26 50

CMO50 2020 #26-50: Caroline Bonpain

  • Name Caroline Bonpain
  • Title Marketing director A/NZ
  • Company De'Longhi
  • Commenced role April 2019 – August 2020
  • Reporting Line Chief executive officer
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 25 staff
  • Industry Sector Manufacturing
  • 2017 ranking 26-50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    Want a recipe for marketing innovation? Well how about a pinch of creativity, two spoonfuls of trend-watching, a one-quarter cup of design thinking and a big bowl of customer insights?  

    That’s at least the list of ingredients Caroline Bonpain brings to the table as a marketing chief. And it’s one the former marketing director A/NZ for De’Longhi mixed up when working to launch of small household appliance’s La Specialista coffee machine locally.  

    The product represented De'Longhi's first foray into the premium manual coffee segment. The goal was to sell 8000 units to grow the manual coffee segment and regain De’Longhi’s primary position in the coffee machine market.  

    “During the research phase, consumers demonstrated disbelief in a home coffee machine that could replicate café-quality coffee. It was only when consumers tried the machine they were convinced,” Bonpain explains. “Our research also showed us De’Longhi was not perceived as the authority in coffee.”  

    Based on these insights, her team homed in on product demonstrations and influencers. They engaged Barista World Champion, Craig Simon, as a new brand ambassador to endorse the machines across social and in a 5-minute advertorial featured on the Today show for World Coffee Day. Partnerships with key coffee roasters across social and with leading coffee industry publications such as Bean Scene were also employed, as was a high-impact digital outdoor display campaign complemented by proximity to major retailers and demonstrations in-store and at experiential events.  

    “We built a dedicated microsite to help consumers navigate through the purchase journey, encouraging them to register to try a coffee, or search results looking for retailers. And we complemented this with retargeting and CRM when possible to increase frequency of messaging,” Bonpain says. “To optimise spend, we A/B tested and measured as much as possible, then used attribution research to analyse the whole digital journey.”  

    Arguably, however, the biggest innovation was an industry-first offering the first consumer coffee machine subscription model in partnership with a leading coffee roaster.  

    The results included triple-digit traffic to the brand’s website, significant reach achieved, record audience engagement and overachieving on sales targets. “The campaign helped De'Longhi's association as a Coffee brand continue to strengthen as it has also been awarded most trusted coffee brand in Australia,” Bonpain says. 

    Business smarts  

    Bonpain’s role and remit when she joined De’Longhi was about being a business change driver, propelling the organisation towards more direct-to- consumer engagement and a customer experience-centric culture.  

    To get buy-in from various heads of department, she set up a new ‘Growth Platforms’ strategic business framework and worked cross-functionally to drive ecommerce growth, leveraging data and technology platforms and new channel expansion plan. With a new digital commercial manager in place, and a strong strategy to execute against, her team focused on executional excellence.  

    To ensure strong sustainable growth, she also strengthened operational capabilities with key data and technology platforms including SAP Hybris, Salesforce and Gigya covering content and ecommerce execution.  

    “I was able to drive and deliver change by inspiring the leadership team with a clear strategy and sizing up the commercial opportunity,” Bonpain says. “We created project momentum through test-and-learn, celebrating small wins along the way. For example, I ran a DRTV test, then shared the results. When the sales team were convinced of the incremental revenue and the finance team could see the strong ROI, we were given the green light to apply DRTV across the rest of the portfolio and activate a year-long program.”  

    Shared and reported on results regularly and celebrating success with the wider team were also vital.  

    Data-driven approach  

    On the customer experience transformation front, the first focus had to be improving the group’s brilliant basics, Bonpain continues. This included call centre performance and cross-functional ways of working, together with leveraging partnerships where required.  

    “When I joined, our lost call volume was averaging 20-40 per cent and our Google company review rating was poor. I started by putting the foundations in place: On-the-job training, new reporting and analysis, additional agents and improved management of the agent roster, helping to reduce lost call volume to 4 per cent,” she says.  

