We spoke to Ex-Camilla Angel, Gabrielle Wakeman about her time as their Digital Marketing Manager.
Tell us about your role as Digital Marketing Manager at CAMILLA…
As Digital Marketing Manager I’m across two areas,
- Digital marketing,
- Overseeing the online store and customer service team.
On an average day I could be doing any of the following…
– Daily reporting on our analytics to ensure that we are optimising the eBoutique and digital marketing activities; this means – seeing how many customers are online, what they are looking at, at which points they are leaving the site.
– Collaborating with our digital marketing agencies to ensure that projects (SEO, SEM, acquisition) are on-track and brainstorming new strategies;
– Checks and balances with the Brand/Marketing team to ensure that everything we do is true to the CAMILLA DNA plus some of the fun stuff like coming up with innovative marketing ideas;
– Closely working with the eBoutique Executive to make sure that that the store has fresh styles, is merchandised for optimal selling and making sure that integration with the various systems are working correctly;
– Checking in with the customer service team to make sure that the red flags are kept in check and any customer service wins are shared with the overall CAMILLA team;
– Collaborating with the Retail Manager to ensure consistency across the stores and development of customer relationship management (CRM);
– Managing the email channel which includes competitor benchmarking, working new ideas and brand activities into the Marketing Calendar, briefing our in-house design team and external developers, the final checks before deployment and finally reporting;
– Working with the marketing team on our social tone of voice by channel, and reporting on our activities;
– and currently my biggest daily time investment is working with our new website agency to develop and launch a new website that will allow for global shopping, an optimised experience for mobile and tablet, including some super cool features for our devoted customers. The sites will launch later this year.
Why fashion- was it always this?
One of my first internships was actually at IBM, so far from fashion. I was working in the accounts department putting tax numbers into presentations for the Seniors. This was the marketing of information and numbers which taught me the importance of how to clearly communicate the important information.
When I graduated high school in the United States and was looking at my options for tertiary education, there was only one school that appealed to me- The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT). They had programs for everything, from fashion design and fashion business, to toy design, cosmetics and fragrance marketing. It wasn’t a particular course that I was driven to do, but the different creative options, and the hands on approach that the Institute had was what got me there, and then the creativeness and excitement of fashion and marketing drew me in further. I never really had the dream to become a designer, but thought I wanted to be a buyer- quickly realising it’s not that glamorous, and actually a lot of math and Excel work sheets!
The Fashion Institute of Technology was really skill based and highly respected in the US and Europe, focusing on applicable real life business- it was very hands-on. During my time there I had the opportunity to spend six weeks in Europe with three appointments a day, going from fashion house to fashion house, representing the University. From being taught the inside of the Gucci manufacturing plant, meeting Vivienne Westwood in her show room, and going to Alexander McQueen’s. I don’t think FIT have exactly this now, but I believe they have a similar graduate option called Global Fashion Management.
I used to be in Marketing and PR but always had difficulty measuring my ROI and applying hard metrics to prove the results of my efforts and campaigns. Digital is something that is tangible and instant, giving me realtime updates on how my customers are engaging. This means I can tweak campaigns to give customers what they want and build a stronger relationship between them and the brand. In achieving this I can also increase spending and budgets with more efficient and effective allocations.
What role do you think digital plays in selling the tangible; how has CAMILLA responded to this?
Digital for CAMILLA is definitely important- it’s one of our flag ship store. For those who can’t reach boutiques, it means people can still shop 24/7 and enter the World of CAMILLA. While in store you receive champagne and styling, purchasing online you still get the opportunity to try things on and return them within 14 days, and you can do it from the privacy of your own home. The online customer service team is incredibly knowledgable about the products and know our customers so well I think they are assets to the team. Even though we are an online store, as a luxury business we need to provide our customers with the ability to pick up the phone and talk to someone. And in a non-customer centric age our customers love it.
