Hannah Stacey
Hannah Stacey
Posted 07 October 2019

Bridging the Customer Behaviour Knowledge Gap: an interview with Lifecycle19 speaker Beth Butterwick former CEO Coast & Karen Millen

Lifecycle19 is just a month away, and will bring together over 300 retail marketers to learn from the best brands in retention marketing, including Hotel Chocolat, Moonpig and Feelunique.

In the run up to the big day, we’ll be interviewing some of our keynote and panel speakers. This is a chance to learn a little more about their role, their challenges and what they’re excited to share with you in October. To grab your Lifecycle19 tickets, head over to the site.

Our first interview is with Beth Butterwick, former CEO of Karen Millen and Coast, who will be giving the ‘Why we need to scrape everything we know about marketing to succeed’ keynote.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and the company you work for

I’m currently awaiting my next exciting role. I’ve had a varied career in retail for over 26 years. After my degree, worked across various brands like M&S and MS Mode based in Amsterdam. Then in 2011 I returned to the UK to take up a Brand Director role at Bonmarché. 8 weeks into the role the business was put into administration. In my 5 years there, I steered the company through a massive turnaround, including a successful stock market flotation on AIM Listing in November 2013. In September 2016 I took up the role of CEO at Karen Millen a Global fashion retailer with 500 shops in 65 countries. When they acquired Coast, I was charged with delivering a transformation programme across both brands and has just completed a successful sale of KMGL to Boohoo plc. I’ve also been awarded the Draper’s 2015 Retail Personality of the Year and was made made Barclay’s Business Woman of the Year that same year.

What are the top 3 challenges you are facing the most in your role?

The speed at which customer behaviour is dictating the scale of disruption required to transform traditional retail methods. This means building the right leadership team that have a genuine ‘start-up’ mentality, which in the face of ambiguity will enable them to work at the pace required and effectively ‘as-one’. A siloed marketing infrastructure makes it expensive and unwieldy to get one’s brand messages across. There are technologies that exist to bring the internal infrastructures together to drive sales. However, the challenge remains that most of them don’t seen to work together and in combination make this a unrealistic ‘investment’ for most small to medium companies.

Are you an avid conference goer? Whether yes or no, what attracted you to Lifecycle19 in particular?

Yes I am – I’m curious by nature so try to learn new, interesting, more relevant things every day, so that in my capacity as CEO I can lead and learn from my organisation. I’m really excited about attending Lifecycle19. Every topic on the 2 day Conference Agenda is critical, interesting and relevant in today’s ‘power of the consumer-led world’.

What do you hope attendees will take away from your keynote?

My expectation is that at the end of day 2 all attendees will have learnt new ideas, have contributed in their specialist capacity and will generally be better equipped than their peers who didn’t attend Lifecycle19!

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