I remain open to the changes and challenges of business, which has brought tremendous opportunity, exposing me to a wide variety of marketing disciplines. Through openness, I’ve learned to develop strategies and delivered solutions across marketing and sales within multiple industry sectors.
I’m often asked about my previous experiences, motivations, challenges, achievements. So I’ve written about this in great detail below.
DIXONS STORES GROUP
Product Manager – Games & Accessories
November 1998 to April 2000
The starting point of my career, doing Product Marketing of games consoles, games software and accessories via Dixons, Currys, PC World (+1300 stores & the web).
The most fast-paced department in the Group by far. I was responsible for balancing the life-cycle and monetisation of several thousand product SKUs, delivering ~£140m annual revenue, ensuring 1,300 Dixons, Currys, and PC World branches had the right product and proposition mix at all times.
I worked closely with game console suppliers like Sony PlayStation, Nintendo, Sega, and game publishers like Activision, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Rockstar Games, etc., building brands and categories through smart buying strategies, great product marketing and trade marketing.
This role required blisteringly fast thinking, acting (or you’d have to leave for a ‘normal’ department!) and utmost attention to detail, to strengthen the Group’s competitive position and vendor relationships, using every marketing tool at my disposal to smash the competition, above all ensuring that customers got what they wanted – deals.
An unforgettable, shaping experience – not for the faint hearted.
Dot com valuations were booming at this time, and my next opportunity came with far greater excitement and responsibility, helping specialist eCommerce games startup retailer Gameplay.com. » » »
Product Manager – Games, Accessories & DVD
April 2000 to August 2001
The first startup I stepped into, in the eCommerce / online and mail order space. I was marketing games, consoles, accessories and DVD.
This was an ideal continuation from marketing at Dixons Stores Group, swapping bricks for clicks (eCommerce & Mail Order). I had the added responsibility of end-to-end product commercialisation that saw me centrally placed between buying and marketing teams.
Getting products noticed during the infancy of digital marketing using only basic digital tools and techniques was digital marketing innovation in the making. A big part of the strategy was to leverage the technology and content-rich parts of the site to drive customer acquisition and brand development for Gameplay.com, along with publicity stunts, to blend online with offline and achieve press coverage. All of this opened opportunities to negotiate unique deals with suppliers like Microsoft, Sports Interactive, Sega, etc.
The business was strained (overspent) and after a Management Buyout, there was no choice but to leave. I decided it was time to drive deeper into the supply chain, so I joined Activision. » » »
Senior Brand Manager EMEA – Call of Duty portfolio
September 2001 to September 2005
► Launched and built super-franchise ‘Call of Duty’, BAFTA winner: ‘Best Game On Any Platform’
► Managed all aspects of marketing and brand management for Call of Duty and other brands (a few listed here)
⇨ After 3 years of my retail / eCommerce marketing behind me, the next step was to jump the fence to the supplier side for global brand management / brand strategy. A drastic change which meant going from knowing basic information about thousands of products to developing deep understandings of just a handful. The mindset was now about brand and franchise building, media planning, go-to-market launch, trade marketing, PR, all of which bring a whole new set of tools and required skills.
A career highlight was building and launching a completely new brand, Call of Duty. The brand justified multi-million marketing budgets, enabling me to go beyond lifestyle and specialist print advertising and reach the masses by broadcasting my advertising creative on TV and radio.
A unique moment was attending the BAFTA awards and receiving the top award for best game. The most fun was organising and hosting a global press event in Hitler’s bunkers in Poland, with added fun by hiring private planes, helicopters, World War II vehicles (jeeps, motorcycles etc.), amphibious vehicles, and the manor house used by the Germans themselves during the war.
When Call of Duty was a household name, it was time to move on. The next opportunity knocking was marketing games for mobile devices, at publisher/developer of digital games, Glu Mobile. » » »
Category Marketing Manager EMEA – Games apps
September 2005 to December 2006
► Marketing and PR strategy for entire portfolio of 25+ mobile game apps/titles/brands
► Strategic recommendations to the management team
⇨ The appeal was a strategic move towards mobile, keeping the familiarity of games, offset by the challenge of working within a set of previously unfamiliar variables: product development (for apps), distribution channel (mobile operators), business model (rev share), pure-digital / intangible product (downloadable mobile game apps), lack of app store popularity, no smartphones, and in several cases having to build original brands constrained by start-up marketing budgets.
