How category design is helping the customer chief at hipages find growth

We chat with chief customer officer, Stuart Tucker, about how the online tradie marketplace is building its brand play

Stuart Tucker
Stuart Tucker


Get your customers

It’s clear Tucker’s experience over the past 30 years, mainly within challenger brands, is helping informing his approach at hipages. And what makes any CMO or chief customer officer truly successful is the ability to put yourself into the shoes of your target audience, he said.

Stuart Tucker
Stuart Tucker


“I believe marketers are becoming guilty of becoming more removed from customers,” he claimed, adding this is particularly apparent in larger corporates. “I also think the marketing industry is genuinely suffering from a lack of diversity and we live in a bubble. It’d be really easy to think mass Australia looks like the people who work in white collar marketing roles. It’s so far from the truth.

“I sit with the customer service and sales teams, and it’s like sitting in Town Hall Station. It’s always buzzing. That doesn’t exist in a lot of big corporates. It’s a genuine problem.

“The art of the marketer is to try and put themselves in the shoes of their target audience.”  

As a digital marketplace, hipages has visibility over what’s happening with customers at virtually every touchpoint in the journey and is awash with first-party data.

“But it still doesn’t give you that sentiment and nuance. You have to have that combination,” Tucker said. “Marketing needs to be the people living and breathing the customer, defining what that experience should be, setting the benchmarks and measures and expectations and the rest of the business can deliver against it. And if employees know how they’re delivering against the customer experience and feel empowered and know how to deliver, then it’s that happy balance.”

At hipages, it’s still early days on some of the formalities of customer experience management, with parts of the experience measured via Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction scoring in place. A more cohesive approach will be launched in coming months, Tucker said.

He also recognised the need to do more to build engagement, and said the company is reviewing its martech stack to find more ways to improve communications.

“We just put in the Adobe bid management tool [Adobe Media Optimizer] to help us do our performance media and it’s making a big difference to the way we operate,” Tucker said. “Now we’re finding new and efficient ways to both track journeys as people are coming on and off app, as people are coming through, but also to broaden our reach beyond email into push messaging and the in-app experience.  

“If you’re a marketplace for tradies that people need infrequently, then you have to find ways to keep the customer engaged in your brand inbetween. That’s where content comes into it.”  

Hipages is already using personalised, localised and even seasonalised content via email marketing around topics such as preparing for spring, getting aircon installed before summer, and preparing your garden.

“Then on the tradie side it’s sharing best practices more than anything – how are other tradies benefitting from the platform and how they can be smarter and more efficient with using digital,” Tucker said.

“It’s the other reason to have the brand top of mind – you might need us for a plumbing job in July then a plastering job in December. We need to fill the gaps both at an activation level as well as brand reminders.”  

Core business metrics, meanwhile, include tradie and product growth, as well as engagement and how frequently and deeply tradies and consumers are interacting with the solution.

Top attributes to lead growth

Whether you’re called CMO or chief customer officer, Tucker said it’s vital leaders looking to be champions of company growth embrace data.

“Really be ready to find insights from data, and also test and learn – get things to market fast and learn from them, rather than waiting until it’s gilt edged and the Rolls Royce,” he advised.

Another vital attribute is being clear on prioritisation. “Instead of trying to do 20 things, do 3-4 things really well;  for us it’s then about making sure we had a clear reason for being that aligned all our activity,” Tucker said.

“More than anything though, it’s a mindset. Unless you have people prepared to stick their heads up and have a crack, you’ll never drive any change.

“We have to get back to marketers being at the heart of innovation, ready to take chances obviously considered risk, but taking their organisations on a journey of making a difference with consumers. Because no one notices the boring stuff.”

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