpose. And this part is becoming more and more important. The need for technology in marketing is constantly increasing – otherwise, the complexity here would no longer be manageable.

Digitalization is today’s buzz word. What trends are particularly important for WAGO here, and what are your most important projects?

“Customerization” is probably one of the trends. This means that business customers expect a similarly good user experience in a professional environment as they are used to in the private sector at Amazon and the like. So powerful functions that are easy and intuitive to use – and maybe even fun. And this is precisely our approach to designing the digital experience at WAGO. Above all, the focus is on complete support for the customer journey across all phases. We want to give our customers access to the entire range of WAGO products, solutions and services at all times, from anywhere and from any device. We are currently working intensively on expanding our capabilities for online self-service – and also with the support of artificial intelligence, such as the Chatbot or the text robot that we use to automatically create product descriptions.

Another challenge is best described by the keyword “relevance.” We are all constantly wooed with countless messages via the media. Only those who manage to offer the right message to the customer on the right channel at the right time get past all that. This sounds trivial, but it is extremely difficult to implement in practice. Unlike sales, we cannot enter into a personal dialog with the customer. In marketing, we rely on interpreting the customer's digital signals and deriving the appropriate communication from them. And ideally in real time. It is a question of personalized marketing. This is also an important component in our mission to become the most customer-centric company in the industry.

In addition, WAGO is actively exploring new digital offerings. The best example here is the 3D printing community “Creators.” We want to fuel this by providing the required technical capabilities within the framework of a modular platform. In close coordination with IT, we develop gradual components, such as a product service, a search service or a log-in service. These services can then be used by new projects at WAGO in order to realize a rapid market launch. This might lead to a universal WAGO interface, which we also provide to partners and customers.

We take care to make every media contact our customers have with WAGO a positive experience.

In which areas are you looking for support? What should applicants bring to the table and what awaits them?

We are looking in quite a few areas because we are growing strongly. In particular, analysts are in demand to help us turn our vision of personalized marketing into reality. We are also looking for reinforcements in online marketing to expand our social media efforts. We also have open positions in our Development & Operations team. We are looking for developers and consultants who will continue to advance our system stack for customer-oriented IT. We are looking for anyone who not only wants to manage, but also to shape. We want to implement new things together. Applicants should be motivated by change, curiosity and, of course, a good dose of digital affinity. You can expect a dynamic environment in which everyone can contribute their talents.

What are the three most important characteristics that define WAGO?

WAGO deliberately thinks outside the box and is open to lateral moves from other industries – as in my case. There are a variety of subsidies and incentives, such as the mentoring program. I have already been a mentor myself and have also learned a lot from my mentee. We have a modern, agile environment with many inspiring colleagues. It won't be boring – I promise!

What would you describe as your personal WAGO moments of success?

There are a few of them. The last moments of success were not so long ago. In fact, we have just moved our website systems to the cloud as a flagship project of our new cloud strategy. It worked brilliantly and was an impressive team effort. And I hope that we can repeat this moment of success in the near future. Upcoming cloud projects are already in the works.

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