With a love for both brand and product marketing, young marketer Sidney McNamara emphasises creating relationships with the clients in order to get the best result out of the campaign. Working at Beam Suntory, McNamara has worked across several projects in the liquor industry, giving her a keen understanding of what is trending and how to stand out from the rest of the market in order to get the best result. We talk to McNamara about her love for marketing, what it is like to be a young marketer and how to successfully thrive in the industry.
How or why did you get into marketing – what sparked your interest?
I completed a marketing degree at Otago University, and once complete, my first role was agency side at indie agency, Pitchblack Partners. I worked on Burger King New Zealand and the Part Time Rangers account, which was when I first got exposed to the liquor industry. I soon realised that I wanted to be the person sitting ‘client side’, setting goals and objectives, helping to deliver measurable results for the business. I made the call to switch sides and grow my marketing skills with the goal of becoming a professional marketer and make a career of it.
What do you love about marketing? Is there a specific type of marketing you particularly enjoy, or specialise in, and why?
What I really love about marketing is that there is so much variety in what I do. Every brand and product is different. They all have their own personalities and I enjoy the fact that I can actually have influence on how they are seen and perceived by the market. I love that!
The second part of this question is tough for me to answer because I enjoy both brand and product marketing. I guess I’m lucky that the products I’m responsible for marketing are also the brands, so when I do a product focused campaign, I’m also doing a brand job at the same time. I think at this early stage in my career, I’m keen to continue to learn and develop my skills, but ultimately, I would love to be a brand marketing specialist.
What do you think it takes to be an award-winning marketer?
I think that you really need to form a relationship with you brands and products and get to know and understand them. You also need to have an in depth understanding of the market and your target audience/s. You don’t always need big budgets, but you do need to stand out from your competitors, so delivering marketing campaigns and initiatives that have cut through is really important, particularly in the liquor industry as there is so much competition across all categories. You need to stand out in the crowd!
Is there a specific project you’ve worked on that stands out for you?
EFFEN Seltzer and C.C. Soda & Lime were blockbuster through the line launches with high levels of investment spanning ATL (TV/digital media, OOH, social media), PR (influencers and earned media), experiential activation (festival sponsorship), in-store sampling, and in-store promotions to drive rate of sale.
I played a key support role in executing the 360-launch plan for both campaigns, specifically leading our social media and influencer strategies as well as radio partnerships for both brand launches from briefing/ideation to execution, to drive targeted reach and awareness with our heaviest category buyers (18–24-year-olds).
EFFEN Seltzer was hugely successful and a result of cross functional support – 2.5 million New Zealanders reached via Out of Home (OOH) media, a further 1.6 million reached via radio and social media, 717 traditional liquor stores activated with an in-store promotion, 2,864 consumers sampled to in-store (with a 28 percent sample to conversion rate) and 30k+ can’s in hand across summer festivals. All 3 EFFEN Seltzer SKUs were ranked in the top 10 Light RTD summer NPD by value (#3, #7 and #8 respectively) – during what was an extremely competitive and challenging summer, with over 60 new Light RTD SKUs launched.
C.C. Soda and Lime was also a huge success – we reached 2.5 million New Zealanders and got cans in the hands of 20k+ consumers. C.C. Soda and Lime is off to a flying start as a result – up 30 percent vs budget YTD and showing no signs of slowing down, bring on summer.
What are some of the biggest challenges you as a young marketer face in your role?
I think the biggest challenge any marketer faces is the sheer speed in which the market moves. What’s in and the flavour of the month today can be yesterday’s news tomorrow, so being informed and to have the ability to be nimble can be a real advantage – staying relevant.
One of the biggest challenges for all marketers over the next while is the increase in inflation. Higher prices less discretionary income to spend over the counter, I think will put pressure on sales. We need to be on our game to ensure we’re the brand/product of choice.
What advice would you give to other young marketers newish to the industry?
Spend time to get to know and fully understand your brands and products. Do your best to gain an in depth understanding of your market, and most importantly your competitors!
Where do you see your career headed in the next five to 10 years?
I’m so pleased to have got into marketing – it’s definitely the career for me. Where do I see myself in five years? Marketing Director at Beam Suntory.