Marketing Interview: Inés Ures, Treatwell

As part of our Insight Interview Series, we spoke with Inés Ures, Chief Customer Officer at Treatwell to discuss the Marketing landscape and future developments in the space.


UP: How have your roles and responsibilities evolved during your time at Treatwell and what do they look like now?


IU: The company has been growing and changing a lot over the last ten years. We started out as a listing business, which then became a daily deals organisation, we then tried to pivot to a software company, before finally deciding on a marketplace model which is where we are now and is the most successful in terms of growth. My role has been intimately tied then to both the maturity of the business as well as the maturity of the team.

For the first two or three years, my focus as CMO, and the business’ focus, was very much on customer acquisition, something that came organically to us. Following on from this, and something we’ve only cracked in any significant way this year, was our push to make the industry – the beauty space – more digital; this being done through our desktop app for our suppliers, Connect, and its development into android and iOS. During this time, I also drove the implementation of measurements relating to marketing efficiency, in turn contributing significantly to the emergence of cross departmental data and analytics capabilities.

Once these two layers were nailed, we realised that we had become a marketing-focused company as opposed to a consumer- focused one. With my new role as Chief Customer Officer, we created the Customer Team, owning Performance, Brand, Creative, Organic Growth and Regional Growth. This team has allowed us to drive through the cultural and vocabulary change needed to make Treatwell a company truly focused on the customer: we no longer talk about marketing, we talk about growth; we don’t discuss the switching on or off of channels, we instead formulate initiatives to improve supply or merchandising or coverage. This is a fundamental shift.


UP: So, having transitioned from a CMO to a Chief Customer Officer, at what stage in a business do you think the CCO role becomes relevant?


IU: The title per se is not important, it’s just a title; however, it has a deeper meaning. Most organisations start by figuring out how to grow fast first, something which entails digital marketing, traditional metrics, customer acquisition, customer retention and customer experience. I think that at some point, especially when you start focusing on retention metrics, becoming more customer centric becomes extremely important and the title change (and new responsibilities) reflect that.

In reality, no organisation should need to have a CCO to be customer centric: you always have to do that, otherwise the business will fail!


UP: What are the key roles that you interact with?


IU: Product is definitely number one. As an organisation, we set OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) on a quarterly basis, and, to monitor progress, we hold bi-weekly meetings to assess. In Treatwell, Product sits under Tech and I think this is best way to allow for a clear division between it and the Marketing function preventing competition but also allowing for an exchange of knowledge and strategy.

The other function is Data. There are two types of Data function at Treatwell, one sitting directly under Tech and dealing with infrastructure and the vision for data, the other embedded in each department under the names of, for example, Customer Insight or Supply Insight, and tailoring the use of data and analytics for each specific need.

Lastly, for me, it’s got to be Financial Planning. We meet with them on a weekly basis as it’s crucial to understand the commercials of our strategy in order to set the ‘potentials’ and ‘realities’ of what can be achieved.


UP: A theme we have observed in the market is a concern with the fragmentation of social media and the effect that this has on marketing spend. How are you dealing with this increased complexity?


IU: I definitely agree there has been a fragmentation of the market over the last couple of years; however, this hasn’t really impacted our media spend in any significant way.


I would say it has only highlighted the importance of measurement. I think organisations nowadays have to work really closely and negotiate hard with the likes of Google and Facebook to make sure that they are getting the most they can from them in terms of data and insights to aid these tools of measurement.

We have learnt massively about measurement during the last two years and I really think that, as a function, marketers should focus on measurement over attribution. At the same time, attribution is still crucial to success in media allocation. We analyse this by looking at shopping journeys in three different ways: first touch, last touch and data driven models (such as Markovian models). From this, we then make educated decisions on where and how to allocate budgets.


UP: Moving on slightly, what is it that you look for when hiring great talent?


IU: Most important for us is cultural fit, both across the business and within the team I want to create. In order to qualify for this, they have to have drive, energy, enthusiasm, clear problem solving capability and adaptable intelligence. I think this means so much more than just a stamp on someone’s CV from the likes of Google or Facebook or whoever. Ultimately, we need people who know how to develop and communicate ideas quickly.


UP: Ending on a more blue sky question: what trends do you see emerging in marketing?


IU: Chat commerce in general is becoming, and will become, huge. Customers don’t want to use websites anymore, they want to use voice. The big progression here will be that of bots sophisticated enough to fit seamlessly into the customer experience and become ingrained in this new commercial and marketing interface.

Another thing to keep a close eye on, and I’m sure this is something a lot of people are saying, is privacy law. Laws will have to be developed and implemented just as fast as the advertising tools are otherwise there is the potential for a lot of difficulty emerging in the sector.

Overall, I think it’s really hard to comment on trends and potential because of the exponential pace of technological change: we don’t know where we will be in 5-10 years; I think that’s quite exciting.

InterviewCatherine Adams