Patience, Collaboration, And Trust Are Key to Success: An Interview With Gerald Tee
Our new blog series, #WhatMarketersDo, gives you a glimpse into the lives of marketers and provides you with useful tips on how to excel in the role. Thus, you get the latest trends and best practices firsthand from marketers in different industries.
This series has been conceived by marketers for marketers and its primary objective is to encourage sharing in the marketing community.
We’re really thankful to all the marketers who took the time to share valuable insights with us. If you’d like to contribute or know of any marketers who’d be kind enough to share their insights, please contact us at TeamSG@clickacademyasia.com.
1. Please share your current role at the Science Centre & a summary of your career leading to this role.
Thank you for having me here and allowing me to share my experiences.
Since I had always been interested in marketing, I started as a sports marketing executive. I served as the sports marketing representative for celebrity sportspersons and as a PR rep for major sporting events like Boat Asia, before heading to the Singapore Sports Council. I managed national mass sports participation events there and served as a consultant at the grassroots level to encourage more residents to lead a healthy and sporty lifestyle.
SAFRA National Service Association soon beckoned and I was there for more than 16 years. SAFRA is an association for Singapore Armed Forces National Servicemen to bond, relax and have fun at its many recreational clubhouses all over Singapore. I served in areas such as Membership Marketing, Clubhouse Development & Management, Product Development, Business Development, and finally back full circle as Membership Director.
I left SAFRA in 2014 to help set up KidsSTOP™ Children’s Science Centre as the Founding Director. It’s important to encourage children from a young age to inquire, investigate and innovate as they build up their learning skills and their power to create. KidsSTOP™ is a 3,000sqm science activity center where we encourage children from 18 months to 8 years old to imagine, experience, discover, and dream all about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
In 2017, I was appointed as Director (Marketing & Communications) of the Science Centre Group where my duties include ensuring strong patronage of the Science Centre, KidsSTOP™, the Omni-theatre, and Snow City through enhancing all-round onsite and online awareness and improving top-of-mind recall of our many product offerings. After a recent Division restructuring exercise, I was appointed as Director (Branding, Communications and Operations) on 1 Apr 22. My portfolio now includes brand enhancement and operations for the upcoming new Science Centre, on top of my existing portfolio managing corporate communications and social media management.
Together with the data analytics team, our digital marketing efforts are now very data-driven, to ensure our lean resources are fully optimized. This has been one of our small successes with our digital transformation journey, as our team pushed online ticketing and CRM management to enhance the Guest Experience.
We were very fortunate that our journey started before the pandemic and we could pivot almost overnight, to ensure safe operations and a conducive environment for our guests and staff. Our team is now about to launch our rewards program, to enhance guest loyalty and provide us with an opportunity to provide personalized experiences for our guests.
2. What do you enjoy most about your role?
Digital marketing is full of challenges and I relish every bit of it. Being data-driven, we will know almost immediately if our effort was worth the while or if it failed miserably. Although it’s cut-and-dried from an outcome perspective, putting up a campaign is enjoyable as each team member has a different opinion due to their varied life experiences. The younger lot may offer more trend-related ideas, while the young-at-heart may pitch more practical ideas. How do we blend the ideas? Or is there even a need to blend? Why not stick with just one side? These are some of the questions that I address almost every day under varying circumstances.
Listening to the ideas can sometimes open up new worlds for each team member, and importantly, everyone learns something. This is how teams get stronger. As leaders, we should encourage such discussions and open communications. No one has a monopoly on knowledge.
3. What advice will you give to people taking on a similar role?
Having an open and humble mindset would be critical. We need to learn all the time and if opportunities allow, we have to push boundaries and try things out so that we will know if it works. Staying on top of the news and what others are doing will be very useful in shaping outcomes and making a difference when we try. Of course, when we want to push new ideas, we need support from others. So being patient, learning to work with others (collaborating), and building trust will always be key to success.
Another tip I always share with new staff is to project three steps into the decision-making process. The “What If This” and “What If That” scenario planning will be very helpful for each step in making people think of possible consequences and how to deal with each situation with three alternative options. By being careful in our decision-making process, we can mitigate possible negative outcomes and ensure scarce resources are not wasted.
4. Why do you think Digital Transformation fails sometimes?
The Digital Transformation Journey is often fraught with challenges. One may fall into a “pothole” if there is a lack of planning brought about by the urgency caused by the pandemic. Different teams within the organization may have critical objectives to fulfill and everyone wants it done “yesterday”. Unfortunately in most cases, there is only one IT team. This is where silos need to be broken down.
Teams need to come together and decide what the desired end outcome should be and how to achieve it. They need to be on the same page with respect to the end result and the means to achieve it. This not only prevents wastage of resources but also achieves a more well-defined success story that does not become a white elephant. You will be surprised to know that such a simple sit-down discussion is sometimes not done across the organization, simply because everyone is too busy!
5. What do you do outside of work for recreation or to relax?
I’m blessed to have a wonderful family; one that loves to eat and travel. So this means I’ve to put in some effort to exercise. So I usually go jogging or to the golf driving range, partly to de-stress as well. I’m also very fortunate to have a great bunch of friends from my army days. We meet regularly for golf and meals to celebrate each other’s birthdays.
It’s important to take a break for one’s mental health. Sometimes, we pick up good advice and tips from each other’s experiences too. So family and friendship are what I treasure the most and never take for granted.
Thank you Gerald for taking out time from your busy schedule to share these wonderful insights with our audience. These will definitely add great value to budding marketers.
That is all that we have for you today. Keep a lookout for our next blog as we continue to share what marketers do. We aim to cover marketers from different countries to get global coverage on what marketers do. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any marketing inputs to share with our audience or if you know someone who’d enjoy doing that.
We’ll soon be back with insights from another marketer. Till then, stay tuned!