9 - 11 June 2020
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
About ConnecTechAsia

Connect With: Cat Williams-Treloar, CEO, Humanisation

1 Feb 2018 | ConnecTechAsia

Get to know the Human-Centred Marketer who helps SaaS, eCommerce and Tech businesses launch and scale in APAC.

Hi there, Cat! Tell us a little bit more about your background.

Cat: My career began in web design and traditional email marketing almost two decades ago in Australia. In the course of my work, I fell in love with insights, data and consumer behaviour. Like many Aussies, however, I decided to pack my bags and explore the world. That was over 12 years ago, and I’ve since helped brands across more than 30 countries grow.

Trained as both a quantitative and qualitative researcher, I ran focus groups, ethnographic work and large-scale studies across Australia, the UK and then globally. Many of my colleagues would laugh at me for getting excited about what a customer thought about a website, or how they actually ate their breakfast, or what their home was really like, or that they were multi-screening when the hard data wasn’t showing the story yet.

My big break came when I was holding a global role in London. Back then, my boss had given me an opportunity to start telling stories and crafting strategies with these insights. We started experimenting with customer journeys, technology and ways we could change customer behaviour. And I’ve been doing this as a marketer ever since.

Did that motivate you to start your own company?

Cat: Yes. The business came about as I’d sat in too many meetings where no one talked about the customer. The main conversation was about hitting sales numbers, new technologies or products.

All of the marketing programs that I’d been a part of drove results because they were focused on the customer. All the amazing tech in the world doesn’t appeal to a customer unless it acutely solves their pain point.

Humanisation aims to connect companies to humans. What do you think has caused the disconnect?

Cat: There are three drivers of disconnection between companies and humans – automation, hyper-specialisation and hyperknowledge.

The largest driver is technology and automation. Companies focused on growth hacking instead of customer relationships are at risk of providing a frustrating and impersonal experience. While technology can raise efficiency levels, it’s more important for a business to explore how it can improve customer relations too.

The second driver of disconnection is hyper-specialisation, where professionals now hold highly specialised roles. For example, in the arena of marketing, one can be a programmatic specialist, social expert, video creator or a storyteller. The same is happening in engineering, sales and finance. Because the world is getting more and more specialised and fragmented, the general skills that connected everything together are becoming less common – there isn’t someone owning and viewing the entire customer experience.

The third driver is hyperknowledge. Customers are incredibly discerning today. They often know more than you do – particularly if he or she is a trendsetter, passionate fan of the brand or has done a large amount of research pre-purchase. This means when something goes wrong, they can spot it and give feedback. The great thing is that if you listen to your customers and do something with the feedback – it will grow your business. If you don’t, it will continue to drive a disconnection.

In relation to the question above, can you share three tips that will help companies mitigate this pain point?


  1. Listen, Observe & Ask your customers

If you don’t know what people need or want, you can’t serve them.

  1. Walk in your customers’ shoes

Take time to actually be a customer in your business. Sometimes we spend such a long time building something that we lose sight of the actual experience.

  1. Work out your intention for connecting

Have a chatbot or a video for your customer? Great. Work out their purpose at each stage of the journey. If you have a clear intention, then you’ll be able to connect. Otherwise you’ll fall into a trap of building lots of stuff that doesn’t stick.

That was very insightful, thank you. Why did you choose to start Humanisation in Asia, and specifically Singapore?

Cat: Singapore’s central location was an easy choice. It is the region’s best city for growing businesses, and a superb hub for up-and-coming start-ups. I genuinely feel very blessed to be based here.

More than a decade ago, I was part of a project in Pakistan, and visited Singapore for the very first time to present the results. I was in absolute awe when I landed at Changi Airport and drove along the East Coast – so you can imagine my happiness when an opportunity to move here permanently in 2011 arose.

What excites you most about what you do?

Cat: Helping to launch and scale businesses across APAC. I get butterflies as we start to uncover where the business opportunity is, who the customer is and how you are going to help the business grow. Working out the “Go-To-Market” strategy is one of the most exciting things to do as a marketer because it’s a world of possibilities.

You will be speaking at ConnecTechAsia Summit 2018. What do you think will be the most important takeaway from the key topics you’ll be addressing?

Cat: I’ll be talking about how Machine Learning can help to connect businesses with customers in a more human way. What we can do with voice, images, connecting data and experiences could be amazing – if we think about why we are doing it and how it benefits the customer.

This will help businesses avoid falling into a trap of shiny new object syndrome or waste time and resources.

Your current read?

Cat: I’m a big reader and buy a stack of physical books every couple of weeks. I have 8 books on the go at the moment across a range of topics on creativity, design, sales & the 4th industrial revolution. The one book that I’m on the last chapter is “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron. I have two dogs, Pixel and Oscar, and it’s been an exceptional read that has allowed me to feel more empathy for them.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Cat: “Feedback is a gift”. And it is. When you get feedback from a customer, a colleague or even a friend, it’s because someone cares. The more feedback you can elicit from customers, the more you will grow.

For more insights on Machine Learning, join Cat Williams-Treloar at ConnecTechAsia Summit 2018’s EmergingTech Track, where she will be a Panellist for the following Discussion: “Man vs Machine – Who is the Biased One?”. Marina Bay Sands, 27 June 2018. Delegates may register for the Summit here.


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