O2 assembles new marketing and insight team

O2’s recently appointed top marketer Nina Bibby has made three senior hires from parent company Telefonica, Manchester City and Paddy Power as the mobile operator looks to place customer insight at the heart of its marketing strategy to maintain market share as the battle to recruit 4G customers heats up in 2014.

O2 Be More Dog
A still-frame from O2’s recent ‘Be More Dog’ brand campaign.

Jonathan Earle, most recently the chief marketing officer for O2 parent company’s Telefonica brand in Slovakia, is returning to the UK and taking the new role of head of customer strategy and development. He will lead O2’s marketing strategy and having ultimate accountability for customer experience.

O2 says the role was created to “ensure [it retains] a focus and passion for our customers in everything [it does]”.

Earle in part replaces the role of O2’s head of marketing and consumer strategy Paul Troy, who has left the business to become digital games developer Gamesys’ first global director of brands.

Also joining the business is Manchester City’s former chief brand and commercial officer Ian Cafferky. He is taking up a new marketing engagement role that will focus on simplifying and aligning the way O2 executes its marketing communications, a spokeswoman says.

In addition, Bibby has appointed former Paddy Power insight director Danny Russell as O2’s general manager of business intelligence, replacing Andy Day who left earlier this year to join The Sun publisher News UK. 

All three new recruits will report into Bibby, who left Barclaycard to become O2’s marketing and consumer director in November 2013. When her appointment was first announced Bibby said she was looking to help the company “redefine the role” it plays for its customers as it evolves into a digital services company.

The UK 4G battlefield

Earle, Cafferky and Russell join in the same week rival EE announced it has reached the 2 million customer milestone, just four months after it passed the 1 million mark. It says the uptake was driven by the “rapid” rollout of the 4G spectrum across the UK and the introduction of more affordable tariffs.

O2 and Three yet to reveal how many customers have signed up to their 4G services, while Vodafone revealed it had hit the 100,000 4G customer mark in October.

Kester Mann, CCS Insight principal analyst, told Marketing Week the strong numbers from EE means he expects the UK to emerge as one of Europe’s “most competitive markets” for 4G this year.

“Having for so long trailed other countries in licensing and deployment, the turnaround has been remarkable,” he said.

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