Q&A with Anneli Ritari-Stewart

Q&A with Anneli Ritari-Stewart

With over 15 years’ experience from both client and agency side Anneli is a true digital marketing expert with a proven track record of delivering exceptional results. She joined iProspect from DigitasLBi where she held a range of positions over 10 years, most recently as Client Partner where she led a large portfolio of global brands.

In the role of Managing Director, Anneli is now responsible for the management, development and growth of iProspect Edinburgh.

Her goal is to be a true strategic partner with clients, understanding their business and helping to find solutions to their business challenges. Anneli is passionate about the opportunity to combine best-in-class technology, data and creativity to create award-winning, high performance campaigns that resonate with the target audience and drives business performance.

We caught up with Anneli ahead of her appearance at Digital Day on May 17th. Book tickets here. 

Throughout your career, you’ve worked with some brilliant clients. What have been your favourite projects to work on and why?

I started my agency career as a senior strategist specialising on the travel industry. Working with large global brands like Emirates, Etihad, Jumeirah, Hilton across the globe was fascinating. There is enormous complexity involved with so many different languages, market nuances and local search engines such as Baidu, Naver and Yandex. My favourite travel brand from that era was Marriott as the way they managed the agency relationship was brilliant. They invited all agencies from across the globe to attend their marketing conferences which often were held in great locations like South Beach in Miami. Not only was it fun but it also helped us build an in-depth understanding of them as a brand and what they were trying to achieve. 

More recently my favourite project is Ultimate Finance which is the case study we will present on the Digital Day. It’s been exciting to support them on their journey from a traditional B2B lender to a FinTech company and developing a digital strategy that helped them prove that the direct to consumer model works. 

What are the most challenging disruptors facing UK agencies?

Today CMOs need to be masterful orchestrators of creativity, data and technology. Therefore brands need a joined-up approach from agencies and as a result we’re continuing to see consolidation in the industry.  We’re also continuing to see the consulting and agency world converging with traditional management consultancies coming into the traditional agency space but also vice-versa. We have a special department called iProspect Consult, offering a range of consultancy services from helping brands navigate the world of marketing technology to improve internal processes and undergo change management. Al will have massive impact on the way agencies work in the future. Companies that truly embrace Al will disrupt the current agency model, be it brands themselves, independant challengers or the large networks.

Tell us a little about your work with Ultimate Finance.

We started working with Ultimate Finance in March 2017. They wanted to transform themselves into a revolutionary FinTech company and launch direct-to-consumer digital services – and they needed a strategic agency partner that could not just develop a strategy to match their ambition but also become an extension of their marketing team. 

We set up all digital channels and pioneered an agile approach that allowed for swift reallocation of budgets to the most effective channels. We designed an overarching strategy that put the audience, data at its core, and a channel strategy that evolved and optimised as data came in. This approach meant we could quickly test, learn and reassign resources to where they needed to be. Personalisation and dynamic create played a key role as did programmatic video which proved to be a successful and cost-effective way of engaging their audiences. 

Our key objective was to achieve a positive ROI in year one and prove that the digital, direct-to-consumer business model works. I’m pleased to say we smashed targets and Ultimate Finance are planning on tripling their digital investment in 2018. We’ve got really exciting plans and are looking at developing dynamic, personalised video next. 

What platforms do you consume regularly?

I love pod-casts and especially the Tim Ferris Show. He interviews successful people from all walks of life. Listening to podcasts whilst cycling into work gets me inspired and helps me reflect about how I can improve my own and my teams performance. For my fashion and fitness inspiration I use Instagram and Facebook is a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends around the world.