Annemarie Browne is in it to win it as she elevates Lotto NZ to the next level with her creative and integrated marketing strategies.
In the two years as CMO at Lotto NZ, Annemarie Browne has quickly proved she is a powerhouse when it comes to marketing strategies. Her first draw included a complete overhaul of the then siloed divisions, which turned out to be a million-dollar idea, so to speak.
Browne has risen to senior leadership positions across a broad range of respected companies, including CEO of Aspire2Business, Global VP Marketing at Orion Health, GM of Marketing TVNZ and GM of Seek NZ. Yet it is her work at Lotto NZ that encompasses everything she loves about marketing, including putting the customer at its heart.
“A customer first attitude, with a passion for emotionally engaging creative, a smart and collaborative team around you and a thirst for knowledge,” is what Browne thinks it takes to be an award-winning marketer. Something she has clearly demonstrated with a number of key initiatives with Lotto NZ.
A key change Browne instigated was to move marketing from a brand communications team, to encompass product innovation and digital. Now, marketing sits at the centre of the organisation, as opposed to a campaign tagged on at the end.
Consumer insight now feeds into product and channel development, and brand communications reflects the full extent of their consumer offering. Browne believes that “you are not the customer”, advocating for her team to leave the office to get out and talk to those that are.
Not only has Browne brought product innovation and digital under one integrated team, she has also further aligned the media strategy of the group and endorsed brand strategy and launch of a new platform for the Lotto NZ brand. Browne notes these changes have been necessary for Lotto, as the business faces constant pressure from global disruptors.
“Lotto NZ is also facing significant competitive pressures from offshore online gambling sites, who actively target New Zealand players, but operate outside of local regulations to minimise player harm. We are working really hard to ensure we continue to provide New Zealanders with a great playing experience, with a safe and trusted New Zealand brand.”
This effort has not been wasted, as Browne’s strategies have seen instant Kiwi online grow from six games to 40, while evolving the Powerball Jackpot matrix and growing sales opportunities by 10 percent.
In 2020, even with the impact of Covid-19 closing retail stores for four weeks (representing 75 percent of regular sales), Lotto NZ delivered their highest ever revenue result and contribution to community. There is no doubt that this success can be in part attributed to the changes Browne has instigated, putting customers at the centre of everything marketing does and creating consistent brand communications and messaging.
Lotto NZ hit record sales in 2020, and community contribution saw good year-on-year growth. MyLotto registrations also had a significant increase, and awareness of its community outreach grew.
Despite all of this commercial success thanks in part to her efforts as CMO, Browne says that her most significant achievements include the mass amount of charities and causes Lotto NZ has been able to support.
“This year Lotto NZ made a record contribution of $313m to over 3,000 great causes across New Zealand. When you work closely with the recipients of our funding and see the meaningful difference they are making in NZ, there can be no more important and motivating achievement than marketing the brands that help make this happen.”
Including these causes for the community, one of Browne’s initiatives was to implement a process for all content to be reviewed by an internal HARM team. This, to ensure Lotto NZ is meeting the highest standard of care as well as supporting campaigns that raise consumer understanding of ‘100 percent profits go back to the Community’.
Browne has also managed to increase support inwards to the business and has a strong ability to effect change in organisations, proving that with a number of successful key implementations during her tenure.
Browne says for her, a future goal is to nurture the upcoming talent in the industry. “With the industry moving so quickly there is still a tremendous amount for me to do and learn here. I hope to continue to contribute to the wider industry and support the incredible young marketing talent coming through to be successful brand leaders in the future, putting that great New Zealand stamp of care and authenticity onto everything we do.”
There is no denying the incredible marketing work that comes from Browne and her team. Notably the Lotto Imagine series, and her personal favourite, LOST.
“I feel so emotionally connected to Claire, our lead talent, having watched her put so much effort into bringing her character to life in our campaign last year. I also loved the ground-breaking LOST Numbers digital activation and story extension around gifting that rolled out through Christmas.”
The LOST campaign saw social engagement increase by 42 percent and participants spent 872 days onsite, watching a 90 second ad. As well as taking home eight golds as the Axis Awards.
Browne says Lotto’s ability to be creative and support creative marketing comes from the brands ethos of hope and imagination. “Lotto NZ brands are all about hope and making peoples dreams come true. This is incredibly rich creative territory and something that just about everyone can relate to.”
Encompassing Lotto NZ’s purposes, Browne says connection with a brands values are an important thing for a marketer to have. “I connect with Lotto’s core’s purposes a lot. I love that I work for an organisation that puts player safety first over sales, but is committed to working really hard to maximise the funds we know our community recipients so desperately need.”
This nomination and win is an ode to the incredible experiences Browne and her brand are able to create. “Lotto NZ’s brands are loved and valued by New Zealanders and it has been incredibly exciting for my team and I to take our brand communications to the next level, supported by innovative product development, the country’s largest retail network and our rapidly growing digital platform.
“We are also incredibly lucky to work with world-class creative, media and research agencies. This nomination is a reflection of the entire team effort it takes to build our brands and I feel very privileged to lead that work.”
Category: Marketer of the Year 2020
Winner: Annemarie Browne (Lotto NZ)
Judge’s Comments: “Annemarie has demonstrated to the judges that she is an exceptional marketing leader with the right skills and competencies, leading a solid high performing marketing team. She is very generous with her time and energy across the marketing community. Annemarie has had a broad range of skills and career history and would make a wonderful role model for any young marketer to aspire to.”
Finalists: Barend van der Maas (Stuff), Gabrielle Markwick-Brown (IAG), Helen Flannery (NZ Police), Kyle Bell (Rhythm & Vines), Michael Healy (Meridian Energy)