“Change in general really excites me. I feel like the success of a brand can hinge on a marketing team’s ability to pivot” – Talking Digital with Julia Munder, International Marketing Director, Maxwell-Scott
What is the biggest challenge facing the digital industry and why?
I think one of the biggest challenges right now is to keep up with emerging digital trends while staying true to your brand. The digital sphere is ever evolving, and, as it shifts, consumer shopping habits will inevitably change too. But it’s important to remember that not every new digital trend will be beneficial for your brand. For the luxury market, for example, Instagram can be a crucial tool to help expand your brand identity and create a close online following, but TikTok could be too trend-based – jumping on the wrong digital trend could actually negatively impact your brand positioning, especially in the luxury market, so it’s important to keep brand in mind before working your strategy around what’s trending online.
There’s also definitely a lot of pressure to start using new tools before your competitors do, like Google Smart (Shopping) Campaigns. Some love it, but I’m still sceptical. There seems to be less specific targeting for luxury brands, and I’d rather investigate the black box and not just trust the system. Voice search is also rising in popularity, with plenty of potential, and it’s already changed the way we search, do SEO, and create content. It’s tricky to know what to tackle first, but I definitely think it’s smart to take the time to evaluate what’s out there and whether it’s actually useful to your business – before investing time and money into a trending platform or tool. It’s natural to want to capitalize on the next best thing, just in case you miss out, so it’s a challenge for digital marketers for sure.
What excites you? What do you think will be the next ‘game changer’ in digital marketing?
Change in general really excites me. I feel like the success of a brand can hinge on a marketing team’s ability to pivot, which is why staying up to date with significant changes to digital marketing tools and trends is so important. I see change as a challenge accepted, so any key shift in the digital marketing world is always an opportunity of growth and discovery for me, no matter the circumstances.
I also absolutely love how Instagram is now shoppable; this is such a game-changer for SMEs and larger brands, and you’ll struggle to find a brand now who hasn’t made the jump to Instagram. It’s a chance for your customer to quickly consume brand content, which can then convert into clicks to your site, then product purchasing.
As for the next game-changer in digital marketing...I think we’ll see even more personalised shopping experiences. The idea of augmented reality is really exciting – I love the concept of being able to walk through a store without leaving the house and exploring a product in a different way before making a purchase. There’s just so much potential there for the customer journey. Video marketing is something I’m keeping an eye on too, as it’s definitely evolving: with video-on-demand advertising being more accessible and Instagram video ads, brands are having to think of new, innovative ways to up their video marketing game. I can definitely see more platforms starting to expand on this.
What’s the most interesting digital campaign you’ve seen recently?
I loved Nike’s “The Toughest Athlete” campaign. The way it captures the strength and power of women during different stages of their lives, including pregnancy and early motherhood, is something that I have never seen portrayed like that before. Very powerful visuals.
What was your experience of working through the pandemic?
It’s been a challenge – but I’m a firm believer that where there is crisis, there is opportunity for positive change. I’ve learned to go hard when everyone else stops. Any downtime is a prime opportunity to research, re-evaluate and re-strategise. The pandemic continues to be tough for digital businesses and professionals, but with hard work and focus I genuinely believe that you can find silver linings in most situations.
What burning question would you like to ask other industry experts?
“What inspires you?” Simple question, never a simple answer. I always find it leads to an interesting conversation!
Digital marketers often talk about the value exchange. Do you think consumers appreciate the concept?
I understand it from a marketer’s perspective, but also from a customer perspective. On one hand, the consumer wants personalised content and marketing, but may be data- and privacy-conscious. On the other hand, the marketer needs customer data to deliver better personalised campaigns. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 – but I think that if businesses are open about how they collect data and what they’ll use it for, consumers will understand the concept of value exchange much better. I think as long as personalisation is purposeful (and not going too far) it works fine, and can create some amazing omnichannel experiences. I do still find it strange that my phone knows which restaurant I am near, though!
What do you wish you’d known 10 years ago?
I wish I’d known how crucial data can be and how much I actually enjoy interpreting it. I used to be a bit scared of data, but I definitely could have avoided some pitfalls if I’d embraced it earlier.
Also, the importance of saying yes to more things. Sometimes you just have to say yes and then figure it out as you go.
How do you manage work/life balance? How do you unwind?
I swear by early mornings and exercise. My day starts at 5.30 am, then I hit the gym at 6am. During the day, I always try to take a break from my working environment to get some fresh air, too, even if it’s just a 15-minute walk at lunch to break up the day and clear my head.
Outside of work, I feel like I really benefit from quality time spent outside, eating out at nice restaurants, meeting friends, having a glass of wine...these are definitely a few of my favourite ways to unwind. I’m really missing travelling, too. I find that travelling to different parts of the world is always amazing for inspiration and motivation.
I also think it’s key to remember that a work/life balance doesn’t always work the way you want it to. You won’t meet every single deadline, and you may forget a birthday here and there. It’s part of being human – we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to get it right every time.
Do you have any hidden talents?
The people closest to me have always said that they admire my ability to look at information and form a clear picture in my mind – apparently it’s my superpower! Personally, I think one of my hidden talents is being able to stay calm and reassure everyone around me, no matter the situation. I would also say I’m a pretty good host and throw a good party.
What else should we know about you?
I’m currently working on building my own video production and marketing side hustle, which I started during the pandemic – we’ve already won several big contracts, so I’m really excited to see where this new venture leads me. It’s something I’m really proud of and the variety has been amazing. I’ve always thought that the sky’s the limit for personal growth; there are always new challenges and opportunities to rise to.
I’ve also been allocating time to work with several university students over the past few years and have hosted numerous masterclasses about my work and leadership strategies. By doing this, I hope that I can inspire the next generation of women to become strong leaders and thrive for more in their professional development. It’s something I’ll always be passionate about, and it really drives me to accelerate my career so I can keep growing and educating others. There are just so many exciting things in the works at the moment, and I’m feeling really positive about the future, despite the past year – I honestly can’t wait for 2022.