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A masterclass in modern-day marketing

Is it just us or has modern-day marketing become one of those giant cartoon snowballs rolling down a hill, collecting speed and growing in mass? Between influencers who seem to be up past their bedtime to photoshopping your brand on a Korean cookie plus a global pandemic, it can be hard to know how to find your customer and how to speak to them.

Well, rest assured because this snowball isn’t coming to get you, we have the perfect secret weapon. No, it’s not a pair of skis, it’s expert advice from three women who are absolutely slaying it in their roles.

We sat down and zoomed in on Mastercard’s Marketing Director, Katherine Butterworth, Westfund CMO, Anna Maltabarow, and Afterpay’s Partner Marketing Director, Nikita Mehta, as they shared everything marketing from investing in yourself to our allergy of doing nothing.

How important is researching your audience regularly?

‘You can’t ever be too close to your customer,’ Nikita advises. Between a large global company and a sole trader, the variants on how you collect and analyse data will vary, but the need to know your customer will not. A handy tip for small businesses, ‘pick up the phone and reach out to your most loyal customers, [and even] the customer who exited … be open to the whole spectrum’ she shares. Know your customers’ wants, needs and behaviour, because ultimately, they are the drivers of your business.

What are your tips for effective marketing for a small business with smaller budgets?

One thing Katherine recommends is considering yourself a resource. ‘You’re a marketing resource … when you’re budgeting your marketing resources invest time in yourself [and] value your education.’

Anna suggests you understand who your audience is and what channels they are on. ‘It doesn’t make sense to [use] Google search, if your audience is active in some local publications or Facebook groups,’ she advises. Above all else though, having a good product is the best form of marketing, because your customers will become referrers and do the advocating for you.

And don’t forget to ‘explore the idea of partnerships,’ says Nikita. ‘Doing something collectively increases growth and opportunity for everyone involved,’ it’s a win-win situation.

How do you pick yourself up when you’re lacking in motivation?

‘What do you mean,’ Katherine jokes. ‘I love my job everyday!’

When she is having a frustrating day, she advises to just ‘step away and go do something that makes you happy.’ Another tip we love is not always needing to have an outcome. ‘It wasn’t a productive moment,’ Katherine shares, ‘it was rest. Don’t be allergic to doing nothing.’

Anna says the key is in ‘pushing back and acknowledging the grind.’ Another recommendation is to simply clear your meetings and ‘lighten up the calendar load.’

Nikita reminds us that ‘motivation is a moment in time [and to] be vulnerable [to] say today I am not my greatest.’

How much should you keep an eye on your competition? Should you try to one-up your opponent or stay in your own lane?

Katherine recommends ‘always [knowing] what’s happening in your industry.’ But when it comes to the competition, be ‘interested in why and how they’ve done something,’ however, don’t lose focus on what you do. ‘Know your category,’ she shares. And ‘know your context and do the best you can.’

Anna furthers this sentiment and says ‘it’s better to follow … trends and what’s changing with your customers … rather than competitors.’

For Nikita, she asserts ‘there’s nothing wrong with competitive spirit.’ She advises, however, to find the balance between not putting your blinders on and letting the competition ‘cloud your judgement and what’s right for your goals and outcome.’

The change the world needs surely won’t come from just talking about it. It’ll take going all hands in – and not being afraid to get them dirty in the process.


At Charles Sturt University, you get hands-on experience from day one. Because it’s not what they say that makes a difference. It’s what they do. Now is the perfect time to prepare for the in-demand jobs of the future. Whether you want to advance your career or go in a new direction, you can with more than 100 online subjects, a wide variety of industry-aligned postgraduate degrees, and a range of shorter micro-credentials for those who want to upskill quickly.

More students choose to study online with Charles Sturt than any other university in Australia. Their micro-credentials make fitting study into your life easy – try a subject or two and build as you go. Study a postgraduate course that will give you experience, a competitive edge, the leverage, and the skills to follow your passion in evolving business and technology industries. It’s your qualification, tailored for you.

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