CMO Chats with Áine Bryn, Partner and CMO at Mercer UK

Ortus Chats


Partner and CMO | Mercer UK

Áine Bryn, Mercer UK‘s Partner and CMO talks to The Ortus Club’s Andrea Paolacci about the importance of growth and sustainability while exploring external opportunities.

To watch Áine’s interview, you can subscribe to our CMO Chats interview series on YouTube. You can also listen to the interview on Spotify, or pour yourself a cup of coffee and read the full interview below. Subscribe to the CMO Chats Newsletter on LinkedIn to keep up-to-date on our conversations with today’s Marketing leaders.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • How Mercer UK drives growth and stays ahead of the competition
  • Breaking the stigma around mental health improved employee well-being
  • Committing to sustainability efforts
  • Aine’s advice to fellow marketers


What does your company do?

At Mercer UK, we oversee retirement investment outcomes and are committed to enhancing the real health and well-being of approximately 10 million people throughout the UK. As part of Marsh McLennan, which includes four global businesses – Marsh, Guy Carpenter, Mercer, and Oliver Wyman – our expertise revolves around risk, strategy, and people.


As the CMO in your company, what is currently your main marketing focus? What are your biggest challenges?

I would say that the focus of marketing is growth, which means helping our business to expand. We seek out external opportunities to present our capabilities to clients and emphasise that marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin, so we work closely with our sales enablement team to understand our clients’ challenges and identify how we can assist them in addressing them.

How does your company stay ahead of its competitors?

We maintain a client-centric approach and keep a close relationship with our clients to stay ahead of the competition. It is important for us to understand the issues and problems our clients are currently facing, as well as anticipate potential opportunities for growth. By doing so, we become not just problem solvers, but also strategic partners who can help our clients thrive and achieve their objectives. This approach benefits both parties and leads to mutual success.

How do you measure success and ROI in your department?

There are various ways we measure success and ROI in our department. Having been in marketing for over 25 years, I have seen metrics evolve from intangible measures such as client relationships to more tangible measures like website traffic engagement and commercial success. We focus on lead generation and measure website traffic volume and engagement as they are critical indicators of our success. However, the most significant factor we consider is engagement, which we convert into real-life conversations with our consultants and ultimately, revenue generation. The website is a vital aspect of our marketing strategy, and we use it as a means to drive traffic and engagement.

Can you share a particularly innovative or successful marketing campaign your team has recently executed?

One issue that is likely at the forefront of most organisations and their employees is mental health. There is a lot of work being done to support the mental well-being of employees, and we strive to help organisations do more than simply pay lip service to this issue, especially during and after the pandemic. Employee well-being is a priority for not only the HR department, but also the CEO.

To address this, we have developed a mental health awareness training program for all employees, which aims to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. This program provides practical tools for employers and employees to assess trigger points related to mental wellness, allowing employees to help themselves. We have also created a series of video modules to help employees understand how to recognise triggers and where to seek help, as well as how to help themselves. We have enlisted the help of several celebrities to convey the message that mental health should not be hidden or stigmatised, as it is no different than a broken finger, toe, or an operation, and it affects one’s overall well-being. By de-stigmatizing mental health and encouraging open conversation, those who want to talk about it can seek and receive help. In addition to the videos, we have also developed a toolkit for employers to provide to their employees.

How does your company integrate sustainability into its overall marketing strategy?

ESG is a crucial issue for our company, and we have been working on it for several years, starting from our investment strategy. We factor in sustainability from an investment portfolio perspective, as well as in practical things like recycling in the office. We do not have wastepaper baskets by each desk; instead, we sort through our waste to determine what is recyclable and what is not. We foster more awareness around why sustainability is crucial, and it starts with us. It is not someone else’s problem; everyone is committed to it. We factor sustainability into both our colleagues, our clients, and the organisation, but like every other company, we strive to do more, and we will continue to do so.

What career advice would you like to share with other marketing leaders?

To effectively engage with people, it’s important to speak their language. This means avoiding using marketing jargon and instead communicating in the language of the person or group you’re trying to reach, whether it’s finance, HR, or clients. By doing so, you can better demonstrate the value of your message and engage with them on their level. When starting a career in marketing, it’s important to focus on achieving specific goals and finding people who can help you get there. By understanding what success looks like for others, you can work to help them achieve their goals while also advancing your own. Finally, it’s important to prove that you have a strong foundation in marketing fundamentals before tackling more visionary projects.

“To effectively engage with people, it’s important to speak their language. This means avoiding using marketing jargon and instead communicating in the language of the person or group you’re trying to reach.”

What is the role of the CMO in one word? Why?

Growth is the ultimate goal because, without it, the company’s survival is at stake, and marketing plays a critical role in achieving growth. By demonstrating how marketing efforts contribute to the company’s commercial success, marketing gains a seat at the table and is recognized as a valuable and essential function. It is essential to communicate the value of marketing in the language of the stakeholders and demonstrate its contribution to growth.

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