Managing Director MEA, Lucy Miller

Name: Lucy Miller
Age: 41
From: London, UK
Current job title: Managing Director MEA, Event Marketing Solutions (EMS)

When did you arrive in the UAE?
I first arrived here in November 2007, which as you can imagine wasn’t the best timing!

Where did you work prior?
I started my career in experiential marketing and then moved into integrated. After working with gyro in London and New York, I set up the local branch office here in Dubai in partnership with my sister Fiona and was Managing Director for six years.

What were your first impressions of the media industry in the Middle East?  
I lived in Oman in the early 90s and vividly remember driving to Dubai and seeing the billboards as we entered the UAE, it felt so vibrant and exciting, a place full of potential. When I came back to the Middle East to live in Dubai in 2007, I was very impressed by the breadth and the friendliness of the industry but I was a little underwhelmed by the creativity in some of the campaigns in the market around that time.

Have these impressions changed much?
Yes! The industry has developed at such a pace. I’ve seen some incredible ideas come out of our region, both in the media and at the shows and it gives me a real sense of pride to be part of it.  

Tell us about your new role as Managing Director MEA…
I am the Managing Director of EMS EMEA, which means I’m responsible for the Middle East and Africa arm of the business. EMS is all about creating live experiences that engage powerfully and move minds – nothing creates a brand presence like one of our roadshow truck experiences. My role is to work with agencies and clients and listen, understand and interpret their requirements in order to customise an exhibition trailer that fits their campaign needs exactly, be it hospitality, retail, training, product demonstrations or internal communications.

What challenges do you face?
I think the biggest challenge I’ve faced working in marketing in the Middle East is understanding the audience. When you live in a region with a population this diverse it is always a challenge to develop campaigns that resonate with people from so many countries and backgrounds. It’s a challenge I absolutely love, as learning about different cultures fascinates me, keeps life interesting and is one of the reasons I moved to Dubai.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I love the creative aspect of my job. I get a real sense of satisfaction when I help to create a customer experience with a compelling idea at the heart of it.

What’s the most exciting thing to happen so far?
I’m meeting with lots of agencies and potential clients at the moment and it’s exciting when people see the experiences we’ve created around the world and start to consider the potential for their brand.

What do you think of the quality of media publications in the region?
From a professional perspective I think the regional business and media industry publications are very strong. However from a personal perspective there aren’t many regional titles that appeal to me, as a working mother, and I prefer international publications when it comes to news and magazines.

What sets you apart from other marketing professionals?
I made the switch from experiential to integrated early on in my career, and having moved back to experiential I’m able to use a different approach to cracking a brief which results in a stronger campaign overall. Like many marketers I have a creative heart and a strategic brain and it’s great when I get them working in harmony. I travelled a lot when growing up and have lived on five continents. I spent a lot of time throughout my childhood meeting people from different cultures and I like to think this has made me good at relating to others. It’s a useful skill when I’m focusing on understanding an audience in order to develop a campaign that resonates.

Work calls via landline, mobile or both?
At the moment mainly Skype, lots of my team are in the UK and it’s lovely to see their faces as I get to know them all.

What’s your most overused saying?
‘What do we want them to feel, think, know and do?’

Five things you can’t live without?
My family, friends, my dragonfly earrings, a notebook and a cup of tea.

If you weren’t in marketing and events, what would you be doing?
Someone who makes things – I love painting, sewing and crafts and have always got a few creative projects on the go.

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