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CMO50 #26-50: Melina Cruickshank, Domain Group

  • Name Melina Cruickshank
  • Title Chief editorial and marketing officer
  • Company Domain Group
  • Commenced role October 2014
  • Reporting Line Editorial and consumer marketing division
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 22 staff, 8 direct reports
  • Twitter @MelinaShanks
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    Domain Group’s chief editorial and marketing officer, Melina Cruickshank, has set her team the ambition of driving brand momentum by continuing to feed the nation's obsession for property and lifestyle news. In doing so, she’ll fulfil consumer demand by leading the property debate in the market.

    “Far more than the day-to-day, and far more than creating innovative campaigns, the CMO is involved in growing Domain’s digital brand – built on marketing, audience and content – from the ground up,” she says.

    “From team, to strategy, messaging and positioning, this approach has been instrumental in helping turn Domain into the fastest growing property business in Australia.”

    From the CMO50 submission

    Business contribution and innovation

    Domain Group is one of Australia’s leading multi-platform property industry destinations. The company provides residential, commercial and rural property marketing solutions and search tools, plus information for buyers, investors, sellers, renters and agents Australia-wide.

    Cruickshank joined Domain in October 2014, and has been a significant part of the company’s monumental and rapid shift to true challenger and leading digital innovator in the property industry. Anyone with an eye on the real estate market will know it is hard not to understate the renewal of Domain in an incredibly short amount of time.

    Cruickshank’s overarching approach to brand awareness has resulted in an authentic connection with consumers that has seen increased consumer engagement, setting new records for Domain:

    • A 33 per cent increase in app downloads
    • A 44 per cent increase in desktop and mobile sessions
    • A 92 per cent increase in Domain’s average daily audience.

    From team, to strategy, messaging and positioning, Cruickshank’s approach has been instrumental in helping turn Domain into the fastest growing property business in Australia.

    Modern marketing and customer engagement thinking and effectiveness

    Domain’s sponsorships have been a core driver of brand awareness led by Cruickshank. She secured lucrative sponsorship opportunities that have been highly successful in achieving audience growth, especially in the highly competitive new territories.

    One such example is becoming major sponsor of the Adelaide Crows. AFL is the major league in that area of South Australia and 70,000 members are situated in the area represented by the Adelaide Crows.

    As a result of the sponsorship, Domain has seen a monthly audience growth of 167 per cent over 12 months from the SA region.

    Another sponsorship Cruickshank and her team secured involved naming rights for Perth’s AFL stadium, now named “Domain Stadium”. The partnership incorporated complete rebranding of signage throughout the stadium, which with a capacity of 45,000 is the home ground for the West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Football Club, as well as host to other concerts and events. Four AFL finals will be held at Domain Stadium in 2015.

    As a result of the sponsorship, Domain has seen an audience growth of 180 per cent over 12 months from the WA region.

    Cruickshank also drove the strategy to become the official real estate sponsor of the nationally-loved television show, The Block. The partnership includes in show integration, social integration, TVCs and billboards and to date, Domain has seen incredible results drive record app download days, and app usage.


    A key goal for Cruickshank is to drive the creation of authentic and interesting content that was both memorable and highly shareable via social media.

    To do this, she approached the creators of an award-winning video titled, Avalon Now, Bruce Walters and Felix Williamson, earlier in the year to share their video from the Domain platform. Avalon Now was a video parodying the middle-upper suburb of Avalon, and their seemingly unwavering love of kale, resort wear and all things high-end.

    The video quickly became the most-viewed piece of content for the Domain site.

    Realising the audience's enjoyment of this type of content, Cruickshank quickly commissioned Walters and Williamson to create a series of videos. This quick reaction in commissioning a creative and unique set of work has driven high levels of social engagement and interest.

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