Hi Aaron, please tell us about your current role as CMO of THE OUT, an on-demand premium car rental?
I lead all of our marketing, PR, and partnership efforts. Setting the strategic and creative direction for the brand and, of course, managing the spending and our fantastic team.
My role and time are split between the ‘now’ – delivering against our business and strategic plans across paid, earned, and owned channels. And the ‘next’ – setting the strategic, growth, and creative direction for the brand and the company as a whole.
We are currently working through one of the most unpredictable and unprecedented (anyone won marketing bingo yet?) periods any marketing team or business has had to navigate – all while the company is in the initial fast-growth stage. It’s like driving a speed boat through the perfect storm. Yep, I did compare myself to George Clooney.
I’m all about continuous learning and scaring myself now and then. So I have picked a few moments when I had to put the brave boy pants on and, as a result, learned the most about work and myself.
One. My proudest achievement to date is co-founding COMMON INDUSTRY. Taking our self-funded PR/Advertising shop from zero to a profitable, fast-growing, D&AD-winning company. Brimming with a team full of ideas, passion, and fight. My most intense and satisfying learning experience so far.
Two. I suppose other than actually getting my first agency job in Oxford at THE JJ GROUP, my career’s significant shift came when I somehow got myself a gig at the legendary FALLON LONDON working on Skoda, Nokia and innocent.
Joining what at the time was one the most well regarded and awarded agencies in the world was not only intimidating but on reflection, defining. This was just before the official takeover from Publicis, meaning I got to work with some of the industry’s all-time greats, whilst making some of the best work of my life. What an opportunity. What good luck. What hard work.
And lastly, but most recently.
Three. After 15+ years agency-side, I jumped, sidestepped, and shuffled across to brand-side. Initially consulting for brands including giffgaff and Bumble, before taking on the Chief Marketing Officer role at THE OUT. And what a few years it has been. From launch to super-fast growth, all within a challenging and ever-changing environment.
This is the third time around. So, we have experience within the team. We like to call it bounce back. But this time around it will be supercharged. That’s all I can say for now.
We are continually adding to our unique fleet of cars, always trying to keep in mind what our customers would want to take on a road trip. Hence, we have the two-seater Jaguar F-TYPE convertible, the uber-cool Land Rover Defender, and the full-electric Jaguar I-PACE. All delivered with first-class customer service. And when the time is right, we will be expanding the service nationally and following up our Experiences launch with a few very cool immersive activations.
Be as brave as you possibly can. Swim out just far enough to scare yourself and then have to paddle hard to get back to land.
From a customer perspective, it always felt strange to us that no one loved or even liked car rental – a key component of most trips, especially in the last year or so. Car rental has always been painful and expensive, which could easily ruin any trip’s first and last moments.
So we have ditched all the bad bits of car rental by creating an on-demand service that borrows from the world of high-end hospitality. Constantly fine-tuning the customer’s experience, always transparent, and hopefully always inspiring the next road trip. People seem to like it. Our repeat booking rate is super strong, and the customer service rating currently sits at 4.9/5.
Easier said than done but… get yourself into the right places, with the most talented people possible and then listen. A lot. Then repeat until forever or when you can retire.