Marketer of the Year finalist 2022 – Sean Wiggans

Sean Wiggans, General Manager Marketing at Turners Auto Retail Division, was “stoked” when he found out he was a Marketer of the Year finalist at the 2022 TVNZ – NZ Marketing Awards. Here he looks back on his career to date and explores what it takes to successfully pull off a complete brand transformation while also creating a much-loved character campaign.

Briefly, give details of your marketing career to this point.

Eight years in advertising (Singleton Ogilvy & Mather, RZed, Colenso), and nearly 14 years in marketing (Frucor, Cerebos Greggs, Turners). I’ve been lucky to work on a lot of different industries and different brands which, apart from being really interesting, has broadened my skill set and understanding of what works. And I’ve been very fortunate in the people who I’ve worked with and learnt from.  

Why do you love working for Turners Auto Retail?

The culture. There is an amazing leadership group here that is focused on enabling the wider team. There’s not a lot of red tape and we have a very strong strategic plan to reach our objectives. This allows a lot of our focus to just be on making the boat go faster. And the people in this company continue to amaze me at the effort they put in – especially over the past few years as it has not been easy.

What do you love about marketing? Is there a specific type of marketing you particularly enjoy, or specialise in, and why?

Marketing has a huge role to play in the success of a company and if done right can really change the game. That’s motivating. I love working on strategy and building brands. And I’m a data nerd – implementing a tech stack at Turners has improved our automation capabilities beyond recognition – but it’s the data that we are able to harness that I’m most delighted by. We’re using it to inform marketing and business decisions now.   

What do you think it takes to be an award-winning marketer?

Marketing cannot operate as a silo. I don’t think it’s possible to have a large impact on a business and do award winning work without being fully integrated into a company. So don’t be the ‘colouring in department’ – push yourself hard to earn the respect of your colleagues and demonstrate the power of marketing. Marketing should inform business objectives and marketing strategy and execution has to deliver directly to those business objectives. Otherwise the results won’t come and neither will the marketing teams credibility with the business. If you can’t own the 4 ‘P’s try and make sure you’re at least part of the conversation so you can help shape outcomes. Then when (if?) the results come, write a good paper, enter it, and hope that your results are better than others. There’s a lot of very talented marketers in New Zealand and some of the work in the last couple of years has been very, very good. 

What do you think has been your most significant achievement throughout your career?

Helping transform Turners from an old school auction house to the amazing company it is today.

What are some of the biggest challenges you as a marketer face working within the industry that you do?

  1. Used car dealers do not have a great reputation. And some of that is deserved – however there are a huge number of dealers in New Zealand, not just at Turners, that work very hard to overcome that reputation every day. 
  2. Coming from an FMCG background where data, especially market data, is very accessible I still struggle to measure effectiveness. Internally we’ve come a long way but in-depth market data is still hard to get.    

Tell me about a marketing initiative you have recently worked on that has realised great success, and why you think it has done so?

The Tina from Turners campaign because it’s a great example of a business objective being met with great strategy and great execution. And it was the culmination of a medium term plan where we built the capability first and then poured in the leads.

Where do you see your career headed in the next 5-10 years?

Just keep on learning. There are some pretty big challenges on the horizon – media channel fragmentation and the constantly evolving MarTech and AdTech space being two I’m pretty focused on right now. Being able to navigate the next few years and maintain effectiveness is going to be interesting.    

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