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How I got here: Matalan marketing director Simon Lee’s tips for success

From the limits of data to the benefits of failure, Matalan’s Simon Lee shared his wisdom at Drapers Next Gen today.

Simon Lee Matalan

Simon Lee Matalan

Simon Lee’s journey to his current role of marketing director at Matalan has involved stints everywhere from Amazon to Anthropologie, and he has creates international campaigns for big names such as Calvin Klein and Bloomingdale’s. Speaking at Drapers Next Generation today, he revealed some of the important lessons he’s learned along the way.

See the benefit, not the feature

“If you focus on the feature of a product, customers are not going to keep coming back to you,” said Lee.

He stressed the importance of branding, rather than marketing, in encouraging consumers to return to a brand – not just make a single purchase: “Marketing is a push tactic. “Branding is pulling a customer into your world.

Data is great, but has its limits

While he stressed the importance of engaging with data, Lee said that the best way to move forward in a business was by not being too rigidly attached to the data you receive from your customers.

Have a plan, but be flexible and open

When working on Matalan’s #GetYourStripes campaign, Lee confessed that he was initially dubious about the campaign. However, in being flexible with the team rather than casting aside their expertise, the campaign went on to sell out 100% of the promoted products and reached 465m people.

Be authentic and true to your heart

Through his multiple roles with varying sizes of retailer, Lee returned to the UK looking for a brand that fit with his principles: “What was important to me was finding a retailer that aligned with my principles.”

Never be average

“Don’t settle for anodyne,” said Lee. “The only way you’ll get five-star work is to do one-star work. I’ve learned way more from my failures than my successes.”


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