Moments with marketers: Jennie Bewes
Marketingmag.com.au chats to Jennie Bewes – head of online at Vodafone. If you would like to see a certain marketer profiled, please email your suggestion to Kate Kendall, online editor, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What do you do?
Look after the strategy, design and marketing of Vodafone.com.au.
2. What was your first job?
My very first job was as a waitress in a seaside hotel in Devon, England – I was 11, though convinced the hotel manager that I was 13… until two years later when I merrily announced my upcoming 13th birthday. Doh. Why so young? I’ve always been an independent creature and never liked asking my parents for money, so thought I’d make my own! Since then I’ve been a hotel manageress, a legal secretary, a model, a technical author, a business owner, a consultant, a web developer and a marketeer… all before hitting my mid-20s. Well, if you don’t give things a go, how do you know you’ve found the right job? 😉
3. What did you study?
I studied life, people and business, at the school of hard knocks. My lessons have been learned through both inspirational and, er, ‘interesting’ leaders over my time – both of whom are necessary teachers for a balanced perspective. How did I do it? Having the mentality of a five year old, it’s natural for me to constantly ask people ‘how?’ and ‘why?’ they do things in a certain way. I’d always try and understand the underlying problem/opportunity and options they had in front of them, and the rationale they used to make their choices/decision. And then tested these out for myself. This is something I still do today. The day I stop learning will be the day I die!
4. Describe a typical day?
7am: wake up in a panic that I’m late for work. Get daughters hair done for school. Drive to work, music pumping, singing out loud. Grab soy cap and rye toast. At desk at 9am. Meetings –> desk time –> meetings –> five-minute break to grab soup or sashimi –> eat in meeting –> desk time –> meetings –> clear desk, grab laptop and leg it to carpark that closes at 7pm. Drive home. Find out what kids and hubby got up to. Eat dinner cooked by hubby. Try to distract kids from Spongebob/Simpsons, for a chat. Fail. Open laptop intending to ‘quickly’ check Twitter. Get sucked in. Spend hours on laptop; breaking only to put kids to bed, read bedtime story and have 1:2:1 chat about their day ‘what was good; what was bad?’. Back on laptop/internet/Twitter, checking the blogosphere for Vodafone comments and responding/forwarding where appropriate. Hubby says he’s off to bed; figure I should go too. Go to Step 1 and repeat, with different music in car to shake things up a bit *hahaha*.
5. What is on the agenda for 2009?
Ooo, good question. For me: be brave. Be bold. Do something different. And at the same time find a better work:family balance.
6. What brand do you love the most? Hate the most? Why?
LOVE: Apple, for their dedication to design where many others compromise – how many other companies can say that their consumers keep their packaging 12 months after purchase, purely for the design of it! Google: for their furious drive for product and service innovation, and for beating offline companies like Microsoft, to becoming the world’s first US $100 billion brand.
HATE: Hmm, there aren’t any brands I ‘hate’– some aren’t my cup of tea. Others have a lot to learn, but even these add to the diversity that I love (it would be a very boring world without it). For me to hate, the brand would have to intentionally set out to cause harm, and there aren’t any that immediately spring to mind.
7. What do you believe has been the most significant moment in the history of marketing?
In my lifetime, it’ll come as no surprise that the tipping point in social media is, for me, the most significant and important change for marketers. It demands change in the way we communicate with consumers. It requires open, honest, relevant and personal relationships with them. It means the change from ‘a brand is what the brand [team] says’, to ‘a brand is what the brand does… and who sits behind it’ – meaning the people [employees] behind the brand will become increasingly visible and therefore recruitment should become increasingly important to brand strategies. In short, future success requires businesses to [rightfully] become more consumer/user focused than ever. Gotta love that.
PS: Thanks @KateKendall / MarketingMag for the self-indulgent 30 minutes, and apologies Readers if I just wasted 10 minutes of your life. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t get out much. LOL.
As published in Marketing Magazine on 19 June 2009