Melbourne Polytechnic CMO switches education for garden and home brands

CMO50 one to watch takes up newly created role at AMES Australasia, home of brands including Nylex, Cyclone, Hills and Kelso

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Melbourne Polytechnic’s marketing chief is swapping education for the garden and homewares industry, joining AMES Australasia as its first manager of marketing and customer experience.  

Natalie Robinson, who has been the director of marketing and communication at Melbourne Polytechnic since mid-2015 and been with the education provider since 2012, will join AMES Australasia at the end of January. The product company’s range of iconic brands include Nylex, Hills Hoist, Cyclone, Northcote Potter and Kelso.  

The new executive-level and dedicated marketing role reflects a desire to put more resources and strategic focus on marketing and customer experience at the group, and reports directly to CEO, Simon Hupfeld.  


Robinson told CMO it was a tough decision to leave Melbourne Polytechnic, having nurtured the brand from the ground up. Her efforts to lift brand awareness and marketing nous at the organisation saw Robinson recognised as ‘One to watch’ in the 2017 edition of the CMO50.

“Working at Melbourne Polytechnic has been an amazing experience, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to operate across a hugely diverse suite of market segments and really make a difference in people’s lives by communicating the transformative impact of education,” she commented. “Leaving was not an easy decision; I’ve been there for almost a decade. I have been through so many life changes during that time [including becoming a mother], and I work in such a tight-knit team of passionate professionals that it’s hard to imagine a world where I don’t work there.”  

But having seen brand metrics not only improve immensely but also become sustainable, Robinson said it was time to take on a fresh brand building challenge in another industry and in a company actively striving to lift its marketing nous.  

“I’ve worked across a number of industries other than education, including automotive, finance and fashion, and I find it invigorating to apply my skills to a new industry each time I change jobs,” she continued. “In my experience, market knowledge is helpful but easily attainable, which means marketers have very transferrable core skills.”

Robinson noted AMES Australasia’s impressive portfolio of brands as a key reason for the decision to join up.  

“These brands have amazing histories and real equity in people’s hearts and minds. It’s a great privilege to be appointed as their custodian and I’m really energised about cultivating them in the years to come,” she said.

The CEO-backed commitment to bringing more focus onto the customer, with customer insights as a driver for decision-making and CX as a competitive differentiator, was also key.   

“CX has been a passion of mine since I worked at Nissan, and I see it as very natural that the marketing function should play a lead role in this area,” Robinson said. “The nature of marketing is that it is holistic, so it is natural marketers should be deeply invested in every touchpoint customers have with the organisation.”  

Hupfield said he was thrilled to have Robinson join the business and take stewardship of its portfolio of iconic and trusted Australian brands.

"Natalie has done a terrific job of raising the profile of Melbourne Polytechnic over the past few years, and we are excited to have her now apply her skills and experience within our business," he said.

Prior to her tenure with Melbourne Polytechnic, Robinson built the national marketing strategy at online automotive comparisons site, NLC, and also oversaw customer experience design, communications, service marketing and CRM at Nissan. Her resume also includes marketing roles with Shell, Cummins South Pacific, Just Group and Paccar, as well as consulting work.  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

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