CLARE SMITH – MARKETING DIRECTOR, DIGITAL & CUSTOMER MARKETING -VILLAGE ROADSHOW
Can you please provide a short career bio here?
Senior Marketing professional with experience across Consumer, Digital, Acquisition and Retention. With 15 years agency side experience and nearly 10 years client-side experience, I thrive working in challenging organisations. I have worked for large corporate brands such as Sensis, Medibank and Village Roadshow as well as global agency brands such as DTDigital (Now AKQA) and TMP Worldwide.
What is the focus of your current role?
The main focus of my role is to build a digital ecosystem that attract consumers, keeps them entertained via our products and keeps them coming back for more. This is a customer first, data driven strategy that allows us to understand our customers tastes and preference, where do you like to watch content? When? What type? TV or movies? Or both. Then we use our channels to drive you to the content you like in the channel you want to consume it in.
Can you recall a key learning piece or experience from your career in Media/Marketing, that you still draw upon today, and why?
Very early on in my career, I worked on a lot of newspaper print clients. I had let an ad go to press with a mistake in it, it was the first time it had happened and I was devastated. To the point that my boss had to come into the toilets and talk me out. He sat me down and showed me this triangle of stats, at the wide bottom there was a stat about people starving in the world, then homeless people, then people living below the poverty line. At the tip of the triangle it said “wrong phone number in an ad”. I’m pretty sure he had used this before! The lesson was that whilst we should try to ensure there aren’t mistakes in our ads, there were bigger problems in the world and that I needed to get some perspective on what was important. You can’t beat yourself up to the point of tears over a mistake, mistakes happen, it’s what you do to prevent them or fix them that counts.
You made the transition from Agency side to Client side – what advice would you give to anyone looking to make the same career move?
The best piece of advice I can give here is that agency roles and client-side roles don’t necessarily line up, so if you are really keen, you may have to take a step back to move forward. The step back might be in title only but your ego needs to take a back seat. I moved from a Group Account Director to a Senior Marketing Manager on my first move. I was just so keen to move across that the title didn’t worry me. You can prove yourself once you are in the door, so don’t let anything get in the way if you want to make that move.
What is important to you when building your team and securing the right people for Village Roadshow?
For me the biggest part is cultural fit. You can teach someone the skills within the role, but if they are not a fit to the team, it just causes a lot of problems down the track. I would much rather have someone who is 60% there in experience but 100% there in team fit. Our business is very fast paced, nothing is ever locked in stone so you must be adaptable, flexible, passionate about the product and be able to pick yourself up when a product fails and attack the next one with just as much gusto. It takes quite a bit of mental tenacity to be successful here and that’s what I look for when recruiting for the team.
Any words of advice you would give to up and coming professionals in the media/marketing industry? Or something you wish someone had told you when you were starting your career?
Don’t be scared to ask for what you want. It doesn’t mean you will get it but if your manager understands what you are working towards or need, it can help move your career along a lot quicker.
Who is someone you admire and why?
My friend Steve Vallas. He is a small business owner (the honey bar) and also a digital agency owner (honey digital) and over the last couple of years has skilled himself up to be a blockchain advisor to the point of running his own blockchain conference! I admire his tenacity and ability to reinvent himself. He sets his mind to something and just grabs it. I am exhausted watching him most days but his passion does rub off from time to time.
What does Clare do in her down time?
I love to shop, spend time with my dog, shop, Sunday brunch, horse racing, running and shopping