CMO Interview: Media giants, students, foodies and tradies: Hipages' Tracy Richardson on building marketing results

The CMO for the likes of WIN, UWS, Delivery Hero and now hipages, Richardson reveals the challenges and successes of being a marketing lead

hipages' CMO Tracy Richardson has enjoyed a longstanding career as a marketing lead for the likes of UWS, WIN and NewsCorp
hipages' CMO Tracy Richardson has enjoyed a longstanding career as a marketing lead for the likes of UWS, WIN and NewsCorp

Tracy Richardson is a CMO with a laser-focused approach that delivers results, so it’s no wonder that in her 15-year career, she’s been in such high demand across so many industry sectors.

From leading marketing teams at some of Australia’s largest media providers such as Pacific Magazines, NewsCorp and WIN, to being responsible for a complete rebrand at The University of Sydney, and now, the CMO of online tradie hub, hipages, Richardson understands what it takes to drive a marketing team to achieve targeted results within a wider business model.

Complementing her marketing smarts is a fierce entrepreneurial spirit, which led Richardson in 2012 to become co-founder and CMO of the Australian arm of delivery hero, an online food delivery company founded in Berlin.

“The global brand recently IPO’d at $5 billion, which is a massive achievement for the brand and very well deserved,” she said. “But it was a challenge being part of global network and bidding for services out of headquarters while not being in the headquarters.

Joining hipages 18 months ago, Richardson is overseeing the marketing strategy, customer growth and brand across both trade and consumer sides of the company in a time of extraordinary rapid growth.

“We’re focused on reaching extraordinary growth targets,” she said. “But in order to engage both the tradie and consumer sides of the business, our key focus has to be gaining the right insights, understanding what their needs are and build an experience for them and build a marketing strategy for both sides of our business.”

As Australia’s leading online home improvement marketplace, hipages has generated $1.35 billion worth of work for trade professionals in the last 12 months, and has also seen a steep 30 per cent business growth in that time.

Richardson said a very focused view across particular channels such as SEM and SEO, combined with investment above-the-line has helped the tea, grow the business so much in the last financial year.
Over the last year, hipages launched its first TV campaign on Foxtel, which she said had already performed very well by driving growth in category awareness as well as business growth compared to competitors.

Making an impact with rebranding

Building brands is something Richardson has plenty of experience with. One of the biggest career projects to date was as director of marketing at The University of Western Sydney in 2015, where she was responsible for a large-scale rebranding initiative.

“It was a really exciting opportunity, I was brought on board to do that project specifically and bring the marketing team on board with the project,” Richardson said. “We had an incredible short timelines and there was a very complex program of work, rebranding over 150 websites, building the TV campaign, and managing other above the line assets. We also worked hard on a campaign at Open Day, which had about 6000 people.

“It was also very exciting to be part of a very purpose-led project that had a wider impact on the community, where we could also tell the stories of the past university students.”

Taking on various marketing leading roles in NewsCorp from 2001 to 2006, Richardson was also responsible for launching TrueLocal at NewsCorp.

“It was a great project to work on and building the TrueLocal brand, while being responsible for national trade marketing activity, sales support and market research for News Limited,” she said.

Richardson cited a number of evolving trends in the marketing landscape over her career as a marketer.

“In some sectors, there’s a surprising lack of digital savviness, and in others, there’s the challenges around getting senior leadership on board with marketing and successfully demonstrating to the senior leadership the value of marketing,” she commented. “But I think the focus on channels and channel expertise is one of the bigger changes. 

"People were once very broad in their roles, now we’re looking at more specialists within their field, such as SEO, SEM, EDM, Social – and I think that gives opportunity to those who have a cross-channel understanding to take a step ahead of the pack.”

For online businesses, Richardson sees product as becoming a function in its own right.

“Inherently, how marketers collaborate and influence with product is a change and opportunity in itself, but it’s also a challenge,” she said. “Moving forward, I’d say there’s been a much stronger focus on targets for marketing teams. We’re very acquisition-focused, and we have explicit daily, weekly and monthly targets we need to be reaching. So the modern CMO has to really motivate their teams in the face of such defined targets.” 

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