26 50

CMO50 2020 #26-50: Vivianne Arnold

  • Name Vivianne Arnold
  • Title Chief marketing officer, Asia Pacific
  • Company Hudson Global Resources
  • Commenced role October 2019
  • Reporting Line Senior Leadership Committee (SLC)
  • Member of the Executive Team No
  • Marketing Function
  • Industry Sector Recruitment and Talent Management
  • 2019 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    During Vivianne Arnold’s first 30 days at Hudson, her goal was to quickly make an impact with an innovative and quick-to-market campaign, designed to really drive revenue. Setting out to find out what the pain points and opportunities were for the business, Arnold quickly discovered that a line of business, talent management and graduate assessment, needed a way to generate new leads.

    The challenge the team was facing was getting in front of its target audience, predominantly government agencies, which have difficult procurement processes and long-standing agreements with its competitors. "This was a competitive play in a difficult market to penetrate," Arnold noted.

    Marketing effectiveness

    "The marketing team immediately gathered for a large brainstorming session, where my brilliant plan was hatched to send out a bunch of desk mirrors. Yes, a bunch of mirrors," she said.

    "One of the key challenges faced by any hiring manager, especially in government agencies, is unconscious bias – meaning we often make incorrect deductions due to our own bias, subsequently hiring in our mirror image." Arnold saw an opportunity to tap into this by sending branded and customised mirrors to the exact hiring managers the business wanted to speak to, outlining the issue of unconscious bias with a strong CTA to speak to an expert at Hudson about how to mitigate this prevalent issue.

    This initiative saw a 55 per cent response rate for the campaign, along with a 10 per cent conversion rate, with further leads still in the pipeline for future deals. "Within eight weeks, the Mirror Campaign generated over $500,00 and marketing spend was under $1,000 (Kmart mirrors) so amazing ROMI," Arnold said.

    Influencing change

    Marketing at Hudson had previously focused on the more traditional recruitment marketing requests, such as salary guides and job hunting content. Fast forward to today and the entire perception of the marketing team has changed drastically.

    "Marketing as a function now plays an integral part to overall business strategy at Hudson and aligning with revenue generation," Arnold explained. "Seen as a critical component of each of the business' key objectives that are guiding us through the pandemic, we are directly responsible for revenue-driven OKRs," she said.

    An example of Arnold influencing organisational change, was when the pandemic first struck. "Our first port of call was to help people through the mass redundancies happening across industries from tourism to hospitality and retail," she explained.

    "To do this we took a two-lens approach: Industry and talent pool needed." The team quickly launched the Hudson Response Crew campaign, targeting specific sectors rapidly responding to changing customer demand in the peak of the pandemic. Key skills required in the short-term included IT help desking, remote working and digital experience design. The marketing team quickly embarked on industry by industry campaigns, working directly with recruitment leaders and putting candidates into contracting roles.

    The initiative was led by Arnold and the recruitment business was impressed with the speed the marketing team produced nine different industry specific campaigns that drove more than $1.5 million in revenue, at a time when  competitors were reeling from the impact of COVID-19. "We were reminded daily that our efforts were directly responsible for keeping more people in jobs at Hudson. We had to invest everything into ensuring we survived as a business, when many others in the recruitment and staffing industry were slashing staff and closing the doors," she said.

    Data-led marketing

    As an industry leader for recruitment and staffing needs, Hudson is at the coal face of the current unemployment and underutilisation crisis that Australia is facing due to COVID-19. The sobering extent of the economic damage became evident in late May when Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg shared the grim news that around one in three Australians were being supported by JobKeeper, JobSeeker and Youth Allowance. "Because we speak to candidates and clients every day, we are acutely aware of what this looks like from a day-to-day perspective," Arnold said.

    "We decided that the best way we could understand the challenges our people are facing was to conduct a quick-to-market, large survey to find out what Hudson could do to help," explained Arnold. Partnering with Hudson’s chief strategy officer, the team launched the Hudson Pulse Survey and accompanying candidate survey. The data revealed a significant gap in the talent market. "We learned that the market was suffering for finding top technological and digital talent that could help pivot their businesses because of the new demands of COVID," noted Arnold.

    "On the other side we heard from our candidates that they were finding it hard to find roles as they were getting lost in a sea of increasing unemployment," she said. "Every job advertised was receiving hundreds of applications a day. Knowing Hudson can bridge this gap, it mobilised the digital transformation marketing campaign, focused on gathering the best tech and digital talent available and placing them into the right roles. "The campaign is the most ‘intelligent’ marketing campaign that has ever been launched at Hudson. Through diving into the data to develop specific nurture paths and re-marketing, this campaign has just gone live. In the first week we have seen a strong and building response rate, with over 5,000 prospects already downloading the Hudson Change Agent dossier. This campaign runs for two months and we have already seen over 250 meetings being made with a strong opportunity pipeline rapidly increasing," she said.

    CX capability

    When the pandemic hit, Arnold was shocked to see the numbers of woman over 50 who were being hit the hardest by the ‘pink collar’ recession and she wanted to find a way to help. Talent management were about to launch a new product, JobAccelerator (JA), which empowers people to get the right job, faster by combining cool artificial intelligence (AI) technology, along with personalised on-demand career coaching. "This means job hunters can access 24/7 (even in the darkest hours) a range of cutting-edge tools and relevant content to help them keep going during their job search," Arnold said. The CMO was asked by the executive to develop a raft of marketing assets from a website, to internal training pptx, product features and sales brochures, to launching the product.

