News Works Rookie Marketer of the Year, Jade Clark, Tip Top

For a marketer with such limited experience, Jade Clark, who was promoted to brand manager from a sales and marketing co-ordinator/PA role, oversaw some sizeable projects and marketing budgets during her almost two year tenure with Tip Top. But she’s obviously a natural, because she had some phenomenal success in that time. Clark managed a large portfolio of Tip Top’s brands, including Trumpet, Fruju, Crammed, and Weight Watchers, and this gave her exposure to lots of NPD, as well as a large variety of campaigns and consumer promotions. She also managed Tip Top’s social media presence and helped grow the Facebook page from 60,000 to over 170,000 fans, with above average engagement of eight percent.

Tip Top is one of only a few Kiwi companies to fully embrace social creativity and one of Clark’s major focuses was involving customers in its campaigns. She managed the complex Feel Tip Top nationwide prize drop, which asked fans to nominate someone who deserved a free ice cream, and spent many hours responding to consumers after some initial technical issues. Despite this, it ended up being one of the company’s most successful promotions ever, garnering over 245,000 entries and winning a number of awards.

Another one of her highlights was managing the ‘Bring Back’ campaign that resulted in the relaunch of the Strawberry Toppa. To kick off the campaign it put three old products to a vote on Facebook. And it received over 150,000 votes. 

“The big challenge here was that once the voting closed and the winning product was announced we were committed to launching the promised product in as little time as possible so as not to lose consumer engagement, no matter what manufacturing or other issues we might face during development.” But it managed to reformulate the Toppa quickly and it launched within six months of the vote. Even better, it then went on to become a record selling SKU in its first week of sales.

Sales results are obviously paramount, and she spent plenty of time carefully assessing the profitability of her portfolio, but Clark says the enthusiasm and positive sentiment that came through from consumers on social media following the various product and campaign launches she worked on was by far the biggest reward of the job.

“I was reminded daily that my work was helping New Zealanders feel happy.”

Clark didn’t come from a theoretical marketing background, so she says the “one of a kind” culture at Tip Top was crucial for her professional development and she mostly learnt by doing, sharing knowledge and trends with cross-category team members and agency partners, and keeping an eye on the international market for category-related NPD and competitor campaigns.

“It’s an autonomous and open culture where bouncing ideas, questions and learnings off each other is the norm and therefore learning and development is greatly encouraged. I knew I always had the support of my managers and peers if I needed it.”

While she’s learned plenty on the job, she also developed her skills by attending a number of digital marketing seminars and courses. She also keeps up with the latest trends around social media and is an avid reader of local and international marketing magazines and websites.

Clark has just moved to London, where she’s looking to further her FMCG brand management career and get some real international experience. And she expects the world of digital and experiential marketing to become increasingly important. “I think that as digital becomes bigger in our lives we will see campaigns becoming a lot more integrated and we will see content becoming a lot more important in an ‘always on’ type strategy, as opposed to always being campaign based. With developments in this digital world and the associated technologies we are seeing events and experiential activations becoming increasingly powerful and this is also really exciting.”

Clark is passionate about her brands, as evidenced by her willingness to give up her New Years eve and some weekends to be on-site at brand activations; she learns from her mistakes; she makes the most of any opportunity she gets—even those that others might turn up their nose at; her ‘just get on with it’ attitude means she’s able to forge great working relationships with people in all functions of the business and with agency partners; and she never fails to maintain a cool, calm demeanour, even when things aren’t quite going to plan.

As her nominee summed up, she is truly a “marketing star on the rise.” And in case you were wondering, she’s a Choc Bar fan through and through.

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