CMO interview: Carving out marketing’s commercial role at Myer

Myer general manager of brand and marketing, Mike Scott, discusses how customer loyalty program data, his relationship with the IT team, and geolocation are all part of his quest to modernise the retail brand

Mike Scott
Mike Scott

Any marketing leader worth their salt will tell you customer data is the backbone of the programs they plan and decisions they make today. And for Myer executive general manager for brand and marketing, Mike Scott, the retailer’s customer loyalty program is the “sleeping giant” that can provide the insights it needs to win over modern consumers.

“We have more than 5 million members in the Myer One program, which gives us terrific insight around what people are buying, visitation and spending,” he tells CMO. “The opportunity is there to take and use that in an effective way to make life easier for our consumers, serving up relevant, personalised, predictive offerings and experiences. It’s incredibly important to get that right and get better in that area than we are today.

“We also need to ensure the program keeps pace with the speed consumers are moving at. Much like the Myer brand more broadly, we need to find a place for it contemporary society which is true to what consumers do, think and feel.”

Scott joined Myer six months ago in the newly created and executive-level role, which encompasses brand, marketing and loyalty. The position was established following a reshuffle of executive ranks that saw MD of marketing and merchandising and deputy group MD, Daniel Bracken, promoted to chief merchandising and customer officer.

Scott’s marketing career also includes more than seven years with McDonalds, two years as UK marketing director, plus director of brand and marketing at Nike Asia-Pacific. But it’s his most recent role as GM of marketing at Virgin Australia for three-and-a-half-years helping transform the airline’s business model that set him up for Myer.

Scott joined at a time of significant change for the retailer. Eighteen months ago, Myer announced its five-year $600 million ‘New Myer’ strategy aimed at transforming the business through four key pillars: Customer-led offers, wonderful experiences, omni-channel shopping and a productivity step change.

“Myer is a great brand, with a 116-year heritage, and it’s played an important role in Australian consumers’ lives,” Scott comments. “Richard Umbers [Myer CEO] and the board have set a transformation agenda, and we’re one-and-a-half-years into the five-year plan. There was the attraction of coming in and contributing to that transformation, which is very consumer centric. Having lived through a transformation at Virgin, it’s an exhilarating time to be with the company.

“Richard also has a very diverse and interesting background and is a digital native. Knowing how we need to reimagine Myer for the future under his lead was an attractive proposition.”

Aligning marketing with IT and digital

A key ally for Scott in making these customer-led plans a reality is Myer’s chief data, digital and IT officer, Mark Cripsey. He cites a natural overlap between the two functions.

“Personally, we’re kindred spirits and all about the analytics and data, and our teams work closely and collaboratively,” Scott says. “I know that’s quite unique in corporate organisations, as there can be territorialism between those two functions. But in Myer, the partnership is fantastic, productive and positive.”

Every marketing decision is based upon data and gathering insight, Scott says, and it’s the loyalty program providing the foundational layer. While the Myer one database is owned by Cripsey’s team in a functional sense, brand, marketing and loyalty own communications coming out of that.

“It’s a natural requirement to work closely together; Mark’s team brings intelligence and analytics and passes it over to us. We then have to ensure the manifestation of that is true to the insight they’re delivering,” Scott explains. “It’s important to get a workable and efficient process in place, and clear guidelines between the teams on when the baton gets passed.”

Helping ensure teams are on the same page are shared KPIs and goals executionally and strategically as part of the five-year transformation agenda, Scott says. In addition, the organisation has a clear definition of four core consumer groups that provide Myer with the greatest value and volume opportunities.

“Teams are all geared to achieve the same outcome,” he says. “Richard and the executive team are driving a very consumer centric agenda as well.

“When you have shared KPIs, metrics and consumer priorities, it makes the job that whole lot easier. The disciplines are still very important to ensure clarity of roles across teams, but for the most part we have those three elements in place, which leads to great outcomes and better execution.”

Up next: How Myer is putting digital and data into action

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