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Interview with Michelle Kelly, Head of Marketing Communications at BIST Group

Rhythm Singhal By Rhythm Singhal in Interviews on

An established marketer with over 30 years of experience in marketing. Michelle is currently Head of Marketing Communications at BIST Group, a technology company offering hardware and software solutions. Working with brands like HP, Microsoft, and Acer she is responsible for all marketing communications across the group.

In her previous publishing role, Michelle was Head of Global Sales & Marketing and responsible for all marketing disciplines.

Your Journey as a Marketing Professional

I started my journey as a young Marketing Assistant with an international academic publisher some 30 plus year ago. It was just by chance that I ended up in marketing as I had no real career plan at that time. I had just left school and knew I wanted to work in a role that was exciting – the mix of marketing for an international publisher gave me just that.

I went to night school to develop my business skills and it wasn’t long before I got my first promotion to Marketing Executive.

Back then in the late 80’s/early 90’s, there was no internet for business use and direct mail dominated the marketing landscape along with exhibition attendance to meet with customer’s a couple of times a year at international events. That was the only way to really engage with our customers or by facsimile! I can hear the millennials saying “what’s a facsimile”!

My love for marketing developed over the years and I moved from role to role. The turning point in my career was when I was seconded from our UK headquarters to Malaysia to gain first-hand experience of establishing a marketing office in a country that was culturally rich, diverse and very different from my comfort zone. I absolutely loved my time working with a different culture and gained the most valuable skills from that experience.

I remained in publishing for 22 years then moved into the Technology industry where everything got really exciting as it was right at the beginning of the digital marketing era where new technologies were emerging.

I remain in marketing today as the variety, challenge, and reward from campaigns still keeps me hooked 30 years on!

What are the primary marketing channels you have worked on? What will be your advice to young marketers on each of these channels?

Primary channels are email marketing, Internet marketing, event marketing, social media, and direct marketing.

My advice to young marketers is to use a blended approach and mix your campaigns (for example Social media, email marketing, backed-up by internet marketing) and test test test! What works well in one campaign, may bomb-out in another. Even the best planned and executed campaigns can bomb-out. Learn from each experience and modify campaigns regularly. Test new technologies and upskill regularly. Marketing is a constantly evolving industry that provides many rewards.

I do believe there will be a direct mail revival as the digital space is becoming so crowded and I am slowly introducing direct mail back into my campaigns. Early signs are showing positive results.

What are some of the important marketing software that you have used and found to be really useful for your company?

Top of my list is Mailchimp!

Would you like to share a few words about any marketing software that you love?

I couldn’t live without MailChimp day-to-day! MailChimp is an all-in-one email platform that allows users to send email communications to your opted-in customers. The greatest benefit of using Mailchimp is its ease of use. You don’t need to have an IT degree or be a graphic designer to manage your way round to create striking emails. It has a number of pre-made templates that can be customized using a drag and drop facility. The reports of activity provide good analytics of who has opened your emails with lots of granular information that provides real insight into your campaign performance.

I’ve worked with three other similar platforms and tested these against MailChimp and MailChimp comes out on top for ease of use, excellent reporting, and fair pricing and I would highly recommend it!

Your 2 line advice to people entering in the marketing domain.

Your target market is key! It’s one of the most overlooked steps in making your marketing campaign a success. Far too often I’ve witnessed junior staff showing me the most amazing creatives however given little consideration of who they are actually targeting! Do your research into your target market and test test test!