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CMO50 2022 #26-50: Emma Terry

  • Name Emma Terry
  • Title Chief marketing officer
  • Company Tourism Tasmania
  • Commenced role May 2017
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Marketing Function 40 staff, 6 direct reports
  • Industry Sector Travel and tourism
  • 2021 ranking New to CMO50
  • Related

    Brand Post

    When people are planning a holiday, they may not necessarily think of Tasmania - or rather they didn’t used to think of Tasmania.

    Emma Terry, CMO of Tourism Tasmania, has been working hard with her team to position Tasmania as a top-of-mind holiday destination.

    Innovative marketing 

    As Terry explains, attracting visitors to Tasmania in winter has been a perennial challenge, it’s not cold enough for a decent ski season, yet not warm enough for sun-loving Australians.

    Tourism Tasmania is a Destination Marketing Organisation charged with the remit of driving demand for Tasmania as a holiday destination. Success is measured in visitor spend/economic contribution to the state.

    Tourism contributes $2.25 billion, a six per cent share, to Tasmania’s GSP. The direct and indirect contribution of tourism in Tasmania to GSP is the highest in the country.

    “In 2019 we identified two new segments to target and launched the ‘Come down for Air’ platform and later ‘Off Season’ to drive visitation over the winter months. Our campaign work is deliberately designed to challenge traditional category norms and to cut through enabling us to achieve greater performance with a smaller budget.

    “The challenge was to turn our winter weaknesses into a strength, leveraging our unusual and popular winter events and extend these with new, exclusive and time-limited winter only experiences,” she says.

    “It needed a name with the ability to build on it every year.”

    The result was a break-through platform and associated campaign shot in black and white called 'Off Season'.

    “Our winter campaign 'Off Season' was shot in all black and white which is quite different to traditional tourism advertising. The campaign has performed very well and has given us a distinct look to continue to build on year after year.”

    The campaign was indeed a success. Spontaneous mentions increased eight per cent from 22 per cent in Q1 to 30 per cent in Q2.

    Word of mouth and media awareness for Tasmania grew 12 per cent. Tasmania’s preference peaked in June as a first choice destination for two target audiences growing from seven per cent in May to 10 per cent in June.

    “A simple yet powerful moment was when a colleague in Sydney said to me their friend had said to them unprompted they wanted to plan a holiday to Tasmania for the Off Season.

    “That moment stands out as it’s the culmination of all of the work the team has done. A real person engaged and influenced by our work. As a marketer it doesn’t get much better than this.”

    Customer-led value

    A customer insight identified through research showed a barrier to travel to Tasmania is the difficulty in planning a holiday. 

    Terry says the previous website and digital assets provided lots of information, but were not designed to nudge travellers down the customer funnel or support them in personalised and bespoke itinerary development.

    “In June 2022 under my leadership, Tourism Tasmania implemented a marketing technology platform and new website. This was the first phase of our digital transformation which looks to revolutionise planning and digital on-ground information for our visitors,” she says.

    The design and the development of the website uses nudge theory and personalisation. The different elements and UX of the website were tested with consumers to ensure the website addresses customer needs. 

    The result is a bespoke itinerary planner which can be saved and shared with friends and family. The intent is the itinerary is then available via an App to support the travelling experience on-ground, even without internet reception. 

    “This is a first, we are aware of, in the category. To support the digital transformation, new product and digital transformation expertise were recruited. Additionally, the marketing team was restructured to create a dedicated digital and interactive team to enable up and cross-skilling, and the research team is being geared towards data rather than traditional research,” she says.

    “We have always been encouraged by our Board and CEO to be ‘brave’ so we have lots of debate as to what ‘brave’ really is and of course everyone has a slightly different take. For us brave means not having to follow the category norms, to find our own path, whether it's from our brand campaigns to digital assets through to how we represent ourselves at trade shows.

    “I still believe marketing is a combination of art and science. I operate a lot on gut but my gut instinct is built on a deep understanding of the brand and what we believe our customers are needing right now as well as what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past.”

    Business smarts

    To ensure the team was prepared for post-Covid recovery and any changes in customer behaviour and expectations, Terry ran a series of ‘stretch thinking’ workshops with the team, plus a cross-section of external stakeholders to ideate how to best support visitors pre, during and post trip. 

    The sessions were designed as blue-sky thinking. The outcome of these sessions was the identification of the opportunity for Tasmania to provide a leading Visitor information services experience utilising Tourism Tasmania’s digital assets.

    “We tested many of the concepts which came from these sessions through consumer focus groups to identify the opportunities with the greatest benefit to customers. These features were then prioritised accordingly and are being implemented via our digital transformation roadmap,” Terry says.

    “The first phase was the introduction of a bespoke itinerary planner – the first of its kind in Australia, we believe, which will help customers plan and share itineraries and have access to these on-ground enabling them to get the most from their holiday experience in Tasmania while driving additional yield for our industry.”

    Leadership impact

    As a 2022 scholar of The Marketing Academy, Terry has been exposed to a range of tools and concepts for leadership. 

    “I am running weekly leadership sessions with my team, peers and their direct reports on leadership in order to develop the leadership skills of the organisation so that we can better lead and empower our teams,” she says.

    “Last year I led the restructure of the marketing team to enable greater upskilling and cross-functional development across teams to develop capability and reduce single point dependencies.

    “Recently I ran a set of strategy sessions with my team to develop a bespoke marketing model which cherry picked from a range of marketing approaches to design a purpose-built model combining culture brand, destination marketing principles, test and learn and destination innovation. The approach stretched the teams thinking about marketing building team engagement and strategic thinking skills.”

    Ultimately, Terry enjoys working with her teams.

    “About 10 years ago I had the opportunity to move into being a consultant and a technical specialist, or people leadership and management. At the time I really enjoyed models, theory and the task, so it was very tempting. People management was out of my comfort zone, although I did like being part of and working in a team. I chose the management pathway and it’s opened up so many opportunities and a joy in developing deeper connections and seeing people grow.”

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