Key highlights were completely revamping the strategy and product roadmap, and taking a bold approach to product marketing vs. industry’s marketing norms, through a PR-led campaign which fully integrated the channel and on a shoestring budget. This involved a running photo shoot and lifestyle magazine placement appealing to the target audience profile. A total success, recognised by the press for leading the industry’s ‘best practice’ for the most creative, innovative and successful approach as a marketer.
With certain achievements completed, it was time to complete the full move into mobile. THREE. » » »
Growth Marketing Proposition Manager
August 2007 to July 2009
► Category and proposition development
► Growth leader: Customer acquisition, retention, cross-selling, advocacy
► Sales channel development (retail, digital / eCommerce, call centre)
⇨ The professional challenges: new to the industry, services marketing vs. products, customer billing relationships vs. unknown customers, matrix environment. Business challenge: Find ways to drive growth above and beyond the ongoing activities of the core business areas. My entrepreneurial solution was to develop the ‘cross-selling matrix of opportunities’. I built relationships to knit this into THREE’s direct sales channels: retail, eCommerce, call centre sales and customer retention. Acting as an intrepreneur, I assembled a cross-functional team consisting of 40+ people for a truly integrated approach across Marketing, Sales, Customer Care Contact Centre, Retention, Device Procurement, Network, Finance, Business Intelligence, Training, Credit Risk, Fraud, and PR, to continually drive, augment, refine and optimise across all channels. THREE still uses the propositions and techniques to generate millions in margin.
Upon successfully augmenting the business and thousands of personnel towards adopting this new approach to market THREE’s services, my next challenge was a single-minded focus on one business category: Mobile Broadband. THREE was the last network to enter the UK market, positioning as a challenger brand, achieving the least market share. For the new category of Mobile Broadband, these activities took THREE straight to no. #1. Various strategies were adopted, however, the adoption of a different distribution strategy (vs. industry norms) was identified, which meant working with supermarkets e.g. Tesco, internet advice portals e.g. moneysavingexpert.com, and eCommerce distribution. Giant competitors Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile were all defeated.
The next opportunity was from Deutsche Telekom, to build Mobile Broadband success across their global footprint. » » »
Senior Manager EMEA, Marketing
July 2009 to April 2014
► International digital product marketing via global footprint
► Strategic partnerships
► Proposition development
► Research and insight development
► Acting Head
⇨ A global role, initially with the goal of helping DT’s global footprint of T-Mobile operators to build out their Mobile Broadband businesses. I devised bespoke recommendations for each market (Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Montenegro, and the UK), on device pricing, contract / PAYG pricing, distribution strategy, promotions, gift options, sales strategies, cross-selling and up-selling. As a result, some countries adapted their existing offerings and others revamped.
I moved on to work with the countries on a mix of product solutions, boosting the top line margin contribution of the individual businesses. Examples include software as a service (SaaS) solutions such as device security for PC and smartphones (Norton apps), productivity (Microsoft office), cloud solutions (e.g. data backup), entertainment (games and music), data roaming solution (an app to save money when roaming), among several others.
Building on these successes, the next challenge was to persuade competitors to launch DT’s solutions. This role was a temporary secondment role, and a unique opportunity for hands-on business development experience, which I value highly alongside my ability to compliment sales teams on lead generation and sales management / process. » » »
Marketing Director / CMO
Since May 2014
► Marketing & digital strategy, execution (tech, eCommerce, betting)
► Growth via digital: SEO, SEM, CRO, display, programmatic, re-marketing, affiliates, website iteration, conversion, funnel, A/B testing, optimisation, marketing automation, social marketing, customer insights and segmentation, churn solutions, eCommerce platforms
⇨ Heading up marketing to help a few startups and SMEs navigate the marketing and digital minefield, developing data-driven strategies towards growth.
Ground-up integrated marketing planning and running brand strategy and digital performance marketing campaigns for Smarkets (eCommerce betting), driving its growth. Primarily, new customer acquisition via paid advertising, followed by an analytics driven inward review leading to most effective digital approaches: landing page strategies, sign-up conversion rate optimisation, customer segmentation via cohort analyses, defining and measuring customer lifetime value (LTV), email marketing process, affiliate strategies. Results include significantly better conversion rates, higher website traffic, and overall business upswing. Recommended on marketing recruitment to build out an expert in-house marketing team. » » »