IWD 2024: In conversation with Nicole Nightingale

Sophie Gyles
6 minute read

This is part three in an IWD conversation series profiling some of the incredible women we have the privilege of working with. This week we spoke to Nicole Nightingale, National Digital Marketing Manager at Metricon, one of our valued client partners. Nicole generously took the time to share the lessons she’s learned in her journey to becoming the National Digital Marketing Manager at Australia's leading home builder.

Having worked for three of Victoria’s five top builders, 36-year-old Nicole Nightingale has a deep understanding of the complex customer journey home buyers go through. She brings a strategic, outcomes-driven lens to everything she does, which has seen her rise to the top of her game in a short space of time.

Nicole began leading the digital marketing team at Metricon two and a half years ago. In that time she has transformed the team into a strategic powerhouse known for its forward-thinking, holistic approach to the entire marketing funnel, and the systems and processes that underpin it.

“When I arrived my team was known as ‘the web team’ and our role was to provide a website. But I wanted us to be more than that,” she says.

Not content with being a quasi-help desk for the website, she realigned the team around Metricon’s broader business goals.

“We’re the digital marketing team, helping develop a digital marketing strategy, which flows into the national marketing strategy. We're not just here providing a website, but a range of digital experiences across a customer journey. We’re offering thought leadership in the digital space and we're thinking about opportunities in the market to really make sure that what we're doing is adding value and we're actually driving it.”

A veteran of the industry, Nicole cut her teeth working weekends in display homes for another home builder during university plumping cushions, restocking brochures and supporting the sales team. This formative experience on the ‘shop floor’ taught her the value of genuine customer service and how marketing strategy works to support a successful sales process—experience that would help land her her first job in a marketing department.

She went onto lead marketing teams at multiple home builders, supporting sales with promotions, creative campaigns, point of sale and unique display activation, but she had a hunger for greater impact. That’s when she turned her focus from generalised operational marketing, to multi-channel, multi-touchpoint digital marketing.

“I think ultimately what’s enjoyable about marketing new homes is that it's a very high value proposition and the customer journey is long and complex,” she explains. “If you can build a good understanding of what that journey is, there are many opportunities to add value and make an impact across that journey, for both the business and our customers. That’s what motivates me.”

'We’re offering thought leadership in the digital space.'

One of her biggest achievements so far at Metricon has been leading the development and delivery of a new CRM. A two year project, she worked closely with her sales counterparts at Metricon to ensure the system married sales and marketing processes and pipelines in the most effective way.

“That was an amazing process where we asked ‘how do you build a whole customer journey that makes sense from a business unit perspective as well as for the customer?’. I think we achieved that exceptionally well. We're super proud of that.”

It might be a great system built to achieve business objectives, but Nicole’s not one to build a platform only to then put her feet up. She’s committed to ensuring every system underpinning their marketing activities is managed properly, remains aligned and is utilised effectively.

"I'm driven by impact, but it’s important for me to make sure that the impact is relevant to what matters, and what matters is aligned with operational goals. Across my career I’ve seen systems and processes put in place and everyone thinks ‘we have this new system and it's gonna be great’, but it’s been launched, the business isn't managing it, and then six months later it doesn't achieve what you want it to. That's a common story in digital development."

Nicole has spent her entire career in the home building industry, something she didn’t expect, but says has been a great match for her strengths and personality.

“I didn't know when I started out that marketing in the home building industry would be a good match for my personality, which is very deadline-oriented and also very performance-oriented. You’re always chasing targets and seeking improvements and enhancements,” she says.

It’s this drive to always seek improvement and impact that has shaped her leadership style, which is all about setting realistic goals and empowering people to achieve them. A natural cheerleader, Nicole has an infectious enthusiasm which makes you want to do your best and be the best. But her naturally positive, bubbly personality wasn’t always something she embraced.

“I specifically remember thinking in my 20s ‘I can’t wait until I’m older, because then I’ll be taken seriously’. I remember adjusting my demeanour to dull down my natural enthusiasm.”

'I specifically remember thinking in my 20s ‘I can’t wait until I’m older, because then I’ll be taken seriously’.

Thankfully, over time and through hard-won experience, she’s realised her personality is actually an advantage when it comes to getting the best from her team.

“What I’ve come to learn is that those traits are in fact probably some of the things that make me the best leader I can be. Being personable and enthusiastic means I can bring that energy to my team; if we’re feeling low, we can all lift together.”

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for women to feel as if they need to adjust the way they look or act in order to be treated the same as their male colleagues in the workplace. The ‘Women in the Workplace’ study by McKinsey and Co from last year found that many women tone down what they say or do to try to blend in and avoid a negative reaction at work.

“When I was younger, I wish I’d known what makes me stronger were traits I could have perceived as a weakness,” Nicole shares. “I wish I had known that our individuality and the positive aspects of our personality is what brings the most to the table, and that creates the best team culture.”

As for other things she’d like to tell the younger version of herself, she says wishes she’d been confident enough to own her achievements and demonstrate her value.

“I think there's a tendency for women to downplay their achievements, to talk about the team rather than themselves. You hear a lot of ‘we’ language among women. I wish I’d known you don't need to be embarrassed or coy about owning your achievements and demonstrating your value.”

'I wish I had known that our individuality... is what brings the most to the table.'

Finally, she wishes she’d known it was OK to advocate for herself and proactively seek opportunities.

“At the end of the day, to get a seat at the table, sometimes you have to knock on the door; you have to advocate for your value. You can be the person who knocks on the door and pursues these things. And even if you don't get it all the time, you might get halfway there.”

Young Nicole might not have learned these lessons as quickly as present-day Nicole might have liked, but even when she hasn’t felt ready to step up, she’s always taken the leap. She attributes her courage in part to the strong role models she had growing up in the western suburbs of Melbourne in her Mum and her maternal Grandmother.

“My Mum was born in Cyprus, and comes from a very traditional, Greek Orthodox community, but my mum never adhered to what was expected of her from a traditional gender role perspective, and neither did my grandmother. My sister and I were always encouraged to get educated, to go to university, to get jobs and to be leaders. I’m very fortunate for that.”

Nicole is absolutely thriving in her role at Metricon, paving the way for the women coming after her in the home building industry and the wider marketing space. She is setting the bar high and aiming for great things for herself, while working to empower those around her. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to be one of Metricon’s implementation partners working closely with Nicole and her team each day.

Read part one and part two of our IWD Conversation Series.

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