CMO Chats with Isaac Lai, Global Head of Marketing for ThreeTrader

Ortus Chats

Isaac Lai

Global Head of Marketing | ThreeTraders

Isaac Lai, Global Head of Marketing of ThreeTraders, discusses launching campaigns in new markets and building foundations for both short-term and long-term growth, hiring and cultivating a positive company culture, and being the mentor and leader you wanted when you were starting out.

 

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

  • Look at the diverse challenges the CMO faces, from hiring the right talent to cultivating a positive company culture that aligns with the brand’s values and goals.
  • Explore how the CMO addresses the importance of staying distinctive in a crowded market, ensuring that marketing efforts stand out and effectively differentiate the company from its competitors.
  • Delve into the necessity of integrating generative AI in marketing while maintaining a balance between efficiency and creativity to avoid producing mundane and homogeneous content.
  • Reflect on the CMO’s emphasis on advocacy, highlighting the need to champion the brand, the team, and the overall vision to inspire and drive the organisation forward.

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What does your company do?

ThreeTraders is an offshore foreign exchange, also known as a forex, trading brokerage firm. The business was founded in 2021, focusing on high value and creating an advantageous environment for veteran and novice traders. We believe that traders should be able to access the market faster and easier—that’s our company motto, and that’s what we speak to.

When we look at your role as the head of marketing, what is currently your main marketing focus?

Yeah, we’ve been around for a little bit. There’s still quite a lot of work to be done in terms of laying out foundations and getting the basics right. In fact, we’ve been working on some campaigns as well. We’ve recently launched in South Korea as well as done promotional campaigns in Japan. So we’re simultaneously working on building for the short and long term.

Can you tell me more about a particularly innovative or successful marketing campaign your team has recently executed?

Yeah, there’s a lot to choose from, so it’s tough. It’s like picking your favourite child. But for the purpose of this, we’ll focus on the launch in South Korea, which is a huge milestone for the company. We have clients all around the world, but we wanted to make a concerted effort to increase our presence in South Korea, considering the geographic proximity to Japan, which is our mainland and headquarters. When launching in South Korea, we launched an awareness campaign across all the usual digital channels in terms of social media, like Naver Display. On top of that, we collaborated with several prominent finance creators and influencers across their native platforms as well to help boost considerations. We launched into the market, knowing that no one knew who we were in a new country, so we put quite a lot of effort into the awareness campaign. But even though people were starting to learn about us and learn about the company, there was still a level of research and education required, which is why we collaborated with all these creators across long-form blogs, social media, and YouTube. It’s in its early days—just over a month now—but our internal data is showing that we’re trending in the right direction.

What is the biggest marketing challenge that you have at the moment?

It’s hiring and cultivating culture. I’m sure you get a lot of different answers from other CMOS and different heads of marketing, but for me, people have been and always will be the most important part of your company, as they are not only advocates but also execute according to strategy and the heartbeat and pulse of the brand as well. So since day one, and just a caveat, I haven’t been at ThreeTraders since day one trying to find more Superstars to add to this Collective that is growing quite rapidly as we expand into markets as we try more initiatives and regardless of what we do, I would say that bringing people in ensuring that they fit the culture and build upon the positivity that we’ve been able to cultivate is the most important thing and also the biggest challenge because when you add good people whether it’s your set or personality, you see a little bit of incremental Improvement, but it’s so easy for all that to be taking away with one wrong hire or not treating onboarding properly or not paying attention to complementary additions.

How does your company stay ahead of its competitors in terms of marketing?

That’s a great question. Before joining ThreeTrader, I was a novice to the forex and trading industry. I worked in finance and banking before, but something that I knew from my finance experience is that people in that industry tend to blend together. They all started to sort of look very similar, model themselves similarly, and position themselves in the same way. So I think in order to stay ahead of your competitors, specifically in the industry that I’m in, but in general, by being distinctive, that modelling sometimes happens intentionally because you want to sort of latch on to the positivity that maybe the market leader is established, but it also sort of happens unintentionally as well. Distinction will always win out in the end and keep you ahead of the competition from a ThreeTrader perspective. We have some stuff coming down the pipeline that will hopefully differentiate us even further from a very congested space in the tech industry.

What does the future of marketing look like?

Another great question, Sabrina. My crystal ball probably needs a little bit of polishing because it’s really hard to predict this type of thing. I don’t know definitively, and I think anyone who says they do is either from the future or potentially lying a little bit. But I’m leaning towards it being even more monocoloured due to people favouring efficiency over creativity, and a big contributing factor to that is probably generative AI. I love generative AI, for the record, because it allows us to lessen the amount of time we spend on labour-intensive tasks, but the problem is that a lot of individuals, agencies, and brands are also using it for everything. With ‘lazy slumps’ sometimes and this ‘murky merger of the mundane’ will sort of increase as everyone uses first drafts as the final products, and tying it back to distinction, this does give you the opportunity for more human and creative-centric brands to sort of separate themselves a little bit because if everyone is using ChatGPT and if everyone is using AI tools that come with those software suites, putting in that little bit of extra effort or adding that human touch to it will allow you to separate yourself from the pack.

What is the role of the head of marketing in one word, and why?

I would say it’s advocacy. The reason I say advocacy is that you need to advocate for your brand, your processes, and your people; it starts and ends with you. If you don’t get fired up about what it can do or what the theme you’ve assembled brings to the table, what are you doing? And why are you here? I think you genuinely need to advocate for all those factors and be a cheerleader and coach. Empower them and really advocate for them because if you don’t believe in them and if you’re not super proud of the accomplishments of the team or collective, then expecting clients to feel positively about them is a bit of a stretch.

“You need to advocate for your brand, your processes, and your people; it starts and ends with you.”

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

Where my head is with that is being the mentor and leader that you wanted when you were on to come up and the ascent, whether it’s mimicking the mentors that had the most profound influence on you when you were a student in college, maybe a fresh graduate, or just starting out your career. Or, on the flip side of that, reverse engineer your worst boss to make sure you avoid those mistakes and give opportunities to your juniors and the people in the company. I’m very grateful to have had so many positive influences and people in my career, so I try to give back as much as possible and encourage others in my position to do the same.

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