People are increasingly mobile, and impatient, so we need be creating an experience for not only the desktop user, but also those on mobile and tablet. We need to be thinking 2 years ahead too, optimising the experience for users in the future. It’s definitely important for any marketers to be thinking digitally and to the future. Most interns and grads we have at CAMILLA are naturally socially active and digitally savvy, but it’s important to understand how these mediums can be translated for commercial use, using these technologies to develop and grow a brand.
How did you get your all elusive ‘foot in the door’?
My first internship to full time job was at American Eagle Outfitter. I was so excited we were on the first season of The Apprentice and did lots of big budget marketing brand activities in New York. My main responsibility was managing the press closet as the PR and Marketing Intern. There were no digital departments at this point, and a lot of my time was spent working on events, and with the VM (Visual Merchandiser) in store.
In being offered a full time position from my internship, I put this down to the time I took to network. It was really busy all the time, but I took time to show interest and creativity in some of the bigger projects and events that I worked on. Knowing me, and my interest, when a role did become open I was the first person everyone thought of. The position was the Assistant to the Art & Fashion Director for American Eagle Outfitters which was a great learning opportunity, though I only kept it for a few months as I ultimately wanted to do something creative, and not be the assistant to it.
Do you believe the Australian fashion industry is different to the United States? Would you recommend working over there?
There’s definitely a difference. There isn’t the variety and the huge competition that’s present in the States. I will say though that Aussies are really passionate about their local designers, and are dedicated to their styles and influences. The passion that CAMILLA customers have is something that you just wouldn’t be able to find in the States.
My choice to move to Australia was both personal and professional. I was going to get my MBA before I came to Australia (a lot of people in the US will complete postgrad studies), and I knew that if I didn’t want to do this I still needed to be able to differentiate myself in the job market, which is what global experience has given me. While I don’t think postgrad study is as mainstream in Australia as it is in the States, it’s important to build yourself a competitive advantage in some way, which working in the United States, or anywhere overseas, would absolutely give you.
CAMILLA works with a number of young interns, what can they do to impress you?
Generally I’ve been quite impressed with the interns- they all have good attitudes and have a willingness to pitch in and learn.
It’s always great if on your first day you come prepared with something that you’re good at and enjoy doing- better using you as a resource for us, and you’re getting to show some initiative and your strengths from the start. Often we may not have planned something for you to do when you arrive, so if you can suggest something yourself then you can jump straight on that, be it retouching models, Photoshop, organising the press closest, etc. Just don’t be insulted if this isn’t what you end up doing though!
I also heavily rely on my team to collaborate with the interns and feedback to me on what’s working and what’s not. My amazing team knows what it takes to be a ‘CAMILLA Angel’ and have a good understand what works for me. So just because someone is not a manager, make sure you still closely follow instructions and respect their position. To substantiate this, last week I found out that we had resources to add another full-time member to our team. My first step was to ask my team if any of the interns stood out and a week later we hired one of our interns for the full-time role.
When are you NOT right for the fashion industry?
There is a lot of pressure and you’re always very busy, plus working with Creatives usually doesn’t lead to a lot of efficiencies. If you are passionate and want to work in a passionate environment though, then it will work for you!
If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty then there’s no limit to where you can go in the fashion industry, but you do need to be patient and know where you want to go- it’s easy to get lost. Working in an agency, you’ll get shorter and shorter deadlines, but in-house and client side you have demanding bosses and customers, so it depends what you prefer to handle. I believe you can control more on the client side, but perhaps work across more exciting and versatile projects agency side. It’s such a huge industry so it’s just about finding where you fit, and then fighting for it.
Is there anything that you with you had known at the start of your career?
I wish there wasn’t the commonly spun idea that fashion is ‘fluffy’. Not that I got into Fashion because I believed this, but people work REALLY hard. You can put a great PR spin on a super glamorous photo shoot in the Hamptons, but in actuality you’re up at 3am and absolutely exhausted after 14 hours of shooting.