Case Study: CRM Manager

Head of CRM

After studying Media Production at university, Antony wanted a career that combined his interests in the creative and analytical within a thriving competitive industry.

Antony built up experience in marketing across a number of roles across different industries before deciding to persue his strengths in database marketing, which lead to a specialism in CRM.

View Antony Lea's profile on LinkedIn


What attracted you to a career in Marketing? 

It was a combination of the people that I met within the Industry, who all seemed to be fun, intelligent and interesting, and the fact that if you had both Creative and Analytical skills you had the opportunity to thrive.

Tell us about your route in Marketing? 

My degree was actually in Media Production, making films, TV shows, radio shows, etc, but entry level roles within these industries paid so badly that I wasn’t able to even pay my rent if I’d have taken these jobs. When I looked around at entry level roles, I saw that Marketing was competitive against other industries and still covered some areas from my studies so looked into that further.  The first job I took was at a company called Media Monitoring Services (now part of AC Nielsen) monitoring Regional Newspaper Advertising spend.

What made you decide on CRM as a specialism? What skills do you have that suit this type of role? 

It soon became very clear that my interests and strengths lay in areas that complemented a role in CRM.  From my time at Alchemetrics (a company who manage Marketing Databases) I found I was easily able to bring together technical and none technical staff, was as comfortable discussing data and segments as I was creative execution and was also strong in terms of Project Management.  All of these are crucial skills in managing a CRM function.

Briefly talk us through a typical day as in your current job?

I’m a walking cliché, but no 2 days are the same.  Things that do happen regularly are Weekly 1 to 1’s with my Marketing Director, Weekly CRM Team Meetings, Weekly Stakeholder Meetings (including Creative and Commercial) and Weekly 1 to 1’s with my own CRM Team.  Through this regular structure, based around sharing information, being clear on rights and responsibilities and discussing challenges and opportunities equally, we are able to plan, implement and review our way through a lot of CRM activity.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your marketing career and how have you overcome them? 

The toughest challenge is often balancing time between running the BAU activity and yet trying to remain innovative and at the cutting edge. Tactical execution of individual e-mails can start to eat away at your time, and you start looking at activity through a micro-scope rather than at a strategic level.  So much time and energy can be wasted discussing individual elements for a specific e-mail, a line of copy, colour of a button, 1 product selected amongst 20, and suddenly you are not focusing on the bigger picture of Conversion, Retention, Re-Activation, Cross-Sell, Upsell, etc.

Ensuring you focus on bringing together, and getting the best people, process, and technology, is essential in giving yourself the time to remain strategic.  I’ve been very lucky to have had some amazing people work for me, some for short intense periods and others on recurring appointments, which has enabled me to focus on the bigger picture.

What are the personal strengths and assets that have ensured success in your career? 

I am a very committed individual.  I don’t like compromising, giving up or not meeting my commitments.  This has ensured I am someone that can be counted on, and ultimately means I have built teams with the same mindset.  This means I always find a way to get things done and ensure the campaign or project goes live.  The amounts of campaigns/projects I hear about that never go live and never reach the customer is amazing.

I am still able to bring together Creative and Commercial viewpoints, ideas, concepts and ultimately, people, to ensure that a CRM strategy both engages and drives revenue.  All the skills I learnt all those years ago at Alchemetrics are still used each and every day in setting up processes, procedures, campaigns, managing people and/or supplier and ultimately making sure data drives decisions in order to maximise ROI.

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone looking to get into their own marketing career what would it be? 

Don’t specialise too soon.  If you have an opportunity to work across functions, Acquisition, Brand, CRM, Digital, Social, ATL, PR, etc, then do it to find which one you enjoy more.  Lots of the skills are transferable across all the disciplines, so focus on them, rather than channeling specific technical knowledge.  To become a Marketing Director you need to know them all anyway….so start early.