Describe your role at Tennis Canada?
I’m the CMO. I direct all things marketing, communications and digital. The mandate is straightforward: grow the game in Canada (participation, fan interest) and grow our organization’s reputation internationally. I see the role in three parts:
- Change agent – there continues to be a need for a significant culture change and orientation shift away from silos and traditional advertising and promotion to a fully integrated team and more engagement and emotive approaches
- Contemporize – bring 2015 points of view and technology to the MARCOM organization
- Humanize – tennis can seem intimidating to non-participants/ non-fans and our organization has been accused of being institutional in brand, so making tennis more accessible and driving a brand position that Canadians can relate to is critical
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing CMOs today?
I think it relates to the idea above of making and keeping promises. Contemporary marketing mixes contain so little ‘pure marketing’ (advertising, promotions, etc.) and far more strategies and activities that revolve around community building, engaging content and technology deployment. This means either having outright power or winning across the organization through influence is a huge challenge, but necessary to ensure the whole organization acts like a marketing machine.
What did you learn at SATOV that you’ve applied at Tennis Canada?
Where do I start? Here is a simple but hugely important lesson: establish a set of guiding principles and MECE criteria before making key decisions. I’m amazed how many big decisions get made in what seems like a random or ill-thought through manner. I also find that by writing these frameworks down, there is tremendous buy-in to the eventual decision. Also, SATOV taught me to think through the strategic, customer and operational implications of making change – I’m a better marketer because I think about more than just the customer outcome.
You were a leader in customer strategy for SATOV, how have you used those skills at Tennis Canada?
I use those skills all day every day. I would call out here how I teach my team. I try to drive home that marketing is about understanding and influencing human behaviour – and that is all it is. I ask them to think about that when evaluating a new campaign idea or a new vendor pitch. I also have 5 simple questions I ask, and I teach others to ask, when an opportunity arises:
- What problem are we solving?
- What data is this based on?
- How does it help our customers?
- How does it elevate our brand?
- What other changes will we have to make, and can we live with them?
Tennis Canada has done a lot to improve its customer experience recently, what have been your goals as you do that?
Thank you. Actually very simple – the average person in Canada either did not know us or did not like us. So, I want people, lots of people, to know who we are, what we do, and to like us. Reciprocity is a tricky thing, and so I want to make sure we are doing good/ cool things with no immediate expectations from others – let’s just do that before we worry about what we will ask in return.
What is is your personal competitive advantage?
My wardrobe, even Mark Satov would (partially) agree with that.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Federer or Djokovic?