    A product reviews and social community management solution were the next cabs off the rank, then investment into the right digital and technology platforms. The work has helped lift De’Longhi’s Google review rating to a 4.3-star rating across more than 100 reviews.

    Customer experience improved further by adding new technical capabilities, such as livechat.  

    “However, at the heart of the success was the implementation of better data analysis, particularly in terms of resource [agent] allocation, as well as better insights about the callers and key problems,” Bonpain says. “It will allow us to not only pre-empt consumer issues with self-help FAQs/how-to-videos, but indeed produce even better products in the future.”  

    Commercial acumen  

    Further improving De’Longhi’s commercial success was a concentrated effort to harness the power of Amazon for growth and credibility. Bonpain’s goal was to beat Breville and become Amazon’s key partner in the category, quickly pivoting how De’Longhi worked with Amazon and shifting from a clearance store to high-destination partner mentality.  

    This meant building a whole range of new capabilities and ways of working in weeks, including training the team and reallocating budget. “It was a fast, bold and dramatic strategic shift and I allocated 4 per cent of NET revenue to advertising that drove sales,” she says.  

    Firstly, the ambition was improving brand’s presence and user experience with enhanced marketing content and development of A+ page content, achieving an IDQ score of 100/100 across 168+ pages, the best result for De’Longhi globally. Secondly, Bonpain’s team launched its first brand store in October 2019. It supported this with sponsored product, brand and display advertising that delivered strong commercial outcomes and bottom-line impact.  

    “This has all been achieved with us retaining strong control of the Amazon account while driving strong profit margin,” she says.  


    Quick thinking and an ability to pivot came to the fore when COVID struck. Bonpain brought the marketing leadership team together to analyse what activities consumers were doing differently, how their media consumption was changing and what products they were buying and why.  

    “In terms of product consumption, coffee machines were actually increasingly relevant as consumers were not able to go to coffee shops and still wanted to enjoy barista quality coffee at home,” she comments. “But consumers could also no longer test and demo products in store. We also noticed a lot of companies and competitors cutting back their marketing investment rather than investing. Finally, we did some scenario-planning to cover all options.”  

    A clear business case for maintaining marketing investment, adapting media plans and re-allocating rather than cutting relevant media investment to digital. This required the team to refresh the coffee campaign line ‘’enjoy barista quality coffee, at home.’’  

    “This was a subtle change, and we were careful with execution, as we wanted the brand to be a relevant solution, not be seen as capitalising off a difficult situation,” Bonpain says. From there, ‘live digital demo’ was introduced to replace physical store demos.  

    COVID was also a catalyst that helped firmly pivot the organisation to ecommerce, Bonpain says. Having ecommerce in her team, she actively drove a cross-functional team effort to ensure the digital commerce proposition was competitive, effective and technically and operationally supported.  

    Cross-functional collaboration  

    Bonpain says her cross-functional style centres around “contextual leadership”. It starts by getting to know each individual team member’s strengths, motivators and feedback / communication style to be able to build a strong dynamic for the cross-functional working group.  

    “At the cross-functional team level, I try and ‘read the room’ and facilitate conflict resolution, communication and participation to ensure we all thrive towards a common goal,” she says. “I see my role as an orchestrator / facilitator, leading by example as much as possible. I spend a lot of time communicating individually as well, to make sure there’s no hidden agenda or disagreement.”  

    It's this approach Bonpain brought to bear when striving to more collaboratively and constructively work with the sales team as part of the New Product Introduction (NPI) process.  

    “Firstly, and in alignment with the GM of sales, I made sure everyone was clear on their roles and responsibilities during the NPI meeting. I provided coaching and put the right level of experience and expertise on the relevant project,” Bonpain says. “In collaboration with the GM of sales, I also ensured any behaviour and performance issues were addressed in a timely manner.”  

    Fundamentals were cemented and project management coaching ensured processes to improve collaboration and effectiveness further, including go-to-market, joint category planner, and a monthly sales and marketing catchup, was in place.  

    “In conclusion, I am a flexible leader, building high-performing team by leveraging individual strengths as much as possible and driving the team to excellence, even when the going gets tough,” Bonpain concludes.

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