The Episerver Digital Ninety-Nines series highlights female pioneers doing groundbreaking work in tech-related fields. In the podcast, we meet women who are digital leaders and discuss their challenges, motivations, the inventive projects that have put them on the map, and the advice they have for women looking to follow in their footsteps.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy Stonefield, Chief Commercial Officer at Amaze, a full-service digital marketing, technology, and commerce consultancy and Episerver global solution partner. Wendy has been instrumental in driving the commerce proposition within Amaze and has been involved in a number of key client wins including Emirates, Wacoal Europe, Lexus and Unilever.
Jodi: Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
Wendy: I joined Amaze early in my career. The company was spun out of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) by the late digital media luminary Roy Stringer. I was working in an International Marketing role at LJMU, and although I knew very little about tech at that time, my director offered me a position within the new Amaze team.
All digital work was done on CD-ROM, but even then, Amaze was ahead of the curve – producing rich content and using technology in a very cutting-edge way. It attracted me to the business, and 17 years later I’m still working here. It’s incredible how much has evolved with Amaze and the tech industry as a whole in that time.
Jodi: What has been the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry over the last decade?
Wendy: The mentality of large-scale, global corporations has changed immensely. They’re no longer talking about digital strategy as a separate media channel. It is a core part of their overall business strategy now and really the fabric of any business today. Corporations have become more sophisticated in their growth plans, while understanding how fundamental digital is to the transformation of their businesses. They recognize now that digital is a critical component of maintaining and gaining market share.
Jodi: How have you had to evolve at Amaze to address global corporations weaving digital into their overall business strategy?
Wendy: For me, it’s not about building websites anymore. My mission is to identify how to use the channel to gain competitive advantage for each individual client. It’s about combining fantastic insight and strategy with deep understanding of the brand and technology.
Relationship management is more critical than ever, as digital projects grow in scale to fit every division and region of a client’s global business. Hiring and retaining good people has become more challenging, with high demand for employees who feel as comfortable facilitating a meeting in Japan as they do in the Middle East. Each staff member needs to be highly skilled in their individual discipline, yet have the ability to work cohesively with a team.
Jodi: Amaze has always placed emphasis on the importance of exploring how digital and emerging new media change the ways people learn and communicate. How has this influenced your approach to creating digital strategies for your clients?
Wendy: At Amaze, we put extra emphasis on insight, planning and rigor. It’s important to do more than just think about what the solution for the client should be. We’re thinking up front about how we will be able to substantiate ROI for our clients and how that ROI will be measured. It’s the difference of adding business consultancy to a pure agency approach. When someone on the team has a great idea, we’re analyzing why it’s a great idea and what the client will gain from it at the end of the fiscal year.
Jodi: What does your ideal client look like today?
Wendy: We understand digital strategy on a global scale, so naturally, we tend to work with very large global corporations. I enjoy working with manufacturers who are taking their businesses direct to consumer (D2C), helping them to make the most of having a direct relationship with their customers. It marries brand, creative, engagement perspective and commerce beautifully, and it increases their ability to offer better products and design.
Jodi: What advice do you have for other women interested in pursuing or furthering their careers in development or creative roles?
Wendy: Be ambitious and think big. Don’t worry about any conceived barriers – just go for it. Women should be bullish, excited and passionate about the careers they can have. With current demand for digital talent, there is huge opportunity to build a fantastic career in this sector.
For more information regarding the innovative female executives and work being done at Amaze, tune in to our latest podcast with Amaze CEO, Natalie Gross.