Marketingmag.com.au chats to Leah Menzies – head of marketing and communications at Melbourne Aquarium. If you
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1. What do you do?

I head up the Marketing and Communications team at Melbourne Aquarium.

2. What was your first job?

I started my working life at 13 as a waitress in a resort on Kangaroo Island. My first ‘real’ job was at the South Australian Tourism Commission, developing and marketing a nature-based tourism product. I started as an unpaid intern on a month’s placement and they ended up creating a job for me. Moral of the story – it pays to volunteer your time to get industry experience.

3. What did you study?

I have a Bachelor of Tourism from Flinders Uni in South Australia and, after four long years, I have nearly finished my Masters of Business (Marketing) at Swinburne in Melbourne.

4. Describe a typical day?

I get up between 6.30-7.00am and take my crazy dogs, Charlie and Bear, for a run. Most days I try to get to work between 8-8.30am for at least 30 minutes of ‘quiet’ time to check emails and do a walk through of the aquarium before the day really starts. Each working day is different, which is one of the best parts of the job. I could be in internal meetings about upcoming school holiday campaigns (discussing everything from which animals to display to how to manage crowds), planning and executing advertising campaigns, drafting strategies, meeting with partners about cross promotional opportunities, briefing our advertising agency, answering emails, or hosting international VIPs on an aquarium ‘famil’. At night I attend industry events, socialise with colleagues and friends or catch a rare moment of downtime at home with my husband.

5. What is on the agenda for 2009?

For me it’s all about the penguins! The aquarium just opened a new $28 million-dollar exhibit, featuring Australia’s only sub-Antarctic penguins, in late 2008 and this summer we are hoping the hear the patter of baby penguin feet. The summer school holiday campaign is the most important time of the year for us, so when everyone else is winding down for their Christmas break we are working harder than ever.

6. What brand do you love/hate the most? Why?

Instead of a specific brand, I loathe companies that invest in terrible TV advertising. Most of the time they spend so much money on their TV buy that they could afford to produce a decent advert. I love the ‘100% Pure NZ’ brand. It captures New Zealand’s unique selling proposition and has been used successfully and consistently for over 10 years, delivering fantastic results for their tourism industry. If only Tourism Australia could develop a brand that works as well for our own country.

7. What do you believe has been the most significant moment in the history of marketing?

The fantastic thing about marketing is that it is constantly evolving making it hard to identify one significant moment. We are only just beginning to recognise the significance of online and social marketing which will eventually become more mainstream than traditional channels.

8. Where can people find you?