    Instead Arnold convinced the executive to think about their customers and the harsh experience these job hunters were having. She wanted to bring to life the real customer experience. "Now this crazy, big idea is taking marketing in a whole new direction as we are producing a six-episode web series with its own producer/director and film crew," Arnold explained. "In this series, we will watch how Alina (a skilled professional, Asian/Australian woman over 50, hit hard by COVID) struggles through the tears, tantrums and finally triumphs in finding a great new role, helped by JA and an amazing career coach," she said.

    "Needless to say, Hudson, nor our competitors, have ever seen a web series, let alone one tackling the pain of redundancies and unemployment," she said. Arnold then took the web series to the next level by bringing AWS onboard with the project. "AWS are our technology partners and built the state of the art, AI nudging technology that powers JA. With this amazing partnership, we will be able to not only drive revenue for Hudson, but we are also giving free access to JA for 1,000 viewers of the series who have been impacted by COVID-19," she said.

    Commercial acumen

    As the effects of COVID-19 have rippled across Australia, Hudson has seen hundreds of thousands of jobs across industries being axed. Outplacement services helps these job seekers find their next role. "We wanted to position Hudson Talent Management (TM) as the preferred partner but unfortunately Hudson’s brand awareness was low and it is a highly competitive market, with some dominant global players, who are on multi-year contracts," Arnold explained. The team developed a ‘soup to nuts’ integrated marketing strategy that included a laser-focused prospect lists, internal competitions for activating networks, aggressive SEO/SEM, a plethora of video content and effective PR. Over the course of eight weeks, Hudson was able to drive $4.5 million in revenue for TM. "This campaign is still having an impact with a strong pipeline of opportunities and two deals currently under negotiations," Arnold said.

    Since the government instigated sweeping shutdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the virus back in March, millions of Australians have watched their positions disappear or had their hours slashed significantly. "I drive the career transition business for Hudson and we needed to get a compelling marketing campaign in market ASAP to win these opportunities and help Australians get back to work, faster," she said.

    Arnold developed a compelling, integrated campaign that has, to date, resulted in over $4.5 million in revenue, achieved with a marketing spend of only $35K. Prior to Arnold taking up the CMO post, Hudson had never seen the power of marketing to drive revenue, "now we are addicted and my expectations for wave two of the campaign, is that we will exceed this phenomenal result". "On top of driving a great financial result for Hudson, the campaign is creating ripples within the senior HR and c-level community, building critical awareness of how you should treat and support your people through transition."

    COVID-19 innovation

    "Letting people go is never an easy decision," said Arnold. "Having to let many colleagues go, knowing that they will be going into an extraordinarily tough job market, can be incredibly stressful for human resource directors, our clients," she said. Hudson has been running a series of in-person workshops every month to help HR director’s navigate  difficult decisions and train them on how best to manage redundancy conversations. When COVID hit, these in-person events were cancelled and our HR director clients lost these important learning opportunities.

    Arnold spotted a way to not only continue to support our HR clients but to also open this vital training to a wider audience. She pivoted the in-person explainer workshops to an online certified professional development course in three weeks. This course is not only open to HR directors, but all leaders and people managers, who are now finding themselves needing to have redundancy conversations with transitioning employees at a speed and volume they have never experienced before. "Their MBA never prepared them for this," noted Arnold. "The last day in a role, the moment you are having a redundancy conversation, will be your remaining impression of the company you are leaving. How you are treated in the room can quickly erase any previous experience or happy memories," she said.

    "Ensuring that these stressful, important conversations are conducted appropriately leaves the exiting employee fully informed and helps these new job seekers have the confidence to move forward." Arnold was so passionate about the need for this course, that she had to step in front of the camera, filming into the night and editing on the weekends. This course is being offered online for free to our clients as part of Hudson’s CSR program, enabling clients to empower their leaders for effective separation conversations. This course is also being used as a marketing tool. With a smart digital campaign, businesses engaging the course is also a trigger to show that the company is downsizing, so a prospect for its services. Post crisis, the course will be monetised though and there will be an innovative new revenue stream vs the old in person event model that was a cost to the business.

    Cross-functional collaboration

    A large portion of Hudson’s clientele lies with government and enterprise clients. Unsurprisingly, this means countless Preferred Supplier Agreements (PSAs) and high barriers to entry in the form of procurement teams and long-winded sales processes. Traditionally, marketing’s contribution to anything procurement related would have involved some neat looking flyers and an aesthetic pitch deck. TM have not been provided with much marketing support in the past, especially not on bids, but this would be a major win, so they tentatively approached Arnold.  Once Arnold caught wind of who the contract was with and how much it was for, she wanted to take a more radical marketing approach than what was requested. "I wanted to impress the major supermarket chain decision makers to choose Hudson for this multi-year, multi-million dollar TM project," Arnold explained. "I decided the best way to demonstrate to major supermarket chain the impact of Hudson TM programs was to show the how it had impacted, previous participants lives."

    Arnold brought together past TM participants in a moving testimonial video. These participants, who had lost their roles, shared their emotions and new career stories with Arnold. "Months later we found out we had won the major supermarket chain multi-million dollar deal," she said. "As the Hudson bid manager wrote ‘I just watched your major supermarket chain bid video…and its bloody brilliant. Just hits the right mark of “helping people” as opposed to “selling people” – you made it real’," she said. 

    Share this article