Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Marketing the Marketers: Charlotte Mceleny, PR Director SEA, India & ANZ, Media.Monks

NDA has launched a new series on NDA, Marketing the Marketers, talking to the marketing and comms leaders behind the success of our leading companies. Next up is Charlotte Mceleny, PR Director SEA, India & ANZ, Media.Monks. Charlotte is a former, award-winning, journalist, who spent almost 15 years at leading marketing publications such as The Drum, Marketing and New Media Age.

What exactly does your job entail?

PR and marketing for a company like Media.Monks is quite satisfying for an ex-journalist like me, it’s very narrative and trends-led because it’s all about finding the right way to talk about the interesting stuff that our people are doing.

In short, it’s about hunting for interesting stories within the company and deciding what the best way of taking that out to our clients and potential clients would be.

What campaign or piece of marketing/communications are you most proud of in your career and why?

I have only made the switch to PR and Marketing in the last year, but within that time, there’s been a couple of really proud moments. We recently turned around a report in two weeks, after our Australia team got wind of the sunsetting of Google’s Optimize product.

We got a full-length report out ready in time for Google’s public announcement, using what I can only describe as a 24/7 global team in about six markets hustling around social, design, editing and marketing. It was incredible to be a part of a team that, when facing such a short deadline, had the expertise to work at that speed.

Another example of what I am proud of is getting personal stories out into the industry that I think could inspire people for good. We can all talk a big game on diversity but it’s up to industry comms and marketing people to make sure we’re pushing this out as a priority. One of our amazing copywriters in the Singapore office, Rebecca Harbick, started out as our office manager and was encouraged to move into the creative team.

It’s an amusing origin story that involves some pretty poor toilet hygiene but shows that you can follow your dream into the career you want as a mother at any age. We’re such a young industry at times, arguably a bit ageist, we need to be showing and celebrating non-linear journeys into the industry as much as possible, especially if we can mention some toilet humour. I say I am proud of this but there were barely any edits made as she’s such a great writer, I can’t claim much on this one!

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career to date and why?

If I don’t mention New Digital Age editor (and my first boss) Justin Pearse as my answer in this, will this get printed? Just kidding. But I have been very lucky to have spent 15 years working for, and with, some of the best marketing journalists in the world. It’s a well-trodden path that a lot of us ex-journos end up doing the PR and marketing or the companies we’ve written about for years, not least because there are just fewer jobs for journalists now.

What I found almost infectious about working with these amazing journalists is just caring deeply for the industry and I carry that into my work now. I’m not just at Media.Monks because I wanted to leave journalism, far from it, I wanted to be a part of building the next era of this industry from the inside.

What is the biggest challenge in your sector and how is your company helping to address it?

I think the biggest challenge facing marketers is that there’s so much incredible digital content, the expectation on digital experience has never been higher. And yet we’re facing potential budgetary constraints and the onus is on efficiency and proof of performance.

It’s a heck of a job to bring best-in-class content, experience, interactivity, personalisation, authenticity, diversity, creativity and more into a very efficient, data-led, measurable ecosystem. But it is possible. Media.Monks is building a new model around this need now.

What is the biggest opportunity in your sector and how is your company helping to make the most of it?

That challenge is also the opportunity, as horribly cliched as that is. But a good example of that is the topic of AI and Generative AI. Headlines paint it as a futuristic concern to jobs or a major leap that the industry wasn’t prepared for. We’ve worked with AI and generative AI for years, for example, using it to power our production capabilities. If, as a business, you can understand the power of technologies like this to drive better quality work, at the same time creating efficiencies for clients, then you are making the most of it.

How important, and why, are the following in helping your promote your own company:

1.       The press – hugely important. Our industry moves very quickly and we need the press to provide the necessary scrutiny, as well as celebrate the incredible work of the talent.

2.       Events – we tend to do a lot of our own events in Media.Monks in APAC, as we like any excuse to bring our community of clients, tech partners and talent together. But what the break from events in Covid has taught us is that we need those moments together as an industry and we really missed it.

1.       Your company’s owned media – our website and social media are the best picture of holistically what Media.Monks does, because it’s such a wide and varied business, these channels allow us space to show that diversity. But we need channels like press and events to take that message to a wider audience – all of our channels are linked and work more like mini-campaigns.

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