Dur­ing her 18 months as a mar­ket­ing as­sis­tant for Whit­taker’s, Caitlin At­ten­bur­row has al­ready man­aged to make her mark on the iconic choco­late brand. Hav­ing helped lead suc­cess­ful cam­paigns for a num­ber of prod­uct launches, this is one Rookie Mar­keter wi

New Zealand Marketing - - Insight Creative -

Ev­ery­one has a voice [at Whit­taker’s] and I’ve been al­lowed to take on a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity very quickly, which I feel very grate­ful for.

How did you get into mar­ket­ing? What sparked your in­ter­est in get­ting in­volved in the in­dus­try?

Ifirst dis­cov­ered my in­ter­est in mar­ket­ing in my first year at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity. We had this great lec­turer called Mar­tyn Gosling who was so pas­sion­ate and liked to do ev­ery­thing a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. That was what sparked my cu­rios­ity and pas­sion for the sub­ject.

I will al­ways re­mem­ber when I got to the end of that first year pa­per and was sit­ting in the exam. I opened the exam book­let and the first and only ques­tion was: “Imag­ine you are sit­ting in an air­port and a CEO sits down next to you and asks you ‘ What’s the point of mar­ket­ing?’” It was worth 100 per­cent of the grade and I spent three hours writ­ing the an­swer. I walked out of the exam and thought: ‘ This is what I want to do.’

I think what I like about it is that it has a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing: lead­er­ship, creativ­ity, writ­ing, strat­egy, or­gan­i­sa­tion, psy­chol­ogy and a lot of in­flu­enc­ing skills, which is ev­ery­thing I’m in­ter­ested in.

How did you come to work at Whit­taker’s?

I was for­tu­nate enough to be hired by Whit­taker’s di­rectly through my hon­ours de­gree at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity. They didn’t ad­ver­tise the job, they just in­ter­viewed most of our hon­ours class and I started a week af­ter I handed in my fi­nal as­sign­ment (our CMO likes to re­fer to this as ‘ keep­ing up mo­men­tum’ with a lit­tle chuckle).

I have al­ways loved Whit­taker’s choco­late ( in par­tic­u­lar, the Pep­per­mint Santé bar) and had been very in­ter­ested in the mar­ket­ing they had been do­ing in the past few years with the huge suc­cess of cam­paigns like L& P, ‘ The Big Egg Hunt’ and Jelly Tip. I was ex­tremely ex­cited to get into the en­gine room of that work. For them, it was good tim­ing too be­cause we were look­ing at get­ting into In­sta­gram and I had just writ­ten my dis­ser­ta­tion on build­ing suc­cess­ful brands on In­sta­gram, so I brought those learn­ings to the ta­ble.

Whit­taker’s has launched a lo t of dif­fer­ent prod­ucts over the past year or so. What’s been your con­tri­bu­tion to those suc­cess­ful launches?

I’ve been re­spon­si­ble for lead­ing the prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and mar­ket­ing cam­paign for Tof­fee Milk choco­late, two new Mini Slab flavours, Tweats and Dark Orange, as well as lead­ing and run­ning the Merid­ian cam­paign. This in­volved tak­ing the con­cept from ideation through to a fi­nal prod­uct, in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ing the choco­late it­self and the pack­ag­ing. I was also re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ing mar­ket­ing cam­paigns for th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties along­side our agency part­ners As­sign­ment and MBM, as well as man­ag­ing the re­la­tion­ships with ex­ter­nal part­ners like Merid­ian.

I also act as a brand am­bas­sador for the events that th­ese cam­paigns are in­volved in, lead­ing vox pops in cen­tral Auckland as part of our horse and cart event to launch Tof­fee Milk, and meet­ing up with peo­ple at the Brook­lyn Tur­bine to launch the Brook­lyn Block with Merid­ian.

I’m also re­spon­si­ble for gen­er­at­ing all the live con­tent on Snapchat and In­sta­gram. I also run our lo­cal and Malaysian Face­book pages, In­sta­gram page and Snapchat ac­count and I’m re­spon­si­ble for plan­ning and pro­duc­ing con­tent for th­ese plat­forms.

What would you con­sider to be your favourite part about work­ing in the mar­ket­ing team for Whit­taker’s?

There are lots of ex­cel­lent bits in my job! Be­ing able to see a new flavour launch like Tof­fee Milk choco­late and know that you were re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing that hap­pen (what the pack­ag­ing should look like, what the mar­ket­ing as­sets should look like, what the choco­late should taste like etc.) is re­ally spe­cial.

I love pro­duc­ing so­cial me­dia con­tent and plan­ning prod­uct launches us­ing my own as­sets ( I do this for every sin­gle Malaysian prod­uct launch) be­cause it’s a real cre­ative chal­lenge that pushes me to learn new skills, in­clud­ing pho­tog­ra­phy, video pro­duc­tion and Pho­to­shop work. In­putting on the prod­uct strat­egy for Whit­taker’s is also some thing I en­joy about my job be­cause we’re a re­ally small team. The great thing about that is, ev­ery­one has a voice and I’ve been al­lowed to take on a lot of re­spon­si­bil­ity very quickly, which I feel very grate­ful for.

What’s been the most chal­leng­ing thing to deal with in your role?

The speed of ex­e­cu­tion is prob­a­bly one of our most con­sis­tent and big­gest chal­lenges. In FMCG, things change so fast and your strat­egy has to keep up, so the pace at which we make de­ci­sions is just in­sane. Things can change on an hourly ba­sis as new in­for­ma­tion comes in and new op­tions open up. This brings its own chal­lenges be­cause as a pr oject leader, you’re re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing the wider team on the same page and fully up to date to make sure your prod­uct de­vel­op­ment runs smoothly. Keep­ing ev­ery­one row­ing the same boat in this en­vi­ron­ment is a huge part of my job and a chal­lenge I en­joy.

What ad­vice would you give other young mar­keters out there try­ing to make their way in the in­dus­try?

Be cu­ri­ous about ev­ery­thing, don’t be afraid to chal­lenge the sta­tus quo and when you have an opin­ion about some­thing, make sure you have a sound rea­son­ing for your de­ci­sions and be ready to talk about it.

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