Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Marketing the Marketers: Caroline Hunter, Marketing Director, Anzu

Caroline Hunter, Marketing Director at Anzu, has spent over a decade working for global media companies and membership organisations, including the IAB and the Drum. Having joined Anzu two years ago, Caroline oversees the global marketing team based out of New York, London and Tel Aviv, together with Anzu’s EVP Marketing & Strategy.

What exactly does your job entail?

The short answer is a bit of everything. In all seriousness, my job is to tell the world about Anzu and what we do for advertisers and game developers.

I work very closely with the rest of the marketing team to plan campaigns, ensure they’re executed properly, and report back on activity. I collaborate with our business leads to ensure marketing supports their teams and contributes to the overall company goals. I also build and maintain relationships with our marketing partners, like HUMAN, Lumen, NBCUniversal, and many others, and represent Anzu at events like Cannes Lions, Gamescom, and IAB Gaming Upfronts, where last year I hosted a panel. I work across events, content, new sales materials, emails, processes, and automations every week.

Of course, I don’t do this alone! We have some extremely talented people in our global team. Our EVP Marketing and Strategy, Natalia Vasilyeva, has built a great team that punches way above their weight.

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

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, I was tasked with repositioning The Drum’s Awards program, and after a lot of hard work, it really paid off, seeing substantial growth with entries coming in across the globe.

Working closely with the Events and Marketing Operations teams, we carried out research on our existing customers and audited the purchase journey and marketing activities to identify what we should start, stop, and continue doing. I then designed a new nurturing email program, utilized social media, and expanded our content strategy.

Projects like these rely on everyone working together, and I get a lot of satisfaction from working well as a team. It was a massive undertaking, but I’m proud to have been a crucial part of the team and helped them achieve and surpass their goals.

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

Firstly, I think Sheryl Sandberg should probably get a mention here. My sister gave me a copy of Lean In back in 2013. For someone at the start of their career, it helped me understand the benefit of working hard and taking all the opportunities I could from day 1.

I’d also love to give a shout-out to Alex Kozloff. When I joined the IAB, she worked in the Mobile team, but she then became my line manager when we both moved into the Marketing team. She made me understand the importance of networking, building relationships, and being ‘seen’, plus she was a fantastic manager who gave me a lot of confidence to make decisions. She made me realize what impact a good manager can have.

Since then, people have inspired me in other ways or built on this. I have a great team at Anzu and a great mentor who I know I can always go to for advice.

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

From an advertising perspective, one of the biggest challenges facing in-game is a lack of standards. However, this is changing, and we have done a lot of work over the past few years to build out our solution and work with partners and the wider industry to solve this.

A large part of this was the release of the IAB and MRC’s intrinsic in-game advertising guidelines update, and the fact that the gaming and advertising industry came together to update them was a signal that in-game advertising was being taken seriously.

In parallel, we launched first-to-market viewability with Oracle Moat and IAS and partnered with many other leading vendors to bring more confidence to advertisers investing in-game, including Comscore, Lumen, and HUMAN. In short, the work that has been done over the past year now means that it is becoming almost just as easy to advertise in-game as it is on any other digital channel.

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

The biggest opportunity for in-game is presenting advertisers with a way to reach a huge, diverse, and engaged audience that is becoming extremely hard to reach via traditional advertising channels. Anzu’s solution lets them do this in a way that is not only attention-grabbing but complements the experience, helping brands become part of the game and reach their audiences in fun and engaging ways.

I hate interruptive ads when I’m playing games and one of the reasons I was drawn to Anzu was because of its solution which benefits the whole ecosystem — putting players first, helping developers establish reliable revenues, and allowing advertisers to connect with their audience in an authentic way.

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

  1. The press: As a relatively new advertising format and a trailblazing company, it’s important to use the press to announce our new developments to educate and build trust. Anyone can claim they’re the “leading” company, but the proof is out there for people to read.
  2. Events: As a global company, events are a great tool for us to build relationships and inspire audiences. There’s something so nice about meeting someone you’ve been speaking to over Zoom for half a year in person or having someone play one of our games and see the ads in their natural environment.
  3. Your company’s owned media: If I say so myself, our team does a fantastic job at using our owned media. We have built a great social media following, continually push out useful and educational content across our website, and run our own webinar series with industry legends like former PlayStation CEO Shawn Layden, Co-Founder and CEO of SuperAwesome, Dylan Collins, and President of Games at Riot Games, Marc Merrill.