In this exclusive we cover:
👉Luke’s journey from the UK to leading a marketing team at CBA
👉How the marketing function is structured at CBA
👉How Luke leads the Business Lending marketing team and business mandatory communications teams
👉Luke’s role in producing CBA’s “We mean business. Just like you” out of home campaign
1. Before we dive into your role at the Commonwealth Bank, what has your career journey looked like so far?
I studied Marketing at Uni as part of a double degree and started at BlueScope Steel in customer service just as I graduated. I joined the grad program and moved to a marketing coordinator role after about a year.
I moved to the UK after a couple of years in that role, landed a temp job at Atkins (an engineering firm – not the weight loss company!) and was offered full time there but got a job with Hays, the recruitment company, as a marketing exec.
I stayed there for a couple of years, then followed the money and went into contracting for a tech company (still in the UK).
About 5 years ago now I came home with that company (TES – formerly Times Education Supplement) and took a perm role which I left after a few months to join CBA in a mandatory comms manager role.
Since then I’ve moved back into a marketing manager role and about a year ago started managing the team I was originally part of.
2. Transitioning into work, what the heck does a Senior Marketing Manager @ Commonwealth Bank do?
How is the marketing function structured?
- Business marketing – which covers business bank and institutional bank and is divided into segment marketing, a product marketing team, supported by events and ops.
- Consumer marketing – everything retail divided into segments and centres of excellence who specialise (where Anna Chen works!)
- Brand and Social
- Shared/marketing services
We have a sister business unit to marketing under the same group executive, Corporate Affairs who manage all things comms and earned media.
What does your role entail?
I sit in the business product marketing team and my role is split between two focuses:
What that means day to day is I get to jump between solving problems for my teams.
Working on our various strategies and programs of work with my boss and the other senior manager in the team to then roll down to my guys.
Then my favourite part is coaching the team on delivering output of that planning – the various campaigns/programs of work they’re responsible for.
I’m really lucky that I have a great team around me and working with me because it’s so satisfying to watch them grow and develop!
Now a deep dive into my two roles!
1)Leading the Business Lending marketing team
Business Lending includes products like:
- Term loans – for buying another business, expanding to a new building, etc
- Asset finance – buying a hilux for your business or another asset that makes your business money
- Working capital – anything that makes your cash flow better, easiest example is an overdraft to dip into and make ends meet
The focus here is primarily on a combination of (1) increasing product consideration through ATL campaigns and (2) product acquisition through our performance marketing and 1:1/BTL.
This is a really fun space, but highly complex and challenging to operate in.
Basically, any time the business bank must communicate something to a customer – anything from ‘we’re updating terms and conditions’ through to ‘we’re upgrading your product’ or ‘changing pricing’. My team gets involved to manage, craft the communications and get them out the door.
The focus here is on delivery on usually very tight non-negotiable timelines and making sure we’re as clear as possible for the customer (which can be very challenging given what we can and can’t say!)
3. What’s an example of a campaign that you’ve worked on and what was your role in bringing it to life?
Project/Campaign Name: “We mean business. Just like you”
My fanboy picture of our OOH I snapped on Victoria Road in Rozelle (Sydney).
What was it?
We’re in the market right now with a business brand consideration campaign which we took, because there’s a product proof point underpinning it.
The campaign strapline is ‘We mean business, just like you’. There’s a bunch of large format out of home (OOH) featuring that line at the moment, and it’s backed up by a stack of small format OOH and digital which speaks to the product proof point.
It’s a continuation of a campaign we worked on late last year which promoted our ‘Business Restarter Loans’ which are there to help customers affected by COVID get back on their feet and re-start their businesses.
What was your role?
I double teamed this with one of my team members that joined just as we were starting.
We handled every phase of the campaign between us, from briefing through to post implementation review.
I won’t detail all of the steps because they’re probably the same as any large campaign. I think the biggest thing to note as different are the number of approvals and sign offs required.
Both because we’re in a highly regulated sector and there are a lot of checks to ensure we’re compliant, but also because CBA is so big, and there are so many stakeholders to engage and get buy-in from.
4. What do the entry level pathways for marketing in the finance industry look like?
So I can’t comment on entry level because I’m a bit of an outlier in my wider team. I’ve worked across multiple sectors/industries before landing in finance. That’s intentional – I’ve switched up industries every few jobs. The rest of my team are a combination of people who’ve been in the industry (or even the bank) their entire careers.
For me it’s probably what you’d expect – it was about pitching the transferable skills I’ve picked up throughout my career rather than leaning on a pedigree. A huge part of what we do as marketers (or even more generally in business) is solve problems, and all businesses have those, so I had plenty to draw on.
I think the other thing which I’ve viewed and experienced which helped me move to CBA is that a huge part of the role is just forging strong relationships quickly. I managed to do that in the interview to the point where I was getting advice from the hiring manager about who I’d be meeting in the second round and what she’d recommend I do to woo them!
5. What’s one thing you recommend an aspiring marketer do right now?
The easiest way to learn anything is to ask, so just ask another marketer for advice and 9 times out of 10 they’ll give you their life story (see above). It’s generally a field full of outgoing, caring extroverts, so low risk!
I don’t know if this fits here, but I think the other thing younger people coming to the field need to be wary of is confusing ‘marketing’ with a specific channel or even platform.
I always make a terrible dad joke when people brand themselves as ‘digital marketers’ – as opposed to what? Do you hear anyone saying they’re an analogue marketer?
Of course it’s fine to specialise, I work with plenty of people who only do SEM or only do programmatic. Just keep in mind, if you don’t have the core principles nailed down that underpin the field, your technical skills (i.e. the tactics) mightn’t have the strategy or the big picture needed behind them to make them as effective as possible…
The best option is to do both, just don’t underestimate how important it is to get the basics right… That doesn’t mean you need to do a degree either, there are plenty of free/low cost courses on marketing 101.