Zoë Church — Global CMO, Engine Group
Zoe talks to TheNextGag about the importance of attracting the right talent, what clients are looking for in new business pitches and why she left the world of advertising agencies.
Zoë Church is the Global Chief Marketing Officer at Engine Group in the USA.
In her position, Zoë is responsible for growing the Engine Group’s global offering, with a particular focus on expanding the client roster. Zoë Church brings to the role a strong expertise in integration and she knows how to create momentum by focusing on the client’s needs, building the right team, championing great creative solutions and, no small feat, keeping it all moving forward and on track.
Zoë came to Engine Group after a long stint with Y&R where she was the Global Client Development Director. Zoë joined Y&R in Australia in 2002 and worked for the agency in North America, England, and Russia, leading teams to a number of high profile new business wins, including Bank of America, Chantix/Champix, Revlon, Special Olympics, and several large projects for Microsoft.
THENEXTGAG: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO ENGINE GROUP ?
ZOE CHURCH: I loved that Engine was a different type of offering — nimble enough to move and create while others are recreating. And I really liked the leadership — Engine had vision and I knew they were going to be able to execute it.
TNG: IS THERE COLLABORATION BETWEEN COMPANIES OF ENGINE GROUP ?
ZC: All of our companies collaborate on a day-to-day basis. This joining of forces is essential in order for us to help our clients transform their businesses. There is a great deal of collaboration between digital and media, content and sports marketing, business intelligence and media. Our philosophy of “under one roof” has helped us to be more progressive in bringing in other services to deliver for our clients.
TNG: WHO DO YOU SEE AS THE MAIN COMPETITORS OF ENGINE GROUP ?
ZC: If you’re in marketing services, the competitive landscape has changed so drastically over the past decade. We compete against different types of companies for talent than we compete against on a new business front. We compete against the likes of Google and Facebook, as one of the most desired places to work for culture, perks, etc. In this business, it is my belief that clients buy people, not just ideas and ability to execute, so our job becomes easier when we have the most talented people in the building.
TNG: HOW IS YOUR COMPANY THE MOST SUITED TO HELP BRANDS SUCCEED IN THEIR MISSIONS ?
ZC: In the age of disruption, clients generally come to us in three different ways to help us deliver on their missions and business objectives.
- Integration– clients that want simple integrated solutions want to build their brands in ways that require the best collaboration Engine has to offer. We develop solutions that work because we have a deep understanding who their customer is.
- Outperformance — if clients want to outperform their category, we are experts in finding new ways to meet new customers by unique combinations of services to deliver out of the box thinking.
- Transformation — with many CEOs and CMOs facing new challenges these days, many companies are needing to reimagine their businesses. We help them totally change the way they work, looking for new ways they can organize, market, structure, innovate and change to deal with their new product lines and new ways of thinking to futureproof their business.
TNG: WHAT IS YOUR ROLE INSIDE THE COMPANY ?
ZC: Global CMO. In my role, I’m responsible for growing Engine Group’s global offering, with a particular focus on expanding our client roster.
TNG: HOW DIFFERENT IS WORKING FOR A GLOBAL MARKETING SERVICES NETWORK THAN FOR AN ADVERTISING AGENCY ?
ZC: The opportunities clients bring me today are totally different than in the past. Many advertisers have brand challenges and look to an agency to help them solve those. As a marketing network, Engine is more equipped to be working on larger business challenges that affect much more than just the brand. Many of our agencies are encouraged to do this too… but as Engine, I’d say we are well positioned to be much more business partners than brand partners.
TNG: DO YOU THINK THAT ADVERTISERS WILL BE WORKING WITH A BIGGER OR A SMALLER ROSTER OF AGENCIES ?
ZC: If clients want business partners, they’ll go for a smaller roster. Complex organizations will still require multiple agencies. Mid-sized companies that want to re-image or transform their business need a business partner to help guide them through the changes the marketplace will see over the next several years. The complexity of the market they’re in is also a factor in the type or amount of partner they look for.
TNG: SHOULD WE LET CREATIVES TALK TO CLIENTS ?
ZC: Absolutely — it’s a necessity. Creatives bring clients brand strategies to life. I believe pairing creative partners with clients is imperative.
Clients are looking for teams that will challenge their thinking, that they can collaborate with, that have strong tools and products to bring to bear on their businesses.
TNG: IS IT POSSIBLE TO WIN A NEW BUSINESS PITCH WITH A WRONG STRATEGY ?
ZC: Yes, a lot of times you don’t necessarily produce the work that is presented in meetings. I think clients are looking for teams that will challenge their thinking, that they can collaborate with, that have strong tools and products to bring to bear on their businesses. As pitching is not necessarily a normal process, I think they are evaluating a lot more than just one part of our solution. (Don’t get me wrong, brilliant strategy that has all other ingredients can deliver home runs).
TNG: READING THROUGH YOUR LINKEDIN ENDORSEMENTS, I GET THE FEELING THAT YOU HAVE THE SPIRIT OF THE GENERAL OF AN ARMY; GETTING PEOPLE TO FOLLOW YOUR ORDERS. IS THAT DESCRIPTION ACCURATE OF WHAT YOU BEST EXCELT AT ?
ZC: Ha! I prefer to think of myself as the conductor of an orchestra. We play better with clear vision. I’m more than happy to make decisions and say I’m wrong. Often, my part of the business moves fast… and I think we all need to keep moving together.
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