Louise Tullin is the Chief Marketing Officer at Enthuse – a digital platform that provides fundraising, donation, and event management tools to charities.
We sat down with Louise to chat about what has changed for Enthuse in the past 18 months, the importance of digital fundraising, and the future of marketing within the third sector.
How has strategy changed at Enthuse in the past 18 months?
The fundamental principle at Enthuse is to put the charity first and empower them to raise more for their cause through branded white label solutions. Convenience is a key part of that and we recently rebranded to Enthuse from Charity Checkout, (we previously acquired Primo Events and joined the companies into one brand) so charities can access online donations, virtual events and event registration under one platform.
Rapid digital transformation has become a huge focus in our product strategy since the pandemic hit, particularly virtual events which are in high demand. What’s more, we’ve also had to consider who we position ourselves to as a business as we transition from a start-up to a scale-up and now work with 4,000 charities in the UK.
How has customer/client behaviour changed due to the pandemic?
Charities have, unsurprisingly, fundamentally shifted online. Many face-to-face events are not happening at the moment, charity shops have been shut and cash donations have been impacted, too. Since the start of the outbreak, many charities have been forced to furlough people or make redundancies. Digital fundraising has helped to give them a lifeline.
The perception of charities is also shifting and that’s coincided with the rise of ‘Generation Generous’. Research from our quarterly Donor Pulse Report found that 46 percent of Gen Z were more likely to donate to charities than they were three months prior as they experience a life-changing event at a young age. Further to that, we’ve seen that fundraisers have shifted towards virtual events rather than physical, mass participation events, as a precaution to the outbreak.
What do you predict for the future of marketing within the third sector?
Marketing will need to cater for the eco and socially conscious consumer. Consumers increasingly want to buy from brands that have a clear social purpose and care about the environment. There will be a renaissance in some consumer trends, particularly for those who have pent up spend from the crisis (think glass milk bottles delivered to your door from the likes of Milk and More) and staycations (slow travel from thriving start-ups like Byway). There’s still a fair bit of persuasion to be done on the climate change front which is why I love ads like the recent ‘Help Dad’ Oatly campaign or the Will Ferrell GM Super Bowl ad.
In the third sector, corporate partnerships with charities will thrive, driven by the need for employee engagement and brand purpose. In the mid term, we can expect to see these develop into genuine collaborations with brands putting their money where their mouths are and building on the great work companies like John Lewis, as well as national newspaper appeals, have been driving for many years. People like Captain Sir Tom Moore and Marcus Rashford have challenged all walks of society to think differently about charities, the gaps they can plug and the role that they play. Brands will seek to centralise their employee fundraising efforts into one place to show collective efforts and show competition across different offices and teams.
It’s always better to be brave than bland. Half the job is getting people to remember your brand! This can be easier for challenger brands than more established brands, but with the right set up even the largest corporates can have fun and be remembered. If you’ve sent your sales team to a pitch with a stock image that every other company on the planet is using in an attempt to look grown up and sleek then you’ve failed to capture the imagination and impact that marketing can have. You need to be different. And we need to rediscover the magic of brand marketing.
Talk us through a typical day as CMO…
I’ve not set an alarm since March 2019 as (like clockwork) my kids wake me up at 7:30am. I have to say, I’m fortunate not to have to rush for the 7:47am to Cannon Street due to lockdown.
Once breakfast is out the way, I check my emails and Slack before stand-up meetings with the Marketing Team and then the Executive Team to talk through the day’s priorities. I’ll likely follow this up by reviewing insights, whether that’s a brand perception study, our quarterly Donor Pulse Report or our weekly online mentions report – the customer is everything!
After lunch, I’ll support other teams in the business with product playbooks for launches, reviewing strategy with the Commercial Team and taking part in investor and board calls with the CEO and founder.
Enthuse is going through a period of tremendous growth. In fact, we’ve built the Marketing Team from scratch since January 2020. As such, hiring is often a part of my day. Lastly, we finish with an end-of-day stand-up where we communicate our work with the rest of the business, which is particularly important when everyone is WFH.
I am a trustee at Own My Life, a course dedicated to women who have been subjected to domestic abuse (which has sadly soared since the crisis), so can often be found on quarterly board calls in the evening or reviewing CVs for the Young Women’s Trust – an amazing charity working to to achieve economic justice for young women. On the odd night off, once the kids have gone to bed, I like a glass of wine in front of Netflix.
How do you maintain an effective work/life balance?
Much better than I used to! I’ve experienced total burnout in past roles and I never want to be in that place again. I got quite ill with tonsillitis, back pain and anxiety and it was a total mid-life awakening. I didn’t want to miss my children growing up so I knew I had to make a dramatic change to my life.
WFH has helped a huge amount in terms of getting more sleep, healthy eating, exercise and spending time with the kids. Enthuse has always been fantastic with supporting working parents and that has allowed me to work a four-day week to focus on home life as well as a fulfilling work life. I’ve also got better at setting boundaries by keeping my laptop in a different room and turning emails off.
The best piece of advice I can give to anyone in my role or one similar, is hire the best team possible to counter your deficiencies. If you hire talented, helpful people that you can trust, it takes the weight off and allows you to thrive in areas you are strongest!
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Go beyond marketing and start speaking like a CFO. Look to get a strong grasp on annual recurring revenue, future cash flows and profit and loss. Start reading titles like City AM and the FT and think about how your team links up with other parts of the business. That’s how you make the transition from marketing to leadership; by building a broader experience and understanding of how the business operates.
For me, a great way to build that experience is to work in a start-up. The process of going from Series A, to acquisition or IPO will prepare you for many eventualities later in your career and help you to understand where you best fit in terms of company growth stage.
Lastly, always remember: you can’t put lipstick on a pig. Marketing isn’t about sticking a plaster on a fundamentally broken business model or product. You need to find a company that doesn’t view marketing as a cure-all but instead uses it to thrive.