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Katy Sweetman

Tech Marketers Mentor Q&A: Fiona Cresswell


The NZ Tech Marketers mentoring programme is for tech marketers and by tech marketers, designed to bring tech marketers together to learn from others.

We catch up with Tech Marketers mentor, Fiona Cresswell (GM – Marketing Operations at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare), to ask her a few questions about her involvement in the programme and to share some lessons learned in her tech marketing career to date.

Fiona Cresswell, GM Marketing Operations, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience as a tech marketer…

I have been at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare for 19 years. I started out in Clinical Research having studied Physiology and spent my early years undertaking patient trials on prototype technology to treat sleep apnea and working with product development to optimise the treatment.

17 years ago, our company was much smaller and an opportunity was presented to me to switch to Marketing. My leader at the time was inspiring, fearless and believed in me to succeed. It was the combination of my determination and confidence that got me though the first few years. At that time, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know about Marketing. That changed over the next 16 years as I learnt from the incredible talent I was privileged to lead, the many customers I had the honour to meet and all my first-hand experience of international marketing; launching and supporting numerous products around the world in our heavily regulated environment.

More recently, my focus has been on improving the efficiency and collaboration of our marketing business-wide, and leading a digital transformation of marketing systems, processes and practices.

Why did you decide to become a TMG mentor?

From my mentoring experiences over the years, I’ve found that I’ve learned just as much from my mentees as they have probably learned from me. I felt that the TMG mentoring programme would be no different, as it brings together intelligent marketing professionals who face similar challenges in different industries.

There are likely to be many situations where one marketer might have solved a problem that another is trying to solve. In addition, I love engaging with people. I’m passionate about marketing and I’m passionate about NZ businesses succeeding on the world stage.

Being a TMG mentor allows me to share lessons I’ve learnt or challenge people to think differently to solve problems which might contribute in some way to them succeeding in their business, which is good for New Zealand. Likewise, it will give me an opportunity to learn from others and challenge my thinking.

What are you looking forward to as a TMG mentor?

Meeting other tech marketers – we are a special breed!

I’m looking forward to becoming more powerful as a partnership, working together to solve each other’s problems, and learning more about other New Zealand tech businesses and their marketing challenges.

As a tech marketer, what does 2020 hold in store for you and your team? Where will you be focusing your efforts this year?

There are three key focus areas for our team this year.

Firstly: compliance. It’s dull but it’s the necessary evil in a highly regulated industry like medical devices. We have new regulations being introduced all the time which require tighter processes with our communications – what we can say and how we substantiate what we can say.

Secondly: continuous improvement. There are a lot of inefficiencies in the way we all work every day. We have a strong focus on identifying those inefficiencies, the defects and the re-work and making small incremental improvements that, over time, have a huge impact on our ability to work smarter to meet our KPIs and – ultimately – customers’ expectations.

Lastly: marketing automation. We have almost finished our first phase of configuration of a new Marketing Automation system. We are rolling this out into our English-speaking countries in the coming months.

Then it’s on to phase two, which will focus on using the system to get some wins and demonstrate ROI, as well as localisation and roll-out to Europe.

Any key lessons learned or observations over the years that you can impart, from a tech marketing perspective?

  1. Do activities the business sees as valuable first.

It may not be what you want to do, or what you believe is most important, but this gets you some wins on the board and builds trust with senior management.

  • Always identify and understand the problem you’re trying to solve before starting to solve it.

Sometimes the solution isn’t a tool and sometimes the tool you have isn’t the right one to help solve the problem. If you haven’t understood the root cause of the problem, often all you solve is a symptom. Taking this approach will put you in favour with the techy/developers/engineers you have to deal with every day.

  • Hire people with a positive attitude, a great brain and a whole load of initiative.

You can teach this type of person the rest.

If you’d like to get involved with the TMG mentoring programme, either as a mentee or a mentor, we’d love to hear from you! Head over to our mentorship page, fill out the form and we’ll be in touch.

Katy Sweetman