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CMO50 2016: Ones to watch: Melinda Madigan

  • Name Melinda Madigan
  • Title General manager, marketing and entertainment
  • Company The Star, Sydney
  • Commenced role January 2016
  • Reporting Line Managing director
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 40 staff, 6 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Tourism and hospitality
  • 2015 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    Melinda Madigan’s mission is to develop a strategic pathway to convert The Star into a truly digitally connected venue.

    “This involves driving the digital strategy and experiential content innovation across existing and new platforms to support enhanced guest experience programs and fully embracing the digital engagement of our guests to create a compelling brand story.”

    She says it also includes working with key senior stakeholders and external partners on a new customer wayfinding program, theatre and innovation across key property zones, key entry point transformations and experiences, website evolution, and new all-of-property segmented digital content program.

    It also means the creation of a cross-functional ‘digital innovation hub’ to explore and design future digital innovations to drive brand and customer engagement.

    From the CMO50 submission:



    Demonstrating innovative thinking

    Madigan is proud of the creation and launch of The Star’s first ever property-wide “Winter campaign” - the first major campaign utilising the new Star branding.

    Hot on the heels of the new Star brand roll-out, she says this was an important new marketing initiative to engage customers in the Star’s new brand pillars (“thrilling experiences”, “playfully sophisticated” and “local spirit”) and leading integrated resort proposition.


    She explains the innovative property-wide marketing program was designed to own the “leisure, gaming and entertainment category” during Winter in Sydney to drive awareness, visitation via trial amongst new entertainment seeking customers and increased frequency from existing customers, and loyalty acquisition, as well as acting as a “mini brand campaign” to increase brand engagement around The Star’s full entertainment offerings.

    The creative message: “Sydney winters are #neverygrey at the Star” defined and contrasted the colour and excitement at The Star against the cool grey of winter.

    “This marketing initiative has been hailed as one of the most successful and engaging Star campaigns with daily visitation growth as high as 43%, over 1.65M visitors participating in the program on property, increased online and social engagement, positive brand tracking results (awareness and perception) and contributed to achieving targeted earnings growth for the business.” she says. “Customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive and there was an unprecedented “buzz” around the property during winter, cementing its value on the annual Star marketing calendar.”


    Demonstrating empowered and strategic thinking

    Madigan says being responsible for propelling The Star forward as Sydney's leading events and entertainment destination unquestionably requires a true customer-lead approach.

    “Our guests come to The Star to have a good time. We deliver experiences to a broad variety of customer segments all seeking their own defined experiences. We service different cultural backgrounds, value-seekers, foodies and nightlife/entertainment seekers, sports fans, and casino thrill seekers to name a few,” she says.

    “Our master planning and brand development starts with the customer value proposition. Our new brand pillars continually drive the customer experience. Everything we do must align back to the Star core brand pillars – “thrilling experiences”, “accessible luxury” and “local spirit”. It is our constant aim to thrill our customers and this has become part of the internal vernacular. We are encouraging and leading our entire organisation to become brand champions. Collaboration and thought diversity, tapping our extensive talent and knowledge base across the organisation, including our 4,000+ frontline staff, is vital. “


    The Star is driving the development of targeted, customer-centric communications using “premium”, “serious” and “all play” brand territories and delighting customers through the delivery of targeted thrilling experiences across the property.

    Demonstrating agility

    Certainly, the pressure to perform is immense. “Being a 24/7 world-class casino and entertainment destination, and part of an ASX 100 listed company, visited by over 12 million local and international visitors annually is undeniably one of the most incredibly frenetic and demanding environments - where agility is critical,” she says.

    Circumstances can change and marketing need to be ready and willing to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities, she explains.

    “With The Star Sydney’s extensive Master plan and property development works marketing need to be highly proactive in developing the future brand and customer journey. However, despite planning there are times when we also need to be reactive to program changes, customer trends and behaviours, market forces and business performance against revenue growth targets – e.g. in some instances, we have had to respond within 24 hours to new hoarding works that impact the immediate customer experience and first impressions, or drive increased engagement with a particular customer segment.”

    On a daily basis, consistent and increasing discipline around customer data and performance by segment also gives the company the ability to respond with customised offers and adapt programs with agility, she explains.

    To drive marketing agility, she says the company is also promoting new shared planning tools, cross-functional teams and processes.


    Demonstrating creativity


    Madigan says her team focuses on marketing innovation to drive business performance across the Star's dining and bars, luxury hotels, event centre, casino and entertainment offerings.


    “Creativity is a driving force throughout our marketing programs. Partnering with expert agencies and internal creative agency has allowed us to take our brand to new levels and engage with customers by dialling into their passions,” she says.

    One platform was to ink strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, including a leading agency partner. It demonstrated a new level of creative thinking which drove genuine consumer engagement with The Star brand around its official partnership of the NSW Rugby League

    She says the strategy led to the creation of a multi-layer campaign, spearheaded by a unique, content driven ‘Best in Blue’ campaign, sanctioned by The NSWRL.


    “The Star’s ‘Best in Blue’ gave NSW fans the chance to celebrate and vote via a custom-built website the great eras of Blues success in Origin. The campaign was launched and seamlessly integrated into the True Blues Dinner attended by 400+ players, stakeholders and media. Voting consumers were invited to a unique ‘fan event’ with the winning team at The Star’s 24/7 Sports Bar. A strong, targeted social media and digital campaign was launched with support from multiple media partners.”

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