Emily Trant, Media & Online Relations Specialist at Search Laboratory recently interviewed Ashley Schofield, Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for giffgaff Money, in partnership with ourselves at OnlyMarketingJobs.com, to find out more about what goes on behind closed doors in giffgaff Money's marketing department.
1. Can you give us a quick introduction about yourself and your role at giffgaff?
I joined the mobile industry while it was still in a massive growth phase back in 1999. I’ve always had a marketing focus and since 2013 I’ve been lucky enough to be Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for giffgaff, the rapidly growing mobile network provider.
2. Did you attend university? If so, where did you attend and which degree did you study?
I went to Sheffield Hallam University (or Sheffield Polytechnic as it was known then) where I did Business Studies.
3. Did you take part in any societies during your studies and, if so, did you learn any valuable skills from your time?
To be honest, outside of course time, I was more likely to be found on the football pitch playing in the university leagues. I certainly learnt a lot about passion commitment and resilience. Winter in Sheffield can be pretty tough!
4. What work experience did you gain before attaining your current role?
I started out my marketing career as a Business Analyst. Finding out what makes businesses tick proved invaluable when looking to broaden my responsibilities to developing strategies instead of just informing them.
5. What does a typical day look like for you?
Days are varied because I’m accountable for brand strategy and advertising, proposition development, loyalty, and service. So, one minute I could be signing off our latest advertising campaign and the next doing a deep-dive into improving the experience for our members. Inevitably, there are a lot of meetings but we keep them short and productive, it’s never dull.
6. How does giffgaff stay personal with their online community?
Our community plays a huge part in helping run the business. In fact, we position giffgaff as ‘the mobile network run by you’. Our members (we never call them customers) play a huge role in helping out other members, creating new ideas to improve the experience through giffgaff labs and helping us grow by spreading our SIM cards to new members.
Our community team find new ways to work with our members every day to make giffgaff a better place and engage people to keep it the vibrant community that it is.
7. How has social media helped expand your customer experience?
Social media is the perfect place for us to share our story and find new ways to collaborate. We’ve even integrated it into our E4 TV sponsorship by including members’ tweets into the idents.
8. Can you explain the different approach to marketing you take compared to other companies in the financial industry?
First and foremost, we want to help people get money fit, to make smart choices with the resources they have.
9. What would you say are giffgaff’s key success points for growing such a big brand in only seven years?
We always try to make ourselves useful, challenging the status quo to find a better way. Our mutuality with our members sets us apart and takes us to places our competitors wouldn't go.
10. How do you transition giffgaff from a mobile provider into the financial field?
By staying true to our values we think we can bring a fresh alternative for our audience. Again, mutuality is key. That ongoing dialogue with our members will help us shape our service and grow our appeal.
11. How do you manage such a large department and ensure they all work together?
Recruiting the right people gives you a head start. If they buy into the giffgaff way and mission it works best if you empower people to make a difference.
12. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your role?
It's always challenging, that's the way we like it!
13. What advice would you give to someone starting out in the marketing industry?
Always start with the insight. If you have total clarity on that, it gives you the edge.
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