Kmart general manager of marketing departs

Laurie Lai departs after 13 years developing the retail brand and contributing to its turnaround strategy

Kmart’s general manager of marketing, Laurie Lai, has left the retailer after 13 years to pursue her next professional challenge. 

Kmart is busy sorting a replacement for Lai, who gained respect for marketing the budget retailer to become a popular brand and was part of the team that has driven greater sales and profits from 2015.  

“I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to get involved in the Kmart turnaround journey and see how the brand has evolved to become one of the most loved brands in Australia,” Lai said. 

Lai joined Kmart as customer insights and loyalty manager in 2008, a position she held for five years. During this time, she established the research and customer data analytics team that led to the insights and strategies that helped renew the brand.

Lai became Kmart’s national communications manager for Australia and New Zealand before becoming general manager, marketing communications and customer insights in October 2017 then GM marketing in January 2019. Prior to joining Kmart, Lai was head of marketing for the food division of A.S Watson and graduated from University of Hong Kong.

Lai told CMO she was proud of the contribution she has made to the successful turnaround journey of Kmart. Under the leadership of Kmart reinvention chief, Guy Russo, Kmart saw sales increase from $4.2 billion in 2014 to more than $6 billion by 2018 as it differentiated itself in market by focusing on lowering prices, a simplified product range and focus on a several key on-trend offerings.

“Kmart has transformed from a broken and forgotten brand to the most loved brands in Australia,” she said. “The campaign, ‘We make low prices irresistible’ made Kmart low prices cool.”

Lai also highlighted an evolving communications strategy for Kmart as another marketing milestone. A key step was shifting from a print catalogue-centric communications strategy to a digital content ecosystem approach.

In 2019, Lai also oversaw new brand positioning and the launch of Kmart’s ‘Low prices for life’ campaign, aimed at putting the customer at the centre of its strategy. The campaign emphasised the retailer’s commitment to low-priced products, with a focus on celebrating the joy customers feel when engaging with the brand in their everyday lives. 

Lai said she will take some time off before considering her next professional endeavour.

Read more: Kmart and Target on retail turnaround

Don’t miss out on the wealth of insight and content provided by CMO A/NZ and sign up to our weekly CMO Digest newsletters and information services here. 

You can also 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



Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

More Brand Posts



CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Great e-commerce article!

Vadim Frost

CMO’s State of CX Leadership 2022 report finds the CX striving to align to business outcomes

Read more

Are you searching something related to Lottery and Lottery App then Agnito Technologies can be a help for you Agnito comes out as a true ...


The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Thorough testing and quality assurance are required for a bug-free Lottery Platform. I'm looking forward to dependability.

Ella Hall

The Lottery Office CEO details journey into next-gen cross-channel campaign orchestration

Read more

Great Sharing thoughts.It is really helps to define marketing strategies. After all good digital marketing plan leads to brand awareness...

Paul F

Driving digital marketing effectiveness

Read more

Blog Posts

Marketing prowess versus the enigma of the metaverse

Flash back to the classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Television-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be ‘sent by Wonkavision’, dematerialising on one end, pixel by pixel, and materialising in another space. His cinematic dreams are realised thanks to rash decisions as he is shrunken down to fit the digital universe, followed by a trip to the taffy puller to return to normal size.

Liz Miller

VP, Constellation Research

Why Excellent Leadership Begins with Vertical Growth

Why is it there is no shortage of leadership development materials, yet outstanding leadership is so rare? Despite having access to so many leadership principles, tools, systems and processes, why is it so hard to develop and improve as a leader?

Michael Bunting

Author, leadership expert

More than money talks in sports sponsorship

As a nation united by sport, brands are beginning to learn money alone won’t talk without aligned values and action. If recent events with major leagues and their players have shown us anything, it’s the next generation of athletes are standing by what they believe in – and they won’t let their values be superseded by money.

Simone Waugh

Managing Director, Publicis Queensland

Sign in